Now both the Baseball and Football Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the horizon, but it was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the controversy that come with it that began this site in the first place.
In the past, along with regular contributors, Sphensiscus and DDT, we have done projections as to who we thought would be the nominees for the Hall, but at the suggestion of Spheniscus, we put together a dream ballot of the fifteen acts, we want to see nominated and why.
Unfortunately, DDT’s work commitments did not allow him to participate in this project, but we have found a more than adequate substitute in Mike Litherland, a man we have interviewed twice as the leader of the Induct Janet Jackson to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame project. We hope you enjoy our “dream ballots” and we want to hear from you as to what your ultimate Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot would be! Spheniscus: This was originally my idea and hot damn was it a tough assignment. I have spent the past three weeks narrowing all possible acts to the Top 1000, then the Top 500, then the Top 250, then the Top 100, and then the Top 50. And that’s when it got hard.
Regardless, here is my list and my reasoning (I will include the other 35 acts in my Top 50 in alphabetical order at the bottom should anyone, other than my vanity, be curious as to who else I considered). There were, quite literally, at least ten iterations of this final list. So if I finished this on another day, you’d probably see a couple of different members. The rules as I construed them are as follows: create my list of the “perfect” 15 nominees for consideration for the Rock Hall, provided that a) they have been eligible for at least 5 years (since 2011); and b) they have not been nominated previously (this one I added because otherwise it would have been impossible to include as many “new” acts as I wanted to). New, of course, being a relative term since several of my Top 50 have been eligible since the Hall started electing people in 1986. Oh, and I suppose I should acknowledge the three biases that I recognize in myself going through this process. First, is my well acknowledged bias towards more female acts getting into the Hall, since they are criminally ignored by the NomCom. I almost gave you a full list of 15 women, but that would have been more a political statement than an actual thought on who I thought deserved attention. Second, I am not as cognizant of the roots of rap as I am of other genres, so placing artists like Kurtis Blow, The Sugarhill Gang, and even Ice-T in their proper historical context is difficult for me. Third, Styx sucks and will never be in my Rock Hall. Same with Randy Newman. I don’t care what the voters said a couple of years ago. Randy Newman is terrible.
Now with all the caveats caveated, here is my list with the most egregious oversights up first: 1. Tina Turner: (eligible since 1999) – Tina Turner is already a Hall of Famer as part of her let’s call it contentious, partnership with Ike. She was far more successful on her own. Jann Wenner’s own magazine has her as the 63rd greatest act of all time as a solo artist. She is the highest rated person on that list (who is eligible) who is not in. And she has never even been nominated. Obscene. 2. Judas Priest (eligible since 2000) – Black Sabbath created metal. Judas Priest brought it to the masses. Metal is one area where the Rock Hall has been terrible at inducting not just the right bands, but pretty much anyone. It took them 8 nominations (8!) to get Sabbath in. It took 16 years for Alice Cooper, 14 for KISS. Iron Maiden, Slayer,Megadeth, Pantera, Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Anthrax, Ministry… none have gotten a sniff. The Priest has been eligible for 15 years. It’s time already. 3. Cher (eligible since 1991) – She has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an Emmy. She has sold well over 100 million records and has been a cultural icon for 50 years (her first album came out in 1965). She is the original diva. She was the original bad girl of music. The history of popular music cannot be written without her. The Rock Hall is the repository of popular musical history. They have not nominated her in any form. Ever. If that’s not an oversight, I don’t know what is. 4. Diana Ross (eligible since 1996) – You are probably beginning to see a pattern here. Another female cultural icon unable to get even a sniff as a solo artist. Yes, she is in with The Supremes. But this is a woman who had six #1 hits of her own and successfully made the transition from Motown to Disco and beyond. It is her connection with Disco that is probably keeping her out as the Rock Hall needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into