Deserving bands are not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Doobie Brothers played at Lake Tahoe in 2014
Kurt Johnson / Tahoe Onstage

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2020 Inductees: Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. Jon Landau and Irving Azoff are inducted as the Ahmet Ertegun Award Winners. 

Inductees are considered 25 years after their first album was released. Further details of the selection process have not been made public. It’s felt that individualism, breaking through with a style, being a trendsetter, early influencers, and of course major market leaders with chart-topping success are qualifications that are strongly considered.

That said, there are many bands left out that seem like they are more than worthy, and we’re celebrating the Hall’s 35th year. Keeping in mind that the definition of rock ‘n’ roll can be admittedly broad, there are artists such as Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna and Public Enemy that are voted in.

Not saying they aren’t successful or didn’t contribute to popular music, but the below list seems to stand out to me that there are some well-celebrated rockers who are on the outside looking in:  
Bad Company/Free/Paul Rodgers
MC5
Ozzy Osbourne
Motorhead
Judas Priest
Jethro Tull
George Thorogood
Grand Funk Railroad
Steppenwolf
Soundgarden
The Black Crowes
Faces
Humble Pie

Others of note – Blue Oyster Cult, Billy Idol, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, America, Motley Crue, Pantera, Kansas, Foreigner, Foghat, Eddie Money, Boston, Thin Lizzy.

The Hall needs to get on the ball. Judas Priest and Motorhead are absolute hard rocking stalwarts with legendary frontmen and long careers. Free and particularly early Bad Company were a barnstorming gang of blues rockers with epic songs.

Steve Marriott (Humble Pie) is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? He could melt the walls with his vocals and play crushing guitar alongside Peter Frampton (and later Clem Clempson) with the best of ‘em. The Faces might be the coolest rock band ever.

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden aren’t recognized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as pioneers and vibe setters, but Bon Jovi is? Fleetwood Mac and Steve Nicks are both in as an example. And while Black Sabbath is in, no Ozzy? I know I’m a homer, but The Black Crowes’ first record is 5x platinum, and they were the biggest rock band in the world for a short stretch. Steppenwolf was pretty instrumental as 1960s psychedelic garage rockers.

There’s no conclusion. The Hall is going to do what it does. It’s all food for thought. I’m not much for awards myself. To me, you don’t win in music, and everybody else loses. Everybody can win. One person can be a die-hard fan of 10 bands, or more. I guess a final point would be that if the Hall is trying to make it exclusive and tough to get in, don’t go against the grain so much you are inducting pop stars and such that are a stretch to call “rock and rollers.” Keep it real. Or let everybody deserving in. Seems like a lot of legends are on the sidelines. 

— Jon Siembieda

ABOUT Jon Siembieda

Jon Siembieda
Writer Jon Siembieda plays guitar in the Southern California-based touring rock 'n' roll band Hunter & The Dirty Jacks. He is an avid concertgoer and album collector. His top five favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Faces, Mother Hips and Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

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59 Responses

    1. I have to agree with this man. I mean Steppenwolf, Billy idol, ozzy, blue oyster cult, Bachman Turner overdrive, bad company should be in way before any rapper that has been put in. I am sorry a rapper is not rock and roll. Is jazz rock and roll. Yes cause if you ask any rocker they will say jazz is part of rock and roll. But rapp and hip hop is not rock and roll. All rapp is a bunch of rhyming and most rappers can’t carry a tune. I guess I am done complaining.

          1. I am with you all the way Buddy, I am 70 years old and Foghat still lights a fire in my rock and roll soul, they are in mind one of the greatest bands ever, they should have been in the hall a long time ago. The hall needs to get off their ass and do what is right and put them in!!!

        1. Dolly Parton tried to reject the recommendation. But they wouldn’t take her off So she wrote a rap type song rock and roll sounding She is singing with some girls also

      1. Where do you think Rock & Roll came from. It came from Black music. Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, and Country music, were the inspiration for Rock & Roll. Today, there are many genres of music that could be considered Rock & Roll. Rap/Hip-hop, Heavy Metal, Folk music, Electronic, and Punk rock are all examples of modern day Rock & Roll

      2. Boycott rrhof till rock and roll bands like bad company, grand funk railroad is seen as Rock and roll…. maybe call it the country and Rap hall of fame

      3. The “hall of shame” is a two bit political outfit. Look how long it took RUSH to get in. “Uncle” Ted Nugent is great but they don’t like his politics. Screw them, I know who’s great in my mind.

