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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18 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.

    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.

  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…

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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

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