Ever since I became part of a coterie of armchair music critics, actual respected musical scholars and critics loosely known as “The Hall Watchers,” my predictions of which artists might find their names on the upcoming ballot has been requested by some friends, some colleagues and some Twitter dude that might be writing some kind of article based upon each Watcher’s guesses. Many of these people will make a list that bends toward their own biases; whereas, I actually attempt to take the temperature of a few of the people who have connections within the Hall’s Nominating Committee, while using my gut to make my predictions.
Since I have not written in a while, I thought I would jump back into the blogosphere by sharing my thought process behind determining my list. So, allow this small disclaimer that once you enter my head, there might not be any turning back as my thought process is a little unique. Perhaps the biggest thing I tried to ascertain is the underlying pattern in a set of data. Often times, that pattern is not readily noticed but shows itself if you look deep enough. As I peruse the opinions of my colleagues, especially those with Hall Nominating Committee connections, I begin to see names that seem to be repeating. Often, that gives you a road map to figuring out not so much whom I want nominated (If that were my direction, I’d list The Jam and Hüsker Dü every year.) but who the experts believe are “hot.”
To begin with, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nomination Committee will meet sometime shortly after the New Year and will come up with a list of 16 artists who will compromise the ballot for that year’s class of inductees. Remember there are several artists from each year’s ballot that still have not been inducted. To the Watchers, we believe that the Nomination Committee has done a disservice to many deserving artists by restricting the number of performers to five inducted each year for most of the Nineties and 21st Century, at least until recently. So, now, we have all kinds of people and bands still awaiting their moments, with tons unfortunately no longer with us. If the Hall had stuck to ten inductees each year, this log jam would not be here. Someone in charge must have thought rock & roll was something akin to classical music as a genre only for the intellectual, when most of those inducted and awaiting induction were all working class folks or, at best, middle class people. Rock & roll has ALWAYS been democratic in nature: for everyone, no matter your age, nationality, religious creed, color of your skin, social status, gender, sexual orientation, yada, yada, yada.
At least since former MTV executive John Sykes took over the reigns of the Hall, Induction classes have been larger, mainly in the low double digits. More attention is now being paid to the movers and shakers behind the scenes, be they lawyers or producers, managers or session players, iconic musicians or DJs, these people are correctly being recognized. Personally, I would love to see music journalists, photographers and critics begin to be recognized for their crucial contributions to the spread of this music throughout the past three generations of kids all around the world.
First off, the names in the Class of 2022 was pretty diverse. Those who were inducted at the ceremony held a little more than a month ago were Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon. Classes with eight inductees is not too bad; hell, the classes were limited to five or six just a scant five years ago. Yet, I believe it would be more exciting if there were ten performer inductees, along with five more contributors. And, technically, just like Kraftwerk the year before, Judas Priest was inducted for Musical Excellence. I know it’s a simple technicality, but both bands deserve induction on merit alone.
Unfortunately, there are only 16 spots in a Nomination class, with approximately half of them getting to be inducted. Those nominated last year who were not inducted are Beck, Kate Bush, DEVO, Fela Kuti, MC5, New York Dolls, A Tribe Called Quest and Dionne Warwick. With those eight acts, I refer to my own running list of 100 “snubbed” artists, after I have removed names who were inducted in the previous class and added new names either from a list of newly eligible artists or my bigger list of eligible artists. Once I have my list of 100 Possible Nominees, I go around the inter-web, searching various sites on the Google Machine for some expert predictions. Additionally, I look to see which eligible artist have been recently trending on social media and on search engines.
After that waste of time, I begin to see a pattern, or at least I believe that I am recognizing a trend of names who seem to be cropping up on expert lists and social media. With that information, along with my personally ranked list, I whittled my names down to 16. Over the years since I began this blog, I have been hitting just a whisker under 80%, which if I were a professional basketball player, my free throw percentage would be around this number, possibly making me a professional basketball player.
Today, I am going to give you my list of 100 artist, all of whom I feel should be immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame. And, I do have my list of 16 artists who I feel will be on the Committee’s list early 2023. Here are my 100 artist who are eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. I am listing the artists in alphabetical order. I would like to get your opinion as to who would be on your list, as well as who you think will be on my list.
In the meantime, here’s my list of possible nominees.
1. A Tribe Called Quest – One of the original rap bands to apply funky jazz samples to hip hop motifs for a new, yet natural rap language.
