20 egregious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snubs

The musical artists deserve to be in the Rock Hall.
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce its 2024 class at the end of April. Up to seven performers will be inducted, whittled down from the list of fifteen nominated finalists. Other artists could be honored in one of several special categories the HOF has developed over the years to be more inclusive and representative of Rock and Roll’s long, complex history.

There was a time when purists argued over who should and should not qualify for inclusion. What exactly defines Rock and Roll? It took years for the gatekeepers to allow that metal was deserving of a spot in the Hall. Hip-hop, country, and more generic pop all eventually forced their way in. The standard remains murky, but each year seems to broaden the definition a little bit more. This year, for instance, both Mariah Carey and Cher are likely to be inducted. Both artists are more rock-adjacent than actual rockers. But rock-adjacent is now part of the Hall’s landscape.

This list of the biggest snubs takes that into account. Some of the following artists merit induction without any caveats. Others should be in because the standards have now changed. But all of these musical acts should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as it is currently defined.

These musical artists are huge Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snubs

Of the twenty, thirteen are Performers. That’s the original entry standard. There is no special consideration. They simply deserve to be in based on their bodies of work. The other seven come from those special categories the Hall has tinkered with over the years. More on that when we get there.

For now, let’s begin with the thirteen musical acts that should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as Performers. And we’ll go in my favorite order – alphabetical.

Performer: The B-52’s

The B-52s put Athens, Georgia on the map. You can read about Athens in Grace Elizabeth Hale’s excellent firsthand account of the scene, Cool Town. In that book, she paints a compelling picture of Ricky Wilson and his sister Cindy, who teamed up with a few other local oddities Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, and Kate Pierson to form a strange little band that traveled north and became one of the hottest things New York City had ever seen.

The B-52s are often shunted off into the “art band” category. Critics argue that their music was nothing special – it was just the overall vibe they created. That is nonsense on multiple levels. Their music was innovative and fresh. They helped reinvigorate dance music. And can you really argue that the “show” isn’t a huge part of many great musical acts? Ricky Wilson’s death from AIDS in 1985 threatened to end the band just as they were gathering momentum, and I think his absence was clearly felt down the road. But they survived it to release several more successful albums, and their legacy is undeniable.