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Rock Hall Ballot:

Who I Want In


Who I Think Actually Gets In

March 19, 2021

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released the official ballot with sixteen artists that are up for induction in 2021.  Some names were surprising while others were no-brainers.  However, you never know what the Rock Hall is going to do from year to year.  


There are over 1000 official ballots that are sent out to former inductees, music executives, influential DJs and music critics.  Oh yeah, the fans also get one ballot as well.  The top 5 vote getters where fans can vote at the Rock Hall website, will make up the one fan ballot.  Official ballots must be turned in by May 3 and fan voting ends April 30.


Since the fan vote started in 2012, every artist that has won the fan vote has got inducted into the Rock Hall.  Rush, Kiss, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chicago, Journey, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard have all won the fan vote and all of them have gotten inducted.  That streak came to a screeching halt last year when the Dave Matthews Band overwhelmingly won the fan vote, beating Pat Benatar by over one million votes, but did not get inducted.  

Actually, the DMB, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden and Judas Priest all made the top five fan vote but did not get it.  Only The Doobie Brothers made the cut last year.


More surprisingly, all four of those artists did not even make the ballot this year!  


That just goes to show that the nominating committee has their own agenda and biases.  They put up artists that are eligible their first year (Foo Fighters, Jay Z), some interesting choices (Fela Kuti, Dionne Warwick. Kate Bush, Mary J. Blige), artists who should have gotten inducted a long time ago (Tina Turner, Iron Maiden, Todd Rundgren, The GoGo’s, Carole King, LL Cool J), some artists that make you say “yeah, I got no problem with them getting in” (Rage Against the Machine, Devo, New York Dolls), and the retread name that has been on the ballot seven times (Chaka Khan).  


I will give you my ballot, (if I had one) and then who I think will get inducted this fall in Cleveland.


  1.  Foo Fighters-  Dave Grohl and company have been keeping rock alive for the past twenty-five years.  They consistently put out new music and they sell out stadiums around the world, proving that rock still has a huge fan base.  Besides, who doesn’t like Dave Grohl?  He’s one of the nicest guys in rock and he has a lot of influence.


   2.    Iron Maiden-  Eligible since 2005, these metal legends have waited long enough.        Heavy metal and hard rock is a category that is under-represented in the Hall of Fame and Iron Maiden checks all of the boxes: influence, impact and innovation. 


   3. Todd Rundgren-  The man can do it all.  Singer, songwriter, musician, producer,  engineer and always on the forefront of cutting edge technology.  From his solo hits, “Hello, It’s Me” and “I Saw the Light” to his work with Utopia, Rundgren has prolifically put out new and different styles of music.  He also has produced Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell and Grand Funk Railroad’s We’re An American Band.  The man should have been inducted decades ago.

  4.  Tina Turner-  This is her year, finally.  The 81 year old can put a crown on her solo career.  Already inducted in 1991 with her ex-husband Ike,however the Hall does not recognize any of her solo work.  It’s hard to believe that she has never been on the ballot as a solo artist until this year.  She should have been the first woman to be inducted twice instead of Stevie Nicks, but Miss Turner’s legacy will be intact when the Class of 2021 are announced in May.  Let’s just hope she makes an appearance in Cleveland.


   5. The Go-Go’s-  Another under-represented group in the Hall of Fame is women.  The Go-Go’s will change that by five.  The all girl group who wrote, played and performed their own songs had a huge impact on young girls throughout the ‘80s.  


Just because this is my ballot, that doesn't mean I think that these will be the artists who will get inducted this year.  Like I said, the Hall of Fame has done some unpredictable things in the past like inducting Nina Simone, Randy Newman and ABBA.


Here’s who I think will get in as the Class of 2021.


JAY-Z- The Rock Hall wants to stay relevant to the younger audience and JAY-Z does that.  The past two years has seen Biggie Smalls and Tupac get inducted, and it can be argued that Jay has had a bigger impact than those two.  This is pretty much a no-brainer.  He does have some rock cred as well with his collaboration with Linkin Park.


Tina Turner-  With her new documentary coming out and her Broadway play that came out last year, she has been on the public mind recently.  That always helps.  Her solo career speaks for itself and she should have gotten in a long time ago as a solo artist.


The Go-Go’s- There is a saying from the people on the nominating committee, “It’s their time.”  I feel that it’s The Go-Go’s time this year.  Knowing that women are under-represented in the Hall of Fame, this selection puts five women in at once.  Their Showtime documentary also has put them back in the spotlight and really showed their influence.


Carole King- Although she is inducted into the Hall of Fame as a songwriter, she is not recognized as a performer.  It is the 50th Anniversary of her iconic Tapestry album and that should have been enough to put her in the Hall as a solo artist.


Foo Fighters- I’m on the fence with this one.  To me, they are a no-brainer.  However, I know many people feel that they need to wait since this is their first time eligible.  Dave Grohl is on the nominating committee and he does have a lot of friends in the industry that could vote for him and he does have a lot of influence.  They will get in, I’m just not sure about this year.


Todd Rundgren- I think he will get in with the Musical Excellence category like Nile Rodgers did a few years ago.  This will not only include his musical work as a solo artist and the bands that he has been in, but also his work as a producer and an engineer.

Rage Against the Machine- They reunited with singer Zack de la Rocha last year so they will be able to perform at the awards ceremony.  With today’s political climate, Rage just might be on everyone’s mind to vote for them.  They have been on the ballot a few times in the past and guitarist Tom Morello is on the nominating committee, which doesn’t hurt.  It may also be “their time.”


I also wouldn’t put it past the Hall to put in a surprise choice like Fela Kuti, Kate Bush or Dionne Warwick.  


Either way, we will find out who the Class of 2021 will be in May.  And I will be there to celebrate no matter who gets inducted.  

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