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Who is Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?


hall of fameThe ongoing search for who is inducted in the rock and roll hall of fame has always been a bit controversial. But then, so is rock and roll.

When addressing circumstances and criteria of why the Hall of Fame ended up in downtown Cleveland Ohio, it becomes clear that much of this decision was derived from DJ Alan Freed who not only coined the term “Rock and Roll”, while hosting a radio show in Cleveland broadcasting African American rhythm & blues music, he also is credited with holding the first rock concert ever in Cleveland’s Arena (since demolished). Arguably, rock and roll formally was born in Cleveland in the summer of 1951. When the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation were searching for a physical home for the HOF, Cleveland won a national poll conducted by USA Today, largely through the vociferous support of Cleveland rock & roll fans. Although Cleveland’s willingness to raise the funds (over $130 million in 2009 dollars) necessary to build and support the HOF and Museum largely tipped the decision Cleveland’s way, without the Cleveland public’s strong enthusiasm for the project, the substantial public funds needed for the project would not have been available.

How does the Induction Process Work? Leaders in the music industry joined together in 1983 to establish the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. One of the Foundation’s many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.

The Selection Process

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.
The Foundation’s nominating committee selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 600 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes are inducted. The Foundation generally inducts five to seven performers each year.

Inductees are chosen in a two-step process that begins in September, when the nominating committee of about 35 members, composed of critics, musicians, record label executives and managers, meets in a conference room at the headquarters of Rolling Stone magazine in New York.

After a dozen or so nominees are choosen, their names are submitted to a larger group of more than 600 voters, who include previous Hall of Fame inductees and a mix of music industry figures and critics. Voters receive an advocacy sheet for each nominee, are supplied a link that allows them to listen to tracks that are meant to exemplify the candidate’s work, and then they cast their ballots, with the top five or six vote getters emerging as honorees.

Gene Simmons Critique

The process leaves a lot to be desired and personally I’m with Gene Simmons when he argued that neither hip-hop acts nor dance music performers like Donna Summer or Madonna should be in the Hall.

“If you don’t play guitar and you don’t write your own songs, you don’t belong there,” he said. He added: “You’ve got Grandmaster Flash in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Run-D.M.C. in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? You’re killing me. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good artists. But they don’t play guitar. They sample, and they talk. Not even sing.”

However because of the broad definition of what constitutes rock ’n’ roll and the limited number of slots available annually, some mainstream acts continue to wait in the wings, to the annoyance of some committee members as well as the mainstream public.

2012 Changes in the Process

Beginning in 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened Nominee voting to fans around the world. The Top Five Nominees as voted by the fans count for one ballot entry, which is weighted the same as individual ballot entries submitted by members of the international voting body. Maybe now we’ll see some magnificent Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian and Japanese rockers showing up on the ballots of the future.

Here is the alphabetical list of real performers who made it so far and the year they were inducted:

ABBA (2010)

AC/DC (2003)

Aerosmith (2001)

Alice Cooper (2011)

The Allman Brothers Band (1995)

The Animals (1994)

Louis Armstrong (1990)

LaVern Baker (1991)

Hank Ballard (1990)

The Band (1994)

The Beach Boys (1988)

Beastie Boys (2012)

The Beatles (1988)

Jeff Beck (2009)

The BeeGees (1997)

Chuck Berry (1986)

Black Sabbath (2006)

Bobby “Blue” Bland (1992)

Blondie (2006)

The Blue Caps (2012)

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (1999)

Booker T. and the M.G.’s (1992)

David Bowie (1996)

Charles Brown (1999)

James Brown (1987)

Ruth Brown (1993)

Jackson Browne (2004)

Buffalo Springfield (1997)

Solomon Burke (2001)

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (2015)

The Byrds (1991)

Johnny Cash (1992)

Ray Charles (1987)

Charlie Christian (1990)

Eric Clapton (2000)

The Clash (2003)

Jimmy Cliff (2010)

The Coasters (1987)

Eddie Cochran (1987)

Leonard Cohen (2008)

Nat “King” Cole (2000)

The Comets (2012)

Sam Cooke (1987)

Alice Cooper (2011)

Elvis Costello & the Attractions (2003)

Cream (1993)

Creedence Clearwater Revival (1993)

The Crickets (2012)

Crosby, Stills and Nash (1997)

Bobby Darin (1990)

The Dave Clark Five (2008)

Miles Davis (2006)

The Dells (2004

Neil Diamond (2011)

Bo Diddley (1987)

Dion (1989)

Willie Dixon (1994)

Fats Domino (1987)

Donovan (2012)

The Doors (1993)

The Drifters (1988)

Bob Dylan (1988)

E Street Band (2014)

The Eagles (1998)

Earth, Wind and Fire (2000)

Duane Eddy (1994)

The Everly Brothers (1987)

The Famous Flames (2012)

The 5 Royals (2015)

The Flamingos (2001)

Fleetwood Mac (1998)

The Four Seasons (1990)

The Four Tops (1990)

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (1993)