2. Afrika Bambaataa – The man is not only a DJ innovator, but a social peace maker. Oh, yeah, this guy found the connection between new wave and hip hop through the electronic beats of Kraftwerk.
3. Alanis Morissette – This former Canadian teen star became a voice for Gen X women everywhere with her American debut. She tapped into a new feminist take on alternative music.
4. Alice in Chains – The Seattle scene of the late 80s and early 90s was home to a punk rock/Black Sabbath hybrid called grunge. Alice in Chains just happened to be part of the “Big 4 of Grunge.” Two of those bands have been inducted (Nirvana and Pearl Jam), with the others fighting to get in (AIC and Soundgarden).
5. Barry White – The man with the sexiest pillow talk/croon of the disco era has yet to be inducted.
6. Beck – The one-time poster child of the 90s Alternative Nation has grown to become one of rock’s most accomplished chameleons.
7. Big Star – This short-lived and snake-bitten power pop band rivals the much vaunted Velvet Underground for the scope of their influence without any kind of commercial success during their heyday.
8. Björk – Arguably Iceland’s biggest export, Björk has been a very interesting and innovative electronica artist since leaving the cult fave Sugarcubes for solo notoriety and fame.
9. Black Eyed Peas – I’m not totally sold on this band’s place in the Hall, but they did create a whole subgenre of hip hop with their pop take on the hip hop group with a powerful female singer (Fergie). Oh, and I’m sorry Pepsi, Will.I.Am is NOT the voice of a generation, in the same breath (or commercial) with a young Bob Dylan.
10. Black Flag – One of the big names of the L.A. hardcore punk scene, Black Flag helped innovate the Gen X alternative rock tours in a van and were part of the West Coast’s coterie of terrific alt.rock bands (Dead Kennedys, X, The Germs, Minutemen, Camper Van Beethoven, The Go-Go’s, Fear and so many others of the era).
11. Blue Öyster Cult – Are they AOR, heavy metal or some forerunner to alt.rock? The answer is that they were a little bit of everything listed, and perhaps a little more. BOC have become very overlooked in the past 20 years.
12. Boston – The band who popularized the AOR sound, paving the way for Foreigner, Styx, REO Speedwagon and Journey. Their first, eponymous album remains one of the three biggest-selling debuts in rock history.
13. Brian Eno – Eno is in the Hall as a member of Roxy Music, but his stellar solo work, in addition to his production work (most significantly with U2), makes him Hall-worthy.
14. Buzzcocks – One of the bigger punk bands, who with The Jam, spearheaded a more pop-oriented take on the London punk sound, which directly led to the 90s and 2000s pop punk explosion as the 20th century turned into the 21st century.
15. Carpenters – Snicker if you want, but the Carpenters’ music is much deeper than the soft rock sound the help create. Their melancholy sound resonates with the younger listeners more and more as I get older.
16. Cher – One of the first huge divas reigned over the pop scene first as one-half of the married couple folk rockers-turned-television variety show stars, then magnificently on her own. Remember, this woman had Top 10 pop hits in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today!
17. Chic – Member Nile Rodgers induction for Musical Excellence not-withstanding, the WHOLE coterie needs to be honored since the band was not just Rodgers’ brilliant guitar. They were the best, hottest and most innovative disco/rock/jazz band ever.
18. Cyndi Lauper – Anyone else besides me thought that Cyndi was going to be bigger than Madonna? Anyone? Well, of course, I was wrong, yet Cyndi continues to amaze the world with her talent.
19. Daft Punk – This innovative French electronic dance duo is in their first year of eligibility for the Hall. These guys updated the 70s disco sound for Millennials, while being accessible to Boomers and X-ers.
20. De La Soul – Along with A Tribe Called Quest, this hip hop crew proved that the rap soundscape was not just for funkateers and party people. Who knew that the music of Hall & Oates and Steely Dan could be the basis of music blasting out of 80s Jeep’s Kraco speakers.
21. Dead Kennedys – If The Clash and Crass led the UK political left-wing, then the Dead Kennedys were those two bands’ American counterparts. But, the Brits never possessed the Kennedy’s sly sense of humor that made the medicine go down easier.
22. Destiny’s Child – Yes, The Supremes of the turn of the century really ARE eligible this year! That one makes me feel old. Do NOT be surprised if they are nominated as proof of the power of the husband/wife duo of Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
23. DEVO – In high school, the guys of my high school chemistry class discovered DEVO on Saturday Night Live, finally realizing what I had been saying for weeks: This band is a rock band for nerds. This was not just a rock band but a lifestyle.
