Evan Nolan presents the the top 50 new RRHOF eligible acts. Part 2 40-31

Evan Nolan presents the the top 50 new RRHOF eligible acts. Part 2 40-31
05 Oct
Not in Hall of Fame

Now we get into the second group of bands eligible for the Rock Hall, artists that have a sliver of a shot of getting in. Remember, this list is not how much I like these bands (or Supergrass would be much higher) but rather how likely I think they are to get in the Hall.

And as always, if I ranked your favorite band too low, it is entirely personal. You know what you did.

  1. Paul Oakenfold

Hometown:Mile End, London, England
Date started:1980
Eligible Based on:Debut Recording The Goa Mix (1994)
Top Selling Record:Bunkka (2002)
Top Hits:Faster Kill Pussycat (#4 Dance Charts, 2006) 
Underrated Track: 
Ready, Steady, Go (2002)
In Line Behind:Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, trance music getting in the hall
Induction would Help:John Digweed, Paul van Dyk, Sasha, Carl Cox
Odds of Nomination This Year:0%
Odds of Nomination Ever:2%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


This year is in many ways the year of the DJ. There are four major ones all eligible for the Rock Hall for the first time this year and while Oakenfold has the spot any of the other three (John Digweed, Paul van Dyk, or Sasha) could be in this spot. Each has won best DJ in the World at least once, which would really count for something if there was any evidence that a DJ would ever get into the Hall. And with all of the difficulty that techno has getting into the Hall, taking the next step to trance DJs seems like a huge gap to bridge.

That said, if any DJ deserved the first spot it’s Oakenfold. Born in London in 1963, Oakenfold started deejaying as a 17-year-old and decided that the place to build his career was New York City. He moved in 1981 and immediately began sneaking into clubs, such as Studio 54, on a fake ID and met many big names within the music industry. He moved back to London and actually started as an A&R Man for Champion Records and signed both DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Salt-N-Pepa. 

He continued DJing and in 1987 threw his first acid house party in a London club. It was successful and led to him beginning to focus on his DJ career. He began producing records with several friends under the name of Electra and while they released many popular songs, Electra really rose to prominence in 1992 when their remix of U2’s Even Better than the Real Thing, charted higher than U2’s original. This pushed Oakenfold to release his own tracks to a wider audience. His first release, The Goa Mix, is legendary within the trance community and its popularity catapulted him to being the first ever DJ to get a spot on the main stage of the Glastonberry Festival. Where he spun in front of 90,000 people in 1995. 

Oakenfold was voted world’s best techno DJ in 1999 and best trance DJ in both 2000 and 2004. And while he has only released three total albums, the first Bunkkacoming in 2002, he is perhaps the best known DJ in the world. As I said, that may not count for much with the Rock Hall however. On importance within the music industry he should be much higher on this list. But Kraftwerk, the creators of electronic music have been eligible for 23 years and nominated for the Hall four times and haven’t been able to get in. Other technological music innovators like Herbie Hancock, Tangerine Dream, and Can haven’t been close to the nomination process. And while this is the first artist I can imagine getting nominated on this list, it is still a 50-1 longshot that it ever happens.  

  1. Portishead

Hometown:Bristol, England
Date formed:1991
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Dummy (1994)
Top Selling Record:Dummy (1994)UK 3x Platinum, Portishead (1997)UK Platinum
Top Hits:Seein’ Red (#1 Alternative, 2002), Save Me (Wake Up Call) (#5 Alternative, 2005)
Underrated Track: 
Only You (1998)
In Line Behind:Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers 
Induction would Help:Sneaker Pimps, The Wiseguys, Dido, Everything But the Girl
Odds of Nomination This Year:0%
Odds of Nomination Ever:2%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No



Now we go from one of the forefathers of trance music to one of the developers of trip hop, England’s sexiest sounding band Portishead. Founded in 1991 in Bristol, England, Portishead is a trio of musical mad scientists named Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley. Gibbons does the lyrics and singing and the rest of the instrumentation is a mashup of the geniuses of Barrow, Utley, and (at least with their first record) engineer Dave McDonald.

