20 Artists who are not in the Rock Hall, but should be

So my blog is 4 years old now and since then, a bunch of artists have been inducted into the Rock Hall:

2015: Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Green Day, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Bill Withers.

2016: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, NWA, and Steve Miller

2017: ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac, and Yes.

2018: Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, and Nina Simone

2019: Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, and The Zombies

Like any classic rock fan, I’ve had my share of complaints about the Rock Hall about musicians who have been snubbed, slept on, forgotten. So finally, I’ll write a post about bands that I think should be in the Rock Hall. Long overdue, eh? Here’s to some of these names joining the Rock Hall in the 2020s!

Quick note: This post was published March 2019. If you’re reading this in the future, maybe things have changed and some of these bands are in the Rock Hall now. If that’s the case, yay! But I’m not holding my breath with some of these bands.

Flaws with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

We all know the Rock Hall is flawed. Here are the flaws I find in the Hall of Fame:

1. Americanocentrism

A lot of the bands you’ll see listed below are not from America. If the band didn’t get that much fame in America, they’re not going to be in the Rock Hall. I know the Rock Hall is in America, so it’s obviously going to have an American focus.

Making it in America is very important for any international acts, as it’s a world superpower. A vast and populous land, affluent country, highly influential in music, everyone’s got their eyes on America.

The problem with some of these bands I listed is they were “Too British/foreign” to resonate with Americans or poor marketing. It’s funny, America absolutely loves British people: the accents, the literature, the music, the culture. Americans may poke fun at Brits, but at the end of the day, they’re brothers.

I think poor marketing is often to blame with bands that were one hit wonders in America, but not in Europe. Record labels too often screw over musicians: they squander money, fail to pay them, set them up to fail, micromanage them and restrict their creativity and image.

2. The Quota

I guess in order for the Rock Hall to be so prestigious there has to be a limit to how many bands get inducted and nominated at a time. This leads to a lot of awesome bands being forgotten and never ending up getting nominated.

3. Abandoning rock and roll?

In recent years, rappers were inducted into the Rock Hall. Why? If it’s a diversity issue like #RockHallSoWhite, there are a lot of forgotten or lesser known non-white/mixed rock stars who deserve a nomination. The entire point of my blog is to show that classic rock is more diverse than meets the eye.

There are so many deserving rock bands that haven’t even gotten in yet. Why doesn’t someone just start a Rap/Hip Hop Hall of Fame or just change the name to Popular Music Hall of Fame.

4. Ignoring certain subgenres

Progressive rock, hard rock, and metal fans can definitely confirm that there is a bias against those subgenres and a bias towards more commercial and radio friendly poppy subgenres. Prog, hard rock, and metal were all incredibly important in rock and roll history and ought to be properly represented in the Hall of Fame.

20 Bands/Artists Who Deserve to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

My source and inspiration for a lot of this info was the site, Not in Hall of Fame, a website that lists famous people that should be in various halls of fame, be it music or sport.

This list is in alphabetical order, for logic and better organisation. This isn’t a ranking. I will limit this list to 20. If you like it, you better believe there’s gonna be a sequel.

For each band, I’ll make a case for why they should be included and give you what I think is their most important work. Let’s get started!

Cliff Richard & The Shadows

Why?¬†Cliff Richard is often considered Britain’s first rock star and he is Britain’s first Asian rock star. The Shadows were his backing band and they were important in the late 50s/early 60s instrumental rock sound. Guitarist Hank Marvin influenced so many rock guitarists of the 60s and 70s.

Know your rock history and don’t sleep on the early guitar driven instrumental rock of the late 50s and early 60s.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†They didn’t make it big in America. I think the best known Cliff Richard song in America is “Devil Woman”, which in my opinion isn’t even his best work.

What you should listen to:¬†Their early material like “Apache” and “Move It”.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Dick Dale

Why? Incredibly influential lefty surf rock guitarist: his playing influenced metal, hard rock, psychobilly, and psychedelic rock. He was called the King of Surf Rock for a reason. On top of that, he could surf.

