All 15 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, Ranked

The nominees checklist for the 2019 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was launched this week. Below are the candidates, ranked so as of benefit. For background on the corridor and its procedures, and all of the earlier inductees, click on right here.

Roxy Music

Given that they’ve been eligible for 20 years, that is essentially the most obvious omission within the corridor’s historical past. Roxy was one of the crucial difficult bands of its time, mixing glam, artwork rock, and a few species of European chanteuserie (courtesy of chief Bryan Ferry) layered with postmodern rock imagery, a decayed, regretful sexuality, and venturesome soundscapes (courtesy of founding member Brian Eno). Brassy early releases gave strategy to a number of art-rock classics (Country Life, Stranded) after which shifted across the time of Manifesto into haute world pop in Flesh & Blood and Avalon that arguably has by no means been equaled.


The debate about Radiohead is whether or not they're a transformative, pantheonic band, worthy of instant entry to the corridor, or only a actually nice one. I feel they're at the least as nice as R.E.M., say, which acquired in on its first yr. This is the band’s second yr of eligibility. I feel they're a top-tier band, musically adventurous, and modern in all types of the way. I can nonetheless bear in mind the place I used to be the primary time I heard “Paranoid Android.”

To its credit score, the nominating committee went for them, even if the members of Radiohead have disparaged the corridor repeatedly, and have already mentioned they gained’t be coming to the induction ceremony. Hard to imagine the members of the voting committee, now mentioned to be 1,000 sturdy, may determine that Radiohead is just not a corridor of fame band, however maybe they gained’t given the band’s place. From the perspective of the organizers of the induction ceremony, this implies one much less big-ticket headliner.

Janet Jackson

Some will say she’s solely a pop artist, which in a approach she is, however she can be a terrific R&B star. Besides that, she has a narrative — marshaling the expertise to interrupt out of the rut of her early albums (and, extra importantly, away from her benighted household) and discovering the collaborators she wanted in Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Besides the assertion of independence that was Control, she scaled issues up for Rhythm Nation 1814, which rocks substantively and confidently to at the present time. She in the end made a number of years of the period her personal, towards some important competitors, together with Prince, Springsteen, Madonna, and — who am I forgetting? — her brother.


The industrial Germanic sound is far favored in some important conclaves. I feel it’s nice — and an early, arguably the Ur-influence on the digital music that will dominate the ’80s and ’90s.

Todd Rundgren

Rundgren is a consummate pop craftsman and but nonetheless a rock artiste. He’s cool sufficient to have certainly one of his earliest songs, “Open My Eyes,” from his first band Nazz, be included in Lenny Kaye’s historical past of storage rock, Nuggets. In the 1970s, he was a unusual auteur, writing, producing, and performing pop hits that by no means fairly made it to the highest ten however stick with us to at the present time — “Hello It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light,” “We Gotta Get You a Woman,” “Can We Still Be Friends” — even whereas experimenting musically in all types of the way, from space-rock excursions with Utopia to filling one facet of an album with good note-for-note covers of rock classics like “If Six Was Nine” and “Good Vibrations.” But: He dressed glam — he made an look on The Midnight Special performed up like a homosexual butterfly — and the corridor will get uncomfortable with boys who gown up like women, and Rundgren has remained on the skin whereas all kind of Spinal Tap-y manly males in spandex have been ushered in — to not point out a lot much less proficient acts from the identical period, like Bill Withers, Cat Stevens, even Laura Nyro. And as I wrote in my rating of the corridor acts earlier this yr, he’s additionally produced greater than a handful of sign rock albums, together with New York Dolls, We’re an American Band, Bat Out of Hell, Wave, Skylarking, and Forever Now .

Rufus that includes Chaka Khan

Classy funk-pop outfit from the 1970s. Khan is an superior presence and had a solo latter-day hit, however I don’t assume her or the band’s work warrants inclusion.

The Cure

The omission of Joy Division and New Order looms over the corridor; I don’t know whether or not it’s the scarcity of girls within the nominating and voting course of or simply the in-clubby nature of the nominating committee, however the lack of respect for dance music is inexplicable. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is likely one of the best rock singles of all time, and New Order’s ’80s works, timelessly orchestrated and produced, have been formidable underground dance music presences within the 1980s. They saved at it and the world got here to them and so they ended up world superstars. The band’s lyrics typically come throughout as dorky, I take the purpose; however you additionally should agree that at the least three of their precise albums — Power, Corruption and Lies, Low-Life, and Brotherhood — are substantive works peppered with good songs.

Anyway, I am going into such element to notice that the one good argument towards the Cure is that so far as digital acts of the period goes, they're much less necessary than JD/NO. In their favor: They have been round British punk when it was created, and rapidly emerged as among the many first post-punk bands, boasting brainy compositions (an early track was primarily based on Camus’s The Stranger, and titled, uncompromisingly, “Killing an Arab”) and killer hooks (like those in “Boys Don’t Cry”). Their albums acquired higher and higher (not the standard rock dynamic) and scaled as much as large gross sales, and the band finally performed a number of stadiums. And at a time when a whole lot of conventional rock bands have been nonetheless placing on old-school exhibits, Cure live shows have been sonic and visible extravaganzas.

John Prine

Prine is a postmodern folkie with a minor important nook. I feel he veers into dorkiness and an unstable absurdism, however you may’t gainsay the uncompromising singularity of his songs. That mentioned, there’s not that many nice ones. Seems odd that there are folks pushing him when songwriters like Warren Zevon, Gram Parsons, and even Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson are usually not in but.