realizations that that period existed (except for Chic, who is already on the next five ballots). But the freaking Kennedy Center got her inducted nearly a decade ago and the Rock Hall hasn’t come up with a nomination yet. 5. New Order (eligible since 2007) – Honestly, I’d rather this be Joy Division first. But I hold out absolutely no hope that the four year run of the Ian Curtis’ fronted Joy Division is getting in unless it is a Faces/Small Faces combo situation with New Order. So rather than the pioneers of Post-Punk, I’m going with their post-Post-Punk/Electronica grouping of New Order. A band that was not only one of the biggest of the 1980s, but one of the most important in defining where music was going. They will be on my list every year until they are in. 6. Janet Jackson (eligible since 2008) – I have trouble understanding how Janet wasn’t a serious consideration for getting in on the first ballot other than Madonna was eligible and there can only be one girl at a time with the Rock Hall. Maybe it was misplaced blame for Nipplegate? I can’t figure it out. But there can’t be one person who cares about the Hall who would question her induction. Now we just need a nomination. 7. Warren Zevon (eligible since 1995) – Every group of nominees has someone in the “songwriter” category. For some reason, Zevon has never been the choice of the Committee. Dark and sardonic in his lyrics, there has never been an artist quite like Zevon. Zevon had a genius for finding humor in ridiculous and terrible situations. Songs like “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Excitable Boy” could never have been written by anyone else. Or if they had been written, would never have had a single radio airplay. He has been gone 12 years now, and that likely has hurt his candidacy. But Zevon should be on the short-list for the next “songwriter” up. 8. Gil Scott-Heron (eligible since 1996) – When you go to Wikipedia’s page on Scott-Heron, they call him a Soul and Jazz Poet. I don’t think that goes quite far enough. In my mind Gil Scott-Heron is the forefather of Hip Hop. The man who was telling other artists to “Fight the Power” nearly two decades before they actually were able to do so themselves. He gave voice in soul and in blues and in jazz and in spoken word to the troubles that his community was facing. He too is gone, passing away in 2011, and his actual “singing” is limited. But the power of his voice and the depth of his artistry still resonates to this day. I hope that he gets a nomination one day, but I expect it will be a long shot. 9. Willie Nelson (eligible since 1987) – I can hear you now … so you are taking a spoken word artist and following him with a country singer and expect me to respect your list? In a word. Yes. Willie wouldn’t be the first country artist in the Rock Hall and he won’t be the last. There are just few out there who are as influential to the development of country music and by association Rock and Pop. Along with Johnny Cash (in), Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson, Willie spearheaded the “Outlaw Country” music that was a direct backlash to the “Nashville Sound” that had come to dominate country music. It set country artists free to write their stories and find their sounds and is responsible for many of the crossover artists we see between the genres today. Plus the man has been relevant and touring since the Kennedy administration. He deserves at least a look from the NomCom. 10. Herbie Hancock (eligible since 1986) – The only artist on my list who has been eligible since Day One of the Rock Hall, Hancock is a master creator who fused jazz, funk, and synth pop in ways no one had done before. Starting out in Miles Davis’ Quintet in 1963, Hancock would take his piano skills to revolutionize the way it was used as a jazz instrument. He would continue these innovations across various instruments well into the 1980s with synth sensation “Rockit” which, when I first saw the video on MTV (yes I am at least that old), blew my mind. A true original, a true innovator, and a true trailblazer in the music industry, Hancock is a man who should be on the Committee’s mind. 11. Sonic Youth (eligible since 2008) – What can you say about Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore? They are incredible. They don’t give a crap about what you think they should sound like. They only care about what they can do and then laugh as they rock your face off. There is nothing they are afraid of trying. If you haven’t heard them, I can’t describe them in a way you would understand. You just have to hear them for yourself. Provided Gordon and Moore work their differences out. Please work your differences out. You need to play together at my imaginary induction I am holding