Barrow and Gibbons met in 1991 at a UK government sponsored small business start up meeting. They recorded a song together at Utley’s recording studio and the trio started bouncing musical ideas off of one another. The result was the incredible album Dummy (1994). To be honest, Dummysounds like the soundtrack to a Bond film I wish they had made. There is nothing quite like it. So good in fact, that in 2003 Rolling Stone named it one of the Top 500 albums of all time. And the band became wildly successful both in the UK and US without really wanting to. It would go Gold in the US and 3x Platinum in the UK. 

Portishead’s follow up, 1997’s eponymous Portishead, is darker, trippier, and honestly takes you to a place mentally where you are enjoying the music, but are vaguely concerned that you might be in physical danger the whole time you are listening to it. It is hard to explain if you haven’t heard it. I recommend you all go find the album and do so. If you can’t smell whiskey and cigarette smoke around you while listening, you need to go watch more noir films.

Unfortunately, Portishead would take a six year hiatus after Portisheadand wouldn’t release another album until 2008, appropriately titled Third. This album would not perform as well, only going Gold in the UK, and to this point has been the bands last release (though they are still together and have been threatening to release another album for a decade at this point). And that lack of production combined with the fact that there is NO ONE like them who has ever been considered for the Hall, let alone getting in is why they are this low. I love this band and everything they do and for that reason I can see them being someone’s pet project some day. But that is likely the only way they will be getting in. 

  1. Supergrass

Hometown:Oxford, England
Date formed:1993
Eligible Based on:Debut Singles Caught By the Fuzz and Mansize Rooster (1994)
Top Selling Record:I Should Coco (1995) and In It For the Money (1997)Both Platinum
Top Hits:Alright/Time (#2 UK, 1995), Richard III (#2 UK, 1997), Going Out (#6 UK, 1996), Moving (#9 UK, 1999)
Underrated Track:I’ll always love their breakthrough hit Caught by the Fuzz, but the mellowness of St. Petersburg (2005)can’t be overlooked.
In Line Behind:Brit Pop has had a tough time getting in, so Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Elastica, Lush, The La’s and others would probably have to go first
Induction would Help:Ash, The Kooks, Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals
Odds of Nomination This Year:0%
Odds of Nomination Ever:2%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


And now we come to the first of the Brit Pop bands, Oxford’s power quartet Supergrass. Supergrass was originally founded as the shoegazing band The Jennifers in 1991 with singer Gaz Coombes, bass player Andy Davies, and brothers Nic and Danny Goffey (sons of Top Gear presenter Chris Goffey) playing guitar and drums respectively. They performed together for two years before Davies went off to college and Nic Goffey decided to go into video production (he would later produce many of Supergrass’ music videos). 

Meanwhile Gaz and Danny continued playing together and supported themselves with other jobs. It was on one of these jobs where Gaz met fellow waiter Mick Quinn, and they started performing originally as Theodore Supergrass before dropping the Theodore part and sticking with just Supergrass. The fourth member of the group, keyboardist and Gaz’s brother Rob Coombes, would start playing with them but wouldn’t be an official member of the band for another 10 years.

Their debut single Caught by the Fuzz (1994) was a limited release, with only 500 copies printed. But it hit hard in the UK, being both NME and Melody Maker “Single of the Week”, which is a rarity in England. Their second single Mansize Rooster (1994) would hit #20 on the UK Charts and their third single Alright(1995) would go all the way to #10 in the UK. They would cut their first album, 1995’s I Should Coco, with all three songs and unsurprisingly hit #1 and would go Platinum. 

