The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Nominees are out! [See The Rundown Here] With a little time to let the ballot sink in, as always, it’s impossible not to take notice of the names continuously left out. This year, The Hall of Fame is taking some serious steps to fix some egregious errors and plug some gaping holes, but their insistence on demonstrating “variety” (note the quotes) and boosting ratings with rushing in newly eligible acts, they’re not leaving nearly enough room. Of this year’s 19 nominees, a whopping 9 were featured on last year’s Snubs list, and an additional 3 have appeared on previous lists but were left out due to their nomination for induction this year. That’s not bad considering just how much work they need to do. This years nominees are: Joan Baez*, Bad Brains, The Cars, Chic*, Depeche Mode*, ELO*, The J. Geils Band*, Janet Jackson*, Jane’s Addiction, Journey, Chaka Khan, Kraftwerk*, MC5*, Pearl Jam**, Tupac Shakur**, Steppenwolf*, Joe Tex*, Yes*, and The Zombies*. The sheer math of the situation leaves us no choice but to resign to the fact that many of these names will likely be put right back on the snubs list next year, but it’s anyone’s guess as to which ones.
In years past, I’ve exposed the scope of the Hall of Fame’s black hole of deserving acts by listing over 100 acts deemed “snubs.” This year, in the essence of highlighting the organization’s exclusivity, I’ve narrowed it down to the 50 biggest snubs. This list could easily be doubled (if not tripled.)
NOTE: The nominees are intentionally left off the Snubs list as to not conflict with a potential pending induction.
* Previously featured on HUH’s The Most Inexcusable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs list
** First year of eligibility
ERIC B & RAKIM
An act like Eric B and Rakim should have been inducted long go, but unless the Hall of Fame decides to (gasp) induct two hip hop artists in one year, this very important duo is likely to remain sidelined for a while, if not forever.
Sure, The B-52s have cranked out some of the greatest party anthems to ever exist, but their unique sound and creative approach to crafting a song has more than earned them a slot in the Hall of Fame. They have still yet to be nominated.
Both hip hop and funk owe a debt of gratitude to Afrika Bambaataa. His lone nomination came right around his time of eligibility, showcasing the Hall of Fame’s feigned prioritizing of hip hop artists; he’s yet to appear on a ballot since.
BLUE ÖYSTER CULT
I have a feeling that this increasingly open minded selection committee will eventually put the deserving BÖC on the ballot in the near-ish future, but it’s an absolute wonder why they’ve yet to be considered by this point.
When it comes to pure artistry, few can reach Kate Bush-level. Her genius mind has produced some of the most compelling works in music history, and yet the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has yet to acknowledge her existence.
Joe Cocker easily has one of the greatest and most recognizable voices in rock history. Why does it matter if he spent much of his career crafting some of the greatest covers ever? Linda Ronstadt got in, didn’t she?
According to the Hall of Fame, Motown ceased to exist after the Jackson 5, which is a real shame considering deserving acts like The Commodores aren’t getting their duo. This classic group more than meets the qualifications to get in.
It was a miracle when The Cure received their, to-date, lone nomination five years ago, but seeing as the Hall of Fame is doing little more than acknowledging this era of rock history’s existence, they’re probably benched for a bit.
Def Leppard are one of those acts in a limbo phase between snub or non-snub, but by this point, it’s likely the former. They’re really first act of this era that deserves to be inducted, and it’s probably not all that far off, in all honesty.
Mark Knopfler and Co. have everything going for them: one of the biggest selling albums ever, plenty of hits, critical backing, and a legendary guitar god on their roster to boot. Somehow, Dire Straits is still being passed over.
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
It’s particularly hard to come up with the case against The Doobie Brothers. This is exactly the kind of “safe,” era-defining act The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tends to go for without question, but they haven’t even been nominated.
With 90s rock seemingly the new black of the Hall of Fame, an act like Eurythmics feels more like a snub than ever. Not only is Dave Stewart a musical genius and Annie Lennox a virtuoso, but their catalog really speaks for itself.
This is easily the longest-running snub in history, and it’s quite a doozy. Connie Francis has been eligible since the Hall’s inception, and while she should have been the first or second woman inducted, she’s yet to be nominated.
Hüsker Dü is another one of those acts that has recently transitioned into “major snub” category. It’s just downright wrong that 90s alt rock is taking center stage and one of the genre’s biggest influences haven’t gotten in first.
I would venture a guess that if Iron Maiden was ever put on a ballot, they’d be rushed in by force at the hands of their loyal fanbase. These guys created a whole subculture to go along with their music, and that’s a powerful thing.
Recognized as a leader in transitioning Motown into a new generation, Rick James fearlessly blurred the lines between funk, rock, and soul in one of the most audacious manners in rock history. He’s an all-around legend.
TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS
Few snubs feel quite as puzzling as Tommy James & The Shondells does. They have directly influenced and been covered by several already-inducted acts, and don’t really have anything in the “cons” column to hold them back.
Jethro Tull is nothing more than a victim of the Hall of Fame’s bias against progressive rock. The tides are turning at a snail’s pace, but they are turning nonetheless. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on a ballot within the next few years.
JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER
There is no doubt these two groups with one linage both belong in the Hall of Fame as one act. Joy Division’s legendary cult status continues to resonate, while New Order’s contribution to the artistic development of synthpop and indie rock is unparalleled.
These forefathers of progressive rock are being kept out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the exact reasons they deserve to be inducted. Unfortunately, these guys are most likely going to be excluded for quite some time, if not forever.
LL COOL J
There was a lot of momentum for LL Cool J in the years following his eligibility, but he been has since been all but forgotten about. With a pending wave of younger hip hop acts on their way to speedy induction, his odds aren’t looking good.
