Bring on the various alternative subgenres with artists eligible from 2010 through 2014! Thirty-one more artists grace this list, 22 of which I gave medium odds or higher for induction, bringing that total to 152. I also believe two of the artists Should Be In Already, bringing that total to 22. Some of my favorite music is starting to creep in here and I recommend checking out Sade, Eric B. & Rakim, The Offspring, Goo Goo Dolls, and Pixies!
The Flaming Lips Genre(s): Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock Odds of Induction: Low
The Flaming Lips released their first EP in 1984. One of the most interesting bands of the last 25 years, the group is noted for their live shows. Known for their hit “She Don’t Use Jelly,” (shout out to my pen-pal Draven for referencing this song to a clueless group chat), the band’s musicality and longevity could see them put on the Rock Hall ballot.
LL Cool J (real name James Todd Smith) Genre(s): Hip-Hop Odds of Induction: High
LL Cool J released his first single in 1984. His first 12 albums (including one compilation) are all certified gold or higher. LL Cool J is one of the first artists of the new school hip-hop scene to hit the mainstream. Helping to popularize the hip-hop sound that featured rock-style arrangements as opposed to disco-style (old school), he was the standard of hip-hop for over a decade, influencing many future artists. This year is his sixth year nominated to the Rock Hall ballot, and he should get in soon. Update: he was inducted in the Award for Musical Excellence category as part of the 2021 class!
Pet Shop Boys Genre(s): Synth-Pop, Art Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Pet Shop Boys released their first singles in 1984. The duo presents an interesting case for the Rock Hall because, while their first five albums were certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in multiple countries among their international success, they have centered their career around an anti-rock stance. Known for their avant-garde style and electronically-infused music, Pet Shop Boys nevertheless have a good case for the Rock Hall. Lead singer Neil Tennant is also openly gay, representation of which is lacking in the Rock Hall.
Sade (real name Helen Folasade Adu) Genre(s): Soul, Jazz, Pop Odds of Induction: High
Sade released her first music in 1984. All six of her studio albums and a compilation album have been certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum in multiple countries. She has influenced an array of artists including Eric B. & Rakim, Aaliyah, Brandy, Beyoncé, and Greg Puciato. Known for her smooth vocals, her music has helped shape pop music since her debut. Her musicality, success, and influence give her a solid case for Rock Hall induction.
Faith No More Genre(s): Alternative Metal, Funk, Experimental Rock Odds of Induction: High
Faith No More released their first album in 1985. They have released four studio albums certified gold or higher in several countries among their moderate international success. Credited with inventing alternative metal, the band influenced the creation of nu-metal and rap-rock as well. Artists they influenced include Guns N’ Roses, Deftones, Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit, and System of a Down, among others. Their musicality, success, and influence should earn them a spot in the Rock Hall.
Alison Krauss Genre(s): Bluegrass, Country, Pop Odds of Induction: Low
Alison Krauss released her first album in 1985. The most-awarded woman in Grammy history, she has spent most of her time in country and bluegrass, but has worked with artists like Robert Plant, Sting, and Phish, and has influenced the development of alternative bluegrass and folk rock artists like Nickel Creek. The likelihood she gets into the Rock Hall is low, but she’s worth a mention.
Megadeth Genre(s): Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal Odds of Induction: High
Megadeth released their first album in 1985. Known as one of the originators of thrash metal, the group is one of the most influential heavy metal acts of all time. Known for their clean (not muddled) sound and speed, the band helped to popularize thrash metal and influence the development of other metal subgenres. Known for their lyrical content, but not so controversial as Slayer, the band’s success, musicality, and influence will get them a nod for the Rock Hall.
Salt-N-Pepa Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Rap, Pop Odds of Induction: High
Salt-N-Pepa released their first single in 1985. A popular hip-hop group for 15 years, all five of the group’s studio albums are certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in several countries. The trio helped to popularize hip-hop and normalize women being open about and taking agency of their sexualities. Noted as “The First Ladies of Hip-Hop,” Salt-N-Pepa helped change the landscape of hip-hop and pop music and are deserving of the Rock Hall.
Sepultura Genre(s): Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Alternative metal Odds of Induction: Medium
Sepultura released their first EP in 1985. One of the most successful Brazilian rock bands ever, the group found international success and influence. Artists they have influenced include Slipknot, Korn, and Foo Fighters. Known for a variety of metal subgenres combined with traditional and tribal Brazilian music, the group’s musicality and influence give them a good shot at induction.