Their follow up album In It For the Money(1997) has a much more punky/alternative feel, particularly lead single Richard III (#2, 1997). But it is a fabulous record as well and was described by NME as “more fun than watching a wombat in a washing machine”, which is not just great alliteration, but perhaps the most British review I have ever heard. It would also go Platinum in the UK and spawn to more top 10 hits for the band Going Outand Sun Hits the Sky

Their third album, the self-titled Supergrass(1999) would also go platinum and features the muppety videoed Pumping Up Your Stereo(which you should see if you haven’t before). They would release six albums in total before breaking up in 2008. Fortunately for us, they reformed earlier this year and actually played together earlier this month. And while they aren’t making new music at the moment (they have a unfinished album Release the Dronesthat’s been on hiatus for years), they are focused on touring and just enjoying being a band again.

When it comes to the Rock Hall, you’d think that a band that has charted more than 20 times would be a serious contender. Unfortunately for them, almost all of their charting has been overseas with only 1997’s Cheapstakehitting any chart in the US (#35 on the Rock Chart). And that has been an issue for many Brit Pop bands. Elastica, The La’s, Suede, Pulp and others have just gotten no traction. So there is some hope for them based on their UK popularity, but it is a sliver of a chance at this point. Still as Robert Erlewine of AllMusic once said “the world is a better place for having Supergrass in it.” I quite agree.

  1. Paula Cole

Hometown:Rockport, MA
Date started:1992
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Harbinger (1994)
Top Selling Record:This Fire (1996)
Top Hits:Where Have All the Cowboys Gone (#8, 1997), I Don’t Want to Wait (#11, #1 Adult, 1997)
Underrated Track:It’s My Life(2005)
In Line Behind:Melissa Etheridge, Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos, Lisa Loeb 
Induction would Help:Meredith Brooks, Jennifer Paige, Natalie Imbruglia, The Pierces
Odds of Nomination This Year:0%
Odds of Nomination Ever:2%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


Finally we get to an artist from the world’s greatest place for music, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and native daughter of Rockport (nominee for New England’s cutest town), Paula Cole. Born in April of 1968, Cole was mostly a locally known singer when she got a huge opportunity come her way. In 1993, Sinead O’Connor was touring with Peter Gabriel and left the tour during the last two legs. Needing someone to fill in, Cole, despite being a relative unknown, was selected and finished the European, Austalian, and Asian parts of the tour. She would subsequently be chosen to perform a duet with Melissa Etheridge on VH1, which raised her profile even more.

This led to her signing a contract with Imago Records, with whom she released her first album Harbingerin 1994. This album wasn’t a huge success, possibly hindered by the fact that Imago Records folded within a year of its release. She was signed to Warner Bros., which rereleased Harbinger, and went to work on her second album This Fire(1996). This Fire, which was entirely self-produced, was significantly better received and represents the pinnacle of her popularity. 

Its two main singles Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? (#8) and I Don’t Want to Wait (#11), would both hit the Top 20 and the latter would serve as the theme song for the popular show Dawson’s Creek. She would continue to collaborate with Peter Gabriel, tour with Lilith Fair, and be nominated for multiple Grammys including Best Producer (a category for which she was the third woman ever nominated) and Best New Artist, which she would win.

Then she dropped out of sight for a couple of years to raise her daughter, reemerging with a new album with the Paula Cole Band called Amenin 1999. The feature single on this album, I Believe in Love, would be remixed as a dance single and would be her last charting hit, topping out at #18 on the dance chart in 1999. Despite the relative lack of recent commercial success, she has continued to make albums, with her ninth album Revolutioncoming out earlier this month.

When it comes to the Hall, I feel a sea change has come with Jann Wenner stepping down from the Chairmanship. He in many ways ran the Rock Hall as a patronage position for his friends and as a result the Hall has become quite skewed. One of the biggest things is that only around 7% of all inductees are female. I think with him gone that is going to change. And some of the biggest beneficiaries of that will be the Lilith Fair ladies, none of whom have even been nominated as of yet. A move in that direction would certainly benefit Cole (though she is well down the list) as would having Peter Gabriel as a major supporter in her corner. Ultimately, it is hard to see her being selected just because of the backlog of women the Hall needs to induct, but there is a chance. Still she may not want to wait, but will likely have to. 

