Rock Hall Snubs: Eligible 1995 through 1999

We have now entered what most radio stations consider the beginning of “classic rock,” as opposed to “oldies,” with artists eligible from 1995 through 1999. Thirty-nine more artists make up this list (including a couple nominated this year), 34 of which I gave medium odds or better for induction, bringing that list to 73. Three of those artists I believe Should Be In Already, including 2021 nominee Fela Kuti, bringing that list to 10. There are plenty more amazing artists here and I recommend checking out Bread, Karen Dalton, Nick Drake, Fela Kuti, Minnie Riperton, Mountain, and Raspberries!

Eligible 1995

Badfinger Genre(s): Rock n’ Roll Odds of Induction: Low
Badfinger (originally The Iveys) had their first commercial release in 1969. Ravaged by tragedy later in their careers, Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hit singles, carrying a classic sound built on guitar riffs and smooth vocals. Their song “Without You” also became a number one hit for both Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

Bread Genre(s): Soft Rock Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Bread released their first music in 1969. Masters of songwriting, all but their first of six albums are certified gold. Despite only being active between 1969 and 1977, with a break in the middle, the group charted ten top-15 singles, including number-one hit “Make It with You.” Friction between bandmates ultimately shortened the lifespan of Bread. The standard for soft rock, Bread should be in the Rock Hall.

The Carpenters Genre(s): Pop, Soft Rock Odds of Induction: High
The Carpenters released their first music in 1969. The brother-sister duo is one of the highest-selling artists of all time, and while their music is more pop than rock, their music has influenced rock music as much as any. Artist they influenced include Michael Jackson, Sonic Youth, and The Cranberries. Karen Carpenter’s story is also important in bringing awareness to eating disorders. With an extensive and popular discography, and substantial influence, The Carpenters are overdue for Rock Hall induction.

Karen Dalton Genre(s): Folk, Blues, Country, Pop Odds of Induction: Slim
Karen Dalton released her first of two albums in 1969. With a limited discography, though some more of her music has been released posthumously, Dalton’s music has developed a cult following and influence, especially in folk music.

Art by painter Bottelho (Carlos Botelho). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Nick Drake Genre(s): Folk, Folk Rock Odds of Induction: High
Nick Drake released his first of three albums in 1969. Drake died at just 26, and though his music was hardly successful in his lifetime, it has achieved widespread posthumous acclaim. With a unique guitar technique and vocal style, and regarded as an excellent lyricist, Drake has influenced many artists, including The Cure, R.E.M., Aimee Mann, Beck, The Black Crowes, and Kate Bush. Despite a limited discography, his progression of folk rock, popularity, critical acclaim, and influence should lead him to the Rock Hall.

Grand Funk Railroad Genre(s): Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Grand Funk Railroad released their first music in 1969. One of the most popular artists of the 1970s, Grand Funk Railroad is best known for their top-three hits “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “We’re an American Band.” With massive popularity and an extensive discography, Grand Funk Railroad is a people’s choice for the Rock Hall.

King Crimson Genre(s): Progressive Rock, Avant-Rock Odds of Induction: High
King Crimson released their first music in 1969. One of the earliest and most influential progressive rock artists, King Crimson have an extensive discography known for incorporating a variety of styles and genres into rock music and constantly experimenting with the genre. King Crimson have influenced many artists including Rush, Genesis, Yes, Tool, and more. They have also influenced other artists to push the boundaries of rock music and form other subgenres, like progressive metal.

Kool & the Gang Genre(s): Funk, Soul, Disco, Jazz, Pop, R&B Odds of Induction: Medium
Kool & the Gang released their first music in 1969. The band is known for their exploration of musical styles and consistently charted in the 1970s and 1980s, including number-one hit “Celebration.” An important group in the evolution and popularization of funk and disco, among other genres, Kool & the Gang are deserving of induction to the Rock Hall.

Art by Reckon. Courtesy of Flickr.

Fela Kuti (real name Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti) Genre(s): Afrobeat Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Fela Kuti released his first album in 1969. Kuti, along with drummer Tony Allen and others, invented the genre of Afrobeat, which combines or fuses a variety of genres including rock, jazz, salsa, funk, highlife, and others. His music was also fused with political activism against the oppressive, corrupt, and violent Nigerian government, for which he was often jailed. He also advocated for human rights and criticized other groups and countries, including the U.S., for corruption, oppression, and other human rights violations. An incredible influence on the progression and expansion of rock music in both sound and message, Kuti (who is on the ballot this year) is long overdue for induction into the Rock Hall. Update: despite narrowly missing out on the top spot in the fan vote, Fela Kuti was not inducted as part of the 2021 class.

