Jan 5, 2024 - Music

Top 25 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs of all time

Rap duo Eric B. and Rakim

Eric B. and Rakim. Photo: David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images

The nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2024 are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. So now is as good a time as any to rile up music fans.

Why it matters: The 2024 induction ceremony returns to Cleveland this fall, bringing one of the most hotly contested music industry debates and a local economic impact of $50 million to Northeast Ohio.

How it works: To be eligible, an artist had to release their first official recording at least 25 years prior to induction.

💭 My thought bubble: I took into account the Rock Hall's criteria of musical impact, influence, body of work and innovation, among other things, and ranked the 25 most overlooked artists by the Rock & Roll Hall Fame.

1. Joy Division/New Order

Eligible since: 2004

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: Joy Division and New Order are among the most influential acts ever, and the Rock Hall combined them on last year's ballot.

  • Joy Division was the poster child for the post-punk sound that influenced Hall of Famers like U2 and The Cure, while New Order — the band that members formed after singer Ian Curtis' death — helped pioneer modern electronic rock.

2. Chic

Eligible since: 2003

Nominations: 11

The intrigue: Chic is the most-nominated act in Rock Hall history but still hasn't been inducted.

  • That's despite ruling dance and funk music in the 1970s and becoming one of the most-sampled groups by early hip-hop producers.

3. Sonic Youth

Eligible since: 2008

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: The noise rock pioneer laid the groundwork for countless alternative and indie acts, including PJ Harvey, My Bloody Valentine, Foo Fighters and Pavement.

4. John Coltrane

Eligible since: 1986

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Despite being a jazz artist, Coltrane's groundbreaking improvisational style influenced several Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, including The Doors, Grateful Dead, Santana and Funkadelic.

5. MC5

Eligible since: 1992

Nominations: 6

The intrigue: Rock Hall voters continue to overlook MC5's primal, anti-establishment rock sound that served as a precursor to punk rock.

6. Iron Maiden

Eligible since: 2005

Nominations: 2

The intrigue: With Black Sabbath, Metallica and Judas Priest all inducted, Iron Maiden would appear next in line after redefining heavy metal with its progressive sound in the 1980s.

7. Mariah Carey

Eligible since: 2016

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: The recent inductions of Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan bode well for Carey, who has scored 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, second only to The Beatles.

8. Eric B. & Rakim

Eligible since: 2012

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: The arrival of Eric B. & Rakim shifted hip-hop into a lyrical-driven art form that Hall of Famers like Jay-Z, Eminem and The Notorious B.I.G. would follow.

9. New York Dolls

Eligible since: 1999

Nominations: 3

The intrigue: The Dolls' proto-punk mix of glam and hard rock influenced Hall of Fame inductees like the Ramones, Blondie and Guns N' Roses.

10. The Smiths

Eligible since: 2009

Nominations: 2

The intrigue: The Smiths were responsible for influencing the Second British Invasion in the 1980s, a wave followed by the Stone Roses, Radiohead, Oasis and Blur.

11. Motorhead

Eligible since: 2003

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: Motorhead brought loudness and speed to metal in the 1970s, establishing a formula that would shape the 1980s thrash metal stylings of bands like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.

12. Cher

Eligible since: 1991

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: There isn't much Cher hasn't done as an entertainer. She's been a mainstay in pop culture for 60 years.

13. Soundgarden

Eligible since: 2012

Nominations: 2

The intrigue: Soundgarden was one of the biggest bands of the grunge movement with frontman Chris Cornell possessing one of the greatest voices in rock music history.

14. Outkast

Eligible since: 2019

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Outkast pushed Southern hip-hop into the mainstream with a sense of musicality that would make members Andre 3000 and Big Boi 21st-century superstars.

15. Brian Eno

Eligible since: 2000

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Eno is in the Rock Hall as a member of Roxy Music, but his experimental solo work and production techniques became influential forces on punk, art rock and electronic music.

16. The Replacements

Eligible since: 2007

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: The Replacements, along with R.E.M., helped pioneer alternative rock, influencing Hall of Famers like Nirvana, Green Day and Foo Fighters.

17. Thin Lizzy

Eligible since: 1996

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: Thin Lizzy's twin lead-guitar attack changed the face of hard rock, paving the way for inductees like Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses and Def Leppard.

18. Mary J. Blige

Eligible since: 2018

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: Nicknamed the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul," Blige's combination of soulful harmonies and hip-hop beats became a chart-topping formula for everyone from Mariah Carey to Rihanna.

19. Pixies

Eligible since: 2013

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Pixies' merger of alternative rock with pop sensibility had a major impact on some of the biggest rock bands of the 1990s, including Nirvana, Radiohead and Weezer.

20. Toots and the Maytals

Eligible since: 1988

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Perhaps no artist other than Bob Marley was more responsible for spreading the popularity of reggae across the globe.

21. The White Stripes

Eligible since: 2023

Nominations: 1

The intrigue: The White Stripes served as 21st century torchbearers for garage and blues rock while becoming one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the past 25 years.

22. De La Soul

Eligible since: 2014

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: The alternative hip-hop sounds from De La Soul pushed rap to new, creative heights and influenced artists like Outkast and Kanye West.

23. The Smashing Pumpkins

Eligible since: 2016

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: The Billy Corgan-led band achieved huge success in the 1990s, blending elements of grunge, shoegaze and gothic rock for an aesthetic that influenced bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and Blink-182.

24. King Crimson

Eligible since: 1995

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: King Crimson was the most progressive of all progressive rock bands. Its highly experimental sound influenced bands like Tool, Nirvana and The Flaming Lips.

25. Tracy Chapman

Eligible since: 2014

Nominations: 0

The intrigue: Chapman was a central figure in the female singer-songwriter movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her influence carries on today with her 1988 song "Fast Car" becoming a hit for country singer Luke Combs.

Go deeper: Predicting the 2024 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees

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