20 Artists Missing From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Rock and Roll is the “People’s Music,” so in honor of this week’s induction ceremony, I thought it would be nice to ask a handful of “people” which acts they believe should be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Besides, my doctor and I enjoy talking about these matters. He says it helps with my treatment.

I asked a variety of people, but mostly rock writers wrote back. (As if making a list requires anyone to write!) I didn’t solicit comments, since I didn’t want this blog to read like the “Deluxe and Expanded Re-Mastered Version of War and Peace.” For my own list, I grabbed some names that didn’t make the others. I wrote up the 20 entries that caught my eye. But don’t take that to mean that the other suggestions are any less deserving.

Participating in this poll does not imply that you care about what happens with the Hall of Fame. This is for amusement purposes only. Thanks to all who participated. Obviously, I think quite a bit of your opinion.

Readers, don’t forget to write in your own faves.

20) Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: I’ve had to check the list several times to make sure the Blue Notes were not admitted. That’s how hard it is to believe. Listen, I know Philly is one of those cities that always gets dumped on, but you can’t argue with Philly Soul. Besides, the Hall itself is located in Cleveland, so it’s not like it doesn’t understand the plight of the underdog.

19) Captain Beefheart: Average people like to claim that Rock Critics are an elitist, snotty bunch with too much control. But clearly that is not true because the great Captain has gotten great reviews and sold very few records and is nowhere near the Hall of Fame.

18) The Cure: It’s really annoying how many great British bands have been left out of the Hall. Sure, most of the 1960s bands all got in, but after that, no Brits need apply. The Cure were so incredibly versatile. I also vote for Bauhaus and the Sisters of Mercy. Just think — a Goth wing! No windows and you could save a bundle on lighting!

17) Kraftwerk: Electronic music has been such an important part of rock music in the ensuing decades. Can’t these guys get in under the “influences” tag if nothing else? In fact, where are any of the great German bands?

16) Journey: OK, OK, I’ve been less than kind to them in the past. But I’m not everyone. And Yahoo Music’s own Lyndsey Parker certainly knows what the men don’t understand. I’m more partial to letting in her beloved faves Duran Duran, since they were an important part of early MTV. But just as your favorite musical acts made an indelible impression on you when you were a small person, so did Journey on young Lyndsey. Miss L remains a hardcore music junkie. That’s more than you can say for most people. She cares!

15) Moby Grape: Moby Grape were the best band to come out of that 1960s San Francisco scene and they’re the ones who aren’t here! They paid the first time around and they’re paying now!

14) Big Star: How the Hall can continue to ignore the “marginal” figures who have kept the flame alive for so many is just another chapter in a book I never intend to write! (Too busy listening to music.)

13) Buzzcocks: I guess the Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, and Stooges are all we need to know of punk. It might have helped if these guys were signed to Sire.

12) Brian Eno: Brian is known to many people, except, I suppose, to those people voting in the real Hall. But really? Roxy Music isn’t in? And neither is Eno? Can’t U2 or Talking Heads do anything about this?

11) Love: Whenever you realize Arthur Lee and Love are not in the Hall, just remind yourself that U2 and the Eagles made it.

10) The Monkees: I know, this is where the Hall applies their standards. Again, I invoke what will be known hereafter as the “U2 Defense.”

9) The Dead Boys: There were so many great punk bands that have no likely shot at the Hall. Rocket From the Tombs, Pere Ubu, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, X Ray Spex, X, Suicide, the Dictators… take your kids to the zoo instead.

8) Graham Parker: Had Graham Parker studied harder, he could’ve been Elvis Costello. Instead, he’s a few steps ahead of Garland Jeffreys.

7) The Modern Lovers: Jerry Harrison got in as a member of Talking Heads and maybe someday David Robinson will get in as a member of the Cars. But the Modern Lovers, with auteur Jonathan Richman, were so much more, y’know!

6) Public Image Ltd.: I guess Johnny Rotten (Lydon) should be happy(?) that the Sex Pistols made it in. Why aren’t more people like Van Morrison? He didn’t even bother going to his induction ceremony. I guess he didn’t feel like “jamming” with the Boss.

5) New York Dolls: Madonna made it in. David Bowie made it in. Iggy & The Stooges made it in. What kind of grassroots push is it going to take to put in these folks? Or will Buster Poindexter be admitted first? Can they at least be considered “influences”?

4) MC5: You would think Bruce Springsteen’s manager would have a little more pull with the Hall. But then maybe things went really wrong in the studio and they weren’t nice enough to him. Or maybe someone should just let those poor filmmakers release that MC5 documentary and things will then work out.

3) Tim Buckley: So, does anyone think Jeff Buckley will get in instead? Or will all his fans have moved on as well when the time comes?

2) The Smiths: What is everyone waiting for? Wasn’t anyone on the Hall induction committee ever a teenager?

1) Joy Division: Seriously! They’ve now had enough books, films, and reissues to qualify. Does someone else in the band have to commit suicide to get more attention?