The Meters Genre(s): Funk Odds of Induction: High
The Meters released their first album in 1969. The group is considered one of the founders of the funk genre and have been nominated for the Rock Hall four times already. Best known for their hit song “Cissy Strut,” The Meters deserve induction to the Rock Hall for their development of funk music and influence on a wide variety of artists.

Poco Genre(s): Country Rock, Folk Rock, Soft Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Poco released their first album in 1969. Best known for their hit song “Call It Love,” Poco charted consistently from 1970 to 1989 and helped to popularize country rock after the foundation of artists like Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield., and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Already inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Poco would help fill a void of country and country rock artists in the Rock Hall.

Seals and Crofts Genre(s): Soft Rock Odds of Induction: Slim
Seals and Crofts released their first album in 1969. Best known for their hit song “Summer Breeze,” the duo consistently charted for nearly a decade, before being dopped by their label and then deciding to take a hiatus from music. With their floating harmonies and smooth sound, Seals and Crofts were emblematic of the soft rock subgenre.

Warren Zevon in Universal City, California, 1980. Photo by Neal Preston/CORBIS, courtesy of Flickr.

Warren Zevon Genre(s): Rock , Folk Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Warren Zevon released his first album in 1969. Having written hit songs for other artists prior to his solo career, Zevon developed a cult following for his career. Known for his album Excitable Boy, which included the song “Werewolves of London,” Zevon has an extensive discography despite his career being cut short by his death from cancer in 2003. With longevity and popularity, Zevon is a solid candidate for nomination, though he is likely hurt by his bouts of domestic abuse.

Eligible 1996

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Genre(s): Progressive Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer released their first album in 1970. The supergroup was an influential progressive rock band, helping to popularize the subgenre. Despite five straight top-20 albums in both the U.S. and UK, the band was criticized by music journalists for being too pretentious. But pretentiousness is not a criterion for disqualification, and with success and influence in evolving a genre, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer are a good match for the Rock Hall.

Donny Hathaway Genre(s): R&B, Soul, Gospel, Jazz Odds of Induction: High
Donny Hathaway released his first solo single and first album in 1970. Renowned as one of the greatest soul singers of all time, Hathaway was the standard for R&B and soul in the 1970s. His success would likely have continued if not for not for his death. Despite a shortened career, Hathaway has influenced an array of artists including Alicia Keys, Aaliyah, Common, and Amy Winehouse. With success and influence, Donny Hathaway is likely for induction to the Rock Hall.

Donny Hathaway. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The J.B.’s Genre(s): Funk, Soul Odds of Induction: Medium
The J.B.’s released their first music in 1970. Known for being James Brown’s backing band, the group also released their own music and are partly responsible, along with Brown and The Meters, for originating and evolving funk music. They have been nominated for the Hall once, and deserve to be enshrined alongside Brown.

The J. Geils Band Genre(s): Rock , New Wave Odds of Induction: Medium
The J. Geils Band released their first music in 1970. Consistent in charting music for their first 15 years, the group was one of the most successful rock and new wave groups of the late 70s and 1980s. Known for number-one hit “Centerfold” from their number-one album Freeze Frame, the band has been nominated for the Rock Hall five times. With success and support for nomination, the band is likely to get in.

Kraftwerk Genre(s): Electronic, Synth-Pop, Electro-pop Odds of Induction: High
German group Kraftwerk released their first album in 1970. One of the first electronic music groups, Kraftwerk are the first group to have major success in the genre. Their sound, precision, and instrumentation have had an incredible influence on the evolution of pop music. Aside from general influence, they have influenced artists such as Joy Division, New Order, Blondie, LCD Soundsystem, and more. With helping establish and popularize a genre, and with incredible influence, Kraftwerk should be a lock for the Hall, and would help expand its non-English-speaking inductees.

Minnie Riperton Genre(s): Soul, R&B, Jazz, Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Minnie Riperton released her first album in 1970. One of the preeminent vocalists of the 1970s, Riperton’s range is regarded as one of the best in modern history. Riperton’s career was cut short by her death from cancer, but her music has clearly inspired artists in several genres, including rock, pop, R&B, hip-hop, and rap. Interesting tidbit- Riperton is actress and comedian Maya Rudolph’s mother. Riperton’s success (including number-one hit “Lovin’ You”), technical ability, and influence should lead her to Rock Hall enshrinement.

