This year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees once again exemplifies a new-found desire to fix some major oversights. In fact, an impressive 12 of the 19 nominees have featured on past Snubs list (See last year’s list,) and 2 are newly eligible. Per usual, this year’s nominated acts are left out of the Snubs list: Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, The Cars, Depeche Mode, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, J. Geils Band, Judas Priest, LL Cool J, MC5, The Meters, The Moody Blues, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray, and The Zombies. This year, we’re listing not only the 50 (…ok, 60) biggest snubs, but 25 acts on the cusp of becoming snubs.
ERIC B. & RAKIM
The Hall of Fame’s relationship with hip hop has, at times, felt forced. Eric B. & Rakim are true icons of the genre’s golden age, but without being a household name or the topic of a biopic, they’ve been passed over in favor of some bigger names.
Based on the last few ballots, it does seem that the tides are turning in favor of diversity, so a cult-favorite act like The B-52s could actually be a contender sooner rather than later, but sadly they’re already long overdue.
When hip hop first came into the fold, the Hall of Fame really had the opportunity to do something right for once, and that was to follow an appropriate lineage of influence. Afrika Bambaataa’s absence shows that they’ve fluffed that up.
BLUE ÖYTSTER CULT
Sure, Blue Öyster Cult wasn’t going to be rushed into the Hall of Fame, but a reasonable amount time for even a nomination has passed. Based on recent ballots, their time certainly could be coming any year now, though.
Boy is it painful to have to put Chic back on this list. After a staggering 11 near-consecutive nominations, the Hall of Fame decided to only give Nile Rodgers an induction, but even he’ll be the first to tell you the group should have gotten the honor.
Late great country superstar Patsy Cline really expanded herself before her career was tragically cut short to catch the attention of a rock and roll-minded audience. With countless classic cuts to her name, a recognition by the Hall of Fame is overdue.
With covers-oriented artists like Linda Ronstadt and Joan Baez already inducted, it’s unfathomable that the legendary Joe Cocker is still being passed over. Most would agree that he’s one of rock’s greatest voices and interpreters of all time.
One of the last major Motown groups still to be inducted, The Commodores have strangely yet to have their name put to a vote. With a need to keep R&B-oriented acts in the mix and the sustained presence of Lionel Ritchie, the time is coming.
While The Cure has seen a lone nomination exemplifying that the Hall isn’t entirely delusional, the fact they haven’t been a sustained ballot presence, let alone an inducted act, by now keeps in step with their peers who are similarly being ignored.
If acts like Journey and (soon to be) Bon Jovi can get in, there should be no argument against Def Leppard. As far as stadium rock goes, these guys are as quintessential as it gets. Clearly, it’s just a matter of time.
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS
Looking at the last few ballots, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see The Doobie Brothers in the fold soon, but it is a bit of a head-scratcher as to why they’ve flown completely under the radar up to this point. You’d think they’d be a safe choice.
Nick Drake’s revered atmospheric folk never got the kind of recognition it deserved during his lifetime, but it continues to age beautifully. It’s certainly past the point where he should have been considered for induction.
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
With prog rock continuing to gain acceptance, it’s only a matter of time before this supergroup finds their way into the mix. With both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake passing last year, the timing would have been fitting this year.
Roberta Flack’s unique, minimalistic brand of R&B stuck out from the pack in the 1970s earning her a handful of major hits and attentional, albeit polarizing. With her catalog continuing to age well, she would be a welcomed addition to the Hall of Fame.
There may not be a more tenured major snub than Connie Francis. She was the original female pop star of rock & roll, racking up an impressive run of hits that defined her generation. 35 years later, and she’s criminally not even been nominated.
Alternative rock of the 1990s wouldn’t be what it was without the groundwork Hüsker Dü laid down, but the group is continually being passed over. With Grant Hart’s passing earlier this year, hopefully they’ll be finally be considered.
These Aussies helped define the sound of their generation with impressive run of world-wide hits. Without a doubt, INXS should have been in the mix at some point over the last couple of years, but hopefully they’ll see a nod soon.
There’s no doubt that Iron Maiden is going to find their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eventually, but it certainly seems past the point where they should have at least been considered. The fan vote would lock them in when they are.
With back-to-back nominations, the tides seemed to be turning in Janet Jackson’s favor over the past couple of years, but alas she is back on the snubs list. With one of the most impassioned fanbase rallies ever, it’s only a matter of time.
The Jam would be the perfect band to help ease English new wave into the Hall of Fame, a genre they’re being absurdly tentative to fully embrace. Their impressive run of hits are still pumping blood through punk music today.
It is long past the point where a legend like Rick James should have been considered for induction. His sparkly funk hits and laidback jams breathed new life into R&B and remain in heavy rotation. His time has got to be coming soon.
TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS
Not only were they bonafide hitmakers in the ’60s, but Tommy James & the Shondells left an influence on rock and roll that has directly influenced the induction of several current Hall of Famers. Somehow, the group has yet to receive a nomination.
It would be safe to bet that Jethro Tull will be the next progressive rock sub the Hall of Fame is going to remedy, if not based on process of elimination. It certainly wouldn’t excusing leaving them out for as long they have.
Grace Jones definitely hasn’t received the kind of recognition she deserves for her profound impact on dance music. She concocted a blend of delirious disco, reggae, and funk that provided the perfect backdrop to her artistic visuals.
JOY DIVISION / NEW ORDER
Despite a general failure to be inducted, iconic British new wave-era acts are gaining some serious traction on the ballot. Following the likes of The Cure, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode, these two groups with one lineage are surely next in line.
KOOL & THE GANG
There is no denying that Kool & The Gang’s catalog has more than enough classics to put their name in the shuffle for induction. Their soulful, funky jams not only fueled hip hop, but remain in heavy rotation on their own to this day.
Kraftwerk’s absence from the Hall of Fame is becoming more and more glaringly obvious every year. They’ve seen their fair share of inductions, but at this point, these pioneers of electronic music are going to find their way in after their descendants.
The Marvelettes are one of Motown’s last major classic acts to still not have a place in the Hall of Fame. They’ve been nominated several times, but the label’s first true girl group remains noticeably absent from the roster.
The opinion on Meat Loaf is certainly split, but that hasn’t prevented a number of acts from finding their way onto the ballot in recent years. Inarguably, his powerful voice and theatrical anthems are a pretty good resume.
HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES
There are several Philly Soul era acts that act as a reminder that the Hall of Fame still has one major blindspot when considering inductees. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes is particularly notable considering their star power: Teddy Pendergrass.
It goes without saying that Willie Nelson’s contributions are far-reaching, well beyond country. As a songwriter and a vocalist, he’s been one of the most lauded figures of the last half a century plus, and should have long has a spot reserved in the Hall.
NEW YORK DOLLS
The New York Dolls were one of the most important early punk bands. Despite their lack of commercial success, their cult status and influence should have sealed them in long ago, but only their peers have seen their way in so far.
NINE INCH NAILS
Nine Inch Nails’ effect on rock music was, and still is, truly audible. Few acts can claim that kind of impact, but Trent Reznor and Co. clearly weren’t considered as “quintessential” as some fellow ’90s acts that got swiftly inducted when it was time.
Across his many projects, Gram Parsons’ blend of county and rock, one of today’s most prominent genres, was revolutionary at the time. He saw a trio of nominations about a decade ago, but has since disappeared from the ballot.
Dolly Parton is, by all accounts, a rock star. Despite clinging firm to country roots, her iconic songs have neatly integrated into every facet of rock and roll, and they continue to do so today. Her induction wouldn’t be remotely farfetched.
PETER PAUL & MARY
This iconic trio was at the forefront of folk’s timely revival in the 1960s. Peter Paul & Mary filled their catalog with beautifully arranged covers and timely originals, and the content still retains its relevance over 50 years later.
You could say that inducting bands like Nirvana before Pixies is completely backwards from a lineage standpoint, but there’s no excuse for them to be completely absent from the entire conversation. They haven’t even been nominated.
Although their career was short-lived and their popularity is often attributed to one (very, very important) song, Procol Harum are a band that has long deserved to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s likely they’ll be back on the ballot soon.
CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS
Cliff Richard, a bonafide legend outside of the US, and the Shadows, a successful instrumental group in their own right, are a rock and roll landmark, pre-dating the British Invasion. Historically speaking, they should have been long ago.
With names such as Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry on their roster, Roxy Music is a profound omission. With a classic catalog of hits and albums, their influence and legacy has seeped through seemingly every facet of rock that followed.
Not only is his own catalog a varied, creative critical juggernaut, but his collaborations, compositions, and productions with countless legends should more than outweigh his limited commercial presence.
Sade’s unique brand of soul, incorporating elements of soft rock, jazz, and even funk, has provided the perfect backdrop for their namesake frontwoman’s iconic voice to sit prominently at the helm. What other argument do they need?
Gil Scott-Heron would be one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s most unique inductees, which may be why he has yet to be nominated, but his avant garde performances and monumental impact on hip hop is a damn good argument.
Despite being one of the biggest acts of the important Girl Group Era, The Shangri-Las have yet to make the cut. They have some of the time’s biggest hits to their name, many of which have been covered by already inducted acts.
