The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their nominees for their 2023 class today. The list features two newly eligible artists alongside 12 others, six of whom are on the ballot for the first time. This year’s class is especially strong, but of course there were some snubs.
According to the Hall, “an artist’s musical impact and influence on other artists, length and depth of career and body of work as well as innovation and superiority in style and technique are taken into consideration” for induction.
And previously, artists were only eligible in the 26th year after their first commercial release, which would mean artists who first released music in 1997 would be eligible this year. However, the Hall is now going by the 25th year, as reported by Billboard:
“For those with an encyclopedic music knowledge who think, ‘wait, Missy [Elliott]’s debut Supa Dupa Fly dropped in 1997, and The White Stripes’ first single came out in 1998 – how does that math work out?’ there’s a reason for it. The nominating committee at the Rock Hall has recently started meeting the same year the inductees are honored, as opposed to the year before. This means 2023 is a sort of ‘make-up year’ for artists whose first release was in 1997 or 1998. But in the future, when it comes to Rock Hall nominations, you can subtract 25 from the induction year to determine eligibility.”
So this year has two newly eligible classes (1997 and 1998).
The Rock Hall also updated their vision statement, leading it with: “Born from the collision of rhythm & blues, country, and gospel, rock & roll is a spirit that is inclusive and ever-changing.” This broader view of how rock music is interpreted falls in line with modern thinking and follows the Rock Hall’s own trend of nominating and inducting artists outside of traditional, guitar-based rock artists recently, especially in hip-hop.
The 2023 nominee list is: A Tribe Called Quest, Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Iron Maiden, a joint nomination for Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, The Spinners, The White Stripes, and Warren Zevon.
Below, each artist is described and is given overall odds for induction (in alphabetical order).
A Tribe Called Quest Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Alternative Hip-Hop, Jazz Rap Odds of Induction: High
A Tribe Called Quest released their first single in 1989. Known for their thoughtful lyrics, the group is considered a pioneer of alternative hip-hop. All six of their studio albums have been certified gold or platinum. They have influenced many artists including Dr. Dre, Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, D’Angelo, Andre 3000, Kanye West, and Erykah Badu. Their musicality, success, and influence should lead them to the Rock Hall.
Kate Bush Genre(s): Avant-Rock, Art Pop Odds of Induction: High
Kate Bush released her first music in 1978. Known for eclectic musicality, Bush has been massively popular in her native UK for her entire career. Perhaps the first artist to use a microphone in a headset, Bush has influenced a wide variety of artists across music including Peter Gabriel, Stevie Nicks, Björk, Hole, Ellie Goulding, and more. Nominated this year for a fourth time, her musicality, longevity, and influence should land her in the Hall.
Sheryl Crow Genre(s): Pop Rock, Pop, Country Odds of Induction: High
Sheryl Crow released her first music in 1993. Crow has released six albums certified platinum or multi-platinum among her international success and extensive discography. Her song “Tomorrow Never Dies” is also a top-five Bond song. A premiere woman rocker, she has been nominated for the Rock Hall as the institution finally begins to acknowledge more women’s influences on the progression of rock music.
Missy Elliott (real name Melissa Arnette Elliott) Genre(s): Hip-Hop Odds of Induction: High
Missy Elliott released her first music in 1997. She paved a path for women – especially black women – talking, rapping, and singing about their femininity, sexuality, and body image. She also changed the way hip-hop artists make music videos. She’ll be in the Hall sooner than later.
Iron Maiden Genre(s): Heavy Metal Odds of Induction: Should Be In Already
Iron Maiden released their first EP in 1979. Known for their dual guitar work, rangy vocals, and live concerts, the band is one of the highest-selling artists of all time. All but two of their sixteen studio albums have been certified gold or higher in multiple countries, among incredible international success. The group has also influenced many artists, including Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and Slipknot, and they are oft-referenced in other bands’ songs. Nominated for the Hall again this year, Iron Maiden should be in already.
Joy Division and New Order Genre(s): Post-punk, Gothic Rock, New Wave Odds of Induction: High
Frustratingly, even though they share all but one of the same members, Joy Divison and New Order have been niminated jointly despite their unique sounds from one another. However, they each have medium chances of induction on their own, so a joint nomination could push them closer to the Hall.
Joy Division released their first EP in 1978. Known for their melancholy lyrics, spacious sound, and energetic concerts, the band is considered one of the first post-punk artists. Despite a limited discography due to lead singer Ian Curtis’ death, the band has influenced many artists, including The Cure, U2, Soundgarden, and Vince Staples.
New Order released their first music in 1981. Comprised of the remaining members of Joy Division, the band is known for combining post-punk with synth-pop and electronic dance music, a unique combination that has influenced the development of techno and other subgenres of electronic music, as well as pop music. Their hit “Blue Monday” is also the best-selling 12” single of all time.