for you guys. 12. Steve Miller Band (eligible since 1994) – This one might be a little high in terms of their actual importance to the development of popular music, but they were damn important to the development of my musical tastes. They had three number ones, half a dozen more in the Top 40, and every single person I knew in college had their Greatest Hits album. They bridged the pop/psychedelic line with music that was catchy, fun, and damn interesting. And it is a bit surprising they haven’t been nominated yet. 13. Journey(eligible since 2001) – As is their touring partner Journey. I’ll admit this one is for the people. Is Journey the greatest set of musicians ever assembled? No. Have they been the most stable of bands over the years? No. But any time one of their songs comes on do you and everyone within a three mile radius want to scream your lungs out singing along? Absolutely. If that isn’t the number one requirement for a rock band, I’m not sure what it is. Throw in two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and one diamond album and I have no doubt that they are worthy of being considered. 14. Barry White (eligible since 1999) – Here’s a challenge for you. Start a conversation about the capriciousness of the Rock Hall, tell someone at a party that only one of Barry White and Isaac Hayes are in and have them guess. If you have less than 75% go for White, I would be shocked. He was the voice by which most people in their early 40s were conceived. Hard to believe that the greatest bass voice in musical history has been gone for 12 years now (2003 you suck). Even more unbelievable that he has never been nominated. 15. The Grass Roots (eligible since 1992) – You know that poppy rock song you loved from the 60s or early 70s that you love but you don’t know who sang it? The Grass Roots sang it. Seriously. While this last spot could go to pretty much any one of 15 bands. I went with the Grass Roots because you love them even if you don’t know who they are. Midnight Confessions, Sooner or Later, I’d Wait a Million Years, Let’s Live for Today…the list goes on and on. And for that, they go on my list. As for the others I considered, I have listed them below in chronological order… Connie Francis, Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Baez, John Coltrane, Patsy Cline (all 1986); Patti LaBelle, Peter, Paul, & Mary (1988); The Moody Blues (1990); Jim Croce (1992); Earl Scruggs (1993); Blood, Sweat, and Tears(1994); Chicago, King Crimson, Roberta Flack (1995); Edgar Winter, Helen Reddy, Jimmy Buffett (1996); Carly Simon, Electric Light Orchestra, The Doobie Brothers (1997); Roxy Music (1998); Cheap Trick, Motörhead (2003), Dire Straits, Joy Division, The Cars (2004), Iron Maiden, Pat Benatar (2005), The Go-Go’s (2006), Depeche Mode, Mötley Crüe, Phil Collins (2007), Slayer, Social Distortion (2009), Whitney Houston (2010) Mike Litherland: In no particular order, here are my dream ballot artists and some honorable mentions: 1. Deep Purple I wouldn’t consider myself a Deep Purple fan but even I know an oversight when I see one. The snub can largely be blamed on the voters, though since the NomCom has placed the band on the ballot twice before. Will a third time be the charm? Only time will tell. 2. Janet Jackson The fact that Janet hasn’t even received a nomination yet is a head-scratcher. Janet went toe-to-toe with Madonna and her big brother in the 80’s & 90’s and arguably edged both of them out in many respects. Commercial success aside, Janet’s creative involvement in her projects tends to get marginalized. She wrote or co-wrote the majority of those chart-topping singles. Did you know? … Back in 1990 Janet was the youngest female to ever receive a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year (along with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis) for Rhythm Nation 1814. With a new album due in fall of 2015 and a world tour that’s selling out coast to coast, it’s definitely time to #InductJanet. 3. The Cure A highly successful and influential band that’s been eligible since 2003 and previously nominated in 2012. Much of their work is somber and gloomy and they helped to put a face (or hairstyle) to “alternative” music. They should eventually get in but the “goth rock” label may hinder their chances. I’d prefer their induction to happen sooner rather than later. 4. N.W.A. Like it or not, N.W.A. will be inducted into the Hall. And it may very well be this year especially with the bio-pic “Straight Outta Compton” debuting on the big screen in a few weeks. They’ve got momentum on their side. Will the NomCom place another rap act on the ballot – or keep a clear path for N.W.A.’s induction? 