    2. What about Uriah heep and why is ir still card rock and roll when it should be called music hall of fame I am so disgusted and ashamed of these people who nominate in the name of rock and roll.

    3. Why doesn’t anyone mention the Scorpions? how the hell does a rock band that great for that long not make the HOF????

  1. The Faces! BOOM! Loved this article and you were spot on. Black Sabbath should have been one of the first inducted! Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should let us, the fans decide who gets inducted! The fans of rock and roll that know what rock and roll is and who should belong. ???? All genres should not be casually splashed all through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame .. New Wave, Rap Pop, R&B. gospel and country — LOL, just covering my bases — should not be inducted because rock and roll is rock and roll and that is that. Rock and roll should not be placed in such a wide spectrum of different types of artists and or bands because rock and roll is effing rock and roll. PERIOD. I love those other genres and many other artists but I believe it takes away from the true rock and rollers the true artists, the bands whose blood sweat and tears truly belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, otherwise it takes away who and what rock and roll truly is and rock and roll will never die! However, it is really disturbing to see all of these other people that get inducted because every time that happens I feel like there’s a blot over rock and roll until it’s fade to black and then what? The Grand Ole Opry wouldn’t induct Black Sabbath would they? Heck no and understandably. It takes away the genre turning it too vague while slowly taking away the true meaning of rock and roll every time they induct someone or people that do not belong. Then younger people are probably like well what is rock and roll? See? It has to stop. LOL I take this very serious because rock and roll has changed history and I love it and is here to stay but we never thought it’s got to be protected somehow and it does. I’ll do it! LOL I probably get too involved but it’s just a passion and I’m afraid if someone doesn’t do anything about Rock and roll Hall of Fame that rock and roll could possibly I won’t even say the word…

    1. We should make a new hall of fame and call it the Real Rock Hall of Fame and include all the groups and solo artist who continue to make rock and roll part of their format. We’ve seen the power of go fund me. We could collectively fund our own hall using donations from the public and more importantly from rock and roll fans. Keep it in the hands of real rock legends and road makers. Let the people also vote who will be President and Vice President. It’s a real shame that we need to do this but it is very clear that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is on the same path as the Grammys and is not about to change anytime soon. Let the Grammys do the Grammy thing and keep Rock and Roll rocking. You can acknowledge writers and musicians that make rock and roll contributions and still stay on a rock and roll road. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has clearly veered off that road and is not coming back.

  2. There are so many bands that tug at our hearts in personal ways and are at least, if not more, deserving if getting into the hall. It is so hard to separate how the impact they had on us individually versus how much they actually shaped the face of music. Personally I think Humble Pie and Thin Lizzy being left out are insults. I am sure Judas Priest will get thier due. I think there are others….The Guess Who for example, that are too often overlooked. I have had always said that there should be a way to expand voting to the public. Let someone legit author a resume for the band, let people consider the music and the case and let them vote. I know the system will cater to the obsessive and opinionated (it ain’t perfect) but give the people a voice in the process.

    1. Commodores we’re very good but not rock and roll, neither is Madana, LLCool J, NWA. How do you leave out Peter Frampton, Bad Company? Foreignor they has amazing hits.

  3. You may laugh on what I got to say but love them or hate them Reo Speedwagon is a staple in American ’80s music and why there not part of the Rock and Roll Hall is crazy to me!! Ask anyone who grew up in those times I guarantee they mention REO!
    Such a shame!!! Top three that should be in Mötley Crüe, Ozzy and Reo. Just remember the 80s made rock ‘n’ roll.

    1. No, the 60’s made rock n roll, The Beatles being at the top of the list and no one else tops that list. The Beatles created REO Speedway on, and boy do I love REO Speedway on but it ALL started with The Beatles and even Elvis Presley and Sun Records. Late 50’s and all the 60’s hits.

