The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an institution that recognizes artists for their contribution and influence on rock and roll and its many related genres. The honor is held in high esteem by everyone in the industry as one of the few markers to actually identify musical legends. Nonetheless, the Hall of Fame is not without flaws or controversy. Over the almost 30 years of its existence, there has been plenty of drama, which is to be expected when you’re dealing with something as intensely subjective as music. Pretty much all of the controversy stems from the acts being inducted, and the ones blatantly not being inducted. I made a list last year of 50 acts I considered to be “snubs,” and, conveniently, several of those acts (Chic, Deep Purple, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Yes, and The Zombies, to be specific) actually showed up on the ballot for 2014! Seeing as we’re still not sure which acts are being inducted for next year yet, I left all of the current nominees off the list; I’d assume many of them will be rejoining shortly. Regardless, I expanded to a more thought-out, complete list broken out into 3 categories based their current standing with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There are many legendary, iconic, and influential artists out there whom the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is seemingly intentionally ignoring. Every year, about only 5 acts are inducted, but about 15 are usually nominated. The acts below have yet to appear anywhere to date, despite being eligible, many of whom for quite some time. Whether it boils down to political reasons, personal gripes, biased genre hated, or even just complete oversights, there are more than a few musicians whom are worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame that are being completely denied the credit and acknowledgement they truly deserve.
For a group to be this “out there” and still be taken seriously really speaks volume to their worth. The B-52s are so much more than just a “party band,” they are actual legends. No matter how bizarre, their songs are ingeniously crafted anthems dazzling with sweet guitar riffs and an enviable vocal juxtaposition of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s tag team belts with Fred Schneider’s iconic sing-talking. There’s no reason why The B-52s have yet to even be nominated by this point.
There are very few bands as important to a genre as Black Flag is to hardcore punk. Many historians will even credit them with inventing it. Their legacy and influence is undeniable, even to the point where their iconic logo is recognizable to those unfamiliar with the band’s music. The reasons they are blatantly being snubbed are completely unfounded and it’s about time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame grew a pair and let Black Flag in, because they absolutely deserve it.
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT
I can almost understand why there’s been an oversight with Blue Öyster Cult, but it isn’t an excuse. I think most people forgot just how great this band was and how many big songs they’ve had. The group managed to capture the spark of hard rock, while still keeping a balance of commercial appeal with hits like “Godzilla,” “Burnin’ For You,” and, of course, “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” They definitely have a place in the Hall of Fame.
Kate Bush is an irrefutable legend. Pretty much every female rock artist has been extensively compared to her at some point, and there’s no denying how awe-struck critics have been by her catalog. Kate refused to play by the rules with her music, and her elusiveness helped sculpt an enigmatic persona that fueled her appeal even further. There is absolutely no reason why she’s yet to even be nominated, and we can only hope she’ll show up on the ballot sooner than later. She’s an icon.
This is not a duo to dismiss right off the bat. I understand that The Carpenters and their “cheesy” ballads are the butts of many a joke, but let’s not discount their talent and importance. They made beautiful, candy coated pop tunes that were as pure and soulful as anything great the 70s had to offer. Additionally, Karen Carpenter’s unwavering voice remains and influence to many singers to this day. I think the fact that they’ve been overlooked isn’t saving anyone’s face. They’re guiltless.
I consider Cheap Trick to be a snub simply because they’re exactly the kind of band the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame goes for. Many, if not most, rock artists of the 80s and beyond cite the group as a major influence thanks to their pop-infused hard rock gems like “I Want You To Want Me” and “Surrender.” They also have had plenty of critical backing over the years to give them that added boost. Their absence from the Hall is certainly a bit confusing.
Chicago’s nonexistence in the Hall is a genuine shocker because I’m not sure anyone can come up with a reason why they should be ignored. The band holds the same standing status as a good majority of the inductees, with a recognizable catalog, massive fanbase, and critical backing, Yet, somehow, Chicago hasn’t even been nominated yet! I feel good that they’ll get in eventually, but they are completely being snubbed, and have been for quite some time. C’mon now!