The Smiths were only together for 5 years, and that was 30 years ago, but their unbelievably dense catalog is as lauded today as it’s ever-been. They’re one of the most important British acts of all time, and their induction is long overdue.
It’s certainly past the time where Sonic Youth should have at least been competitive on the ballot. The group is one of the absolutely biggest inspirations on ’90s alt rock as we know it, and yet their successors are getting the preferential treatment.
In general, ska hasn’t been particularly recognized by the Hall of Fame, which makes it all the more frustrating that The Specials are being sidelined. They’re an incredibly influential group with enough commercial presence to make them a no-brainer, but at best they’d seemingly be a wild card on the ballot.
Of all the non-Motown soul acts still absent from induction, few are as frustrating at The Spinners. These Philly Soul hit machines have so many enduring hits to their name that getting off of the ballot will only be a matter of time, but it’s already been too long.
Squeeze brought a level of sophistication to new wave that helped them rack up some classic hits. Paired with a ton of critical backing, the group has earned their spot in the Hall of Fame. It’s past the point they should have been in.
The group wasn’t around for long, but Steppenwolf crafted some of rock and roll’s most enduring hits. It’s understandable that it took some time for them to be considered, but almost 25 years for their first nomination was a bit unreasonable.
T. Rex sits at the upper echelon of “snubbery.” It is almost unfathomable that one of the most influential British groups of all time has yet to even see a nomination 25 years after they became eligible. There time has to be coming soon.
Thin Lizzy’s influence has been cited by countless artists, including several current inductees. They may not be the most popular band, but their musicianship and legacy should have already secured them, at minimum, a nomination.
TOOTS & THE MAYTALS
While reggae hasn’t been completely ignored, there are some obvious blind spots, Toots & The Maytals being one; they invented the name of the genre, after all. They’re a far bigger snub than most would give them credit for.
War brought an incredible level of diversity to rock, layering in elements of funk, latin, and soul, often all at once. Their hits have made a lasting impact, especially on hip hop, that is undeniably audible today. Certainly, it’s only a matter of time.
Despite being Motown’s first real star, the sands of time has criminally whittled Mary Wells’ career down to just “My Guy,” and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hasn’t attempted to correct that; She hasn’t been nominated in 30 years.
Not only is his voice one of the most recognizable ever, but Barry White’s lush compositions helped make disco palatable to the nay-sayers. From his uplifting dance hits to his groovy slow jams, his catalog speaks for itself.
Poor Chuck Willis can’t seem to find his way into the Hall of Fame. He’s been nominated a whopping 6 times, dating all the way back to the Hall’s inaugural year, but his lack of support can be attributed to the fact that’s not quite a household name.
Johnny Winter is a musician’s musician. He’s an acclaimed guitar virtuoso and has been cited as a major influence by many, but he never had that level of commercial presence you’d expect from an inductee. Still, he should be in.
Despite already being inducted as a member of Traffic, the rest of Steve Winwood’s important career still has yet to be properly highlighted. He should have been inducted years ago, but, strikingly, he’s only gotten one nomination.
Warren Zevon is an obvious snub on every level. His resume, up to his untimely passing, should have locked him in years ago, but he has yet to even earn a nomination. It’s likely he’ll find his way on the ballot eventually, though.
While all of the following acts deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, calling them snubs is just a little premature. Maybe they’re newly eligible, maybe they’re just not quite a priority, but we can only hope they won’t evolve into full snubs…but we all know they’re likely to.
ALICE IN CHAINS (Eligible in 2016)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame clearly has no qualms about embracing grunge head-on, so if a year or two more go by and Alice In Chains haven’t even gotten a nomination, it’s going to be more than obvious.
TORI AMOS (Eligible in 2017)
Tori Amos is one of the most under-acknowledged singer-songwriters of her generation, but she’s managed to enough critical backing to sustain an incredibly inventive, yet poignant career the Hall of Fame won’t be able to get away with ignoring forever.
BJÖRK (Eligible in 2003)
Björk as the artist we know her today would have been eligible for the first time this year, but her first release actually dates back to the last ’70s when she was a child. This technicality has left her eligible for 15 years, but she’s not quite a snub yet.
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS (Eligible in 2010)
You can go back and forth on whether Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are a snub quite yet. Yes, they absolutely should be inducted, but from some perspectives it makes sense that they haven’t been factored into the equation yet.
CYPRESS HILL (Eligible in 2017)
Cypress Hill seems like the kind of hip hop act the Hall of Fame would have on their radar, but they’re particularly easy to keep on the backburner. They’re a future inductee recently made eligible. Time will tell if they become snubs.
DE LA SOUL (Eligible in 2014)
Their contributions to alternative hip hop in the genre’s golden age are why De La Soul will eventually get into the Hall of Fame, but the same reasons why they’re not quite considered a snub yet. Sadly, there are some huge acts standing in their way.
