With the nominations just released for the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, I’ll be discussing each of the 17 nominees in regards to their chances of getting in and which five artists I think will get in this year. Enjoy!
First Year Nominees
- Eminem– The only first-year eligible artist nominated and the one that most people including yours truly are easily predicting for induction. When you look at it, Eminem has everything in his favor for an easy induction. He’s a hugely popular and influential artist with lots of commercial success and longevity. Even if critics and audiences haven’t been very receptive to his work especially in recent years, Eminem has his good share of classic well regarded work that along with his big celebrity makes him too big for the Rock Hall to ignore in his first year eligible on the ballot.
- A Tribe Called Quest– A Tribe Called Quest are one of those acts that while critically beloved and influential aren’t exactly an act your average person would recognize as they haven’t had many popular hits. On that factor, I don’t see them getting in this year especially with the Hall focusing on the big-name hip-hop artists now so it’ll probably be a while before they get to the lesser-known but still deserving acts.
- Duran Duran– One major development of the Rock Hall recently is inducting more ’80s acts that may not have been well regarded or thought about. Duran Duran certainly fit this bill as they didn’t get much critical love in their heyday being seen almost like a boy band but in recent years they’ve become very cool to like as people have realized how great of a band they were. Plus, two of its members Simon Le Bon and John Taylor gave the induction speech for Roxy Music in 2019 seemingly showing the Hall warming up to them. With that along with their popularity and influence, I see Duran Duran easily getting in this year.
- Lionel Richie– Here’s a nomination I didn’t see coming. When it comes to sales, hits, and popularity, Lionel Richie undoubtedly does very well when it comes to his ‘80s solo imperial phase. But he’s never been a critical darling and even with his good standing in the industry, it didn’t seem like the Hall would go for Richie but here we are. Not exactly that excited about Richie but if he gets in, I won’t mind. He’ll surely be an easy pick for industry voters but I don’t see a Lionel Richie induction happening this year.
- Carly Simon– Carly Simon is one of those artists that you would have thought had gotten in long ago. She’d been eligible for the Hall since 1997 and even as her ‘70s singer-songwriter contemporaries have gotten in, Simon had never been put on a Rock Hall ballot until now. Even though I’m not huge on Simon, it seems weird to think how she had never been in the conversation until 2022. You can easily see Simon’s nomination as a result of Carole King finally getting inducted last year as an artist and the Hall wanting to clean out that singer-songwriter era. After all, it’s not like Carly Simon is some obscure artist. She’s had her share of big hits in her heyday including a Bond theme as well as being an influence on future generations of songwriters like Taylor Swift. I see her getting inducted this year just for the fact of having to wait so long and the voters seeing her name and wondering why she isn’t in already.
- Dolly Parton– Here’s another surprise I didn’t see coming. The Rock Hall hasn’t had much of a relationship with country music in recent decades. After the Hall started in 1986, it has inducted many of the country pioneers in its Early Influence category but when it comes to being voted in, Johnny Cash has been the only true country act to get inducted along with other early rock and roll acts like the Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee and even ‘70s acts like the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt who straddle the lines between rock and country. If the Hall is looking to end this drought, it’s hard to argue about Dolly Parton. Obviously, she’s someone who is very well-beloved and like Johnny Cash appeals to people across demographics including outside country music. Just on her name and popularity alone, Parton would be an easy pick but considering the Hall’s relationship with country, I don’t know if they’re ready yet to induct Parton. Plus, would they use her to finally open the doors to inducting more country acts. We’ll see. But now that Parton is on the ballot, if she doesn’t get in this year she’ll definitely have a good chance in the future.
- Beck– To most people, Beck is largely remembered for his biggest charting hit “Loser” from 1994 and for unexpectedly winning Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammys where Kanye West almost crashed the stage during his acceptance speech. Aside from that, Beck is one of those artists that seems destined for Rock Hall induction. He’s very critically beloved and known for being artistically adventurous so just on that alone, I see him getting in this year.