Sting (real name Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner) Genre(s): Rock, Pop, others Odds of Induction: High
Sting released his first solo music (aside from a song for a 1982 film) in 1985. Already in the Rock Hall as a member of The Police, Sting has released many gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums among his international success. He is known for including many genres into his rock sound and is credited with introducing raï music to the American mainstream. His success and musicality should bring him Rock Hall enshrinement as a solo artist.
Eric B. & Rakim Genre(s): Hip-Hop Odds of Induction: Medium
Eric B. & Rakim released their first single in 1986. Known for Rakim’s methodic delivery, internal and multi-syllabic rhymes, and Eric B.’s sampling to create beats and song structure, the pair are regarded as one of the best duos in music history. They released one platinum and two gold albums and were a large influence on the evolution of hip-hop. Their musicality and influence should bring them to the Rock Hall.
The Lemonheads Genre(s): Alternative Rock Odds of Induction: Slim
The Lemonheads released their first EP in 1986. Known more for frontman Evan Dando’s hedonistic lifestyle more than their smooth alternative sound, the band released two gold albums in the late 1990s. While Dando might have lived as a Rockstar, his antics have not only been crazy, but gross as well – he took model/actress Bijou Phillips’ virginity when she was just 15, according to Phillips herself. While they were both probably under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, there are zero excuses for a grown man to have sex with a minor.
Melvins Genre(s): Sludge Metal, Grunge, Hardcore Punk Odds of Induction: Medium
Melvins released their first EP in 1986. Their blend of punk and metal was an influence on the creation of grunge and sludge metal. The band has influenced many artists in grunge and metal, and they have an extensive discography. Their influence, musicality, and longevity give them a good shot at the Hall.
The Offspring Genre(s): Punk, Alternative Rock, Punk Pop Odds of Induction: High
The Offspring released their first single in 1986. Credited with helping to revive the popularity of punk music, the band released eight albums certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in multiple countries among their international success. They also influenced punk pop bands to come after them, including Simple Plan. With fellow punk revival group Green Day already in the Rock Hall, The Offspring should follow.
Phish Genre(s): Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Phish released their first album in 1986 (without a label). Known for their live performing style, the band has released two platinum and seven gold albums. The group made a name for themselves in their touring, gaining a large and dedicated fan base who were receptive to their progressive rock style in concert. Their longevity, musicality, and success should get them support for the Rock Hall.
Poison Genre(s): Glam Rock, Hard Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Poison released their first music in 1986. A popular hair band in the late 1980s with three straight multi-platinum albums, Poison is best known for number-one hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Their success could see them earn a Rock Hall nomination.
Screaming Trees Genre(s): Grunge, Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Screaming Trees released their first music in 1986. One of the first grunge acts, they were a respected indie band and influenced their grunge peers. Their musicality helps their case, but other more influential underground acts sit ahead of them.
Goo Goo Dolls Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Jangle Pop Odds of Induction: High
The Goo Goo Dolls released their first album in 1987. One of the faces of alternative rock in the 1990s and 2000s, along with R.E.M., Alanis Morissette, and Matchbox Twenty, the Goo Goo Dolls have had two gold and two multi-platinum albums among their international success. Known for international hits “Name,” “Iris,” and “Slide,” the band has consistently released music since their debut. Frontman John Rzeznik is already in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the whole band should be in the Rock Hall.
Lalah Hathaway Genre(s): R&B, Soul Odds of Induction: Slim
Lalah Hathaway released her first single in 1987. Known for her vocal ability, including multiphonic overtone singing, she took over where her father (mentioned in the 1995 through 1999 article) left off in her smooth R&B sound. Her longevity and technical ability could see her gain support for Rock Hall nomination.
Jane’s Addiction Genre(s): Alternative Metal Odds of Induction: High
Jane’s Addiction released their first live album in 1987. Credited with popularizing alternative metal, the group influenced the development of the genre, as well as nu-metal and alternative rock. Artists they influenced include Tool, Korn, The Smashing Pumpkins, Limp Bizkit, Candlebox, P.O.D., Incubus, System of a Down, and more. They have one gold, one platinum, and one multi-platinum album among their four studio albums. Their musicality and influence should earn them a spot in the Hall.