MARY J. BLIGE (Eligible in 2018)
This is only her first year of eligibility, so considering her snub right off the bad might be a little premature. However, as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. has the success, the acclaim, and the influence to make her an easy candidate.
BLUR (Eligible in 2016)
Blur’s cult status in America is the only reason they haven’t been swiftly nominated, but also the reason you really couldn’t quite consider them a snub yet. Still, these Britpop icons should be making a ballot appearance soon.
PJ HARVEY (Eligible in 2017)
PJ Harvey is the kind of artist that could have a hit any time she wanted; it’s just clear that wasn’t her agenda. She’s one of the most critically acclaimed artists of the last 25 years, and has managed to sustain a presence the whole time.
HOLE (Eligible in 2016)
Hole probably should have been on the ballot by now, but looking at all of the acts that have become eligible over the past few years, there is reasonable doubt in considering them an outright snub. Another year or two, at most.
WHITNEY HOUSTON (Eligible in 2010)
Whitney Houston isn’t as obvious a Hall of Fame candidate as her popularity and success would necessarily lead you to believe, but as her eligibility closes in on a decade, her omission is becoming more and more obvious.
JANE’S ADDICTION (Eligible in 2013)
Jane’s Addiction actually saw earned a nomination last year, but a little group called Pearl Jam kind of edged them out. Still, they’re in the running, which is maybe the only reason they’re not a full-blown snub just quite yet.
LENNY KRAVITZ (Eligible in 2015)
Lenny Kravitz never really went on to become the icon he probably should have been, but he’s a well-respected musician with enough critical backing and popularity to make him a candidate for induction eventually.
CYNDI LAUPER (Eligible in 2009)
Her success definitely fizzled too early, but Cyndi Lauper’s talent and cultural significance definitely qualify her for induction. A few years down the road after they’ve more or less moved on from ’80s Pop, her absence is going to be noticeable.
GEORGE MICHAEL (Eligible 2013)
George Michael’s jump from bubblegum to serious, game-changing pop predated Justin Timberlake by a couple of decades. His passing last year was a timely reminder of his incredible catalog and countless contributions to popular music.
MOBY (Eligible in 2016)
It’s yet to be seen whether electronic music is going to be fully embraced by the Hall of Fame, but Moby is hardly your typical electronic artist. He’s a far more robust artist than many of his peers, which should lock him in eventually.
NO DOUBT (Eligible in 2018)
It’s only Gwen & Co.’s first year of eligibility, so it’s not a total surprise that they’re absent from the ballot, but if they don’t earn themselves a nomination in the next few years, they’ll be an easily identifiable snub.
PULP (Eligible in 2009)
While most people remember Pulp for their seminal Different Class, the group has an enormous catalog dating back to the early ’80s. They’re not an obvious priority for the Hall of Fame, but they should be on the horizon.
SMASHING PUMPKINS (Eligible in 2016)
You could almost argue that the Smashing Pumpkins are a bonafide snub at this point, seeing as the Hall of Fame is exemplifying their love fest with ’90s alt rock. One more year out of the equation and it’s going to be noticeable.
THE STONE ROSES (Eligible in 2011)
For all intents and purposes, the group really is a one-album wonder, but damn was it an important one; we could easily start nitpicking already inducted acts for the same reason. Sooner or later, they’re going to have to be considered.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (Eligible in 2018)
It’s no surprise with the likes of Radiohead and Rage Against The Machine saturating the first-year-of-eligibility-90s-alt-rock slots that Stone Temple Pilots had to sit the one out. A couple more years without recognition and they’re an easy snub.
TLC (Eligible in 2018)
The 1990s saw a boom in R&B girl groups, but none of them held a candle to the edgy, wildly successful TLC. Left Eye’s passing 15 years ago may have cut their iconic career short, but they packed so much punch in their time.
TOOL (Eligible in 2018)
The genre-defining Tool is likely not to be overlooked by the Hall of Fame for too long, but the same could have been said about Nine Inch Nails on their first year of eligibility (…4 years ago.) They’d be a quick addition to the snub list if they go ignored much longer.
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST (Eligible in 2016)
Clearly 2016 was the year the Hall of Fame had no choice but to go with N.W.A. as their token hip hop nominee, but two years have past and A Tribe Called Quest is still not in the equation. Snub status is seemingly likely at this point.
WU-TANG CLAN (Eligible in 2018)
As far as hip hop in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame goes, Wu-Tang is a no-brainer. There’s a reasonable argument that they could have made the shortlist this year, their first eligible one, but it’s likely to be over the next two.
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!