- Judas Priest– Alongside country, heavy metal has also not gotten much love from the Rock Hall and I don’t see it changing with Judas Priest getting on the ballot for the third time.
- Pat Benatar– Here’s someone that should have gotten in right away. Benatar was first nominated for the 2020 ceremony and despite being seen as an easy pick for her classic ‘80s hits and being a female rock artist nominated in an institution that has not done a good job with inducting female artists, she somehow didn’t get inducted. After a year off the ballot, Benatar is back on and this time I don’t think the voters will take her for granted again. She’ll be an easy pick for induction.
- Eurythmics– The second ballot nomination for the ‘80s synth-pop duo of Annie Lenox and Dave Stewart and while I don’t think they’ll be inducted this year, they have a real shot given the Hall’s recent embrace of the ‘80s as well as how well known Lenox is as a singer and the work Dave Stewart has done behind the scenes.
- Dionne Warwick– Dionne Warwick is one of those artists that could have easily been inducted during the Rock Hall’s early years considering how far back her singing career goes. After her recent fame of Twitter, Warwick was finally put on a Rock Hall ballot. Even for her undeniable singing talent and long career of hits, I feel like she isn’t a priority yet for the Hall given her competition. I think Warwick will get in sometime soon once the competition opens up and voters will start to pivot towards her.
- Devo– When it comes to honoring influential ‘80s new wave acts, Devo is the kind of act that should be easy to induct but despite being nominated twice before haven’t been voted in. My guess is the fact that most people view Devo as the goofy band behind “Whip It” since it’s their only noteworthy charting hit peaking at #14 and even this year their lack of other huge hits and albums is going to hinder them again along with not being a priority.
- Kate Bush– On artistry and critical acclaim alone, Kate Bush is an easy pick for induction but her biggest hurdle is the fact that the Rock Hall is an American-based institution and typically inducts acts that have been very popular or noteworthy in America. In Bush’s home country of the UK, she’s a big star with big charting hits but across the pond, she’s basically an underground artist who appeals to a very specific audience and as a result, hasn’t had big charting hits here. (Bush’s highest-charting hit in the US, 1985’s “Running Up That Hill,” for instance peaked at #30.) I can see Kate Bush getting in at some point down the line but for this year I don’t think the Hall is ready yet.
- Fela Kuti– Easily the most left-field pick from last year is back on the ballot for a second time after a very strong showing in the fan vote finishing second next to Tina Turner thanks to a big fan push from his home country of Nigeria. Clearly, he is very important in his genre being a pioneer of Afrobeat and it’s certainly great to see the Hall recognize more acts and genres that aren’t American or British but considering how largely unknown Kuti is in the US, he’s not getting voted in to the point where the Hall will probably put him in the Early Influence category.
- Rage Against The Machine– Given that guitarist Tom Morello is on the nominating committee, it’s no surprise that his band has come up again for the third time. Considering that ‘90s rock groups have done well with the Hall, I’m a little surprised it’s taking a while for Rage Against The Machine to get in. They certainly have what it takes to get in with their acclaimed albums but maybe their political messages and competition have been keeping them out.
- MC5 & New York Dolls– These last two nominees are acts that aren’t hugely recognizable to your average listener but are known as innovators in their genres of punk and glam rock. While the Hall needs to recognize acts that helped to influence a genre, it’s clear both the MC5 and New York Dolls aren’t going to be voted in despite being nominated a bunch of times. You might as well induct both bands into Early Influence instead of wasting a couple of spaces on the ballot that could go towards more valuable acts.
Here are my five predictions for who I think will get in this year:
Which five artists do you want to see get inducted this year?
If you want to have your say on which five nominees you want to see get inducted, you can go to the Rock Hall site listed here and make your pics until April 29th. It doesn’t count much towards the final vote but it’s still a fun way to get involved.