It’s that time of year again! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its initial list of nominees for 2018. (No Slayer or Carpenters again, but maybe next year?)
I tried to predict the class of 2017, so I thought I’d do it again this year as well. People love to hate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but even with all its obvious flaws, I think it’s incredibly important. Also, I drove to Cleveland a few months ago and toured the hall; it was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve had in a long time, and I highly recommend it to anyone else who loves music. I had visited twice before, sure, but there’s always something new to see.
Anyway, here are my brief thoughts on each nominee. At the end, I try to predict what the Class of 2018 may look like.
Bon Jovi: Bon Jovi probably deserves to get in at this point. I don’t personally like many of the band’s huge radio hits, but they’ve been doing this a long time and still know how to make a hit after all these years. (I do have a soft spot for the band’s These Days album from 1995, but I don’t necessarily listen to it anymore. It just reminds me of an especially enjoyable time of my childhood.)
Kate Bush: This seems like a stretch, but I’m excited they nominated her.
The Cars: YES! They should have been voted in last year, and nothing has changed. Put them in!
Depeche Mode: I’ll quote myself from last year’s article, because nothing has changed: I can’t even pretend to be a fan of Depeche Mode. Do they get in? I have no idea. I’m thinking they don’t, at least not this year, but I could be wrong. Again: I’m not a fan. This isn’t my thing. Where’s that shrugging emoticon when you need it?
Dire Straits: I’m pretty damn indifferent when it comes to Dire Straits, to be honest. It’s a bit like Bon Jovi or Depeche Mode. They deserve to get in, sure, but I’ve never been much of a fan.
Eurythmics: Yes! I’d be thrilled to see Annie & Dave get in. It would be great to see them play the induction ceremony as well, but I don’t know where the personal drama between them stands right now. Would it keep them from playing together?
J. Geils Band: I sincerely love these guys, but I also never really considered them the kind of band you’d put in a hall of fame. J. Geils did die earlier this year, so that probably increases their chances quite a bit.
Judas Priest: The hall’s voters really don’t understand metal, do they? No Slayer? No Motorhead? No Megadeth or Anthrax? It’s insanity. They all deserve to go in, and so does Judas Priest. No argument really needs to be made here—they’re Judas Priest! You shouldn’t be able to induct Yes and Green Day into this museum and not Judas Priest. Considering the other acts that aren’t in, though, I kind of doubt they make it this year.
LL Cool J: As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame continues to induct more rap acts, LL Cool J is the next obvious one to put in. 1985’s Radio was legitimately groundbreaking, 1987’s Bigger & Deffer and 1989’s Walking with a Panther were both great, and then Mama Said Knock You Out in 1990 took his popularity to a whole other level. I can’t say he has done much of anything since the early 90s, but those first four albums and the impact they had on hip-hop make him 100% worthy of being inducted.
MC5: Again, quoting what I said last year: They made one hugely influential, powerful record—and then that’s about it. I don’t see MC5 getting in, but maybe eventually?
The Meters: The Meters made some of the most wonderful, underrated music you’ll ever hear. (Does it get any funkier than 1969’s Look-Ka Py Py?) It’s kind of like Kraftwerk and Bad Brains last year, though—I’d be happy to see them get in, but I would not bet on it.
Moody Blues: More like Moody Snooze, am I right? Yes got voted in last year, so I’m thinking Moody Blues might get in this year. Would I vote for them? Nope!
Radiohead: It doesn’t get much more obvious than this. The band has said in various interviews that they don’t care about going in, so I suppose there’s a chance voters hold that against them. But how could you not include Radiohead? They’ve been a lock for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since the day they dropped Kid A.
Rage Against The Machine: Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden don’t get nominated, but Rage Against the Machine does? Very bizarre. With that said, I would still love to see Rage get voted in. They only made four albums, and one was just a compilation of covers, but both 1992’s Rage Against the Machine and1996’s Evil Empire are absolutely essential. I still listen to both on a regular basis, and I haven’t really stopped since I first discovered them many years ago. Putting them in when the Trump administration is in power seems like the right move as well; it could help a lot of people who need raw, politically aware music like Rage in their lives right now discover the band for the very first time.
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan: I love you, guys, but there are many more deserving acts.
Nina Simone: She most certainly deserves to make it. The Hall seems to have made a point of nominating a lot of women this year who should already be in, and I support that trend 100%. Put her in!
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Hell yeah! When I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, I actually noticed that they have a lot of Sister Rosetta Tharpe-related stuff on the walls of the museum. I guess this means she’s not technically a member, so that needs to be fixed. And if you aren’t familiar with her work, just watch the below video and prepare to be amazed. It’s one of my all-time favorite clips to watch online.
Link Wray: Again, how is he not already in? Get your act together, people! Of course Link Wray should be inducted.
The Zombies: This seemed like a longshot last year and it seems that way again. I could definitely see them making the cut, though, and I’m not saying they don’t deserve it.
My Final Picks
If I had to choose an ideal induction class, keeping in mind the number of artists they induct each year, it would look something like this:
- Rage Against the Machine
- LL Cool J
- The Cars
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe
- Link Wray