  4. I agree with everyone stated. I’ll add the B52’s and Ronnie James Dio. Dio should have been inducted with Black Sabbath and his further involvement with Rainbow and his own band Dio is more than enough to merit induction. The B52’s were pioneers of New Wave in the United States and in my mind should be inducted as well.

  5. Has it been forgotten that Three Dog Night had so many hits of the seventies? They are SO deserving to be inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their harmonies were awesome. How can they be forgotten? Not justifiable. Who nominates these new bands who have not paid their dues.

  6. Holy crap why does The J Geils Band keep getting the nominee shaft. Unfair and inconceivable

  7. Holy crap why does The J Geils Band keep getting the nominee shaft. Unfair and inconceivable

    1. THREE DOG NIGHT had three No. 1 hits and sold more concert tickets from 1969-1974 than any other band! ……and they’re not even mentioned!

        1. I believe that music is a very personal experience for most of us. With that said, that personal bias should not affect how the Hall of Fame voting members deem a band Hall of Fame worthy. I had hoped that the exit of Jenn Wenner, who almost certainly had unilateral control of final induction decisions, would mean a more transparent nomination and voting process. That hasn’t happened though. I can’t explain the snubbing of so many deserving bands for decades without believing that decisions were based in feelings rather than facts (just a few I happen to know off the top of my head, not necessarily most important): Blue Oyster Cult eligible for 26 years, Thin Lizzy eligible for 28 years, Guess Who eligible for 33 years, and Jethro Tull eligible for 30 years. With regard to Jethro Tull, it’s been no real secret that the driving force behind the refusal to consider them is personal. Music executives and critics, and Jenn Wenner specifically, found it difficult to see the humor in Thick As A Brick. If the Hall of Fame has a real desire to be respected it’s necessary that personal bias be removed from the nomination and voting process. Until that happens and the list of nominees each year includes bands like Foghat, Motorhead, and the New York Dolls rather than Dolly Parton, their value as an institution will be questioned.

  8. Lol. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…is nothing but a joke. A members only club…that doesn’t have the authority to decide who the greatest rock bands of all time are. Just because some rich dude decided he would open up a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame club…does not mean he, or his club…is the ultimate authority on who is part of the greatest rock bands of all time. I will say it again…The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…is a Joke. It means absolutely NOTHING if a band is not inducted into their little “members only” club. Wings should be on any list that seriously considers itself a legitimate club. Everyone knows that. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame??? Lol…it should be the The Rock and Roll Joke Club.

  9. The Association, The Guess Who, others.

    We saw GFR a few years ago, and they were just as good as they had been 40 years earlier.

    What a joke.

  10. I would agree with most mentioned here. The fact that JOE COCKER is never mentioned/nominated shows that the RNRHOF is a Joke.
    Also, Jethro Tull ???
    And if Im not mistaken ELP ???

  11. It’s a joke I’m sorry but you put in Joan Jett ahead Steve Marriott of humble pie that man had an amazing voice

  12. Not gonna lie, I thought more people would comment on the fact that Thin Lizzy has been bent over by the R&RHOF year after year. They have sold about 4 million copies worldwide, and half of those belong to their breakout album (pun intended) “Jailbreak” which includes timeless classics like The Boys are Back in Town, The Cowboy Song, and of course: JAILBREAK! It’s almost disgusting in a way to see people like Eminem and Public Enemy in the HOF because they aren’t even in the genre that the award is named after. If you want to include them then make it the “Music Hall of Fame” or something like that. Bands like Pantera, Ozzy, Alice in Chains, Kansas, and Thin Lizzy are must-haves in this house of legendary musicians and rockers as they have helped shape music and culture as we know it!

  13. Stone Temple Pilots is one of the most overlooked bands. On top of their commercial success, Scott Weiland was one of the greatest frontmen of all time. He was able to sing just about anything perfectly, his voice was like a chameleon and his range was excellent. The whole band’s ability to evolve and successfully experiment with such a large variety of sounds was unmatched by any other 90s band. They’re true masters of their craft, they weren’t afraid to be different and delve into multiple genres and subgenres, most other bands never strayed outside the box like they did.