24. Diana Ross – Diana Ross is NOT in the Hall?!?! It’s true! Now that Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks have been inducted a second time each, thus acknowledging their contributions as solo artists. Therefore, it behooves the Hall to honor one of music’s greatest divas.
25. Dick Dale – My older son and I differ on this one. His argument is valid. Does the Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledge the inventor of the curveball? However, we KNOW how Dick Dale influenced the sounds and guitar techniques that have been used by guitarists throughout the history of rock & roll.
26. Dionne Warwick – Everyone’s favorite Twitter grandparent has been nominated the past two years. She represents that smooth side of R&B, which has been as underrepresented as heavy metal and hip hop.
27. Dr. Dre – Arguably, the wealthiest man on this list, who not only was inducted as a member of N.W.A, Dre is a highly successful artist and producer AND one of the founders of Beats headphones and the rest of the line. This dude is a heavy hitter who deserves recognition outside of the group, along with Ice Cube and Eazy-E.
28. Eric B. & Rakim – If there were no Rakim, arguably the greatest MC of all time, we can forget about nearly every hip hop who followed, from A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul to Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. This man totally changed rap from party time to a form of jazz.
29. Fela Kuti – Many of you see this name and go, “Who?!?!” Well, this man is the Bob Marley of African-oriented funk. His 70s era music’s influence is ever-expanding, going from the world music of the 80s to the hip hop beats of today. His presence is so big that the continent of Africa helped Fela win the fan’s vote two years ago.
30. Foreigner – Many of my rocker friends who have a narrow definition of who constitutes rock are shocked to discover that Foreigner, one of the biggest rock names of the 70s and 80s, is NOT in the Rock Hall. I thought that after Journey was inducted, that Foreigner would not be far behind.
31. George Michael – Many were caught off guard when the late great Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins immediately began to list names of artists deserving induction including George Michael. Yes, Michael was a teen idol during his Wham! days, but he was always a great serious solo artist who could battle Michael Jackson on the pop charts while topping the King of Pop on the dance floor. His induction is long overdue.
32. Gram Parsons – Gram Parsons, along with Neil Young, became something of a hipster’s name drop in the 90s, especially with the burgeoning Americana scene. Then, in the Aughts, he was nominated for the Hall, leading many to believe that his time was coming. Then, poof! his name disappeared. Yes, the Eagles took his country-rock hybrid and added some pop and R&B to the sound to make millions, but Parsons started the whole country rock sound. Now, he is recognized by the current Americana artists as a god and muse.
33. Hüsker Dü – Let me say it right now: without Hüsker Dü, and later the Pixies, grunge would sound much less distorted and lack any kind of pop sensibility. They arose out of the same alternative/college rock scene that spawned R.E.M., Minutemen, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Camper Van Beethoven, The Replacements, Meat Puppets and so on, who were all part of the foundation of alternative rock in the 90s and beyond.
34. Iron Maiden – After Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Rainbow all built the foundation, Iron Maiden showed up and accepted the baton to carry the sound well into the 80s, 90s and today. Maiden may be the quintessential metal band and enough is enough! Stop the metal bias!
35. Jane’s Addiction – Are they metal? Are they alternative? Are they hard rock? Are they hippie revivalists? Are they art rockers? The answer to all of the question is a resounding “Yes!” when talking about Jane’s Addiction. Then, if you throw in their influence on the alternative nation’s tour of the traveling Lollapalooza festival, then you have a band that has a solid resumé for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
36. Jethro Tull – Yet, another band who the general rock fan cannot believe is NOT in the Hall of Fame. While I am not a huge fan of the Tull, I do recognize their influence on my favorite form of music, as well as their status with progressive (prog) rock and classic rock fans. Full disclosure, I do love the song “Aqualung” and own the album of the same name.
37. John Coltrane – Yes, Coltrane is a jazz musician. But, his stamp continues to be found in modern rock and roll music to this very day. Let’s face it, if Miles Davis has a place in the RRHoF, then John Coltrane should as well.
38. John Prine – Considered by many to be the greatest songwriter ever, John Prine is still not am inducted member of the Hall. Although he is mainly a brilliant folk artist, his influence has been felt by country, rock and even rap with both his music and his lyrics. Since there is room for Laura Nyro, then there’s room for Prine. Plus, the man released one of his finest LPs shortly before he died, following Warren Zevon and Johnny Cash who both did the same thing/
39. Johnny Burnette & the Rock ‘N Roll Trio – One of the founding fathers of rock and roll, these men have been long overlooked and deserve induction.