The bands’ combined musicality and influence should give them a good chance at Rock Hall induction.
Cyndi Lauper Genre(s): Pop, New Wave Odds of Induction: High
Cyndi Lauper released her first music in 1983. Jumping out of the gate with international hits “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” Lauper also released five straight albums certified gold or higher in several countries. Lauper helped to popularize punk style in popular music and furthered the popularity of New Wave. Already in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and writer of the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, Lauper has been an icon for other female vocalists and woman in rock. After Pat Benatar, Big Mama Thornton, and Mary Wells, Lauper is next on the list of solo women missing from the Rock Hall.
George Michael Genre(s): Pop, R&B Odds of Induction: High
George Michael released his first solo single – the massive hit “Careless Whisper” – in 1984. All five of his studio albums and two of his compilation albums are certified multi-platinum. Beloved by musicians, songwriters, and fans alike, Michael has an extensive popular discography, in addition to his work with Wham! His induction would also add much needed LGBTQ+ representation in the Hall.
Willie Nelson Genre(s): Country, Outlaw Country, Blues Odds of Induction: Medium
Willie Nelson released his first single in 1957 and his first album 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.
Rage Against the Machine Genre(s): Rap Metal, Funk Metal, Alternative Metal Odds of Induction: Medium
Rage Against the Machine released their first music in 1992. Nominated for the Rock Hall this year once again, all four of the band’s albums are certified platinum or multi-platinum in several countries. Known for their political lyrics, the band has a considerable following. Their success and musicality will likely earn them Rock Hall enshrinement.
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.
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.
The White Stripes Genre(s): Garage Rock, Blues Rock, Alternative Rock Odds of Induction: High
The White Stripes released their first singles in 1998. Helping to re-popularize garage rock, the husband-wife duo broke through for solid critical and commercial success. Along with success, technical ability – their sound is especially impressive considering it’s just the two of them – and musicality will bring them to the Rock Hall.
Warren Zevon Genre(s): Rock , Folk Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
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 music. 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.
Major snubs continue to include artists like Boston, Mary Wells, Fela Kuti, Sparks, Captain Beefheart, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Dick Dale, Big Mama Thornton, Wynonie Harris, Judas Priest (as performers), Foreigner, “Weird” Al, Ozzy Osbourne, B’z, Morrissey, and many others. Read more on snubs in our Rock Hall Snubs series.
Here are other artist that were newly eligible this year but did not make the ballot:
Creed Genre(s): Post-Grunge, Hard Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Creed released their first music in 1997. Voted the most hated band of the 1990s, one diamond and two multi-platinum albums tell a different story. Like Nickelback, Creed’s post-grunge genre has many detractors and they face an uphill battle for induction.
Five for Fighting (real name Vladimir John Ondrasik III) Genre(s): Soft Rock, Pop Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Five for Fighting released his first album in 1997. Two platinum albums and a soft rock musical lane all his own (outside of a few one-hit wonders) help make a case for his induction, but there’s a long waitlist ahead of him.
Limp Bizkit Genre(s): Nu-Metal, Alternative Metal, Rap Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Limp Bizkit released their first music in 1997. Known for their mixture of genres and adeptness at switching between styles, the band defined Nu-Metal at the genre’s peak. Nu-metal, like post-grunge is an oft-maligned genre, so their case for induction is murky.
Mos Def (real name Yasiin Bey) Genre(s): Hip-Hop Odds of Induction: Low
Mos Def released his first single in 1997. He is regarded as one of the best rappers of the 2000s and has influenced a number of artists, including Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi. A long list of rappers ahead of him lessens his chances to make the Hall.
New Found Glory Genre(s): Punk Pop Odds of Induction: High
New Found Glory released their first EP in 1997. They are noted as one of the most influential punk pop bands of all time, helping Blink-182 to raise the profile of the genre and bring it mainstream. Their influence and success give them a good shot at the Rock Hall.
O.A.R. Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Indie Rock Odds of Induction: Slim
O.A.R. (or Of A Revolution) released their first album in 1997. A string of hits in the 2000s bring them to the list, but a lack of major influence and critical success will keep them out of the Hall.
Saliva Genre(s): Nu-Metal, Rap Rock, Hard Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Saliva released their first album in 1997. A multi-platinum album and consistent charting land Saliva on this list. A respected band despite their genre, the band still has an uphill battle to get to the Rock Hall.
Sia Genre(s): Pop, Electronic, Indie Pop Odds of Induction: Medium
Sia released her first album in 1997. Known for her vocal range, the singer has had consistent critical and commercial success. Her genre(s) will be the most debatable part of her case for the Hall.