  1. Warren G

Hometown:Long Beach, CA
Date started:1992
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Regulate… The G Funk Era (1994) 
Top Selling Record:Regulate… The G Funk Era (1994, 3x Platinum), Take a Look Over Your Shoulder (1997, Gold)
Top Hits:Regulate (#2, 1994, 2x Platinum), What’s Love Got to Do With It (#20, 1996, Platinum), I Shot the Sheriff (#20, 1997, Gold), I Want it All (#23, 1999, Gold)
Underrated Track: Smoking Me Out (1997)
In Line Behind: Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, ICE-T 
Induction would Help:Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Skee-Lo
Odds of Nomination This Year:0%
Odds of Nomination Ever:2%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


Born Warren Griffin III in Long Beach, California in 1970 Warren G burst onto the West Coast hip hop scene in 1991 as part of trio 213. Together with the Doggs, Nate and Snoop, 213 was Warren G’s first foray into the music world, although the group didn’t stay together long due to Snoop’s break out in 1993 with Doggystyle

With Snoop off on his own, Warren G went solo and after providing the song Indo Smokefor the late, great John Singleton’s film Poetic Justice, he was signed by Def Jam records. His first single, Regulate(which featured old 213 partner the late Nate Dogg) was used for the 1994 film Above the Rimand dominated the airwaves of the summer of 1994, peaking at #2 and becoming the biggest single for Def Jam Records. It would also be included on the main single of his debut album Regulate… The G Funk Era, which would go 3x Platinum, and would also have charting singles This DJand Do You See

His next movie track single, a collaboration with Adina Howard covering Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do With It from the Supercop soundtrack, would also go Platinum in 1996. He would include this song on his second album Take a Look Over Your Shoulder, which would also have singles Smokin’ Me Out and a cover of I Shot the Sheriffhit the Top 40. This album would go Gold and would further establish his hip hop credentials. 

At this point, Warren G started heading more into production and his third album I Want it All(1999) had most of the vocals provided by other artists including old pal Nate Dogg. One song, I Want It All with Mack 10 on vocals, would go Gold and hit #23 on the Hip Hop charts. He would go on to release three more albums, 2001’s Return of the Regulator, 2005’s In The Mid-Nite Hour, and 2009’s The G-Files, but none of them have hit the heights of his earlier releases.

Warren G is certainly a major important piece in development of the West Coast Hip Hop scene, but that may not be enough when it comes to the Rock Hall. The inclusion of rap has been controversial for many rock purists, but that ship has long since sailed. The Rock Hall has become much more a collection of popular music since the late 50’s that simply a place for Rock and Roll artists. And the Rock Hall has done a decent job at this point in putting in some of the major artists in rap and hip hop in the Hall, including Run DMC, Grand Master Flash, Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Tupac. 

Warren G’s issue is that the wave of rap and hip hop is about to hit full force there are just too many artists at once. Snoop and Wu Tang Clan were eligible last year. Biggie, Nas, and Outkast are eligible this year. He is likely to get buried with too much competition. And there may be just too many folks to regulate for him to ever get in.   

  1. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Hometown:Ventura, CA
Date formed:1989
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (1994) 
Top Selling Record:Americana Deluxe (1998), though honestly it is probably the Swingerssoundtrack (1996)
Top Hits: You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three (1996), Go Daddy-O (1996)Mr. Pinstripe Suit (1998)
Underrated Track:Why Me (2012)
In Line Behind:No bands, but swing revival would need to be considered by the Hall.
Induction would Help:Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Squirrel Nut Zippers
Odds of Nomination This Year:4%
Odds of Nomination Ever:1%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


I can hear you all now… Big Bad Voodoo Daddy? Really? But if swing revival ever gets considered there is only one band that would walk through that door. And that band is the one started by singer Scotty Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren in Ventura, California back in 1989. 