He was proud of his Middle Eastern heritage and incorporated it into his sound. His biggest hit, “Misirlou” was a traditional Middle Eastern song. I believe he’s America’s first Asian rock star, or at least one of the first.

Why he’s not in the Rock Hall:¬†Honestly, I wish I could tell you. I think it’s the limit to how many can be nominated and inducted.

What you should listen to:¬†Misirlou. You’ll feel a rush! Listen to more than just that. It’s sad that if he gets inducted, he won’t get to see that.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

Why? Prog rockers Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer. Easily one of the most important progressive rock bands and supergroups. The way they combined classical and jazz with rock and roll was incredible and changed my mind about classical music. The band had many epic songs with so many movements.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†Because people think prog rock is pretentious.

What you should listen to:¬†There are too many good songs to name, but my personal favourite epic is “Karn Evil 9.”

If you don’t have much time, listen to “Nutrocker”. I’ll never get tired of this Christmas song.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated


Why? One of the first all girl groups. Not the first, because Goldie & The Gingerbreads and The Pleasure Seekers were established and recording before them. They were one of the first all girl groups to achieve commercial success. David Bowie was a huge fan of the band and The Runaways and The Bangles cited them as a key influence.

Most of the members are lesbian or bisexual. Really important band in women’s music history and LGBT history.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†They didn’t achieve that much success compared to other bands. It’s a pity they’ve been forgotten.

What you should listen to:¬†Their cover of “Hey Bulldog”, it’s one of my favourite Beatles covers ever. I might even argue that I like this version better than the original.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Jethro Tull

Why?¬†Another important prog rock band that has been snubbed. What stood out about them was their incorporation of the flute. They’re such a unique band who mixed blues and folk with rock. There’s something for everyone.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall: They think prog rock is pretentious. This band went there and released¬†Thick as a Brick, an album with just one long 43 minute track. Your fave could never.

What you should listen to:¬†Their album,¬†Aqualung, is a great starting point. My favourites on the album are “Aqualung”, “Hymn 43”, and “Locomotive Breath”.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

King Crimson

Why? Prog rock band that had a lot of famous names: Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Greg Lake, John Wetton. Their debut, In The Court of the Crimson King, has such an iconic album cover. They mix jazz, classical, and rock so beautifully.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall: Again, their idea that prog rock is pretentious. I think what’s not exactly helping their case, dispelling the pretentious progger stereotype, and helping them build a base of younger fans is that you can’t find their music on streaming services. I have a hard time getting into their music, admittedly, because of this. Even The Beatles changed their tune on streaming services. Can Robert Fripp have a change of heart too? Won’t hold my breath though.

What you should listen to: My picks for albums would be Red and In The Court of the Crimson King. Update! King Crimson are finally on Spotify!

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated


Why?¬†There’s no turning back. The Rock Hall are nominating bands that aren’t rock and roll. Kraftwerk have been snubbed five times already and it makes me sad.

These guys were electronic music pioneers and proved to us all that you don’t have to make music in English to make an impact in the music world. Know your electronic music history and appreciate Kraftwerk and their influence. Can you believe that their music is from the 70s and 80s? So ahead of its time.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†Too foreign, a lot of their music is in German. Poor sales in America. They were successful in Europe though, but I guess that doesn’t matter to the Rock Hall.

Bandit Keith Meme

How I picture the Rock Hall’s Committee

What you should listen to:¬†Hard to pick just one song or album, but for one song, I pick “Autobahn”. Bucket list: drive on the Autobahn to this song.

If you want an album, pick¬†Trans Europe Express. You don’t have to be from Europe to appreciate this awesome album.

# Of Times Nominated: 5 times (2003, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019)


Why? Psychedelic and folk rock band of the 60s led by Arthur Lee. They were one of the first multiracial bands in America. Their discography is diverse and the diversity of the band members and the sounds is what this blog is all about.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†I think the quota is a big reason. There are a lot of legendary bands. This is the classic rock era after all so they’re fighting with larger bands.