5. The Pixies Another act with loads of critical acclaim and accolades for being highly influential, yet Still, The Pixies have yet to appear on the ballot – hopefully this will be remedied soon. 6. Judas Priest Heavy metal isn’t a favorite amongst the committee or the voters but Judas Priest should be next in line for the genre. They’ve got the career longevity and it’s time to place them on the ballot. They may not make it in their first time on the ballot but they’re worthy of a nom. 7. Sonic Youth Sonic Youth are trailblazers in the world of alternative rock and should already be in. To say they bucked the trend would be an understatement. They’re definitely due for a nomination. 8. Kate Bush Kate Bush is the kind of artist that is tough to label or place in a box. She’s critically acclaimed and can stand up alongside any female rocker/artist in the business. She’s unique and somewhat elusive and that helped to create intrigue and an air of mystery. Kate didn’t achieve much commercial success in North America and that’s likely what is keeping her off the ballot. 9. Yes To the delight of progressive rock fanatics, Yes was finally nominated in 2014. They were not inducted but deserving of another shot. If not this year, then definitely next year. 10. Ben E. King Just might be this year’s posthumous sentimental favorite. “Stand By Me” will always stand the test of time – and remains one of the all-time classics in music history. His induction might not be a definite but I’d bank on a nomination. 11. Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails helped to define the industrial subgenre. And Trent Reznor’s recent Oscar nominations can only help their cause. I predict a return appearance on the ballot. 12. Depeche Mode Eligible since 2007, Depeche Mode still waits for a nomination. The Hall tends to shy away from this genre of music as we’ve seen with the New Order/joy Division snub. Kraftwerk and The Cure have both made previous ballots but neither was inducted. It’s important to note that they gained a rabid following prior to the mainstream success with 1990’s “Violator” – which made them a household name. They’ve certainly checked the career longevity criterion off the list. Sadly, electronic-style acts may continue to receive the cold shoulder from the NomCom. 13. Joy Division / New Order Likely a long shot but I’d like to see either or both nominated. New Order would have the better chance based on their commercial success and critical acclaim. Not to mention the fact that they changed the face of techno / pop rock. 14. Warren Zevon The Hall loves to induct a singer/songwriter and Zevon has quite a catalog of work. He certainly meets all induction criteria so it’s only a matter of time before he makes the ballot. 15. Bjork If critical acclaim were the only criteria for nomination then Bjork would be an obvious choice. She’s quirky and innovative and always on the cutting edge. Perhaps she’s a bit too quirky and ‘out there’ for the NomCom, though. Her music is highly influential and it'll be interesting to watch Bjork’s chances over future nomination cycles. Honorable Mentions: A Tribe Called Quest – will definitely be considered in the future but will likely have to wait until Eric B. & Rakim and/or LL Cool Jare nominated. De La Soul deserves a mention here, too. Smashing Pumpkins – worthy of a nomination but will likely have to wait a few years. Pat Benatar – big success in the early 80’s but how influential was she? The Smiths – previously nominated and definitely worthy of induction. Other artists of note: Blur,Kraftwerk, Eurythmics. The Moody Blues, WAR. Committee Chairman: First off, thank you so much to Speniscus for coming up with this idea. So often we make our predictions as to that we think the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame come up, we don’t actually discuss who we want them to come up with. With that in mind, I thought to myself, what is it about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selection process that I actually like? It is so easy (and I do constantly) rag on them for what they choose, but I do like it when they come up with a ballot that consists of distinct artists representing different artists and eras. As such, I wanted to maintain that process for the fifteen that I would like to see on the ballot. I also wanted to see acts that I would want discuss in greater depth. Meaning, artists that if I were a member of that illustrious committee where I wanted to hear other points of view that might talk me in to a decision or talk me out of one. That lackadaisical argument isn’t going to get me on any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame committee is it? Oh well, let’s move on. 1. Deep Purple Three years ago when they were nominated for the first time after being eligible for over fifteen years I thought for sure that this