40. Joy Division/New Order – Joy Division has become of the biggest bands from the UK’s original post-punk scene. Unfortunately, lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide on the eve of the band’s US Tour. Initially, the remaining trio turned inward, then added keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, changed their name to New Order and then brought synthpop to dancefloors around the world. Much like The Small Faces and The Faces or Parliament and Funkadelic, you cannot separate the histories of the two bands without diminishing the other. If you listen to both bands’ catalogs, you will hear today’s music everywhere.
41. Kate Bush – For the past few years, Kate Bush has been nominated for induction, while being met with a collective “Who?” from most Americans. Then, suddenly, thanks to the current season of the Netflix show Stranger Things, a 37-year-old song by Bush, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” er-entered Billlboard’s Hot 100, only to outperform its previous 1985 run (peaked at #30) by charting at #3 in 2022. This is the hottest Bush, commercially speaking, has been in the States ever.
42. King Crimson – If you like some prog rock but generally find it a little pretentious and Pollyanna-ish, then the dark themes and menacing music of King Crimson has been made for you. See they tackled the darkness, Crimson deserves induction into the RRHoF.
43. Kool & the Gang – Whether this band is giving us the funk or some smooth R&B sounds, the only American band to participate on Band Aid, Kool & the Gang should be immortalized in the Hall.
44. Kurtis Blow – Yes, the Sugarhill Gang had the first rap hit. But, it was Kurtis Blow who showed the world this new genre’s album potential. Plus, Blow was the first hip hop sex symbol. Blow’s absence in the Hall would be akin to Elvis being left out as well. No Blow in music, no hip hop replacing rock as the music of youth.
45. Link Wray – If you love the power chord sounds of The Who and AC/DC, then you need to thank this man, Link Wray. This Native American is the guitarist who invented this heavy guitar sound which has dominated rock ever since his first hit, the iconic “Rumble.”
46. Little Feat – After leaving Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Lowell George put together this long-forgotten band to play his version of southern-fried, blues-based rock and roll. Perhaps, Little Feat is not held in the same esteem as Lynyrd Skynyrd because the band members were not good ol’ Southern boys, which is a shame because these guys were hot both in the studio and on stage.
47. Los Lobos – Minorities are sorely underrepresented in the Hall, especially those of Hispanic descent. Then, you throw in that these guys were commercially successful in the 80s and critically acclaimed THROUGHOUT their career. They are way more than their old #1 hit, the remake of the Richie Valens hit “La Bamba.”
48. Mariah Carey – So, the idea of a diva has been a role that women have accepted throughout time. When it comes to modern rock, after the women of the blues, jazz and country, we had Aretha Franklin, followed by Chaka Khan, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and, then in 1990, came the next in line, Mariah Carey. Before she became the Queen of Christmas, Mariah was a dominant force on the pop, dance and R&B charts, racking up a stunning 19 #1 hits. Now that Whitney has been inducted, it’s time for Chaka AND Mariah to be added.
49. Mary J. Blige – By the mid-90s, Mariah was the current diva of the moment, becoming the first diva to have rappers integrated into her hits. Then, Mary J. Blige showed up, possessing a big voice just a step below Mariah’s range, but Blige was a woman of the streets, specifically those in the ghetto. That gave her street cred, so she became the first diva who grew totally immersed in a hip hop world. That explains why she was better equipped to straddle both worlds effortless. Yet, Ms. Blige is an artist for the ages.
50. Mary Wells – I cannot believe that the woman who kept Motown afloat in the early years of the label has still not been inducted. What’s up with that?
51. MC5 – Ladies and gentlemen, Detroit is NOT just Motown. In the late-60s, it was the birthplace of a sound that would come to be known as punk rock. So far, The Stooges, with Iggy Pop, and Alice Cooper (the original band and its lead singer who later took on the name Alice Cooper) were the two-thirds of the city’s big three. MC5 is the third that needs to be honored.
52. Missy Elliott – For a decade that ran from the mid-90s and early-Aughts, one person’s name seemed to be on every Top 10 either as a writer, producer or performer, and that woman’s name was Missy Elliott. During that ten-year period or so, she could do no wrong and appeared to be a Hall shoo-in. Then, she took a hiatus. Now, she appears to begin her wait this year.
