It’s that time of year again, folks: The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame nominees are officially in. True to form, the shortlist is a mixed bag of regurgitation and fresh faces, but an impressive one nonetheless. A whopping TWELVE of the 19 nominees have featured on HUH’s Hall of Fame Snubs lists (2016, 2015, etc.;) this is the first year of eligibility for two of the nominees. All in all, this is one of the most cut-throat ballots they’ve ever put out. There’s a clear embrace of genres the Hall of Fame has been criticized for ignoring (new wave, hip hop, progressive, metal etc.,) but they’ve left us with a great deal of overlap that’s no doubt going to play out interestingly when the inductees are announced.
After a seven year absence, the quintessential stadium anthem generators of the 1980s are once again back on the ballot. It’s not entirely uncommon for artists of this popularity but mixed critical backing to make sporadic appearances on the shortlist, but what’s different for Bon Jovi this go around is the fan vote, which could very easily cement their induction. They’re not the most deserving nominee, but they’d be good for ratings and induction ceremony sing-alongs; they’d be the Journey of 2018.
Hallelujah! That about sums up Kate Bush’s painfully overdue first nomination for Hall of Fame induction. She has long been considered one of the most glaring omissions by critics and enthusiasts the world over, especially for an organization often criticized for their lack of female membership. With, generally, a better showing for women on the ballot than ever before, there’s no guarantee she’ll be this year’s “token,” but hopefully this is the year the hall realizes more than one woman can be inducted at a time.
With their third nomination in a row, it’s clear that the Hall of Fame has an intention of getting these new wave icons inducted; it’s a shame they keep stacking the odds against them. Sure, The Cars aren’t an immediate no-brainer, but the longer they continue to be nominated, the more their inability to make their way in feels like a snub. Their hit-making ability was a catalyst in bringing new wave into public consciousness, but it’s not likely that’s going to be enough rationale to get them in just quite yet.
The Hall of Fame’s relationship with British new wave has been a giant tease over the last few years, with a wide range of artists from The Smiths to The Cure seeing unsuccessful nods. This year, Depeche Mode sees a deserving back-to-back ballot presence that hopefully indicates a serious consideration and it’s not simply a bone being thrown to the era’s passionate champions. Seeing as they’re in the process of selling out stadiums all over the world, the competition might not be as stiff as it seems.
It’s unfathomable that this is Dire Straits’ first nomination, but here they are! With a resume qualifying them for their rightful place in rock and roll history, guitar god Mark Knopfler and company should have been been serious contenders a decade ago, but alas 2018 could be their year. The ballot this year is one of the most competitive the Hall of Fame’s ever compiled, but if their fans come out in droves, they could be shoe-ins.
After a decade of eligibility, Dave and Annie are finally getting a shot at cementing a legacy that doesn’t otherwise need further cementing. Whether or not Eurythmics deserve to be inducted or not is far more controversial than it should be (which is not at all,) but seeing as their dynamic catalog of iconic hits is aging as gracefully as the artists themselves, it would be remiss to leave them out of this year’s induction ceremony.
J. GEILS BAND
With their whopping fifth nomination, this could actually be J. Geils Band’s time; it would be particularly fitting as their namesake lead guitarist passed away earlier this year. Each nod makes clear a sincere intention to get them in, but then again look what happened to Chic (RIP.) Unfortunately, their popularity consists of two uncharacteristic hits that don’t begin to exemplify their worthiness for induction, and that could be the difference yet again.
With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame continuing to slowly answer the call of metal fans, we find Judas Priest on this year’s ballot. They’re a more than reasonable nomination, and their induction, while certainly delayed, would fit them into a fair lineage of importance, a rare feat for the organization. However, if their fans don’t make their presence seriously known, it would be a safe bet that this isn’t going to be their year. The competition they have is just a little too fierce even for the band’s own inherent ferocity.
LL COOL J
Maybe the Hall of Fame feels they did hip hop a favor with Tupac’s speedy induction last year, but the genre’s lone nominee this year is none other than LL Cool J on his 4th go-around. While he’s easily one of the biggest current snubs, it’s too hard to decipher if this nomination is to be taken seriously, or if he’s just a token to save face. With acts like A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan recently eligible, someone’s clearly in his corner. Conversely, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could just be bored with hip hop already.