Country music’s earlier years were absolutely vital to the formation and perpetuation of rock and roll, and that’s a fact that has already been acknowledged by the Hall of Fame. So then where’s Patsy?! If they had, at minimum, passed her off as an “Early Influence,” it’d at least be SOMETHING, but she deserves to be inducted as a full-fledged performer. Her career is astoundingly important to far more than just country as we know it, she helped shape rock and roll. Let her in, already!
This one, to me, is just a real head-scratcher. What does Joe Cocker actually have going against him? The man has one of the most recognizably awesome voices in the history of rock music, is renowned for both his original tunes and his mindblowing covers, and has more than enough commercial backing to justify, at bare minimum, a nomination. His induction should have taken place years ago. Honestly, I’m not sure if this is a snub, or just a complete oversight!
This Motown act emerged in the 70s, and, therefore, isn’t usually grouped in with the legends of their peak era, but The Commodores absolutely deserve to be. They were proof that the label had staying power beyond just their vital role in the 60s soul movement. The group had an impressive run of hits that folded in sounds from the growing funk and disco scenes, but they always managed to remain true to their soul roots. The Commodores are total legends!
THE DEAD KENNEDYS
Another hardcore punk band that is completely being snubbed for the sole reason that they’re hardcore punk band is The Dead Kennedys. The group had such a range to their catalog that it’s way too criminal to overlook them. They should have been inducted a decade ago, but have yet to even see a nomination to date. You have to figure that the Hall of Fame can’t realistically hold out much longer, but stranger things have happened!
For some reason unbeknownst to me, the creator of surf rock has not been inducted into to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dick Dale crafted a genre of rock that is still being imitated today, and the guitar sound he was able to create helped inspire pretty much every major legend of the instrument. Not only has this pioneer not been inducted, he’s yet to even be nominated. How on earth this has been allowed to happen is literally beyond my comprehension.
The most famous band in the world? No, but The Dictators have been cited by numerous sources for actually inventing punk music. So Rock and Roll Hall of Fame worthy? Absolutely. Their influence is absolutely undeniable, and many artists even today still consider them an inspiration. Nonetheless, they’re still somewhat of an unconventional induction. That certainly doesn’t excuse their absence, but it does shed some light on to why they’re not in.
Most people might not realize it, but Depeche Mode are actually one of the most successful acts of all time. They’ve got a catalog so dense and outrageously varied that it’s rather difficult to even comprehend. They managed to escape from the quicksand that was being a synthpop group and grow into a proper, stadium-filling group that just so happened to incorporate synthesizers into the mix. The members of Depeche Mode are bonafide legends that deserve their recognition.
Aside from the fact that Mark Knopfler is without a doubt one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Dire Straits as a complete band fits all of the criteria of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. They had hits (in fact, they have one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Brothers In Arms,) and have found a good amount of critical acclaim along the way. Honestly, “Sultans Of Swing” alone makes them worthy of inclusion if you ask me.
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
What’s there to really say about The Doobie Brothers other than they are legitimately being snubbed. The group represents a really awesome snapshot in the history of rock and roll, and their songs seemingly transport you back to the time they were made. The Doobies touched on everything from soul to folk to rock, and made sure that their melodies were memorable and uplifting all the way through. I can’t come up with one good reason why this iconic group isn’t in the Hall yet.
Nick Drake’s short but significant career has somehow managed to be completely overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s a hero to almost anyone who’s ever picked up a guitar and written a song, and any critic with two functioning ears will cite him as important figure in the history of rock music. The fact that he hasn’t even been granted as much as a nomination in his many years of eligibility is a disgusting insult that needs to be remedied quickly.
Duran Duran is the kind of band that probably seems more cliché and contrived than they actually are simply because of how famous they were. What is there to actually hold against them, though? They made incredible pop hits that dazzled with epic melodies and sparkling guitars. Despite how definitively 80s they are, the group exemplified their depth in the 90s with fantastic hits like “Ordinary World.” They absolutely deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Another trio of key figures in the progressive rock movement, Emerson Lake & Palmer, have also suffered from the Hall of Fame’s biased distaste for the genre. The group meets all of the qualifications for induction, especially with their commercial appeal. It does seem like ELP will have a shot at making it in sooner rather than later considering they’re easing prog rock into the Hall now, but it’s still long overdue. Hopefully they’ll see a nomination next year, at the very least.