53. Mötley Crüe – After Van Halen inadvertently started the glam (hair) metal era of the 80s, the next big thing in the genre was Mötley Crüe, who brought the bubblegum version of metal to the masses. The Crüe walked a fine line between rock rebels and caricatures of the rock lifestyle, often bouncing back and forth between the two extremes. But, if KISS can be inducted, then you gotta acknowledge the Crüe.
54. Motörhead – At the time, the thought of marrying the speed of punk with the virtuosity and loudness of metal bordered on sacrilege. Then came Motörhead came along and made it seem natural. Is Motörhead really metal? Personally, I don’t think so. But, they were the fastest hard rock band around. They are the evolutionary reason thrash metal started.
55. Nas – Until Jaÿ-Z showed consistency across many releases, many thought Nas would become the voice of NYC and East Coast rap. But, right after dropping his all-world debut, Illmatic, he was surpassed by Jigga. Still, Nas remains held in high regard to this day.
56. New York Dolls – When Glam rock was killing it in the UK, the States never really jumped on the bandwagon. Still, the New York Dolls thought they be the first truly American glam band. And, in response, America yawned. Yet, those who purchased that Todd Rundgren-produced self-titled debut album, they seemed to all start the punk bands who flood CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.
57. Oasis – By the 90s, grunge was all the rage over in the States. But, in the UK, who had experienced its own punk revolution in society back in 1977, teens were looking for something else. Then along came some homegrown bands who seemed to Americans to be power pop but with a very English point of view, much like marrying The Beatles/The Who/The Jam/The Kinks music with Kinks’ Ray Davies keen lyrics depicting everyday British life. The press called the music Britpop, and Oasis was the scene’s biggest export. They were able to translate to the American artist.
58. OutKast – The premiere rap duo of the Nineties and into the Aughts, this Atlanta-based hip hop group showed their allegiance to George Clinton’s Parliafunkadelicment Thang in their music and not being afraid to integrate rock, soul and Motown into the mix as it suited them.
59. Ozzy Osbourne – Seriously, how can the man who was fired from Sabbath and left for a dead career be left out of the Hall. Ozzy personifies metal, plain and simple. Hell, even his guitarist and songwriting partner is in the RRHoF through Musical Excellence, so let’s put aside the stupid bias toward metal and inducted the man himself.
60. Patsy Cline – Now that Dolly Parton has finally been inducted, it’s time for her musical forebearer, Patsy Cline, to receive the honor as well. I know that she’s a country singer, but her attitude, career, life and influence all scream, “Rock and roll!”
61. Paul Revere & the Raiders – According to my mom, Paul Revere & the Raiders were unofficially my favorite band (She would spin tales of me dancing in my playpen whenever the band’s music would play on the radio or TV.). Before they started wearing those stupid colonial outfits, The Raiders were a fantastic and exciting garage rock band from Seattle. Then, Dick Clark got ahold of them and pivoted them into becoming the greatest real live bubblegum band.
62. Phish – I understand that to most fans out there, the Dave Matthews Band is the jam band of the present, ascending to the mantle upon the death of Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. But, hold on a minute! There is one better jam band, and that is Vermont’s Phish. Where DMB tends to sound the same throughout their albums, Phish is very accomplished and diverse. One Halloween, they are covering the Velvet Underground or Talking Heads, the next one they take on The Rolling Stones or Little Feat. Regardless, these guys rise to the occasion. The only time I saw them, they performed what Phish-heads happen to believe is one of the band’s top 15 live performances ever. They remain my favorite jam band to this day.
63. Pixies – I have read extensively about Kurt Cobain’s many influences, running the gamut from The Beatles to Cheap Trick to Hüsker Dü, but none provided the whole “loud-quiet-loud” dynamic with which Nirvana became known than Pixies. If they had come of age in the early-90s, they would be considered gods. However, they peaked in the late-80s, so they are held in esteem as godfathers of alternative music.
64. Queens of the Stone Age – By the late-90s, alternative rock and metal seemed to be mutating in a multitude of directions. So, it should not have been a big surprise when a band finally turned up the Sabbath sludge and slowed down the pace as if they had been smoking weed all day long. Thus, QOTSA invented stoner rock, paving the way for a band like Mastodon. Of course, if they are ever inducted, will they include Dave Grohl in the lineup? The man only played on the band’s biggest selling album, Songs for the Deaf, and played with the band on their subsequent tour.
