Here we have arrived to artists who became eligible when the Rock Hall opened. I have listed eleven artists eligible between 1986 and 1989 here and gave nine of them medium odds or higher, bringing that total to 24. Two of those artists I believe Should Be In Already, bringing that total to five. I recommend checking out Junior Walker & the All Stars! Get ready, because the lists will only get larger from here, as (logic would have it) the more recent we go, the less likely artists from those years have been inducted, since they have not been eligible as long.
Johnny Hallyday (real name Jean-Philippe Léo Smet) Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Johnny Hallyday released his first music in 1960. Smet is credited with bringing rock n’ roll music to France and popularizing it in the French speaking world. Said to be the “Elvis of France,” he has an extensive discography and is one of the highest-selling artists of all time. He had five diamond albums, 40 gold albums, and 22 platinum albums in his career. If the Rock Hall wishes to be representative of all rock music, they need to induct artists outside of the English-speaking world, for which Johnny Hallyday is a perfect candidate.
Ben E. King Genre(s): R&B, Soul Odds of Induction: Low
Already a member of the Rock Hall as part of The Drifters, Ben Earl King released his first solo single in 1960, recording consistently until 2011. He is best known for the incredibly influential song “Stand By Me,” which charted in the top ten twice, 25 years apart, and which carries most of the weight for his case for induction.
Mary Wells Genre(s): R&B, Pop, Soul Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Mary Wells released her first single in 1960. Wells was an immensely influential figure in popularizing R&B and Motown, and blurring the color lines on popular radio in the 1960s. Wells scored a number-one hit with “My Guy” and consistently charted through 1970, including a string of top-40 hits. Wells was nominated for the Hall on its inaugural ballot in 1986 and again in 1987, testifying to her influence. Wells should be in the Hall already.
The Marvelettes Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, R&B, Doo-Wop, Soul Odds of Induction: Medium
The Marvelettes had their first commercial releases in 1961. Best known for their number-one hit “Please Mr. Postman,” the group charted consistently through their decade-long career. Already in the Vocal Group and Rhythm & Blues Music Halls of Fame, The Marvelettes fill a void of vocal and all-women groups in the Rock Hall.
The Spinners Genre(s): R&B, Soul Odds of Induction: Medium
The Spinners (the U.S. R&B group, not the UK folk group) released their first single in 1961. With seven top-ten hits on the mainstream chart and nineteen on the R&B chart, The Spinners were one of the most popular artists in America from the 1960s to the early 1980s. Already nominated once for the Rock Hall, The Spinners’ smooth sound never loses style.
Bob Marley and the Wailers Genre(s): Reggae, Ska, Rocksteady Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Bob Marley and the Wailers released their first single in 1962. They are one of the pioneering groups of reggae music – they helped popularize reggae music around the world and influenced their contemporaries, plus reggae, ska, and reggae-adjacent groups to come after them. Bob Marley was inducted to the Rock Hall as a solo artist in 1994 and it’s unclear why the whole band was not nominated and inducted along with him.
Junior Walker & The All Stars Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll, R&B Odds of Induction: Medium
Junior Walker & The All Stars released their first singles in 1962. Consistently charting for a decade, the group helped blur the color lines on radio in the 1960s and Walker’s saxophone playing influenced the instrument’s use in rock music. Walker also later recorded and toured with Foreigner. At the very least, Walker is a solid candidate for induction, but the whole band should stick together.
Willie Nelson Genre(s): Country, Outlaw Country, Blues Odds of Induction: Medium
Willie Nelson released his first music in 1962. Regarded as an American icon, Nelson is noted as one of the best singers and guitarists from the U.S. and is one of the most influential country artists of all time – influence that has bled into rock and pop music. Already in the Country Music Hall of Fame, he deserves induction into the Rock Hall as well.
Peter, Paul, and Mary Genre(s): Folk, Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Peter, Paul, and Mary released their first music in 1962. Though strictly a folk act, with a string of top ten albums and consistently charting music in the 1960s, the trio influenced popular music and soft rock groups. Already in the Vocal Group and Songwriters Halls of Fame, Peter, Paul, and Mary would help fill a void of vocal groups and folk music in the Rock Hall.
The Shangri-Las Genre(s): Pop, Punk Odds of Induction: High
The Shangri-Las released their first single in 1963. A cross between bubblegum pop and an early melodramatic punk sound (with use of non-musical sound mixed in), the all-girl group was one of the most popular artists in the U.S. in the 1960s, especially for teens. The group had incredible influence on future artists, a list that includes The New York Dolls, Blondie, The Go-Gos, Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, and others. With chart success and influence, and the ability to help alleviate the Hall’s current lack of women and women-led groups, The Shangri-Las should be a lock for the Hall.
Barry White Genre(s): R&B, Funk, Disco, Soul Odds of Induction: Low
Barry White released his first singles in 1963. An important figure in disco history, White had multiple gold and platinum albums and charted number-one hit “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” among his international success. One of the highest-selling artists of all time and already in the Dance Music Hall of Fame, White would help fill a void of disco artists in the Rock Hall. (There is an argument to be made that disco should not be part of the Rock Hall, as the genre was created partially as a subversion of rock’s popularity. However, the genres’ influence on each other is clear and their histories are intertwined).
Check out the next article in the series: artists eligible from 1990 through 1994!