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA / JEFF LYNE
I can realistically see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame going for either ELO or Jeff Lyne (as an all-encompasing induction,) but they have yet to do so! I’m not saying that only inducting the band’s standout member is the way to go, but I think there is an argument for it. Personally, I think you’ve got to give up for the entire Electric Light Orchestra. Nonetheless, it’s nothing but crickets from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on this matter, and that’s a particular head-scratcher.
In many ways, the Eurythmics are an unparalleled musical duo. Between Annie Lennox’s astounding vocal abilities and Dave Stewart’s intense all-around musicianship, the pair took new wave to its artistic peak and back. Their songs are brilliantly multi-layered, walking the tightrope between frailty and intensity, all the while embodying a soulful pop sensibility that many still try to imitate to this day. Why the Eurythmics have yet to even be nominated is a complete mystery to me.
Connie Francis has been eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame longer than the entirety of some acts’ careers that are already in. How this has been allowed to happen is an actual crime against music. Connie Francis is the female pop icon that predated all female pop icons, many of whom have been inducted already! Her career is unanimously considered to be important in the formation of both rock and pop, and, yet, she’s been disgustingly snubbed!
Very few bands have the kind of enormous and loyal fanbase that Iron Maiden does. Rush’s legion of diehards successfully got them in, and KISS’s supporters are currently working on it, but it seemingly hasn’t caught on with the Maiden fans yet. The band created their own subculture of metal that only exists to those willing to venture in, but it’s managed to spread into the mainstream enough to create a solid argument in their favor. They deserve this recognition.
Australian rockers INXS saw massive amounts of international fame in the 80s with hits like “Need You Tonight” and “New Sensation,” but they managed to maintain their cool, “rock star” image all the way through. Not only were they good at crafting interesting, catchy tunes, but they knew how to remain alternative enough to please just about everyone. They were a band that didn’t shy away from having a “big” sound in every way imaginable, and their influence is identifiable.
Don’t be dismissive about this one. Janet Jackson has a career that actually helped revolutionize hip hop and R&B. Albums like Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and janet. were landmarks for the genre. She wasn’t just a manufactured pop star that sat back and let the hits happen to her; she went out there and got them. If you can make an argument for most of the pop acts that have already been inducted, the same applies to Janet (Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty.)
I’m not sure if anyone’s been able to give a proper excuse as to why The Jam are being snubbed. Realistically, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is so American-centric that the group has probably just gotten brushed aside. That’s still not even a good reason; The Jam were an important band all over the world. They were important figures of the post punk and new wave era and had plenty of hits to back up their incredible ability to craft amazing songs. They should have been in years ago.
Rick James was a lightning bolt that struck Motown just when it needed it most. Remembered for his funky, danceable hits like “Super Freak” and “Give It To Me Baby,” Rick really knew how to do it all. He was a songwriter, a performer, a musician, a producer, and just an all-around genius. His catalog is awe-strikingly good, and his talents continue to be recognized by critics to this day. His induction into the Hall of Fame is long overdue at this point.
TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS
If you actually take the time to look over the list of inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s a genuine mystery why Tommy James & The Shondells aren’t in. To take it even further, they’ve never even been NOMINATED. They had an audible influence on the development of rock and roll with epic hits like “Crimson & Clover” that helped bridge and inspire the psychedelic era. If I had to pick the top 2 or 3 most shocking snubs, these guys would be in there.
The fact that Ian Anderson actually managed to make the flute cool in the context of rock and roll is argument enough that Jethro Tull deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The only thing holding them back is (shamefully) the fact that they’re a progressive band. It seems as though those snobby and unjustified walls are crumbling down more and more every year, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that Jethro Trull has been obviously snubbed for quite some time.
JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER
You have to induct Joy Division and New Order as one act because they really are the same band with two very distinct phases, but one linear history. New Order, known for their new wave, electro-rock anthems was born out of the ashes of Joy Division, one of the most important indie bands of the post punk generation, following the death of lead singer Ian Curtis. Both acts deserve induction in their own right, but this is the proper way to do it.