65. Rage Against the Machine – Okay, Faith No More beat them to the rap/metal combo, but Rage perfected it, especially when you throw in guitarist Tom Morello’s ability to make his guitar into his very own DJ turntable. The band lived up to their sonic assault with some of rock’s most incendiary anti-capitalist lyrics. This band could incite a riot with their explosive sound alone. Throw in their lyrics, and I am moved to join them in the revolution.
66. Raspberries – Back in the early-70s, rock was either heavy (Sabbath, Zeppelin) or prog (Yes, Tull, ELP), yet no one was sounding like The Beatles, except for Badfinger. So, when four knuckleheads from Cleveland decided to marry the melodic sound of The Beatles with the power of early Who or Kinks, the press labeled them as bubblegum music. But what these critics seemed to miss is what the little girls understand: cute boys who make them dance are preferable to dirty hippies singing about trolls. Raspberries were responsible for punk, new wave and power pop when all those pre-teens grew up. Today, the band is held up by the Ramones, Springsteen, The Cars, The Bangles and power poppers everywhere as the geniuses that they were.
67. Rick James – I’m Rick James, bitch! Sure, that’s Dave Chappelle’s bit, but it’s true. James claims that Prince stole his schtick, don’t believe it. Rick James was as much about rock as funk, but his bass lines were always thicker and juicier than the Purple One’s. James had us dancing back in the late-70s and early-80s, and NO ONE should ever forget that! This man was a genius.
68. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – For me, the voices of a generation begins with Billie Holliday, runs through Aretha Franklin and then is handed off to Chaka Khan. Enough is enough! At this point, I don’t care whether Rufus gets in with her or not, just stop nominating her and induct her. Wait a second! I do care! Rufus should be inducted too!
69. Sade – Was there a man on Earth who wasn’t in love with Sade back in the 80s? The cool thing is that the music seemed to be an extension of her looks and personality. All of it was cool, smooth and sultry. And whenever she releases another album, I guarantee it will debut in the Top 10, as all of her other albums have done no matter the time it takes to produce one.
70. Salt-N-Pepa – Some people just don’t understand how the Rock & ROLL Hall of Fame can induct rap, R&B and dance artists, but remember they all bring the ROLL to rock & ROLL. So, the stage is set to induct the most successful and influential all-female rap group of all-time. They broke through the machismo and discriminatory practices of hip hop in order to pave the road for Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion and a whole slew of women MCs.
71. Sleater-Kinney – When discussing female innovators, Sleater-Kinney needs to be included. They popped up in the 90s, and they pop/alternative/punk/grunge blend caught collective ears of alternative nation and hipsters every where not just for their brilliant songwriting but their influential musicianship as well. In a perfect world, SK would be shoo-ins.
72. Sonic Youth – Yet another of the 80s godfathers and godmother of the 90s alternative nation. These three men and a woman began as a NYC art noise band but ended up as one of alternative rock’s most important bands. They are long overdue their induction.
73. Soundgarden – Speaking of being long overdue on their induction, may I present Soundgarden, one of Seattle’s Big Four grunge bands. Their run of late-80s and 90s albums of Ultramega OK, Badmotorfinger and Superunknown did as much for the advancement of grunge and alternative music as any other band.
74. Sting – The former lead singer of The Police has had an interesting solo career. He started off with a bang in the 80s, maintained the momentum through most of the 90s and, then, in the 21st century went into full-blown experimental mode, all while maintaining his sterling reputation. He should follow Stevie Nicks into the Hall as members of immortal groups and having an influential solo career.
75. Styx – If you want to fully represent the AOR sound with some of the best artists, then Styx is your group. At one time in my high school years of the late-70s/early-80s, Styx was reported to be the biggest album-selling artist of all. People of my age group tend to only agree on three bands: Journey, Foreigner and Styx.
76. Supertramp – This band was not quite prog, not quite AOR and not quite pure pop. Still, whatever their musical combination was, it was popular with my age group. While Breakfast in America was their biggest seller, please check out Crime of the Century and Even in the Quietest Moments for proof of the strength of their resumé.
77. Tears for Fears – Tears for Fears began as a synthpop band, but subtly transitioned into one of the 80s finest pop/rock bands with big selling albums and singles. Couple their past with their unexpected and surprisingly comeback this year with the release of their excellent album The Tipping Point, the time seems right for their nomination.
78. Television – Of all the bands from the original CBGB punk scene in NYC, Television is the biggest band with all the critical praise still on the outside looking in at the Hall. They have been long overdue for the honor. Television was the jam band of the punk era, if they can even be described in that manner.
