Music Odds: 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Candidates

The Guitars of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Photo Credit: By Andrew Hitchcock (Flickr)

Every year musical greats are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, on April 7th, 2017, in New York, artists like Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, and Joan Baez are getting the nod.

What’s also special about this year’s ceremony is that, because artists are eligible for the Hall 25 years after the release of their first album or single, we are now finally going to see some of the great acts of the 90s get their due. Both Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur were eligible and both got in on their first ballot. So for the next few years, folks like me can feel super old as some of the great artists of my youth are now considered Rock Hall-worthy.

Pearl Jam performing in Philadelphia in 2013
Photo Credit: By Lugnuts (Own work)

However, for every great band that gets their moment in the Hall, there are many others that continue to get the snub. While some Halls vote for eligible candidates, the Rock HoF is controlled by a few people (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation) who clearly make their decisions based on their own personal tastes rather than merit.

The other issue has been allowing other genres of music in. There was a lot of controversy in Madonna’s induction as people felt that there were older “rock” bands and artists that were far more deserving and actually fell under the “Rock and Roll” banner. The same can be said last year for the gangsta rap group N.W.A. Maybe it’s time to think about changing the Rock and Roll HoF to the Music HoF.

N.W.A. Promotional Photo
Photo Credit: Bjeka (Own Work)

What’s important though is what the artists’ impact was on their genre. Sure commercial success is definitely a factor, but it also comes down to some element of creative invention and lasting influence no matter if you consider them “Rock and Roll” or not.

Next year the ceremony is going back to Cleveland for the foreseeable future and the class of 2018 looks promising. That list includes Beck, Tool, No Doubt, Stone Temple Pilots, TLC, Sublime and even Pharcyde and Arrested Development could be honored.

Those are all worthy recipients, but the question is when will notable omissions like Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, Moody Blues, Roxy Music, Tina Turner or even The Cure finally get their moment in the sun?

Below are the top ten artists that should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year along with the odds of them actually getting onto the ballot. It’s a mix bag of merit, glaring omissions, and my own personal taste.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Odds

Whitney Houston: 3/1

Since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has started to nominate other genres of music like pop, this is the most glaring omission. At one point The Guinness Book of World Records had her as the most awarded female act of all time.

We know the countless hits and legendary album sales. She is considered one of the greatest performers of all time and it’s time to give this woman what she deserves. I’m not sure why the Hall of Fame waits for the greats to die before they decide. This should have happened years ago and needs to happen in 2018.

Moody Blues: 4/1

Since 1989 the Moody Blues have not received one single Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. Let that sink in for a minute.

They are the longest lasting of the British Invasion acts and should be in the Hall based purely on merit. Their work speaks for itself. They’ve had three decades of artistic and commercial relevance and were one of the first bands to blend classical and rock music together. They were even an influence on the Beatles; that has to say something.

Once again it comes down to Rock Hall chairman Jann Wenner’s personal taste over merit. According to some, Wenner is not a fan of progressive rock, which he really needs to get over and start to embrace or this Hall of Fame will continue to be looked at as a sham.

Nine Inch Nails: 4/1

Three times this band has been shunned from the ballot. Is it the fact that Trent Reznor and his crew are pioneers of electronica infused metal? Their success ushered in a movement of gothic, industrial metal like Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and you can even say that Linkin Park was heavily influenced by NIN’s electronic angst.

Their music was revolutionary but even if you are not a fan of the tech and brooding sounds of their jams, you can’t forget about what made them so great and that was Reznor’s songwriting.

With the Rock Hall of Fame ceremony returning to Cleveland, Nine Inch Nails being inducted in their hometown increases the odds. Otherwise, there is no Rock God.

Motörhead: 17/3

This band has been snubbed 14 times, yet sold 15 million albums worldwide. They won a Grammy and a Metal Hammer Golden God Award, not to mention they were one of the most influential metal bands of all time. How can you have a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and not have Lemmy and crew in it?

Radiohead: 17/3

If Pearl Jam is now the new standard when it comes to 90s rock acts (and that’s a great standard) then Radiohead is not an “if”, but rather a “when”, and there is no better time than 2018. They are considered one of the most influential British rock acts of all time and have a discography over the last two and half decades that few bands can rival. In my world, they are a sure thing whether it will be next year or the year after.

Rage Against the Machine: 9/1

There is no real debate here. For the years that this band was together, they turned rock music on its head by showing how rap-metal works and everyone else after were just imitators (Sorry Limp Bizkit).

But what made this band special was how they were able to blend their hard edge sound with political messages that still resonate today. Their music continues to be the soundtrack for the anti-establishment, the people who are tired of the status quo. The band will get its first shot at the Rock Hall when the ballot for the Class of 2018 is announced in the fall. Something tells me they make the cut on the first try.

Dr. Dre: 9/1

This one might be a tad controversial. I’m sure we can make a claim there are far more deserving candidates, but if you know how this Hall of Fame works, then you know that they have this new fascination with including rap artists.

Nothing against including rap, both N.W.A’s induction, and this year’s Tupac induction are well deserved. But Dre was more known as a legendary hip-hop producer rather than a solo artist. However, it appears the Hall wants to throw a light on 90s hip-hop and so you have to think Dre is next reppin’ 213.