Yes, King Crimson is very much a “music enthusiast” kind of band, but they almost completely invented progressive rock. It’s a fact that builds a strong argument in their favor, but also holds them back. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has notoriously written off all things “progressive,” until just a few years ago. Hopefully that means that King Crimson is on the cusp of (at minimum) a nomination, but it still won’t excuse the painstaking delay.
KOOL & THE GANG
In a general sense, Kool & The Gang rarely get the proper attention they deserve. The band not only has an impressive cannon of hits, but the music, itself, is really exceptional. The group has covered every genre from jazz to soul to rock to (especially) funk, and has earned themselves plenty of attention and acclaim along the way. They’ve been eligible for 20 years at this point, and have yet to even see their name on the ballot. This is an oversight that just shouldn’t happen.
At large , Little Feat is a far too under-championed band. I would be completely floored if I ever saw them on the ballot for Hall of Fame induction, but I’m not going to give up hope. The group’s funky, Southern-infused, jam band-style sound has earned them acknowledgement from a loyal fanbase and music enthusiasts over the years. It just doesn’t seem likely that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will ever pick up on the fact that they’re leaving them out for no good reason.
Meatloaf is a “love him or loath him” figure, but I think we can all agree that he’s compelling. Isn’t that what rock and roll is all about, anyway? Driven by his outstanding vocal chops, his songs are bonafide rock opera epics that leave us exhausted with each conclusion. He’s really covered all of the bases. Meatloaf is a renowned live performer with plenty of hits to stand on, but most importantly, he gave us Bat Out Of Hell, one of rock’s undisputed classic albums.
THE MOODY BLUES
Out of all the British Invasion era acts, The Moody Blues tend to stick out as “the oddball,” which is a bit of a double standard considering how unique all of these acts actually were. The reality is that critics have just been writing them off for no apparent reason. They were the progressive rock band that existed before progressive rock, and are often ignored by the powers that be at the Hall of Fame. The Moody Blues meet every criteria possible for induction, and are still being snubbed to this day.
I am happy to provide a counter to any argument you want to throw out there against The Monkees. The truth of the matter is that the group isn’t any more or less manufactured than many of the acts already inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their “brand” and “pop aspects” only qualify them that much more for induction. They made brilliant, era-defining songs, and they actually did make the music. The Monkees are so much more than what they’ve perceived to be.
THE OHIO PLAYERS
The Ohio Players are one of the few definitive acts of 70s funk and R&B that somehow have yet to be acknowledged for their incredible contributions. Much like many of their peers, the group has their own distinct sound that played a major part in this acclaimed and prolific era. There’s absolutely no reason The Ohio Players have yet to even receive a nomination, let alone a full fledged induction. They’re being snubbed for no rational, or even irrational reason!
Dolly Parton has one of the most complete careers of any celebrity out there, but her contribution to music alone is incredible. Yes, she’s a country über-star, but her work has trickled into more genres than most can even imagine. “Jolene,” itself, is often considered one of the greatest songs ever created, and (despite how implied it is, I still have to bring it up,) she was the creator of “I Will Always Love You.” Dolly is so much more than just a well-known figure, she’s an incredible all-around musician.
PETER PAUL & MARY
In a general sense, folk music has been largely ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Outside of artists credited for being an “early influence” on the genre, very few folk artists have been inducted, and practically all of them double as full-blown rock stars. Peter Paul & Mary were an act that actually carried folk music forward after rock’s cosmic inception. The trio is definitive of an era because of the major role they played in it. They absolutely deserve to be inducted.
Now, The Pixies haven’t been eligible for induction for quite as long as many of the other acts on the list, but they’re an act that deserved to be pushed through right away. They are citied by pretty much every single band to emerge after them, including Nirvana, and the critical backing they’ve received should be more than enough to have at least granted them a nomination. Still, The Pixies have yet to appear on the ballot, and hopefully that will be remedied very soon.