79. The B-52’s – The B-52’s have been huge with the Hall Watchers for years. The band started the whole Athens, Georgia, scene in the late-70s that R.E.M. came from. This band brought the party back to rock music which was sorely missing in the waning days of disco and the ascension of new wave. After The B-52’s danced their way through the door, Duran Duran, The Human League and every other artist dress in 60s kitsch with strange haircuts followed. New wave had the perfect visual for the early days of MTV, and The B-52’s were one of the first. They sure had my high school abuzz after their appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1980.
80. The Bangles – With The Go-Go’s inducted, people looking for another all-female band turned their attention to The Bangles. While The Go-Go’s came from the LA punk scene, The Bangles were a product of a much different and more musically diverse Paisley Underground scene in LA. The Bangles drew inspiration from The Beatles, but also from The Zombies, Buffalo Springfield, Love and other bands who arose during the psychedelic pop days of the late-60s. While the band’s musicianship was impeccable, their super power was the classic lineup’s four-part harmonies.
81. The Carter Family – The pre-eminent country/hillbilly family needs induction for their influence alone. But, remember Johnny Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash, played an important role in JC’s earlier comeback, flexing her rock & roll muscles in “Ring of Fire,” which she co-wrote. But, her parents, grandparents and siblings all combined to write and record some of country music’s most important music, many of which were recorded by rock artists from many eras.
82. The J. Geils Band – This Boston R&B-based rock & roll party band made some noise throughout the 70s, but it wasn’t until the band incorporated some new wave flourishes on their Love Stinks and Freeze-Frame albums that they reached the commercial mountaintop. Their concerts were legendary for their party atmosphere and ability to rock. Some even go as far as to say The J. Geils Band, on a good night, could rival Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band in both band’s heydays. I don’t know if it’s true, but their live albums indicate Geils was awfully good in concert.
83. The Jam – In the original London punk scene, there were the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Jam. Of the three, The Jam became the biggest band in the UK, while only achieving cult status here in the States. The Jam was my favorite punk band for a couple of reasons. First, they never neglected an R&B influence, much like the early days of The Who. Second, and perhaps most important, The Jam had the best singer/songwriter of the lot in Paul Weller. The Rock Hall needs to recognize that America does NOT have the final say on greatness. Sometimes, the Brits are correct.
84. The Marvelettes – All of the big selling 60s artists of Motown are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, except for Mary Wells and this group. How can the singing group that gave us “Please Mr. Postman” be left out of the Hall for so long?
85. The Monkees – For kids of the 70s, Saturdays were the days we watched The Monkees reruns. So why on Earth would my age group and younger not think The Monkees belong in the RRHoF? They were our Beatles. Who cares that they didn’t write their own hits?!?! Hell, Elvis didn’t! Put in The Monkees BEFORE Mickey and Mike leave us!
86. The Pointer Sisters – Recently, I was listening to The Pointer Sisters big breakout album from 1983 Break Out and realized that I had been underselling these women for way too long. They had spectacular vocals and chose fantastic songs to record. And, you can pick out their influences everywhere on that album alone. Personally, I’m going to do a deeper dive into their catalog.
87. The Replacements – The Replacements were one of my favorite bands from the mid-80s. When Paul Westerberg was on lyrically, no one compared to him. Add to it The Mats sloppy way of playing, and you got one of the loosest, wildest, craziest rock bands on the planet. You cannot over-sell their whole catalog at all. The band was just that good. I remember an article in a rock magazine stating that The Mats were to R.E.M. as The Kinks were to The Beatles. I think the author hit the nail on the head.
88. The Runaways – By the mid-70s, society was crying for an all-woman rock band. Unfortunately, Fanny didn’t strike a nerve earlier in that decade. Then, in 1976, a group of all underage teenage girls were put together by rock impresario (and local pervert) Kim Fowley. These girls could play a glam/punk/metal hodge podge of rock, included future Hall of Fame Joan Jett, future metal goddess Lita Ford, future actress Cheri Curie, future Jeopardy champion Jackie (Fuchs) Fox and drummer supreme Sandy West. Although The Runaways did not make an immediate commercial dent, over the years their influence has reached nearly every female artist over the years.
89. The Shangri-La’s – When punk and new wave first popped up, it seemed as though every female artist/musician were patterning their look and sound after these tough NYC women. They had the hits, while those songs continue to influence future generations of female rockers.