Smash Mouth Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Ska Punk Odds of Induction: Medium
Smash Mouth released their first music in 1997. Releasing two straight multi-platinum albums and helping Shrek define a generation of kids gives the band a high profile and a decent shot at the Rock Hall.
Switchfoot Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Rock, Christian Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Switchfoot released their first music in 1997. One multi-platinum album and two gold albums, musicality in spades, and lead singer Jon Foreman’s unique voice give the band a solid shot at the Rock Hall.
Third Eye Blind Genre(s): Alternative Rock Odds of Induction: Medium
Third Eye Blind released their first music in 1997. Jumping to a hot start with a massive multi-platinum album and another platinum album, the band defined early 2000s alternative rock. They should see solid consideration for the Rock Hall.
Yellowcard Genre(s): Punk Pop Odds of Induction: Low
Yellowcard released their first album in 1997. One of the most respected punk pop bands during their career, the band released one platinum album among popular and critical success. They sit behind a number of other punk pop bands, lessening their chances at the Hall.
American Football Genre(s): Math Rock, Indie Rock, Emo Odds of Induction: Low
American Football released their first EP in 1998. Known for their unique style and varying time-signatures, the band is credited with inspiring a revival of less pop-infused emo music, closer to 80s and 90s emo, punk, and post-punk, rather than 2000s emo and punk pop.
Death Cab for Cutie Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Emo Odds of Induction: High
Death Cab for Cutie released their first commercial music in 1998. Known for experimenting with different instrumentation, the band has one platinum and two gold albums. They also have critical success and have influenced other artists, including Real Friends.
DMX (real name Earl Simmons) Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap Odds of Induction: High
Other than an outlying non-album single, DMX released his first music in 1998. The late rapper was one of the most respected rappers in the game, and leaves behind a significant legacy.
Evanescence Genre(s): Hard Rock, Gothic Rock, Alternative Metal Odds of Induction: Medium
Evanescence released their first EP in 1998. Known for lead singer Amy Lee’s voice, the band have released one diamond, one multi-platinum, and two gold albums so far. Aside form their popularity, the band has had considerable critical success. Lee is also credited with helping to garner and/or bring light to women in and who enjoy metal music. With success, musicality, and influence, they have a good case for the Hall.
Fuel Genre(s): Post-Grunge, Hard Rock Odds of Induction: Low
Fuel released their first music in 1998. Known for hits “Shimmer” and “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” they have released one platinum album and one multi-platinum album. Commercial and critical success helps their case, but genre and limited longevity hurts them.
Godsmack Genre(s): Hard Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, others Odds of Induction: Low
Godsmack released their first music in 1998. The band has had solid critical and commercial success, including two multi-platinum, one platinum, and two gold albums. However, there are multiple other metal acts ahead of them, lessening their chances at the Hall.
Lauryn Hill Genre(s): Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul Odds of Induction: Lock
Lauryn Hill released her only studio album in 1998. That and a live album from MTV Unplugged make up most of her discography. And yet her impact on music, especially in rap, neo soul, pop, and R&B, is nearly immeasurable. Look to see her inducted on her first ballot.
Hoobastank Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge Odds of Induction: Medium
Hoobastank released their first official music in 1998. One gold album, one platinum album, and one multi-platinum album, plus charting success for a decade help their case, but their biggest asset is their musicality, which is difficult to narrow to a clear genre – like Incubus.
Muse Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Electronic Rock, others Odds of Induction: High
Muse released their first music in 1999. Known for their blending of genres and styles, all eight of the band’s studio albums are certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in multiple countries. Critical and commercial success, plus musicality will lead them to the Rock Hall.
Ozomatli Genre(s): Latin Rock, Chicano Rock, others Odds of Induction: Low
Ozomatli released their debut album in 1998. Though lacking commercial success, the band has carved a space with their musicality and genre-blending. Known for their activism and Latin influences, Ozomatli would provide much needed Latin rock representation to the Rock Hall.
Snow Patrol Genre(s): Alternative Rock, Indie Rock Odds of Induction: High
Snow Patrol released an EP under a different name in 1997, but their first music as Snow Patrol came in 1998. The band has had massive success, including having their single “Chasing Cars” continue to be the most played song of the 21st century in the UK. They have also had significant critical success and recognition from their musical peers.
System of a Down Genre(s): Alternative Metal, others Odds of Induction: High
System of a Down released their first music in 1998. Known for their lyrical themes and instrumentation experimentation, all five of the group’s studio albums are certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in multiple countries. Musicality and success give them a solid case for the Rock Hall.
Train Genre(s): Pop Rock Odds of Induction: High
Train released their first music in 1998. Among their critical and commercial success, the band has released one multi-platinum album and four platinum albums. They have also influenced other artists, including Smallpools.