  14. Since there is a fan vote to include bands in the rockhall, I think there should be a fan vote for removal from the rockhall. Set some criteria [Vote limit] and if the fans vote enough, THEY’RE OUT!

  15. Status Quo anyone? 118 million records sold, opened Live Aid, more hit singles than virtually any other band in the UK…..

  16. I believe that music is a very personal experience for most of us. With that said, that personal bias should not affect how the Hall of Fame voting members deem a band Hall of Fame worthy. I had hoped that the exit of Jenn Wenner, who almost certainly had unilateral control of final induction decisions, would mean a more transparent nomination and voting process. That hasn’t happened though. I can’t explain the snubbing of so many deserving bands for decades without believing that decisions were based in feelings rather than facts (just a few I happen to know off the top of my head, not necessarily most important): Blue Oyster Cult eligible for 26 years, Thin Lizzy eligible for 28 years, Guess Who eligible for 33 years, and Jethro Tull eligible for 30 years. With regard to Jethro Tull, it’s been no real secret that the driving force behind the refusal to consider them is personal. Music executives and critics, and Jenn Wenner specifically, found it difficult to see the humor in Thick As A Brick. If the Hall of Fame has a real desire to be respected it’s necessary that personal bias be removed from the nomination and voting process. Until that happens and the list of nominees each year includes bands like Foghat, Motorhead, and the New York Dolls rather than Dolly Parton, their value as an institution will be questioned.

  17. I agree wholeheartedly! The issue with so many award shows (The Oscars, The Grammys, The Golden Globes, the list goes on) is that there are primarily only two deciding factors; Is it what mainstream media accepts as what’s “in”? and do they follow the formula that all the other “musicians” (if you think that putting a trap beat over a voice which has been autotuned to the point of no return as music) followed. Bands like Motley Crue have actually been banned from the R&RHOF because of their lifestyle issues. Has everyone forgotten the fact that artists like Tupac and Public Enemy, who have already been inducted, have had crippling drug addictions? It truly is a double-standard. These so called “music executives” and “critics” have forgotten what good music sounds like, so they refuse the very bands who deserve it the most, and give it to R&B groups (no hate to my Boys II Men fans. I enjoy the music, they just aren’t rock and roll) instead. It has taken Iron Maiden almost twenty years to finally have the opportunity to be inducted, but why are artists like Kate Bush (who’s a one-hit wonder at best since nobody had ever heard of her until Stranger Things season 4), Missy Elliot (who’s a rapper), and Willie Nelson (who is a G.O.A.T of country music… but not rock and roll). I still believe that great musicians deserve recognition, but if you want to lump everybody into one title, make it the Music Hall of Fame. Stop disrespecting the greatest genre of music! Fans have waited so long for the bands who wrote the songs to their lives to be recognized, just to see somebody from the 90s that nobody remembers. In the wise words of Dave Mustaine (paraphrased to fit this scenario): GIVE THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME BACK TO THE ROCKERS!!!

  18. I would add Dan Fogelberg, The Guess Who, The Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, Phil Collins solo (if he isn’t in), Peter Frampton, Supertramp, and Gordon Lightfoot.

  19. At the end of the day, Billy Joel said it best.. ‘It’s all Rock and Roll to me’
    The hall is no longer the rock and roll hall of fame.. it’s simply morphed itself into the music hall of fame… Mozart will be getting the call soon..

  20. Very good discussion here and many many valid thoughts. I guess most of us are somewhat partisan to our younger era and that initial introduction to rock and roll music. So what might a band and/or artist might have done to not only further the music, but introduce a different layer to it all. As I think back to my period, the 70s, I believe very lucky to have heard so many really good bands and lots of unique sounds. One band that stands out that is NOT in the HOF is “Kansas”. Yes prog rock for sure, but introduced the concerto violin as a instrument as their trademark sound. Similar to Tull and the flute. Kansas had very complex arrangement, multiple instruments, and those sounds, all combined with complex lyrics sang so nicely. And these old guys still bang away as tight as they were over 40 years ago. Still scratching my head how the HOF committee could have overlooked such a creative medley of music. Thoughts?

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