Morris went to a concert of late blues legend Albert Collins and had Collins sign a poster afterwards. Collins signed the poster “To Scotty, my big bad voodoo daddy.” So once Morris decided to form a band, he felt there was no way of beating Collins’ statement. Morris and Sodergren started playing together and then built the band around them with Dirk Schumaker on bass, Andy Rowley on saxophone, Glen Marhevka on trumpet, Karl Hunter on clarinet, and Joshua Levy on piano.

They began with the first wave of swing revival in 1989 but didn’t release their first album until 1994’s Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Their big breakthrough however, came with the release of the 1996 film Swingers. The album was very swing heavy and featured three Big Bad Voodoo Daddy songs including You & Me & Bottle Makes 3, I Wanna Be Like You,andGo Daddy-O. The first and third of which ended up on their second album Americana Deluxein 1998. 

This was the height of their popularity as well as the height of the swing revival movement. They appeared on Party of Fiveand Ally McBeal. They even played half time of Superbowl XXXIII with Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder. And while their profile hasn’t been as high since the late 90s they have released seven more albums and are currently recording another album as we speak.

So is this all enough to get into the Rock Hall? No, probably not. But the rest of their swing revival brethren (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Brian Setzer Orchestra (also eligible this year for the first time) chief among them) didn’t have either as high a peak or as long of a sustained career. So when you are the main band of a genre that had an impact on popular music, and continues to with the increase in popularity of electroswing, you have to be considered. I just don’t think it will ever be enough to get them in the Hall. 

  1. Machine Head

Hometown:Oakland, CA
Date formed:1991
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Burn My Eyes (1994) 
Top Selling Record:Burn My Eyes (1994), The Burning Red (1996), Through the Ashes of Empires (2003), The Blackening (2007) (All Silver)
Top Hits:From This Day (#1 UK Rock, 1999), Take My Scars (#2 UK Rock, 1997), Old (#2 UK Rock, 1995), Days Turn Blue to Gray (#3 UK Rock, 2004)
Underrated Track: Locust (2011)
In Line Behind:Motorhead, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Tool 
Induction would Help:Disturbed, System of a Down, Killswitch Engage, Drowning Pool
Odds of Nomination This Year:5%
Odds of Nomination Ever:5%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


Machine Head is a metal band that has gone through several iterations to become one of the most influential bands in thrash metal’s second wave. Founded in 1991 in Oakland, California by lead singer Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce, Machine Head is a case study on how being good at both music and, perhaps more importantly, self-promotion can get you incredibly far in the music industry. 

Machine Head, contrary to popular belief, was not named after the Deep Purple album but was chosen because Flynn thought the name sounded cool. Machine Head is a band that has had a lot of turnover, but the first iteration had Flynn on the mic and guitar, Duce on bass, Logan Mader on guitar, and Tony Costanza on drums. Their debut album, 1994’s Burn My Eyes, is an album that just continues to punch you in the face with its musicianship, lyrics, and energy. And it got them noticed quickly, as they opened for Slayer on a European tour in support of the album (with Costanza being replaced on drums by Chris Kontos). And they absolutely killed it. So much so that when the tour was over, they went back on tour at the same venues they had opened for Slayer at, this time as the headliner. 

They would replace both Kontos (with Dave McLain) and Mader (with Ahrue Luster) and would release two more albums in the 1990s, 1997’s The More Things Change and 1999’s Burning RedBurning Redin particular is a sign of the band’s development with rap being incorporated into their sound for the first time. Burning Redwould hit #88 on the Billboard charts in the US but would be pretty divisive amongst fans and critics who accused the band of selling out to sell more records. At this point, Machine Head was an incredibly popular band in Europe but hadn’t really made a mark in the U.S.