The Marvelettes are one of the last hey-day Motown acts yet to be inducted. With two nominations in the last 5 years, it’s clear they’re picking up momentum, but that’s not saying much considering they’ve been eligible for 30.
Love him or hate him, Meat Loaf’s powerhouse vocals and theatrical arrangements remain one of rock’s most unique fixtures. Outside of taste, there isn’t much of an argument against him. He’d be a particularly buzzworthy nominee.
These funk legends have fallen victim to the much bigger names with whom they’ve had to share a ballot. The group has picked up three nods (albeit with a 16 year gap in between their first two,) yet they never seem to be a priority.
THE MOODY BLUES
The Moody Blues are trailblazers. Not only is the group is one of prog rock’s most significant founders, but with the acclaim and commercial success on their resume, you’d think they’d be a shoe-in. I’d consider them one of the biggest snubs.
NEW YORK DOLLS
While the ever-intriguing New York Dolls have been nominated (once, 15 years ago,) it’s clear the Hall of Fame has not made this very important group a priority. The acts they’ve directly influenced seem to be the real focal point.
This prolific singer-songwriter has a catalog that holds up against many of his long-since-inducted-peers. Harry Nilsson’s absence, even just on the ballot, is nothing short of a glaring omission every year they roll it out.
NINE INCH NAILS
Even despite being eligible for only 3 years, you absolutely have to consider Nine Inch Nails a snub. With so many 90s-centric acts being rushed in, you’d think they would have been a no-brainer on their first or second nod.
Gram Parsons had a streak of nomination-momentum in the early 2000s, but it’s been over a decade since he’s been on the ballot. His career is far too varied and noteworthy to pass over for good, but it’s not looking like it’s happening any time soon.
PETER PAUL & MARY
Most true folk acts have been inducted as an Early Influence, but Peter Paul and Mary is a different animal. They were performing in the same spheres as rock icons promoting the same themes of change and justice. This is where they belong.
It’s safe to classify Pixies as major snub at this point. With the Hall’s recently exposed love affair with 90s alt rock, it’s disheartening that the group that practically invented the sound isn’t being considered.
Could it be that Procol Harum is considered one of the forefathers of prog rock that’s keeping them out? Ding, ding, ding! A pity nomination a few years back did little to convince us the Hall’s not feeling progressive on all fronts.
CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS
Take Cliff Richard, an iconic performer, and The Shadows, one of instrumental rock’s biggest names, and you have yourself a no-brainer induction, right? Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is just a little too America-centric.
Roxy Music sits right at the top of the glam rock food chain. With legendary artists on their roster and plenty of acclaim and commercial success, there’s no real reason they haven’t seen as much as a nomination by this point.
RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN
With Chaka Khan’s second consecutive solo nomination, there’s not much good to tell the rest of Rufus. While the group was previously nominated, they’ve seemingly been whittled down to just their famous frontwoman for good.
As far more of a musician’s musician than a rock god, it’s understandable that Todd Rundgren hasn’t been pushed to the forefront. However, far too much time has gone by without so much as a nomination to recognize his contributions.
Sade may not seem like a conventional choice at first, but they’re one of the most deserving acts to earn this acknowledgement. The group’s smooth fusion of jazz, soul, and rock is truly unique and has earned them copious amounts of success.
The girl group era is one of the more noteworthy facets of rock and roll history, yet one of its major players, The Shangri-Las, is confusingly absent. There isn’t much that would put their already-inducted peers this far ahead of them.
The Smiths are widely considered one of the most important bands to ever come out of England. If you’re going off history, it’s a wonder they’ve received a nomination at all (let alone 2,) and it would be a shame if they fall back into oblivion.
The Spinners not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is criminal. These soul legends have a hoard of classic hits to their name and plenty of critical backing. How so many of their peers have been recognized and they haven’t is puzzling.
This is another prime example of the Hall of Fame failing to embrace an entire genre/movement in rock history. T. Rex is one of glam rock’s true heroes, and their absence, along with many of their peers, is more than obvious.
Across the board, Thin Lizzy is one of the most criminally underrated acts in all of rock history. Metal, as we know it, wouldn’t exist with the groundwork they laid out. Their catalog really speaks for itself.
TOOTS & THE MAYTALS
Reggae isn’t well represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Alongside the likes of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, Toots & The Maytals has rightfully earned their spot for their unique brand of a genre so beloved by many.
War should have long since been inducted. This incredible group spent their career fuzing funk, rock, latin, soul, et. al, and building an irrefutable catalog of classics. Sadly, they’ve only seen a handful of nominations to date.
Motown’s original solo female star, Mary Wells, is one of the few major acts from the label not to be inducted. While she received back-to-back nods her first two years of eligibility, 30 years have past without another one.
There are few artists as eternally cool as Barry White. Not only do his hits, ranging from soul to funk to disco, remain mainstays on radios and dance floors, but his work as a vocalist, composer, and producer continue to garner acclaim.
When it comes to blues guitar, Johnny Winter is one of the elite. He’s not the kind of artist that gets a ton of commercial attention, but critics and musicians have always been in his corner. The Hall of Fame needs artists like him.
While Steve Winwood is already an inductee as a member of Traffic, it doesn’t really seem like enough. Seeing just how incredibly robust his resume is, if there was any artist that deserves to be inducted multiple times, it’s him.
Guitar gods are the meat and potatoes of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-dom, which does little to explain why Link Wray hasn’t been inducted. The presence of his influence has already saturated their roster, so why not give him his due?
As a singer-songwriter, Warren Zevon was one of those truly unique figures. He’s the kind of artist you’d think the Hall of Fame would love have them in their elite club, but unfortunately, it’s apparent that it’s quite the opposite.
In need of a one-stop refresher on all of these incredible acts? Look no further than The Most Inexcusable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs Playlist!