Their first of three nominations came fifteen years ago, but with back-to-back considerations, the politically-charged MC5 actually might get their due. After all, their age-old anti-establishment vigor is once again in vogue, so their portion of the induction ceremony would certainly cater to that ratings draw. Unfortunately, they’re in the lower tiers of recognizability on this year’s shortlist so it remains unlikely that they are going to have a fighting chance with the fan vote, but I would consider them a dark horse.
The Meters are quickly transitioning from reoccurring cast member to mainstay on the ballot. While the band is only widely known for a couple of songs, their influence, particularly on funk into hip hop, certainly makes them worthy of earning a spot in the Hall of Fame. They’re definitely not going to get in by any popularity contest, but if the powers that be truly have a grasp on the importance of their musicianship, they’ll not continue to stack the odds so high against them every time they get a nod.
THE MOODY BLUES
It’s about damn time. It honestly could be left there, but the Moody Blues deserve better. In fact, they’ve deserved better for almost 30 years. That, of course, is how long it’s taken them to actually a single nomination. The Hall of Fame’s timid embrace of progressive rock in recent years doesn’t quite erase our memories about their decades of rejection, but putting in the corrections help. Seeing as the Moody Blues are one of the quintessential originals, you would have to assume they’d usher them right on in (right?)
The first year nominee everyone saw coming, Radiohead, should be an obvious shoe-in for induction… and they more than deserve it. There’s no band that’s been this consistently critically adored for the last 25 years, especially that’s still successful today. If 90s alternative icons Nirvana, Green Day, and Pearl Jam get to be swept in, Radiohead, easily the critical frontrunners of the pack, should be a no-brainer. However, they wouldn’t bring in the same kind of ratings, so there’s a tiny bit of skepticism there.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Another obvious first year nominee everyone saw coming, Rage Against The Machine sits somewhere in the middle between “right now” and “not yet.” It’s not often that the Hall of Fame moves two newbies in immediately, and Rage and Radiohead don’t have quite the same general appeal as Pearl Jam and Tupac did last year. However, if they were looking for some timeliness to lock in some ratings and headlines, they would be the better bet over MC5. If not now, it will certainly be very, very soon.
RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN
This is an incredible, but uncharacteristic adjustment. Rufus has seen one nomination, but the past two years have been whittled down to their famous front-woman as a solo act. But alas the proper nominee is back on the ballot! Of all the (disturbingly few) funk and soul nominees, these guys are the clear front-runners, and unless they decide to overlook the entire genre, they are most likely going to be welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, and deservingly so.
Sometimes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame comes up with a nominee that gives hope to the world that they actually can get it right. Nina Simone is the kind of artist that deserves every recognition under the sun, but it seemed all too unlikely they were ever going to pick up on it. Last year’s critically panned biopic brought her back into public consciousness, and this kind of tribute could provide a more positive honor to her legacy. Her induction would be a statement, and the Hall of Fame loves to make them.
SISTER ROSETTA THARPE
She was technically eligible for induction before most inducted artists even began their careers, but 55 years later, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Godmother of Rock and Roll, has received her first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. She is clearly someone who deserves this recognition, more realistically as an Early Influence, but you have to admit it does seem a little silly that the vast majority of her career took place before the members of Radiohead were even born. Could she get in, though? Honestly, sure.
After a near 30-year wait for his first nomination, it seems that influential guitarist Link Wray is back in the mix. His name may not have survived the sands of time as well as some of his peers, but to fellow musicians, he’s a god. Tracks like “Rumble” were sonically years ahead of their time, and even today capture the same energy and vigor as they did sixty (yes, 60) years ago. Realistically, he’s got a good a shot as any this year.
The Zombies are one of the last major British Invasion acts to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. While their career didn’t survive as well as, say, The Beatles, their hits were monumental landmarks introducing elements of jazz and psychedelica into the then-pubescent genre knows as rock and roll. This is their third showing as a shortlisted act, and yet again, they’re sitting in the middle of the pack. They’re not obscure, nor are they a household name, but it’s as possible as ever they’ll be this year’s darkhorse.
WHO SHOULD BE INDUCTED?
This was painfully difficult to narrow down…
THE MOODY BLUES
RUFUS FT. CHAKA KHAN
WHO WILL BE INDUCTED?
…this, sadly, was not.
THE MOODY BLUES
RUFUS FT. CHAKA KHAN