Predicting who will get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2024

Not all worthy musical artists will make the Rock Hall.
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Mary J. Blige, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Frampton, Kool & the Gang, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, Sinead O’Connor, Sade, A Tribe Called Quest

Mary J. Blige is a huge force in the world of R&B music. She should probably be in the Hall, but she didn’t make it the first year she was nominated in 2021. I was surprised that she did not get nominated in 2022, and that Missy Elliott was not only nominated but also inducted that year. I think Blige is at least as worthy, and probably more deserving of the honor than Elliott. Then, she failed to make the nominee list in 2023 as well. That has left me confused about where she stands with the voters, and with so many strong female candidates under consideration this year, I suspect Blige may fall short.

The Dave Matthews Band is adored by a passionate fanbase. I’m just not convinced that fanbase is big and broad enough to get them into the Hall. They strike me as the kind of band who will get in one day, but maybe not until they are nominated several more times – which will in turn mobilize that fanbase to push for their eventual induction.

Peter Frampton may have had some decent success with Humble Pie. He may have loaned his voice to The Simpsons, and I may be jealous of that look on the cover of I’m in You. But let’s be real here. Frampton is on this list for one thing and one thing only. Frampton Comes Alive was one of the most influential and successful live albums ever released. It means a great deal to a lot of aging baby boomers. Is that one towering achievement enough to get him into the HOF?

I am not all that surprised that Kool & the Gang have not been inducted into the HOF. I am stunned that this is the first year they have been nominated. They had an enormous influence on both Pop and R&B throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. When hip-hop arrived on the scene, it was hard to think of an act that was sampled more than Kool. Since they have been primarily associated with party music, they may never have received the critical attention they deserved, but I sense that has been changing in recent years. Is it enough?

Lenny Kravitz has almost everything you could want in a Rock & Roll HOFer. He is highly respected in the industry. He has excelled in multiple genres. He has plenty of hits. And yet, there’s something about his career that seems unresolved. That could be because he has moved around a lot. But it could also be because, despite his abundance of talent and creative ambition, he has never been at the top of any of his diverse fields. There are plenty of critics who consider him a lock this year, but I just don’t know.

Oasis is the flip side of Kravitz. Their peak was short, but while there, they were at the top of the world. I think that if any out-and-out rock band gets inducted this year, Oasis will be that band. The question is whether any of the rock bands are strong enough to grab a spot away from artists from other genres.

As with Lenny Kravitz, I know a lot of HOF experts who consider Sinead O’Connor a lock this year. Her death last July at the age of 56 may garner her some sympathy votes, but she doesn’t exactly need it. O’Connor was a massive star in the early 1990s. I think we all know what happened to her career after her 1992 SNL appearance, but even with that, she still produced a lot of good and a lot of important music. Regardless of controversy or sympathy, I think O’Connor’s chances of induction hinge on whether her peak career was long enough to justify placing her above several other very worthy candidates.

One of those candidates may be Sade – the band, and its leader Sade Adu. Sade helped rescue smooth jazz from impending bathos in the 1980s by putting out really interesting music. Interesting blend of genres and an interesting vocal style. As with several of the artists under consideration this year, I just don’t know if their appeal is broad enough.

A hip-hop act has been inducted into the HOF each year of the 2020s. A Tribe Called Quest may not have quite the same mainstream name recognition as Biggie, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Missy Elliott, but in inner circles, they are recognized as among the most important acts in the history of rap.