Pixies Genre(s): Alternative Rock Odds of Induction: High
Pixies released their first EP in 1987. Known for their shifts between loud and soft and their use of start-stop tempo, the band have influenced many alternative rock artists including David Bowie, Radiohead, U2, Nirvana, The Strokes, Alice in Chains, Weezer, Bush, Arcade Fire, Pavement, Everclear, and Kings of Leon. Their musicality, longevity, and influence has reserved them a spot in the Rock Hall.
Screeching Weasel Genre(s): Punk, Punk Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Screeching Weasel released their first album in 1987. While never commercially successful, the band laid the groundwork for and influenced many punk pop artists who would go on to great success, including Blink-182, Green Day, Less Than Jake, The All-American Rejects, New Found Glory, Rise Against, and Fall Out Boy. Their influence and longevity could see them get a nod for the Rock Hall.
Soundgarden Genre(s): Grunge, Alternative Metal, Hard Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Soundgarden released their first music in 1987. They released four straight albums certified gold or multi-platinum among international success. Credited with helping to popularize grunge, the band was also an influence on the development of alternative metal. Known for their alternative tunings and technical ability, the band influenced Nirvana, plus other grunge and metal artists.
Travis Tritt (full name James Travis Tritt) Genre(s): Country, Country Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Travis Tritt released his first album in 1987. Known for continuing the country rock subgenre, Tritt has released six platinum or multi-platinum albums. Consistently charting since 1989, Tritt might be hurt by his divisive political views, but his musicality and success could earn him support for nomination.
B’z Genre(s): Hard Rock, Rock, Pop Rock, Pop, New Wave Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
B’z released their first music in 1988. One of the highest-selling artists of all time and the highest-selling artist from Japan, the duo have released certified albums almost exclusively. Known for their blending of styles, B’z have influenced the development of rock music in Southeast Asia, and especially in their native Japan. If the R ock Hall wishes to be inclusive of rock from around the world, they need to induct B’z ASAP.
Tracy Chapman Genre(s): Folk, Blues Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Tracy Chapman released her first music in 1988. Nine of her ten albums (including compilations) have been certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in multiple countries. Known for her lyrics and activism, her song “Fast Car” is also noted as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Her success should earn her a trip to the Rock Hall.
De La Soul Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Alternative Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap Odds of Induction: Low
De La Soul released their first singles in 1988. The trio has one platinum and one gold album and have been cited as an influence on the development of alternative hip-hop and jazz rap. They also influenced rapper Mos Def. Their longevity and influence give them a shot at the Rock Hall.
Melissa Etheridge Genre(s): Rock, Folk Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Melissa Etheridge released her first music in 1988. She released six straight albums certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum among her international success. Remaining successful after coming out as gay, Etheridge inspired many artists with her music and courage. Maintaining her success was not easy at the time – Ellen DeGeneres came out two years later and backlash against her caused ABC to cancel her show. Etheridge’s success, longevity, and influence make a good case for her enshrinement in the Rock Hall.
Fugazi Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Punk Odds of Induction: High
Fugazi released their first EP in 1988. Known for their frugal business style in minimizing cost while maximizing profit to keep making music and touring, as well as their guitar-playing styles, the band has influenced an incredible amount of artists. The diverse list includes Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Sublime, Modest Mouse, Tool, Jack White, Silverchair, Sleater-Kinney, Arcade Fire, The Dismemberment Plan, The 1975, Paramore, Bon Iver, and Lorde. Their musicality, punk mentality, and influence should see them inducted into the Rock Hall.
Morrissey (full name Steven Patrick Morrissey) Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Indie Rock Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Morrissey released his first solo music in 1988. Known for his vocal style and lyrical themes, Morrissey is regarded as one of the most influential British musicians of all time, with popularity and influence extending around the globe. He has influenced artists like Oasis, Blur, Suede, Jeff Buckley, The Killers, and more. Morissey is also an LGBTQ icon and has near-universal critical acclaim. His success, influence, and longevity make him a perfect match for the Rock Hall.
Newsboys Genre(s): Christian Contemporary, Christian Pop, Christian Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Newsboys released their first official music in 1988. One of the first groups to popularize rock music as part of Christian music, the band has released five gold studio albums. Their longevity and musicality give them a shot at the Rock Hall.
Check out the next article in the series: artists eligible 2015 through 2019!