The cowl of “Satisfaction” was as post-punk because it acquired, and there have been one or two different critical songs, nevertheless it was onerous to take them severely. “Whip It” was an enormous novelty single after which the novelty wore off. Leader Mark Mothersbaugh has gone on to do notable movie soundtrack work.


Like the Stooges, MC5 are a lot beloved of punk lifers, and definitely a candidate as an early punk progenitor. The band was the ferocious embodiment of essentially the most revolutionary and romanticized edges of the antiwar motion within the late 1960s. “Kick Out the Jams” is kind of a track. I feel they're one thing of a footnote at this level however, as I mentioned, a lot beloved of punk lifers.

The Zombies

A semi-distinctive British invasion outfit, delivering an early semi-psychedelic hit “She’s Not There” (which predated the Yardbirds’ semi-simlair “For Your Love”), and later one known as “Time of the Season.” Fans just like the ignored second album Odessey and Oracle, full with misspelled phrase “odyssey,” however fact be advised this can be a extremely twee work that’s onerous to hearken to, exterior of a good track or two by Rod Argent, who went on to some average solo success. And that’s the band’s profession! Compare that to the Hollies, who recorded 15 or 20 albums and had hits for greater than a decade. This is a minor band.

Rage Against the Machine

They rock very onerous and who doesn’t like Tom Morello’s guitar taking part in? I like Marxist rock as a lot as the following man, however I would like songs too.

Stevie Nicks

Fleetwood Mac was inducted approach again in 1998, so Nicks is already within the corridor, which she deserves to be. Her solo profession contains one-and-a-half first rate hits (“Edge of Seventeen” [the one about the “white wing dove”] and “Stand Back”) and a few duets, that are advantageous however filled with ’80s manufacturing gassiness. You may even throw within the pre-Fleetwod Mac Buckingham Nicks album, which I nonetheless have on LP (it was by no means launched on DVD), to which she contributes a number of markedly superior songs, like “Long Distance Winner”; however there’s nothing remotely in Nicks’s solo profession that warrants induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. And if you happen to assume she deserves to be in as a result of the corridor hasn’t inducted sufficient ladies, let’s begin with the B-52’s and the Go-Gos and transfer on to the Carpenters, Carole King (in as a songwriter, not a performer), Lucinda Williams, Parton, and PJ Harvey. And that’s to not point out Diana Ross, whose (un-inducted) solo profession post-Supremes is much extra spectacular than Nicks’s put up–Fleetwood Mac, and that goes double for Tina Turner’s put up–Ike and Tina.

LL Cool J

LL has all the time had a coterie who declare he’s some kind of expertise, however he’s actually only a hack entertainer. There’s nothing flawed with that, however hacks don’t belong within the rock corridor of fame. It didn’t should be this fashion: Midway into his early profession he teamed up with Marly Marl and made one terrific track, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” on a file, Walking Like a Panther, that confirmed promise of substance. But that was only for a second, and after that he drifted again into pop–slash–hip-hop novelty-tinged numbers, with nothing in his recorded oeuvre I can consider offhand that bears listening to right this moment. And even by a hack’s requirements, his smarmy hostings of the Grammys are fairly excessive. LL appears to have a PR machine that works additional time — how else to clarify his being the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors two years in the past? Were there actually folks sitting across the Honors’ places of work saying, “Yeah we gotta get the host of Lip Sync Battle in!” Forgive me for quoting my very own tweet: “I might guess you my prized outsized [Public Enemy] Fear of a Black Planet poster that LL has a staff of individuals holding not one however a collection of conferences to determine which silly hat he wears to the Grammys.”

Def Leppard

Def Leppard have been an overproduced, oddly nameless lite-metal aggregation that had a few massive-selling albums within the mid-1980s. I don’t have an issue with dumb rock bands being within the corridor — the place’s Grand Funk Railroad, for instance? — but when these guys had all of a sudden disappeared the one individuals who would have seen in addition to their instant households would have been Mercury Records’ accountants.

I spoke to corridor founder Jann Wenner and present CEO Joel Peresman earlier this yr. They each flatly denied any messing round with voting procedures. We should take them at their phrase. But nonetheless: When I look over the present nominating-committee membership — the Rolling Stone critics; business vets like Seymour Stein and Bill Flanagan; artists like Robbie Robertson, Questlove and Tom Morello; a number of folks I do know barely or have met through the years — I feel, who amongst these folks would advocate for an unheralded, critically ignored band like Def Leppard? There are about 30 members of the nominating committee proper now, and, if as I’ve been advised, every member will get to advocate for 2 acts, that’s 60 complete within the combine for annually’s nominations. Are Little Steven, or Paul Shaffer, or the Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye actually making the case for these lunkheads, and even simply nodding alongside in settlement as another person makes the case? (“They must be an advocate,” Peresman advised me of the nominators. “They want to inform a narrative to promote to the others within the room.”) Could darkish forces on the corridor insert a fan-friendly however crappy band to promote tickets to the annual present and drive viewers to the Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland? I spoke to 1 nominating committee member who mentioned … “No. There’s a whole lot of help for Def Leppard within the group. No one went [gagging sound]. There are some nominations the place I feel, ‘You have gotten to be kidding me.’ I didn’t discover anyone cringing.” This appears to be in step with what Wenner advised me earlier this yr: “I feel through the years now, the generations are altering, and industrial success appears to be a extra related ingredient to some folks.” 2019 might be Def Leppard’s yr.