Mountain Genre(s): Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Heavy Metal Odds of Induction: Medium
Mountain released their first music in 1970. Known for their hit “Mississippi Queen,” Mountain were one of the earliest hard rock and heavy metal groups, influencing those to come after them. Their guitar work is especially well-regarded. Despite a limited discography, Mountain’s progression in rock music, technical guitar work, and influence should make their case for Rock Hall enshrinement.

Supertramp Genre(s): Progressive Rock, Pop Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Supertramp released their first album in 1970. Known for blending progressive rock with a pop sound, Supertramp found near-worldwide success, charting songs and albums in many countries. Known for their hit “Logical Song,” Supertramp’s success, strong discography, and musical progression make them good candidates for Rock Hall induction.

Thin Lizzy at the Manchester Apollo in 1983. Photo by Harry Potts, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Thin Lizzy Genre(s): Hard Rock, Blues Rock, Heavy Metal Odds of Induction: High
Thin Lizzy released their first single in 1970. Known for their hit “The Boys Are Back in Town,” Thin Lizzy are one of the earliest and most influential heavy metal groups. The list of bands they have influenced includes Judas Priest, Def Leppard, 2021 Rock Hall nominee Iron Maiden, Metallica, Alice In Chains, and others. With international success, renowned guitar work, and heavy influence, Thin Lizzy deserve to be in the Rock Hall.

War Genre(s): Funk, Soul, Rock, Jazz Odds of Induction: High
War released their first music in 1970. A preeminent funk-soul group known for moving through and mixing multiple genres, and their multi-ethnic makeup, War had a long and successful run in the 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps best known to millennials for their hit “Low Rider,” which was used as the theme song for the TV show George Lopez, War’s musicality, longevity, and discography make them a good candidate for Rock Hall induction.

Eligible 1997

America Genre(s): Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock Odds of Induction: High
America released their first album in 1971. Scoring a number-one hit with their first single, “A Horse with No Name,” America is also known for number-one hit “Sister Golden Hair.” Originally a trio, the band was one of the most popular artists in the 1970s and helped define the soft rock subgenre. With an extensive discography, longevity, and success, America are likely to be enshrined in the Rock Hall.

April Wine Genre(s): Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
April Wine released their first music in 1971. One of the most successful Canadian bands, April Wine were popular in North America and the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, charting a platinum album and consistently charting music from their debut until 1993. With success, longevity, and an extensive discography, April Wine have a good shot at getting into the Rock Hall.

Nazareth Genre(s): Hard Rock, Heavy Metal Odds of Induction: Medium
Nazareth released their first album in 1971. One of the earliest and most successful heavy metal bands, Nazareth achieved international success and had a platinum album that included their hit “Hair of the Dog.” With success, longevity, and an extensive discography, Nazareth have a good case for the Rock Hall.

REO Speedwagon during their Love on the Run tour at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, July 21, 2010. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

REO Speedwagon Genre(s): Rock Odds of Induction: High
REO Speedwagon released their first music in 1971. One of the most successful artists of the 1970s and 1980s, the band has five albums certified platinum at least once and had 13 top-40 hits, including number-one hits “Keep on Loving You” and Can’t Fight This Feeling.” With incredible combined success and longevity, it’s surprising REO Speedwagon is not already in the Rock Hall.

Carly Simon Genre(s): Pop Rock, Soft Rock Odds of Induction: High
Carly Simon released her first music in 1971. Known for her lyrical themes, she has had incredible critical and commercial success and longevity. She also influenced many of her contemporaries, along with later artists like Tori Amos and Taylor Swift. Already in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, it’s unfortunate to see she is not in the Rock Hall.

Sparks Genre(s): Pop, Avant-Rock, Synth-Pop, more Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Sparks released their first album in 1971. Known for their international hit “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us,” two-brother band Sparks have an immense discography and incredible longevity. Noted for their experimentation with timing, interesting lyrics, lead singer Russel Mael’s rangy vocals, and progression of what is considered pop music, the duo have influenced the creation of many subgenres. Artists they have influenced also include Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sonic Youth, Def Leppard, Nirvana, Björk, and more. With extensive longevity, influence, and musical progression and style, Sparks are a lock for the Rock Hall.

Eligible 1998

Big Star Genre(s): Rock, Power Pop Odds of Induction: High
Big Star released their first album in 1972. Regarded as one of the most important cult artists in rock history, Big Star initially released three albums their record labels poorly marketed but that eventually found their way to influence many other artists. With catchy hooks and later development of darker lyrics to their power pop sound, Big Star influenced many alternative rock groups including R.E.M., The Replacements, as well as KISS and others. Their power pop/alternative influence also later extended to pop punk. Critical acclaim and extensive influence should land Big Star in the Rock Hall.

