Have you found an artist you love yet? Here are twelve more who had made their first music more than 25 years prior to the opening of the Rock Hall, eligible from 1980 through 1985. There is some classic music in this group. I recommend checking out Dick Dale, Jan & Dean, and Link Wray! Eight more artists in this article have medium odds or higher of induction, bringing the total to 15 thus far. I labeled one artist with Should Be In Already, bringing that total to three.
Chubby Checker (real name Ernest Evans) Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, R&B Odds of Induction: High
Chubby Checker’s first commercial release came in 1959, making him eligible for the Hall in 1985. He is best known for top hits “The Twist,” “Pony Time,” and “Limbo Rock” along with the dances that went with each song. Evans’ influence on Rock n’ Roll culture is substantial for his popularization of Rock n’ Roll dances. He protested outside the 2002 Rock Hall induction for believing he had been snubbed for the Hall up to that point – a snub which continues through today.
Patsy Cline Genre(s): Country, Rockabilly, Pop Odds of Induction: Low
Patsy Cline had her first commercial release in 1955, making her eligible for the Hall in 1981. She is already in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but deserves to be on the Rock Hall for her influence on dozens of artists of her own and later generations, including Rock Hall inductee Linda Ronstadt.
Dick Dale Genre(s): Surf Rock Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Dick Dale released his first single in 1958, making him eligible for the Hall in 1984. Dale is regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, influencing the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Eddie Van Halen and Brian May, along with contemporaries the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean through his use of reverberation, amplification, and tremolo picking technique. Though “Let’s Go Trippin’” is already one of the Songs That Shaped Rock n’ Roll, Dale’s recording of “Miserlou” should be on that list as well. It’s shocking Dale is not already in the Rock Hall.
Connie Francis Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, Country, Pop, many more Odds of Induction: High
Connie Francis released her first single in 1955, making her eligible for the Hall in 1981. Connie Francis became one of the world’s biggest pop stars, recording many musical styles in several languages. Gloria Estefan has advocated for her induction, calling her “the first female pop star worldwide.” With many recognizable songs, an extensive discography, and influence on many artists, Francis should be in the Rock Hall.
Pat Hare Genre(s): Blues Odds of Induction: Slim
Pat Hare released his first solo track in 1954, making him eligible for the Hall in 1980. Hare was a pioneering guitarist in his use of distortion and had an incredible influence on the development of heavy metal music. Hare also presents us our first case of how the Rock Hall might police induction to enshrinement: Do they rely solely on an artist’s musicality or – as plenty of artists already in have mild to glaring issues – do they factor in personal lives, crime, and poor behavior? While his guitar work should land him a spot in the Hall, Pat Hare is a convicted murderer, making it unlikely he will be inducted.
Jan & Dean Genre(s): Surf Rock, Punk Rock Odds of Induction: High
Jan & Dean had their first commercial release in 1958, making them eligible for the Hall in 1984. The duo consistently charted for a decade, were part of what many critics and historians consider the first rock music video, and are often credited with laying the groundwork for punk music. The Rock Hall has a history of excluding punk music, which might explain Jan & Dean’s current absence from enshrinement.
Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio Genre(s): Rockabilly Odds of Induction: Low
The members of the Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio technically released their first single between 1953 and 1955. However, their first official single under the group’s name was in 1956, so they are eligible circa 1982. The trio never achieved success on the music charts, but through touring and television appearances leading to high local record sales, their music found its way to influence groups such as The Beatles, The Yardbirds, and Led Zeppelin, especially through their guitar work.
Carole King Genre(s): Pop, Soft Rock Odds of Induction: High
Carole King released her first singles in 1958, making her eligible for the Hall in 1984. A prolific songwriter, King wrote many hits for other artists before finding success as a solo artist. An influential writer and performer, King has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and to the Rock Hall as a songwriter. On the 2021 ballot, King deserves to be in the Rock Hall as a performer too. Update: she was inducted as part of the 2021 class!
Dolly Parton Genre(s): Country, Bluegrass, Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Dolly Parton released her first single in 1959, making her eligible for the Hall in 1985. I really shouldn’t have to explain to you who cultural icon Dolly Parton is. While she has stuck mainly to country in her career, her music and style have influenced all music and much of American popular culture, include rock music and rock culture.
Joe Tex (real names Joseph Arrington, Jr. and Yusuf Hazziez) Genre(s): R&B, Soul Odds of Induction: Medium
Joe Tex had his first release in 1955, making him eligible for the Hall in 1981. Known for a southern style of soul that mixed R&B, country, funk, and other genres, Joe Tex became a major player on the charts in the 1960s. Hazziez has an extensive discography and had a decade-long feud with James Brown. Hazziez believed that Brown got many of his stage moves from watching him perform. Joe Tex has been nominated to the Hall’s ballot six times – tied for second most among artists who have made the ballot and not been inducted.
Link Wray (real name Fred Lincoln Wray, Jr.) Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, Rockabilly, Country Odds of Induction: High
Link Wray released his first single in 1958, making him eligible for the Hall in 1984. Twice nominated to the Rock Hall ballot, Wray’s lyrics and guitar work influenced Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, and others. Wray would also provide some representation for the glaring lack of Native American artists in the Hall.
Check out the next article in the series: artists eligible from 1986 through 1989!