What you should listen to:¬†Easily “Alone Again Or”. A perfect hippie song. Their album¬†Forever Changes is absolutely worth a listen.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Manfred Mann

Why?¬†Which one? British Invasion/blues rock Manfred Mann, jazz rock Manfred Mann Chapter 3, or Manfred Mann’s Earth Band?

Why not all? Joan Jett was well known for her covers, which is why I compare her to Manfred Mann, another musician best known for covers.

What is especially cool about Manfred is that he did so many kinds of music and he was one of the first famous African rock stars, but not the first, that’s Cherry Wainer. I live for musicians who are diverse in sound and can change with the times.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall: Not the best known British Invasion group. But they did have some success in America. People know “Do Wah Diddy” and “The Mighty Quinn”. People kinda forget about them. Ask people to name a British Invasion group and they won’t be the first one people think of. As for the Earth Band stuff, people only know “Blinded By The Light” (topped the charts in 1976). Earth Band have a fan base in Europe though.

What you should listen to:¬†Really hard to pick just one, but I’m gonna pick something that you wouldn’t think of straight away. “One Way Glass” was famously sampled by The Prodigy and I think the original is amazing. Also it’s an original by Manfred.

If you’re looking for a good Earth Band song that isn’t “Blinded By The Light”, I recommend “Africa Suite” from the anti-apartheid album¬†Somewhere in Afrika. Before there was I Ain’t Gonna Play Sun City there was Somwhere in Afrika.¬†Did you know that Manfred was at one point banned from returning to his birth country because of his political views?

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Marc Bolan/T. Rex:

2020 Update: T Rex were inducted into the Rock Hall in 2020

Why?¬†Marc Bolan got his start with a more psychedelic folk sound in the late 60s before turning glam rock in the 70s. Marc was stylish poet who always knew what was cool. I’m not kidding about the poet part. Before he became a superstar, he published¬†The Warlock of Love¬†in 1969. Before he was psychedelic and glam rock, he was a mod. He also wasn’t afraid to get in touch with his feminine side. What a style icon! Huge inspiration for me.

The early 70s were great years for Marc Bolan, as it was hit after hit for him, so many chart toppers and near misses: “Ride a White Swan”, “Hot Love”, “Get It On”, “Jeepster”, “Telegram Sam”, “Metal Guru”, “Children of the Revolution”, “Solid Gold Easy Action”, and “20th Century Boy”.

On his 1977 TV show, Marc, he would have punk bands play, one of the bands that played on his show were The Jam. Incredibly talented and gone too soon, he passed away in 1977 just before his 30th birthday.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†I don’t think he’s exactly unheard of in America, but I think he’s been overshadowed and overlooked. Classic rock fans know him, but the general public only know about “Get It On”. They’re missing out! Because of that, the Rock Hall ignore him.

What you should listen to: The album, Electric Warrior is always a good start.

# Of Times Nominated: 2020 РGot in

Procol Harum

Why?¬†Prog rock band popular in the late 60s and early 70s. You know them for “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. I love the organs and lead singer Gary Brooker’s Steve Winwood-esque soulful voice.

What’s really cool is that they did a music video way before MTV was a thing. Check out the music video for “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. That video made me want to get in a time machine and go to 60s Swinging London. The outfits are super cool. The organ in that song gives me a shiver down my spine, in a good way.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†Bias against progressive rock. I think they had some tough competition in 2013, but as the years passed they got overshadowed by other bands. It’s a pity.

What you should listen to: “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is popular for a reason. I also recommend “Conquistador” and “Shine on Brightly”.

# Of Times Nominated: Once, in 2013.

Rory Gallagher

Why?¬†He’s a blues rock guitar legend and very much loved in his native Ireland. Anyone who knows about guitar will acknowledge his talent. Not only was he a good guitarist, he had a good voice. Whenever I see him left out of top guitarist lists, it makes me sad. Famous fans of Rory include: Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Brian May, Johnny Marr, U2, Slash, and Jeff Beck.