Blue Öyster Cult Genre(s): Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Psychedelic Rock Odds of Induction: High
Blue Öyster Cult released their first music in 1972. Known for their hit song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” the band is one of the most influential artists on the heavy metal subgenre. With a near thirty-year original run, Blue Öyster Cult has influenced countless other artists, including 2021 Rock Hall nominee Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ratt, Twisted Sister, Alice in Chains, Minutemen, Queens of the Stone Age, and more. Longevity and influence should make the case for Blue Öyster Cult’s induction to the Rock Hall.

Foghat Genre(s): Hard Rock, Blues Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Foghat released their first music in 1972. Consistently producing music to the present, Foghat have had two albums certified platinum, plus another five gold albums. One of the more popular rock groups of the 1970s, Foghat’s longevity, extensive discography, and popularity make a good case for their induction to the Hall.

Peter Frampton in 2012. Photo by Leparskas/O’Brien, courtesy of Flickr.

Peter Frampton Genre(s): Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Peter Frampton released his first solo music in 1972. Known for his hit song “I’m in You,” from his platinum album of the same name, Frampton is noted for his guitar work. He has consistently released music since his debut and consistently charted songs form the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Longevity, guitar prowess, and popularity help Frampton make a good case for Rock Hall induction.

NEU! Genre(s): Electronic Rock, Experimental Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
NEU! released their first music in 1972. Noted for their timing and rhythm, the band is credited with heavily influencing the development of electronic and punk music. While not commercially successful, the band has influenced artists such as David Bowie, Sex Pistols, and Sonic Youth. Musicality and influence should put NEU! on the Rock Hall ballot.

Raspberries Genre(s): Power Pop, Pop Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Raspberries released their first music in 1972. A pioneering power-pop band like Big Star, Raspberries also disbanded before the subgenre really took off in popularity, but they did score four top-40 hits from the four albums of their original run. Noted for their excellent melodies and tight harmonies, the band has influenced artists such as KISS, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen (and his band), and Guns N’ Roses. Musicality and influence help make the case for Raspberries in the Rock Hall.

Scorpions Genre(s): Hard Rock, Heavy Metal Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Scorpions released their first album in 1972. One of the most popular heavy metal groups of all time, Scorpions have found critical and commercial international success and longevity, including their number-one hit “Wind of Change” among many platinum and gold albums. Along with an embrace of music videos as a means of marketing their music and style, the band has influenced many artists including Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Metallica, Megadeth, and others. Their immense success, longevity and extensive discography, and influence should make Scorpions a lock for the Rock Hall.

Styx Genre(s): Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Pop Rock Odds of Induction: High
Styx released their first music in 1972. One of the most popular rock groups of the 1970s and early 1980s, Styx released five straight platinum (or better) albums, among several other gold albums, as well as eight top-ten hits and sixteen top-40 hits. Great critical and commercial popularity and a solid discography should lead Styx to Rock Hall induction.

James Young and Tommy Shaw of Styx at Jock Harty Arena in 1978. Photo by Bill Stevenson, courtesy of Flickr.

Eligible 1999

Bachman-Turner Overdrive Genre(s): Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Bachman-Turner Overdrive released their first music in 1973. One of the most popular and successful bands of the 1970s, the band released five straight albums certified gold in the U.S. and platinum in Canada. A more classic-sounding group among soft rock, power-pop, and progressive rock artists on the charts, critics are divided on the group’s legacy: They are either helped or hurt by their popular sound, similar to how Adam Sandler is both loved and hated for his popular comedy films. However, their success and popularity should not be discounted because their music is simple and catchy – it’s still good music.

New York Dolls Genre(s): Hard Rock, Punk Odds of Induction: High
New York Dolls released their first music in 1973. While not commercially successful in their original run, the band is regarded as one of the most influential cult artists in rock history, especially on the development of punk music. Their first three albums are highly-regarded by critics and influenced artists like Sex Pistols, KISS, The Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, and The Smiths, among others. The band has influenced rock culture as much as rock music, as their style heavily influenced punk and glam-rock artists. On the 2021 ballot, New York Dolls should be inducted to the Rock Hall.

Gram Parsons Genre(s): Country Rock, Folk Rock, Country Odds of Induction: Medium Gram Parsons released his first solo music in 1973. First part of The Byrds, then The Flying Burrito Brothers, Parsons is credited with helping form the country rock subgenre. Despite his death at just 26, Parsons’ blending of country and rock is noted as having immeasurable influence on both genres. Not in either the Country Music or Rock n’ Roll Halls of Fame, Parsons would help fill a void of country rock artists in both.

Check out the next article in the series: artists eligible 2000 through 2004!

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