the nominations to Rock and Roll Hall of FameThe Class of 2023 arrived this morning (February 1), and the 14 nominees range from alternative rock kings like the White Stripes and Soundgarden to hip-hop star Missy Elliott and country legend Willie Nelson. In May, the auditorium’s voting panel will narrow the field to five to seven artists who will be inducted in the fall.
Today’s announcement didn’t include any details about when and where the 2023 induction ceremony will take place (the 2022 ceremony was held in Los Angeles in November, and before that, the event usually alternated between Cleveland and New York. Let’s take a look at the surprises and emerging trends in this year’s field.
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The new category
Artists become eligible 25 years after the release of their first commercial recordings, but artists who debuted in the 1990s have been slow to reach their first year of eligibility. Last year, Eminem was the only newly qualified recruit, and there were zero in 2016 and 2018.
This year, the only artists newly eligible to receive a nomination are Missy Elliott and the White Stripes. While a Jack White-led group has always been a safe bet to eventually make it into the hall, it’s a bit of a surprise to see the band in the mix this year. Most fans and journalists keeping tabs on the Hall expected the Stripes to enter in 2024 based on their 1999 self-titled debut album, but the Hall’s nominating authority considers the duo’s 1998 Detroit limited release enough to make them eligible this year. Hall seems to be looking at pre-album singles when they’re more keen on getting a lead artist — Jay-Z also surprisingly became eligible for a 1995 single release in place of his 1996 debut album.
Things can get interesting when it comes to the regular induction gig live performance since the White Stripes split up in 2011. While White records and tours as a solo artist and still plays his old band’s songs, drummer Meg White hasn’t performed publicly since the band. Last seen together in Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2009.
Some of the biggest acts that have been eligible for years without a nomination include Motley Crue, Outkast, Jethro Tull, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Alice In Chains, and Boston. Artists of the late ’90s who became eligible this year but didn’t get a nod include Muse, Diddy, Queens of the Stone Age, and Destiny’s Child. Acts like Devo, MC5, New York Dolls, Chic, and Chaka Khan have frequently been nominated, but never submitted, this year.
Judas Priest, LL Cool J, and Chic Nile Rodgers, who have received the Music Excellence Award in the past two years after being disqualified from the proper hall, seem to have stopped receiving much support in the vote. This award, which until 2010 was a Sidemen category, now appears to function as a consolation prize that in turn reduces the artist’s chances of being served, a worrying trend.
A new task
On Monday, Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris shared an updated version of the Hall’s mission statement: “Born from the collision of rhythm and blues, country and gospel, rock and roll is an ever-changing soul. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates the voice of youth culture and honors artists who Their music connects us all.”
Emphasizing “soul” over vocal or instrumentation is a smart move as Hall increasingly casts a wider net outside of guitar-driven rock. In fact, hip-hop shows have been performed almost every year for over a decade. And last year, Dolly Parton joined Johnny Cash as one of Rock Hall’s leading country singers, although Parton herself was reluctant, initially declining her nomination. Willie Nelson’s first-time nomination, which has been eligible since the hall’s founding in the 1980s, suggests that country legends may start to become annual additions along with rappers and soul singers.
Joy Division and New Order have never been nominated before, and their joint nomination is a rare example of two bands with common members likely to be recruited together (Small Faces and Faces) being recruited as one act in 2012. But in most cases, musicians who’ve played in multiple bands They saw those teams being entered separately. Influential English post-punk band Joy formed in 1976 and recorded two albums before frontman Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980. Surviving members Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris then formed New Order, which released 10 albums and set the template for all of pop music. And the next electronic rock. Hook left the band in 2007 and publicly feuded with his former bandmates, so the Rock Hall nomination raises the question of whether he will perform at the induction ceremony.
women in the hall
In recent years, the Hall has seen successes in its female representation: 2020 marked the first time that three women or bands featuring women were inducted in one year, and 2021 was the first year that four women were inducted. With Bush, Crowe, Elliott, Lauper and Meg White on the ballot, this trend could continue this year. Elliott is the first woman in hip-hop to earn a chance at the Hall, as neither predecessors like Salt-N-Pepa or Queen Latifah have been nominated before.
This past May, the Rock Hall made the ill-timed decision to pass on Kate Bush’s nomination for a third time, just weeks before season 4 of Netflix’s Stranger Things launched 1985’s “Running Up That Hill” back onto the charts. Therefore, this year the pressure was on not to repeat this mistake and to finally bring Bush into the hall. Bosch and Luber, who have qualified since 2009 but never been nominated, will continue the recent trend of bringing more ’80s into the hall, with Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, and Lionel Richie all last year.
Warren Zevon, who died in 2003, and George Michael, who died in 2016, were not nominated before this year. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis are among the departed musicians who weren’t present for their induction, and Henry Farmbrough is the only member of the classic Spinners lineup still alive.
Since 2012, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website conducted an online poll to determine the “fan vote”. This vote is only one ballot in selecting recruits, so its significance is largely symbolic. But the fan vote was a groundbreaking one to count on: Over the past decade, every poll winner has been selected for extrapolation that year, with one exception. The Dave Matthews Band won the fan vote in 2020 but were passed out in the hall. When voting began this morning, Lauper took an early lead, with Nelson in second and Michael in third.
To see our list of the 100 Greatest Rock Stars of All Time, click here. click here.
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