is it. This has to be where they finally get in, as this is without any shadow of a doubt the classic rock band with the biggest profile that isn’t in. It didn’t happen, but when they were nominated the year after, surely that would be the year right? No, it wasn’t that year either. I was hopeful that the British rockers would be nominated a third year in a row, but alas, it was not meant to be. I know that there are some detractors for DP getting inducted and while this is not the most cerebral band in the world, current RRHOF inductees (Rush, Van Halen and Kiss) have been open about how the Hall is not complete without them. They have the most up votes from Notinhalloffame.com visitors and can even their haters really explain why their omission from the Hall might affect the integrity/quality of the Rock Hall? Anyone? Beuller. Beuller. Anyone? I didn’t think so. 2. Janet Jackson This isn’t because I have been so impressed with Mike Litherland and his Induct Janet Jackson to the RRHOF campaign. The fact is that Janet has always been a top 70 ranked act here and one that I personally have always been supporting. This isn’t just a woman who was on top of the pop charts for years but left behind a pop and R&B legacy that few can match and eclipses many who is in the Hall. How she has never been even in the discussion is a mystery to me and let’s at least discuss her merits on a greater level. 3. Iron Maiden I remember specifically as a young teen (and wannabe metalhead) being disgusted when I saw an interview where Eric Clapton bashed the Heavy Metal genre. As an early forty-something (and still wannabe metalhead) I have a far more refined taste in music, but have never dropped the opinion that Metal is a pure form of rock and roll, despite what “Slowhand” thinks. Metal is not a genre that beyond Black Sabbath and Metallica has never really received a lot of love from the Rock Hall, but I think it is time to bring this group, or at least someone like them, to the dinner table. 4. Jethro Tull Is it the flute? Is that why Jethro Tull have never been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Seriously, along with so many others I have constantly been upset at the lack of attention that the Progressive Rock genre has received from Cleveland. Beyond Genesis (first half of their career) and Rush, there really isn’t anybody flying that flag in the hall and you would think that at the very least they would have been nominated by now. That hasn’t happened as of yet, and since they had a shot to induct Yes and chose not to, perhaps it is time for another act to get a look. 5. The Moody Blues Yeah, I know. The Moodies can be considered Prog Rock but musically they don’t exactly sound like Tull does it? Here is another group that has yet to be inducted for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a sizable following who is championing their cause. Believe me I know. I see the comments on the site, the emails I occasionally get about them, and this is a passionate fan base. As for me, while I find “Nights in White Satin” pretentious and do not always find their orchestral rock palatable, this is a band I would want to discuss in greater lengths. Saying that Justin Hayward’s penchant for puffy shirts might be enough for me to retract this nominee. 6. N.W.A. Have you seen the “Straight Outta Compton” trailer? I was convinced that N.W.A. were a lock to enter at least by the second year of eligibility, but alas that didn’t happen. I have to state the second year as they were eligible the same year as Public Enemy, who got inducted on the first ballot and I figured they would make Ice Cube and company wait one year. Well, this is year four and they are still waiting and without any doubt this is the most important hip hop act not who are eligible that are not yet in. Seriously, how can this not be the next urban act not inducted? I don’t need anyone to debate me on this one. This should be a no brainer period! 7. New Order/Joy Division Okay… I know that I have them divided on the Notinhalloffame.com Rock and Roll list but the fact is that this is not how Cleveland thinks. We saw this with the combined induction of Faces/Small Faces, two bands that may have had similar personnel but had completely different sounds, (which for the record we had them divided too) so it can be easy to conclude that should a nomination come for one, it will for the other as well. The Cure and the Smiths have been nominated before, both failing to make it, but personally I would prefer to let this combination step up to the plate and see what happens. 