With the 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in the books, it is time for one of the other “big things” in the Hall timeline. Debating who will be the nominees for the upcoming class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ranks up as an activity with who will be inducted next spring, as it gives many a chance to debate for their favorites. It also allows for the Hall to take care of past business, in particular with those it has nominated before.
Simply being nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a noteworthy achievement. As we pointed out yesterday, there are a plethora of artists who are considered each year when they come eligible, alongside those who currently are eligible for consideration. We also noted yesterday that many of those who are newly eligible have absolutely no chance at being nominated. Considering that only fifteen to eighteen artists and groups are considered each year by the Voting Membership of the Hall, it is arguable that it is more impressive to even be considered for the Hall.
But that doesn’t soothe many artists, bands, or their fans. There is a litany of candidates that have been nominated multiple times and have not been elected. The band Chic would fall in this category, garnering ELEVEN nominations in their time. Once Nile Rodgers was inducted into the Hall (via the Award for Musical Excellence in 2017), Chic has never appeared on the ballot again.
You also must be on the ballot to be considered. Thus, previously nominated candidates for the Hall have a “leg up,” you might say, over other acts that have never been considered or are newly eligible. Every year some artists or bands are on the nomination list that has been down this path before – don’t expect that to change in 2023!
Without further ado, let’s look at some of those who have been nominated in the past and whom we might see again in 2023.
After Chic, who are the bands with the most nominations? That dubious honor would fall to the Detroit punk rock progenitors MC5 and R&B master Chuck Willis – both of those choices have been nominated six times previously without being inducted. I don’t see either of them earning another chance in 2023 (MC5 may only get in through one of the non-voting methods, and Willis probably never), much like I don’t see Joe Tex and the J. Geils Band (five nominations each) finding their way to the ballot again.
Of those who have been nominated recently – and within the last five years, because it is important to be in the minds of the voters – the best bet for another nomination would be Rage Against the Machine. Long considered one of the originators of the rock/rap sound melded with searing political commentary, RATM has earned four shots at induction, the latest just this year. I think it might take one more shot for the group to get in, otherwise, we’ll be looking at a non-voting method for them to enter the Hall.
Another group that might have a better shot at getting in on the 2023 nomination cycle is New York Dolls. Once again, they were just on the ballot in 2022 and have three prior nominations under their belt. Here may be the kicker for the group – in 2023, the Induction Ceremonies are due to be held in New York City. What better way to honor the punk rockers than an induction in front of their hometown crowd? In 2023, New York Dolls are going to go into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…in one way or another. (As a side note, look for Devo to earn induction during the next ceremonies that are held in Cleveland.)
There’s a third choice from 2022 to return to the ballot in 2023, and that would be the British chanteuse Kate Bush. She has also racked up three previous nominations for the Hall and has yet to be inducted. I have mentioned previously that, if the Hall were in London instead of Cleveland, then Bush would have been an FYE inductee. Alas, Bush has had to struggle through more popular choices like Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks (both deserving inductions, don’t get me wrong) while waiting for her name to be called.
What about choices before last year? There is a list of artists who have been tapped previously that are waiting to be called again.
Since 2016, there have been 117 nominations made. From those, many have earned induction over the six years since then (by my highly unofficial count, 66). I could see a band like DMB making a return trip to the nominations list, especially after the outcry in 2020 over their winning the Fan Vote and being passed over for induction. There has also been a great deal of attention paid to 2019 nominee John Prine, who has been lauded of late for his lifetime of work.
There are three others that I’m looking at that should also merit discussion. Jane’s Addiction and Bad Brains were both nominated for the first time in 2017 and were bypassed, as was 2016 nominee Los Lobos. Of these three, it is easy to conceive that Jane’s Addiction would get another nod and be considered a strong contender for potential induction if they got the call. While Bad Brains and Los Lobos both are extremely qualified and, in my thoughts, deserve to be inducted, it might be a non-voting path for those bands.
Thus, at the end of the day, who do we have from the “previously nominated” list taking another stab at the biggest honor in rock and roll? How about:
Rage Against the Machine
New York Dolls
Dave Matthews Band
That brings to a total of eleven of my nominees for the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Class. We’ve got to look towards those that might have been bypassed in the past plus those that don’t tick the typical “RAWK” checkbox on the list (think R&B, country, rap, and other acts). In our third and final part, we’ll consider those choices and come up with a highly preliminary list (that could change, to be honest) before the announcement of the nominees in January or February 2023.