The official announcement won’t come until Wednesday, but as we hinted at here, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Dr. John and Darlene Love will be the 2011 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The New York Times is reporting that Leon Russell will also be inducted with the award for musical excellence (this used to be called the sideman award). What a great year Russell is having between this and his great album with Elton John, “The Union.”

Love had been nominated two times before, but the rest of her class made it on their first ballot.

Acts on this year’s ballot who will have to come back again are Donna Summer, Chic, LL Cool J, J. Geils Band, the Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi, Donovan, Laura Nyro, Joe Tex and Chuck Willis.

So did the Rock Hall get it right?  Yes, for the most part.   While there’s not really any kind of chronological order to the induction process — artists are eligible 25 years after their first release comes out — it only seems fair that someone like Darlene Love, who has been making records for around 20 years longer than, say, the Beastie Boys, goes in before they do. Plus, some of this year’s nominees, as great artists as they may be, feel a little bit like a stretch. I may be the only person who would fight to the death Bon Jovi’s right to go in over J. Geils Band, but I am prepared to do so.

Dr. John should be inducted for his musical contributions, but also as his historical link between those who came before him, like Professor Longhair, and modern day, but we would have liked to have seen Nyro go in first.  She is one of the most revered songwriters in pop history (and with that, we’re not real sure why she’s being pushed as an artist, which she indeniably was, instead of as a songwriter).

With the slight exception of Love, these inductees run a pretty narrow spectrum of rock, so, in that way, as the NY Times suggests, voters played it safe this year....if you can call the grand spectacle of Cooper playing it safe.

The induction ceremony will take place March 14 in New York.

What do you think of this year's inductees?  Share your thoughts below.