Then came their big controversy. In support of their fourth album, 2001’s Supercharger, they released a video for their single Crashing Around Youin late September 2001. The video, which honestly is fairly tame by their standards, features images of falling buildings and closes with a shot of fire on a backdrop of a city. With the mood in the country surrounding the 9/11 attacks, the backlash was enough that their label stopped promoting them and MTV banned the video from their airwaves. Supercharger was their worst selling album but strangely marks the beginning of their increase in popularity in the states.

This newfound US success would crest with their 2007 album The Blackening, which features the single Aesthetics of Hate, a response to an article William Grim had written for Iconoclastpraising the murder of Dimebag Darrell. The song was angry and amazing and would earn Machine Head a Grammy Nomination. The Blackeningwould also take Machine Head away from the rap metal band they had become and fully embracing their new iteration as a thrash metal band.

In all Machine Head has released nine albums, most recently 2018’s Catharsis.And while Flynn is still leading the band, everyone else has rotated around and through and out and back again. Still they have been relevant for 25 years at this point without stop and are one of the top metal bands out there still. Their issue in getting in is that metal has had a terrible time getting in. Judas Priest FINALLYgot nominated for the first time last year after being eligible since 2000. And if the Priest can’t get in, that makes it difficult for any other metal band to get through. Still, if they continue to make quality music at the pace they have for the past quarter century there is a chance (albeit a small one) that the relentless beating on the door of the Hall may pay off some day. It just won’t be any time soon.       

  1. Ash

Hometown:Downpatrick, Northern Ireland
Date formed:1989
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Trailer (1994) 
Top Selling Record:1977 (1996), Free All Angels (2001) (Both UK Platinum)
Top Hits:Goldfinger (#5 UK, 1996), Oh Yeah (#6 UK, 1996),Shining Light(#8 UK, 2001), A Life Less Ordinary (#10 UK, 1997), Never charted in US
Underrated Track:Numbskull (1998)
In Line Behind:Blur, Suede, Stone Roses, Elastica, other UK Bands that never quite made it in US 
Induction would Help:Robbie Williams, The Jam, Kaiser Chiefs, other UK Bands that never quite made it in US
Odds of Nomination This Year:5%
Odds of Nomination Ever:5%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


And now we come to our second and final Brit Pop band (although they would probably chafe at that label) on the list, alternative rockers Ash. Founded in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland in 1989, Ash was originally a three piece band with Tim Wheeler on lead guitar and lead vocals, Mark Hamilton on bass, and Rick McMurray on drums. While in many ways they are associated with Brit Pop, they are a) a bit more on the alternative than the poppy side; and b) are from Northern Ireland where being associated with anything too British is a bit of a touchy subject. 

They released their first album Trailerin 1994. Though calling it a full album is a bit of a stretch as it has only seven tracks and runs slightly over 20 minutes in total. Their second album 1977was significantly more album like and significantly more successful. It would both go to #1 in 1996 and go platinum in the UK. Singles Kung Fu, Girl from Mars, Angel Interceptor, Goldfinger, and Oh Yeahwould all hit the UK charts, with the latter two topping out at #5 and #6 respectively. NME would rank1977as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. 

They were touring in support of this album as the opening act for Weezer and felt that the band was missing an element with only three members. So they decided to bring in a fourth member, Charlotte Hatherley (formerly of Nightnurse) on guitar and vocals. Their first single with Hatherley was A Life Less Ordinaryfrom the soundtrack of the identically named Cameron Diaz/Ewan McGregor flick of 1997. Unfortunately, their third album Nu-Clear Soundswas not as successful and the band both nearly went broke and broke up.

Fortunately, they got everything straightened out in Tim Wheeler’s garage where the band first got together and in 2001 released their best selling album Release All Angelswhich would also go to #1 and Platinum in the UK. Five singles would chart in the UK, the first of which Guiding Lightwould hit #8 and would later be very memorably covered by goddess Annie Lennox. They would release one more album with Hatherley, 2004’s Meltdownwhich would go gold and I know best for providing two songs Meltdownand Orpheusfor the first movie of the Cornetto Trilogy Shawn of the Dead.After MeltdownHatherley and the band would part ways amicably with Hatherley leaving for her own solo career.