Sade has been one of the most critically praised adult contemporary acts ever. Mixing together soul, jazz, rock, and folk, all dazzling with Sade Adu’s sultry, tender-yet-powerful voice laying delicately on top, the group’s body of work is flawless. Rock and roll comes in all shapes and colors, and Sade is really the entire rainbow. It may be a softer brand, but between their commercial success, critical backing, and all around impact, there’s no denying that they’re deserving Hall of Famers.
Now this isn’t as much of a stretch as it seems. Sitarist Ravi Shankar was a “rock star” through and through. He played at Monterrey Pop and Woodstock, influenced the Beatles, Stones, and many others (in other words, changed the face of rock and roll forever,) and has been championed for bringing Indian (let alone anything Eastern) music to the West. If Miles Davis gets to be inducted (as he deserves to be,) Ravi should get the same treatment.
Glam rock has many heroes, and we can all agree that Roxy Music is one of them. They tackled the movement, stylistically, in a very different way, and ended up being one of the major influences on new wave as a result. With members like the incomparable Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry and an influential catalog, the group is truly a legendary one. The argument is solid and foolproof, yet Roxy Music is still waiting to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Talk about a snub.
In the history of rock and roll, the “girl group era” was quite a noteworthy one. There was such a distinct style and expectation from these groups that really only provided an opportunity to break all the rules. Many of those particular acts have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame, but The Shangri-Las are still being left out. It’s a strange absence considering how significant they were. Hopefully the Hall of Fame will get its act together and finally put them were they deserve to be.
Who can honestly deny the legacy and importance of The Smiths? (No one.) The Manchurian quartet absolutely revolutionized indie rock in a profound and lasting way. Between Morrissey’s poetic lyrics and distinct vocal delivery and Johnny Marr’s iconic guitar, there’s something cosmic about The Smiths that people actually took notice of and continue to hold close to their hearts. There’s no argument against them, yet somehow they’re not in the Hall of Fame.
Sonic Youth are alternative rock pioneers, trailblazers, and legends. The group threw all of the rules out the window and made truly incredible music that still profoundly inspires artists today. There are very few “Indie Heroes” as legitimate and lauded as Sonic Youth are, and the critics have been in their corner pretty much the whole way. They’ve been eligible for a few years now, and I’d assume they’ll show up on the ballot eventually, but they should already be in the Hall of Fame.
Sitting brilliantly between ska and punk, The Specials captured all of the fun and energy that rock had to offer. Tracks like “Ghost Town” and “A Message To Rudy” were masterfully nuanced with authoritative horns, laid back keys, and walls of group vocals. They’ve had an incredible influence on many different acts from various genres and have deserved their Hall of Fame acknowledgement for quite some time now. There’s no reason they’ve been this ignored for so long.
Steppenwolf was one of the formative acts for psychedelic rock, and influenced everything from metal to pop with classics like “Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride.” Their impact is sometimes overshadowed by some artists and bands with a little more staying power, but it’s impossible to completely write them off. Steppenwolf is another one of those “period piece” bands, but there’s no denying how much they did for rock and roll even in just their first few years.
Glam was a rebellious movement all about extravagance and making the music tastefully “big,” and T. Rex was really the genre’s trophy act. They’ve helped influence everyone from David Bowie to Oasis, have several commercial successes to stand on, and are even cited by critics as a talented, landmark act. It’s just criminal to leave them out of the Hall of Fame considering how much they really shaped a significant sub-genre of rock.
Why Thin Lizzy has been completely overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a complete mystery to me. The Irish rockers have long been considered major influences by bands that followed in their footsteps, and lead singer/bassist Phil Lynott is one of the greatest frontmen in rock history, but they are continuously ignored. Thin Lizzy revolutionized the two-guitar technique and trail-blazed a path for metal, so I find it hard to fathom why they continue to be snubbed.
STEVIE RAY VAUGHN
How can one of the most praised, acclaimed, and noteworthy guitarists of all time not be in the Hall of Fame? Sticking mostly with a rocking blues sound, he was much less a pop star than a proper musician who just went out there and played. There are plenty of inductees who weren’t exactly top 40-centric, so why exactly is Stevie being overlooked? Without even so much as a nomination, I consider this one of the most unreasonable snubs out there.
