By on October 5, 2017

rock hallEvery year, when new inductees are announced, there’s an outcry over which nominees got in and which ones did not. When it began in 1986, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame actually seemed like a good idea. Rock music dominated the landscape in 1986, enough that lumping popular music into one genre, named “rock,” made some kind of sense. Also, in the beginning, the institution seemed to take its responsibility seriously. The museum initially seemed set on creating a kind of music time capsule. As per its web page, the mission of the RHOF is to “collect, preserve and interpret the impact rock has had on our world,” and to document “the story of rock.”

The first slate of inductees, included Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Fats Domino, among others) who were vanguards in the genre. It also included people who weren’t musicians, but who were nonetheless major factors in the development of rock music. John Hammond, an early inductee, was the producer responsible for discovering and signing many of the major acts of the twentieth century: Not only Billie Holiday and Count Basie, but also Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin.

RHOF Off Track?

ROCK & ROLL HALL Historians speculate the Rock Hall’s sense of purpose evaporated somewhere around the time that “The Beatles,” “John Lennon,” “Paul McCartney,” “George Harrison” and “Ringo Starr” were all inducted as separate acts. By 1989, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Dylan had all been inducted and the talent pool was drying up. Boomer nostalgia and hair-band flashbacks can only take a museum so far.

Women have also had a harder time getting recognition from the RHOF if they aren’t connected to a man. Dylan went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, but Joni Mitchell wasn’t included until 1997. Rod Stewart (1994) was inducted before Patti Smith (2007). And Billy Joel became an eternal part of the rock and roll canon in 1999, but Billie Holiday wasn’t inducted until 2000. You can find an induction for Fleetwood Mac (1998) but not for Stevie Nicks. Carole King’s 1971 album Tapestry was one of the history’s best-selling albums by a female artist — it held the #1 slot on the charts for fifteen weeks, a record that was only broken by Whitney Houston (not an inductee). Carole King was only inducted in 1990 as part of a songwriting duo with her first husband, as “Gerry Goffin and Carole King.” Tina Turner is forever attached to Ike at the RHOF, and that alone is a solid reason to consider inducting Tina separately.

We love Nina Simone and Kate Bush — but before Stevie or Pat Benatar? The RHOF seems like a weird marketing/pyramid scheme — Wonder if that’s why the building is shaped like one?

To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. The 2018 Nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992.

Nine out of 19 of the nominees are on the ballot for the first time, including Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, Kate Bush, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone, Radiohead, Rage Against Machine and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine became eligible for nomination for the 2018 Ceremony this year, having released their first official recordings in 1992.


  • Bon Jovi
  • Kate Bush
  • The Cars
  • Depeche Mode
  • Dire Straits
  • Eurythmics
  • J. Geils Band
  • Judas Priest
  • LL Cool J
  • MC5
  • The Meters
  • Moody Blues
  • Radiohead
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
  • Nina Simone
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Link Wray
  • The Zombies

All Inductees are ultimately represented in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the nonprofit organization that tells the story of rock and roll’s global impact via special exhibits, educational programs and its library and archives.


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