Since then they have released three more albums, each with the three original members and each with diminishing success. However, Ash is a band that has charted nearly 25 times in the UK and Ireland. But you will notice, there is no American crossover. Like their countrymen and fellow first time eligibles Supergrass, they have never made a dent over here and that is going to be an issue when it comes to the Hall. Being incredibly successful in one region of the world has almost never translated into success in getting into the Hall (unless of course that one region is the US). And that will hurt them. Is there a possibility they could have a champion? Yes, but that is a remote one as we currently sit here. Still, they have had a 25 year career with the same three guys plugging away and making music together. And that truly is a life less ordinary.     

  1. Jimmy Eat World

Hometown:Mesa, Arizona
Date formed:1993
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Jimmy Eat World (1994) 
Top Selling Record:Bleed American (#31, Platinum, 2001), Futures (#6, Gold, 2004)
Top Hits:The Middle (#5, #1 Alt Rock, Gold, 2001), Pain (#1 Alt Rock, 2004), Sweetness (#2 Alt Rock, 2002), My Best Theory (#2, Alt Rock, 2010), Big Casino (#3 Alt Rock, 2007) 
Underrated Track:I know it is right above, but Sweetness is such a good track
In Line Behind:Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Weezer, Sunny Day Real Estate
Induction would Help:All-American Rejects, Plain White Ts, Dashboard Confessional, Christie Front Drive
Odds of Nomination This Year:5%
Odds of Nomination Ever:5%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


This is the band I struggled to place on this list more than any other, but since they are one of the most popular emo pop bands and the king of the emos is next I figured this would be the best place for them. Named after the caption on a drawing that guitar player Tim Linton’s younger brother did of another of his younger brothers, Jimmy Eat World started as a punk band in Mesa, Arizona in 1993. Linton and bassist Mitch Porter joined up with singer Jim Adkins and drummer Zach Lind, who had been friends since pre-school. They would release their first demo tape later that same year.

Their first album, the eponymous Jimmy Eat World, would come out in 1994 on Wooden Blue Records. The album didn’t garner that much attention and the band began to drift away from the punk scene towards the growing emo scene which would dominate much of the first decade of 2000s. Porter would leave the band and be replaced by Rick Burch (thus completing the lineup they have kept for nearly a quarter century) shortly before they took their new sound to Capital Records. In away they were out ahead of where music was going and they would record two more albums in the late 90s, 1996’s Static Prevailsand 1999’s Clarity, before the music world caught up to them.

Because it was their fourth record, 2001’s Bleed Americanthat would launch them into mainstream consciousness. The breakout for them was their first single, The Middle, which would top out at #5 of the Billboard charts and stay on the radio throughout the summer and fall of 2001. A second single Sweetness, which may be my favorite of their songs, would hit #2 on the Alternative Rock charts that same year and the album would go Platinum. 

They would ride the crest of the emo takeover of alternative music for the rest of the decade, releasing Futures(which would go Gold on the strength of Alt Rock #1 Pain) in 2004 and Chase This Lightin 2007. They would go on to release four more albums and actually have a fifth coming out later this month and would hit the Alternative Charts a total of thirteen times, (most recently with 2016’s Sure and Certain). Their popularity has waned a bit with the slow decline of emo on the radio, but they are still out there pumping out music all these years later.

The question is what to do with them. The fact that The Cure finally hit the Hall last year (and I expect Depeche Mode will follow them in the near future) is good news for the emos. It means that the Hall is moving a bit more in their direction, albeit they have a long way to go before they get to Jimmy Eat World. And as we go along, more and more emo bands with bigger profiles, such as Panic! At the Disco, The All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance will be becoming eligible. So it almost seems as though the sooner Jimmy Eat World gets considered, the better their chances will be. I am not sure that the Hall will get there in time. But with the nominating committee (finally) getting younger, their chances may improve. Ultimately, once emo gets its due they may be just stuck in the middle, considered without ever being nominated. Seems appropriate for them. 