Barry White produced an entirely different breed (pun intended) of baby-making music with his soulful disco anthems. Known for his deep voice, elaborate arrangements, and catchy melodies, he really was one of the few artists to bring credibility to the genre. He had an incredible career and really made an impact as big as many of the soul stars who have already been inducted. It’s about time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame paid Mr. White some much deserved attention and respect.
Outside of the fact that Warren Zevon is an artist deserving of induction, he’s someone that I’m surprised the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has actually ignored. This singer-songwriter is the kind of artist they tend to focus on, and paired with his catalog of hits and acclaimed works, there’s really nothing actually keeping him out. I guess the mystery will continue until Warren’s actually and finally welcomed in, but he’s a legitimate snub in the meantime.
NOMINATED, BUT STILL NOT INDUCTED
Now don’t let this fool you. These acts make be closer to induction than the aforementioned ones, but many of them have only been nominated once or twice, never to be seen again. Even with the understanding that only a certain number of acts get in every year, the fact that these artists still haven’t been given their due is still a real travesty. You can at least feel good about Chic eventually getting in, despite being nominated 8 times, including this year, but when ab act is completely removed from the ballot, you can only call that a snub. Here’s a list of artists that still are being obviously left out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for no good reason, despite their nominations.
Yet another hip hop pioneer that was seemingly pushed to the forefront and nominated, not inducted, and forgotten about is Afrika Bambaataa. Combining sounds from soul, electronica, fuck, and rock, the MC paved the way for countless acts that followed. Between intricate samples and varied deliveries, hip hop just wouldn’t be what it became with Afrika Bambaataa, and I seriously hope that he hasn’t been passed up forever. He really deserves an induction into the Hall of Fame.
ERIC B. & RAKIM
I’m glad that hip hop is being fully embraced by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, because it deserves to be. For the most part, they’ve been getting it right. Much like they did with rock and roll’s roots, they started with the “formative” artists and worked their way through its many phases; hip hop should be the same. Now it seems like they’re starting to jump forward too fast and Eric B. & Rakim, an incredibly important force in hip hop’s early development, is left on the bench.
As far as girl groups go, The Chantels are incredibly important. They helped break down both racial and gender barriers, and made music important to the progression of rock. It has been quite some time since they’ve even been on the ballot, which is concerning. The Chantels should have been a relatively early induction, but are still waiting for their official welcome in. Considering how special of a group they are, I find that to be nothing but a complete snub.
The Cure may be known for being the catalyst/inventors (depending on who you ask) of “goth rock,” but they are so much more than that. This group is legendary in every sense imaginable, and their fanbase seemingly only gets bigger and more dedicated every year. They not only absolutely fit all of the criteria for induction, and then some, but The Cure represent a snapshot of rock’s history that was a proper turning point. Very few acts hold that honor.
J. GEILS BAND
So let’s not hold their mega-80s hit “Centerfold” against them. First of all, it’s a fantastic song, but second of all, the J. Geils Band is so much more than that. They have a long history of making great music raging from blues and soul to rock and new wave. Overall, their influence is tangible and their songs are just really good. The band has appeared on the ballot before, but have since been removed, and it doesn’t look good for their return any time soon. Hopefully I’m wrong.
If you listen to or make electronic music, you owe pretty much everything to Kraftwerk. Their career wasn’t exactly jam-packed with hits, but it was highly influential and regarded. The German group were one of the first to not only demonstrate how rock and roll didn’t have to be confined to guitars, but that it could be almost completely synthesized and still make sense. Anyone who knows what they’re talking about will tell you that Kraftwerk are incredibly important.
No one can really say that MC5 isn’t a great, iconic, and wildly important band. The group made audacious records infused with sounds from garage rock and psychedelic rock that were way ahead of their time. Not only has pretty much any rock act that followed been heavily influenced by their work, but the critics have always been in their corner. I’m sure MC5 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame eventually, but they should never have been taken off the ballot to begin with.
Where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drew there line with Motown acts is a bit suspect. All of the major players have already been inducted, but there are still a few crucial acts that still haven’t gotten their due. The Marvelettes are right at the top of that list. They were Motown’s proper answer to the “girl group” craze, even more so than The Supremes, and it’s about time their contribution wasn’t simply swept under the rug like it has been thus far.
