N.W.A., Bill Withers and Chic are among the nominees for the 2015 class of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

Known for soul-stirring hits like 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lean on Me,' Withers set a precedent for crafting lyrics with depth during his prime in the 70's and early '80s, while the group Chic, led by guitarist Nile Rodgers, helped define the dance music of the '70s with 'Le Freak.' West Coast-bred rhymers N.W.A. -- comprised of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E, among others -- pushed gangsta rap into the national spotlight by releasing classics albums like 'Straight Outta Compton.'

The other nominees include Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, Lou Reed, Sting, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, the Spinners, Stevie Ray Vaughan and War.

In order to be nominated, a musical act had to have released its first recording in 1989 or earlier. And instead of just getting a panel of music execs and industry experts together, the fans will also get to have their say in the matter starting today (Oct. 9) by logging on to Rolling Stone's website or RockHall.com to cast their vote. The fan vote will likely be tallied along with other votes from the music industry and special commitrees.

Voting ends on Dec. 9 and the 2015 inductee class will also be announced that month followed by the induction ceremony in April 2015.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was the first hip-hop act to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Run-DMC followed in 2009, then the Beastie Boys in 2012. Public Enemy was also inducted in 2013.

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