Aretha Franklin (1987)

Peter Gabriel (2014)

Marvin Gaye (1987)

Genesis (2010)

Gladys Knight and the Pips (1996)

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (2007)

The Grateful Dead (1994)

Green Day (2015)

Al Green (1995)

Guns N’ Roses (2012)

Woody Guthrie (1988)

Buddy Guy (2005)

Bill Haley (1987)

Darryl Hall and John Oates (2014)

George Harrison (2004)

Isaac Hayes (2002)

Heart (2013)

Billie Holiday (2000)

The Hollies (2010)

Buddy Holly (1987)

John Lee Hooker (1991)

Howlin’ Wolf (1991)

The Impressions (1991)

The Ink Spots (1989)

The Isley Brothers (1992)

The Jackson 5 (1997)

Mahalia Jackson (1997)

Michael Jackson (2001)

Wanda Jackson (2009)

Elmore James (1992)

Etta James (1993)

Jefferson Airplane (1996)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (2015)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1992)

Billy Joel (1999)

Dr. John (2011)

Elton John (1994)

Little Willie John (1996)

Robert Johnson (1987)

Janis Joplin (1995)

Louis Jordan (1987)

Albert King (2013)

B.B. King (1987)

Freddie King (2012)

The Kinks (1990)

Kiss (2014)

Lead Belly (1988)

Led Zeppelin (1995)

Brenda Lee (2002)

John Lennon (1994)

Jerry Lee Lewis (1987)

Little Anthony and the Imperials (2009)

Little Richard (1987)

Darlene Love (2011)

Lovin’ Spoonful (2000)

Lynyrd Skynyrd (2006)

Madonna (2008)

The Mamas and the Papas (1998)

Bob Marley (1994)

Martha and the Vandellas (1995)

Curtis Mayfield (1999)

Paul McCartney (1999)

Clyde McPhatter (1987)

John Mellencamp (2008)

Metallica (2009)

The Midnighters (2012)

The Miracles (2012)

Joni Mitchell (1997)

Bill Monroe (1997)

The Moonglows (2000)

Van Morrison (1993)

Jelly Roll Morton (1998)

Ricky Nelson (1987)

Randy Newman (2013)

Nirvana (2014)

Laura Nyro (2012)

The O’Jays (2005)

Roy Orbison (1987)

The Orioles (1995)

Parliament Funkadelic (1997)

Les Paul (1988)

Carl Perkins (1987)

Wilson Pickett (1991)

Pink Floyd (1996)

Gene Pitney (2002)

The Platters (1990)

The Police (2003)

Doc Pomus (1992)

Elvis Presley (1987)

The Pretenders (2005)

Lloyd Price (1998)

Prince (2004)

Professor Longhair (1992)

Public Enemy (2013)

Queen (2001)

Ma Rainey (1990)

Bonnie Raitt (2000)

Ramones (2002)

Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012)

Otis Redding (1989)

Lou Reed (2015)

Jimmy Reed (1991)

R.E.M. (2007)

Righteous Brothers (2003)

Smokey Robinson (1987)

Jimmie Rodgers (1987)

The Rolling Stones (1989)

The Ronettes (2007)

Linda Ronstadt (2014)

Run-DMC (2009)

Rush (2013)

Leon Russell (2011)

Sam and Dave (1992)

Santana (1998)

Pete Seeger (1996)

Bob Seger (2004)

Sex Pistols (2006)

Del Shannon (1999)

The Shirelles (1996)

Simon and Garfunkel (1990)

Paul Simon (2001)

Percy Sledge (2005)

Sly and the Family Stone (1993)

The Small Faces/Faces (2012)

Bessie Smith (1989)

Patty Smith (2007)

The Soul Stirrers (1989)

Dusty Springfield (1999)

Bruce Springsteen (1999)

The Staple Singers (1999)

Ringo Starr (2015)

Steely Dan (2001)

Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) (2014)

Rod Stewart (1994)

The Stooges (2010)

Donna Summer (2013)

The Supremes (1988)

Talking Heads (2002)

James Taylor (2000)

The Temptations (1989)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2002)

Traffic (2004)

Big Joe Turner (1987)

Ike and Tina Turner (1991)

U2 (2005)

Ritchie Valens (2001)

Van Halen (2007)

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (2015)

The Velvet Underground (1996)

The Ventures (2008)

Gene Vincent (1998)

Tom Waits (2011)

T-Bone Walker (1987)

Dinah Washington (1993)

Muddy Waters (1987)

The Who (1990)

Hank Williams (1987)

Jackie Wilson (1987)

Bill Withers (2015)

Bobby Womack (2009)

Stevie Wonder (1989)

Jimmy Yancey (1987)

The Yardbirds (1992)

Neil Young (1995)

The (Young) Rascals (1997)

Frank Zappa (1995)

ZZ Top (2004)


Bert Berns

Cheap Trick


Deep Purple


Steve Miller


ELO – Electric Light Orchestra

Joan Baez


Pearl Jam

Tupac Shakur


Nile Rodgers