THE NEW YORK DOLLS
The New York Dolls aren’t the most commercially successful band in the history of rock, but their influence and legacy is immense. They helped turned glam into a major artistic movement, and essentially a genre in its own right. They were trailblazers of the iconic New York scene that spawned already-inducted acts like Blondie, Talking Heads, and The Ramones, and yet somehow they’ve only received one nomination to date. They should have been rushed into the Hall of Fame years ago.
Gram Parsons did a hell of a lot for rock and roll over the course of his varied career. Outside of his influential Gram Parsons Project, he was also a member of several important groups, including The Flying Burrito Brothers, The International Submarine Band, and The Byrds, whom are already inducted (he was not included.) Parsons has appeared on a ballot or two, but he seems to have been completely forgotten about ever since. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
If “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” was the only song Procol Harum ever recorded, I’d still be arguing in favor of their induction, but the fact that the group actually had a career beyond their breathtaking opus should really speak for itself. Their music, a bluesy, soulful take on rock, is completely impressive, but often overlooked. To date, the band has only received one nomination, which is a crime in itself. They should have been in the Hall of Fame years ago.
Lou Reed is already in the Hall of Fame as a member of The Velvet Underground, but his solo career was a completely different “Rock ‘N’ Roll Animal.” His audaciously poetic masterpieces not only captivated fans and critics alike, but solidified him as a legend in his own right. I’m not sure how many artists truly get to break from a band so regarded and as important as The Velvet Underground and go on to have such a noteworthy solo career. That’s Hall of Fame-worthy if you ask me.
RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN
Rufus & Chaka Khan are absolutely legends of funk and soul. They have a catalog full of highly acclaimed hits that still get people excited today. In addition to the group’s incredible musicianship, Chaka Khan is a one of the most powerful frontwomen in the history of rock, and, despite how popular and well known she is, she rarely gets her proper due. They’ve only received one nomination to date, and didn’t even make it in. I find that to be a tragedy.
Considering there’s absolutely nothing to hold The Spinners back from induction, you have to call this one a major snub. The vocal group were bonafide superstars of soul and funk throughout the 60s and 70s. They’ve got tons of hits in their catalog, many of which are iconic staples of the genre. They’ve only ever appeared on the ballot once, and didn’t even make it in. I can’t imagine The Spinners being held off for too long, but their induction is already long overdue.
This is another snub that is really beyond all comprehension and reason. Pretty much all of Joe Tex’s peers have long since been inducted, and yet he can’t seem to make it past the nomination. His work has influenced everything from R&B to funk to hip hop, and he has been acknowledged as both a legend and an icon of an era that really shaped rock and roll as we know it today. He should have been welcomed into the Hall of Fame years ago, yet we’re still waiting.
It seems that every funk act has their own distinctive brand of the genre, and while acts like James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic have been welcomed in with open arms, War doesn’t seem to be able to garner the same respect. The group was funk rock at its most diverse, folding in elements of jazz, latin, reggae, and R&B to their sound. For some reason the group just hasn’t gotten their full due. War should have been inducted years ago, but now we can only hope for induction, period!
Mary Wells is another artist that fell victim to the Hall’s “Motown cap.” While everyone you’d expect is, of course, already inducted, there are still a few very deserving acts from this iconic label that haven’t been granted their due. Mary Wells was an important player in the history of Motown, especially with hits like “My Guy,” and has somehow never made it past the nomination phase. Hopefully she’ll, at least, be put back on sooner than later.
Chuck Willis is an artist associated with rock and roll’s formative years. Almost every other major artist of that time has already been inducted (most of them very early on,) and Chuck hasn’t even appeared on the ballot in years. It’s a real tragedy. His influence and contributions are completely undeniable, so his absence from the Hall of Fame can be described as nothing but a snub, and a major one at that. Hopefully they’ll remedy this error very soon.
Steve Winwood is another artist that’s already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in this case as a member of Traffic, but deserves a second induction. Winwood’s tenure in Traffic was only a fraction of a career that was absolutely vital to rock music. Outside of his incredible solo material, he also featured in acts like Blind Faith and the Spencer Davis Group, and his overall contribution deserves to be singled out and highlighted, and has for quite some time now.