  1. Sunny Day Real Estate

Hometown:Seattle, Washington
Date formed:1992
Eligible Based on:Debut Album Diary (1994) 
Top Selling Record:How It Feels to Be Something On (1998)
Top Hits:Seven (1994)
Underrated Track:In Circles (1994)
In Line Behind:Emo being recognized
Induction would Help:They are the most important Emo Band of all time, so all Emos who follow
Odds of Nomination This Year:5%
Odds of Nomination Ever:7%
Will they Be a Rock Hall of Famer?:No


The center of the music world in the late 1980’s and into the early 90’s was Seattle, Washington. Of that there can be no doubt. And while Seattle’s most famous contribution is grunge, you cannot overlook the power of the emo scene and one of the movement’s principal founders (along with the Jawbreakers) Sunny Day Real Estate. 

Sunny Day Real Estate’s origins begin when University of Washington housemates Dan Hoerner (guitars) and Nate Mendel (bass) began having jam sessions and decided to look for a drummer, who ended up being William Goldsmith. They released a couple of demos as a three piece instrumental band first under the name Empty Set and later the incredible awesome (but probably not kosher with Lucas Films) Chebacca Kaboom. After another name change to the incredibly pretentious One Day I Stopped Breathing, Mendel had a brainwave after listening to the Talking Heads song Nothing But Flowersthat everything would eventually be for sale, even Sunny Days. And someone would have to sell them. Hence the name of the band.

Having not had any traction as an instrumental band, the group decided to add a singer and after tryouts decided that Hoerner would take on the lead. They would release a single called Flatland Spiderthat sounds a lot like the angrier hardcore music you would expect to hear coming out of Seattle in the early 90s. The members took breaks to work on some side projects and Goldsmith invited high school buddy Jeremy Enigk to play with him on one. Eventually Enigk and his much mellower vocals would take over as lead singer of Sunny Day Real Estate. The rest was 15 plus years of music history. 

They would release their debut album Diaryin 1994 with the headlining song Seven, and would go on to tour with Shudder to Think and fellow first time eligible this year Soul Coughing in support of the album. Upon finishing the tour, they immediately got back in the studio and recorded their second album Sunny Day Real Estate(1995), commonly called the Pink Album as they had a pink cover with the bands name and no other art for the album. To say this was a weird album is an understatement. The songs, when they have lyrics, are slapdash as the band was fighting and wanted to get the album out of the way. Upon completion of the album they immediately broke up. There was some thought that it was due to Enigk becoming a born again Christian, but the band downplayed that angle.

During the breakup, Goldsmith and Mendel would go on to help Dave Grohl in his goal to fight as many foos as possible (though Goldsmith would leave after the Foo Fighters’ second album), Enigk would start a solo career and Hoerner would move to a farm in rural Washington to find himself. They would eventually get back together, sans Mendel who was still busy with the Foo Fighters, and get along well enough to release two more albums How It Feels To Be Something On(1998) and The Rising Tide(2000) before breaking up again. They would never actually hit the charts with any song.

So how does a band that released four albums without a hit and were in many ways as well known for their disfunction and weirdness as their music end up ahead of a bunch of much more commercially successful artists on this list? Easy, the Hall loves originality and the combination of the Seattle sound with Enigk’s downbeat vocals essentially created a genre which would dominate the airwaves for a decade and a half. And I do think that gives them a bit of a leg up on any of the bands behind them. Honestly, I may be underrating their chances here, but it seems like a longer term project for them to get in. Particularly with the Foo Fighters not yet eligible and fellow Emos Weezer eligible for the first time this year. But the shear force of the numbers of their disciples who follow may get them in some sunny day. 

Last modified on Sunday, 06 October 2019 12:31
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Kirk Buchner, "The Committee Chairman", is the owner and operator of the site.  Kirk can be contacted at [email protected] . Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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