90. The Smashing Pumpkins – Coming out of Chicago as the city’s answer to Seattle’s grunge movement, Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins are not jumping off from Black Sabbath and punk but rather taking the sonic assault of Boston and Cheap Trick and funneling it through some new wave and some punk. Their magnum opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and their more streamlined Siamese Dream are two of the 90s greatest albums.
91. The Smiths – In the USA, we had our jangle jingled in the 80s by R.E.M., but in Britain, the kids where getting their jangle fix from The Smiths. If you draw a line of the quintessential British artists beginning with The Beatles extending to The Who then The Kinks and the glam rockers up to The Jam, the next stop would be The Smiths before the ascension of The Stone Roses and Britpop.
92. The Spinners – In the 70s and early-80s, The Spinners were the finest vocal group could combined the best qualities of soul’s history from Detroit, New York, Memphis and Philadelphia. Their enshrinement has be so very long overdue.
93. Thin Lizzy – Between the reigns of Van Morrison and U2 as Ireland’s best rockers, there was a band that combined the street-wise lyrics of Springsteen with the hard rock of Boston that appealed to heartland rockers, AOR fans and metalheads across the world who briefly filled the void. That band was Thin Lizzy, a band led by a black lead singer and bassist that, when the band was at its strongest and most influential, sported a 1,2- lead guitar punch of Scott Gorman and Gary Moore which influenced bands like Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden to all follow down a similar road with utilizing multiple lead guitarists.
94. Tommy James & the Shondells – Say what you will about Tommy James and his backing band, their influence has stretched through the ages. Boomers considered the group a bubblegum band, but younger Boomers and Gen X-ers all wanted to be them. From the punk rock of Ramones and The Runaways to the hits of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (“Crimson and Clover”), teenage pop princess Tiffany (“I Think We’re Alone Now”) and Billy Idol (“Mony, Mony”) all expressed their love of Tommy James. This band is now considered to be the quintessential pop/rock band of the late-60s.
95. War – One of the great bands from East LA, War was a multicultural band with the musical versatility be able to verve from funk to rock to jazz to pop with no regard to anything but their muse. Yes, the band members were white, black and Latino, but that’s not the story. No, War’s story is there musical diversity and virtuosity. Yet, another band who’s induction is long overdue.
96. Warren Zevon – I honestly thought that Warren Zevon was one of those artists who were held in such high esteem that he was be a shoo-in for induction within three years of his untimely death in 2003. Yet, here we are on the cusp of the 20th anniversary of his passing, and Zevon still remains uninducted. That is a travesty. Zevon is so very much more than “Werewolves of London,” or any of the songs that Linda Ronstadt covered. The man was a brilliant acerbic satirist within the confines of a rock star.
97. Weezer – I refer to Weezer as the Cheap Trick of the 90s. Hear me out. Both play melodic songs dressed up with hard rock guitars. Also, both tend to be lumped into the power pop label at one time or another but are much more than that definition. Weezer has created some of the greatest pop/rock songs of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. I just hope that Weezer doesn’t have to wait as long as Cheap Trick did to be inducted.
98. “Weird Al” Yankovic – Over the years, many comedians have embraced a rock & roll or hip hop attitude and brought it to their art. From Cheech & Chong to Eddie Murphy to Sam Kinison to Dave Chappelle all have been called rock stars of comedy. But, there is one who works within the musical medium at such a high level that nearly every hitmaker hopes that “Weird Al” Yankovic parodies the artists’ hits. And to do this at such a high level as “Weird Al” has since the early-80s, his longevity only enhances his argument. As a matter of fact, Al’s last album, Mandatory Fun (released in 2014), debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.
99. Willie Nelson – Asked any musical star still alive today who their favorite and most important country artist is, they all would say either Dolly Parton or Willie Nelson. Now that Dolly has been inducted, it is now Willie’s moment. He is such a beloved artist, that he has created albums full of reggae and Great American Songbook standards. His attitude and career arc have been influential for three generations of rock, pop and hip hop artists.
100. Wu-Tang Clan – How can rap’s greatest coterie of artists still not be in the Hall? What’s up with that? Everyone who is a music fan knows how important Wu-Tang Clan has been for all of rock & roll, not just hip hop. Plus, any group that has Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) should be inducted on that fact alone. I think we all know that RZA is a genius.
Who would be your 16 nominees from this list? Let me know below. I will let you know who I am predicting to be on this upcoming nomination list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. See y’all later! Peace and love.