In addition to complete acts that have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there are certain backing bands and band members that are noticeably absent from already included acts. In 2012, the Hall began the process of remedying their oversights by inducting six backing bands that weren’t inducted alongside their leaders: The Blue Caps (Gene Vincent,) The Comets (Bill Haley,) The Crickets (Buddy Holly,) The Famous Flames (James Brown,) The Midnighters (Hank Ballard,) and The Miracles (Smokey Robinson.) Whether or not this is going to be a routine practice has yet to be seen (there wasn’t a second round in 2013,) but there are still a few that need be added in to make things right.
I think that inducting Dion as a solo artist was the right way to go, but they can’t discard his era with The Belmonts and the other musicians who played a part in it. In the same way that the six backing bands were supplementally inducted in 2012, The Belmonts absolutely need to be given that same honor. In fact, I’m shocked they weren’t included on the list. They were one of doo wop’s most important acts.
BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY
Similarly, they had to induct Janis Joplin as a solo artist, but some of her most important and legendary work was created as lead vocalist of Big Brother & The Holding Company. I’m not sure it’s worth inducting them as entirely new act, but it would certainly be fair to include them as a pseudo-backing band (even though they weren’t.) Regardless, the whole group of talented musicians deserves to be recognized by the Hall of Fame.
THE E-STREET BAND
This is another supplemental induction that NEEDS to happen fast. Bruce Springsteen may be the mastermind and the bandleader, but everyone knows The E-Street Band and it’s many talented members. They may just be the most famous backing band of all time, and these guys have been praised and recognized countless times for their musicianship and energy. Springsteen isn’t the Springsteen we know him to be without The E-Street Band, and they deserve to be inducted.
This induction was never in the cards until the Hall of Fame began inducting backing bands. Prince’s career was so vast and multifaceted, that his Revolution-era is honestly just a snapshot in time, but it’s easily his most famous one. Not to mention, The Revolution is the best collection of musicians he’s managed to assemble to date. Artists like Wendy & Lisa and Dr. Fink were responsible for his Purple Rain-sound and success, and that, alone, deserves induction.
PATTI SMITH GROUP
Yes, Patti Smith’s career goes beyond her time with the Patti Smith Group, but give these guys their due. It’d be like inducting Jimi Hendrix without the full Experience or Alice Cooper without the rest of the band; it just wouldn’t be right. They should have been on the ballot with her originally, but it’s not too late to remedy that mistake. I’m not asking for a complete new induction as a separate act, but just make sure the other members find their way into the Hall.
I’m not sure how they should go about this one, because Tammi Terrell wasn’t exactly a “sidewoman,” and she didn’t have much of noteworthy solo career, but she, without a doubt, belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her many collaborations with Marvin Gaye are amongst Motown’s greatest moments, and had she not passed away so young, who knows where her career would have gone. I’m not sure exactly where it is, but Ms. Terrell deserves an induction, and soon.
This is one mistake that should have never happened to begin with. Bob Marley is a genius and an icon; he was always going to be included into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but what about The Wailers?! They were alongside him the whole way, but were strangely left out of the equation when it came to being inducted. To further the snub, when a list of six supplemental backing band inductions were announced in 2012, The Wailers weren’t one of them. HELLO?!
We all know the Rumours Fleetwood Mac lineup , and it’s safe to say that most are familiar with the Peter Green lineup, but there was an era that bridged the two that has been criminally completely overlooked! On the long list of “Fleetwood Mac” inductees, Bob Welch’s name was noticeably absent, but for what reason? He was a crucial player in the band’s legacy, and it’s about time they inducted him as a member for his contribution.
If you can justify Paul McCartney’s solo induction into the Hall of Fame, you really have to go as far as inducting Wings. Yes, Macca is a fantastic musician with many post-Beatles hits, but unlike Lennon and Harrison (both of whom have been inducted as solo artists,) there was a backing band involved for, at very least, his most noteworthy work. I think they need to be supplementally inducted to balance out Sir Paul’s own.