8. Def Leppard It wasn’t that long ago that Bon Jovi got nominated and I think at some point in time they will get in, despite what their haters (and there are a lot) I can make a solid case as to why they should seriously be considered. Saying that, when it came to poppish hair metal I far preferred the styling of Def Leppard and maybe this is just a nostalgic pick as the first album I ever bought was Pyromania. Is this my “Fela Kuti” pick? Spheniscus will get that one! 9. Kraftwerk Kraftwerk has been nominated three times before but few seem to notice. This has to be one of the top contenders for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that has a fan base that could care less. I doubt the four Germans who comprise the band care either. Still, I keep going back to one of the few things that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame claim to care about, that being musicians who are influential. Say what you want the style of music they pioneered, but anyone who denies their impact has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. And, yes I feel that strongly about it! 10. Dick Dale Recently the Rock Hall dismissed a lot of the members of the nominating committee who represented the golden era of rock and roll leading to speculation that there will be diminished acts inducted who had their apex prior to 1980. I hope not as there are still some snubbed acts prior to 1965, namely the “King of the Surf Guitar”, Dick Dale. Does Quentin Tarantino have to put out another movie that features his music to put him back on the radar? 11. Big Star I was a little surprised last year that the Replacements got a nomination last year, and even more so that the Pixies did not. Still, I can’t help but think that either the Pixies, the Replacements or Husker Du should get in until Big Star gets in. This was the band that inspired all of them and to this day seems so far ahead of their time. If the Hall wants some indy cred, this is the band from the past to look at. 12. Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor is the king of industrial music, I think that is something that we can all agree on. I think it also in agreement that even those who find Reznor overrated still feel he is one talented individual, and I think I fall in that category. While I enjoyed Pretty Hate Machine when it came out and I enjoyed his arrangement in the Social Network movie score, this is a man (NIN is essentially just Reznor) more than anyone else I want to sit around a table with a bunch of music aficionados and discuss whether or not he should be in. Frankly, I am not sure, but I definitely want to discuss it a little more. 13. Warren Zevon I flip-flopped back and forth here trying to decide which singer/songwriter should be here. Originally, I had Gram Parsons here (yeah, I know, he isn’t your typical singer/songwriter) but lately I have really been listening to a lot of Warren Zevon and have become kind of pissed off that he only seems to be known for “Werewolves of London”. He is so much more than that and if Tom Waits can get in, how about a more sarcastic, though less gravelly voiced version? 14. The Spinners I have read time after time how the Rock Hall is “too white”, but I have to tell you that after visiting the Rock Hall and constantly dissecting who is in and who isn’t I don’t agree with that in the least. The Hall has done a great job representing Motown, has started on the right path in regards to Hip Hop, has included many of the great African-American rock and roll pioneers from the 1940’s and 50’s, but I have felt that there is one major gap left to fill and that is the Spinners representing “Philly Soul”. They have been nominated before and every time it happens I keep thinking that this will be the year. I am going to think that again this year. 15. Mary Wells Okay, let me retract something I just said. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is missing one major Motown act, and it is the one that was their first major star, Mary Wells. Wells was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice but that was in 1986 and 1987, a date older than a large segment of the people who have visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall also claims to want more women in the Hall, and an induction of Mary Wells satisfies the critics who say that the Hall is too white (wrong) and too male (correct). Isn’t she worth another look? Who did I kick around this project there were a few who were at one time in, only to be kicked back out again. They are in no particular order: The Shangri-Las, Roxy Music, The Jam, Link Wray, Gram Parsons, MC5, Afrika Bambaataa, Duran Duran, Pixies, Husker Du, Todd Rundgren and Captain Beefheart. What are your thoughts on our dream ballot? Which fifteen would you have and why? Is there something else that you would like to see us discuss? Let us know your thoughts when you can and as always we here at Notinhalloffame.com thank you for your support!