Bon Jovi: 19/1

With the recent inductions of long-time snubs Journey and Electric Light Orchestra, it’s time the Rock Hall makes amends with Bon Jovi. There has been a long-standing feud between Hall chairman Jann Wenner and lead singer Jon Bon Jovi, and it’s getting to the point of ridiculousness.

The New Jersey rockers have sold more than 130 million albums worldwide (37 million in the US) and have only been nominated for the Rock Hall honor one time, in 2011. Put the pettiness aside and put them where they belong. Dead or Alive

Iron Maiden: 25/1

Anytime I hear Iron Maiden’s name I can’t get Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure out of my head. Throughout their career, this band got little in the way of radio or television support yet they still sold over 90 million records worldwide. As their band evolved with a few lineup shifts they received both platinum and gold albums in the States and overseas. This band continues to get no love from the mainstream or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’ve been snubbed for 12 years now, and it’s time to right the wrong.

Def Leppard: 50/1

How does a band that releases legendary rock albums Pyromania and Hysteria still not get Rock Hall of Fame love? They had the one-handed Rick Allen on drums!

The reason could be as simple as lead singer Joe Elliott stating that he doesn’t want the nomination as he feels there have been so many snubs of artists that are far more deserving. Although Elliott speaks that way publicly, his fans have been pushing for a nomination for years now. Will it come in 2018? And if they were nominated would they go all Sex Pistols and say, thanks but no thanks? We might soon find out.

The Field of Other Musical Talents That Could Get In

  • Arrested Development
  • Moby
  • Bad Company
  • Beck
  • Big Star
  • Cars
  • Dire Straits
  • Doobie Brothers
  • Devo
  • Jethro Tull
  • Joy Division
  • Judas Priest
  • King Crimson
  • Megadeth
  • Motley Crue
  • No Doubt
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Pantera
  • Pixies
  • Roxy Music
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Slayer
  • Sonic Youth
  • Soundgarden
  • Stone Temple Pilots
  • Sublime
  • The Cure
  • The Guess Who
  • The Pharcyde
  • The Smiths
  • Tina Turner
  • TLC
  • Tool
  • Beatlejeff

    I agree with having the Moody Blues, The Cars, Def Leppard, Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine and the rest of the list are totally highly worthy artists, especially Dire Straits and the Doobies, but people always forget bands that have sold millions that remain in the shadows like Foreigner, Boston, Kansas and the J. Geils Band.

    • Trevor

      Yeah you’re very correct. I think that speaks to how this HOF is being run. So many snubs and head scratches.

    • Missy Cross

      That’s funny, I don’t like the “travel makes me weary” bands either. It’s hard for me to judge them less worthy than Rage, but I do. I can’t believe Janet Jackson might get in before Carole King and The Moody Blues!

      • Beatlejeff

        Carole King not being in yet is wacko.

  • Steve Smith

    Sonic Youth deserves induction. They paved the way for 90s alternative bands like Nirvana and the entire shoegaze genre that My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive owned.

  • Mike Scott

    Janet Jackson is a glaring omission here….

  • Brian de Castro

    Nobody eligible for the first time next year is more deserving than The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Bon Jovi, Bad Company, Def Leppard or Boston, which you didn’t mention. These bands all belong induction before NiN or Radiohead too. And I don’t understand why rap and hip hop acts are getting in but not country. What is the distinction being made? Moody Blues in 2017! The most glaring omission!

  • Kristen Marin-Mergler

    I am throwing this out here.
    We have seen the original pioneers, rocker, folk, country, and to me the ridiculous rap performers inducted.
    Let me ask how many got their love of rock by a teen idol…be honest. Women are some of the biggest followers and we followed at ages b4 10 yrs. to the likes of Leif Garrett, Andy Gibb, Boy Bands, etc. The original true game changer was David Cassidy. Dont laugh…Read his Wikipedia page. He has the numbers, he is rock history, hell he kept a magazine in business bought mainly by girls under 16 yrs. of age.
    Yes, I think it is time because that David Cassidy fan made hair bands a success. We grew into bands. So let’s stop thinking it is not the popular thing to is the right thing to do for a clean map of the progressive roots of rock n roll.
    Let’s do this while he can still accept!
    Thank you.

    • Missy Cross

      Well, I’m a hard rocker, but I love The Carpenters, so who am I to judge. I think at this point they need to look at bands who broke ground. The Moody Blues and King Crimson certainly fall into that category. Rage does as well.

    • Trevor

      You make a great point. Currently Cassidy is dealing with dementia and isn’t talking to anyone. I’m not sure if he makes my RHOF, but with how it’s being run today, who knows. In reality I don’t see it happening, but in our daydreams?

      • Kristen Marin-Mergler

        Well my hopes where dashed last week with Glen Campbell’s passing of his being honored before he passed away.
        We have a lot of performers being overlooked who did big things for their time and paved the way. Cassidy turned a lot of young girls on to music. Glen Campbell out charted the Beatles in 1968! Had a top rated show that PLAYED music and more gold then Nelson and Pardon (who are great but did not have the crossover to rock Campbell did). Now that they got over their let’s be PC and bring Rap in maybe we can go back and get some of these ground breakers in there.

  • Michael Kerner

    They really need to put Whitney Houston in. She could’ve been placed in the rock & roll hall of fame well before she passed away. 2010 was her first year to be eligible.

  • Deborah Paley

    Cars, Cars, Cars. Moody Blues. The Feelies.

  • Frank Sabella

    Please, finally the Moody Blues…wayyyyy overdue.