He wasn’t your average rock star in many ways. He wasn’t flashy looking. You’d never see him in fancy clothing. He’d always dress simple, flannel shirt and jeans. He never got into the whole groupie thing either. Apparently, he never had a serious girlfriend. His love was music and playing his guitar live.

Why he’s not in the Rock Hall: Didn’t achieve enough fame in America to get the Rock Hall’s attention. His music isn’t too Irish or foreign. It took a lot of influences from American blues music.

What you should listen to: Everything! No really. Listen to his stuff with Taste and listen to his solo work. My favourite albums are his self titled solo debut and Calling Card.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Shuggie Otis

Why? His father, Johnny Otis is in the Rock Hall, and I think Shuggie is a talented musician in his own right and should be honoured as well. He was a child prodigy, starting to play guitar as a little kid and performing with his father starting when he was 11. He started recording albums at 16.

His music is a mix of soul, R&B, funk, rock, jazz, and blues – all of which make up the genre of psychedelic soul. He’s worked with Frank Zappa, Etta James, and Al Kooper.

Why he’s not in the Rock Hall:¬†I don’t think enough people know about him.

What you should listen to:¬†I like his albums¬†Here Comes Shuggie Otis¬†and¬†Freedom Flight. “Strawberry Letter 23” is his best known song and it was covered by The Brothers Johnson.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Suzi Quatro

Why?¬†She’s a big inspiration to all girl group The Runaways (who also have yet to be inducted and have never been nominated) and a real inspiration to any women who want to get into rock music. She was also in The Pleasure Seekers, before getting famous as a solo artist.

She’s likely the first female rock bassist to be in the spotlight and the star of the show, breaking down barriers. Carol Kaye was in the music industry before her, but she was a session musician.

Why she’s not in the Rock Hall:¬†Despite being American, she was more famous in Europe than in America.

What you should listen to:¬†Her biggest hits, “Devil Gate Drive” and “Can the Can”.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

The Jam

Why?¬†They were the biggest mod revival band. Frontman Paul Weller is also known as The Modfather. Say what you want about Paul Weller’s hairstyle, but his dress sense is class.

Their sound is a mix of mod favourites: British Invasion stuff, OG Mod bands like The Who and The Small Faces, Motown/Northern Soul, and their punk contemporaries. Their diversity of influences is something I admire. A lot of their songs have working class themes.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†Too British for the Rock Hall. A lot of references to British life in the lyrics go over Americans’ heads, even the Anglophiles. Not many Americans know about them.

What you should listen to:¬†Lots of great songs, but I think you should start with one of their biggest hits, “Going Underground”. But really, everything is so good. From “In The City” to “The Bitterest Pill”, you gotta love them.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

The Smiths

Why? One of the most important bands to come out of Manchester and one of the most important rock bands of the 80s. I love their updated take on jangle pop. As well, one of the most successful independent bands – in the 80s they were signed to independent label, Rough Trade Records.

Their songs were campy, depressing, incorporated dark humour, and weren’t afraid to talk about homosexuality (e.g. “This Charming Man”, “Hand in Glove”, “Handsome Devil”). The 80s was a pretty homophobic time, keep in mind. Along with Joy Division, this is my go-to music for when I’m really depressed.

Also, I love that Marr and Morrissey are vegans!

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†They didn’t get enough fame in America. Interestingly enough, I first heard about The Smiths from a classmate of mine in grade 9.

However, there’s a cult following of The Smiths among Mexican-Americans. The reason for this? Part of it is relating to the second generation immigrant experience of Irish-English Morrissey who wrote a song called “Irish Blood, English Heart.” Another part of it is the content of the songs and how Morrissey expresses himself and for those who were shy, he was relatable.¬†Morrissey has acknowledged his Chicano/a fanbase and wrote a song called “Mexico” and called one of his tours¬†¬°Oye Esteban!

What you should listen to: Their 1985 album, Meat is Murder is my favourite of their albums, but they have some good songs before this.

# Of Times Nominated: Twice (2015, 2016)

The Stone Roses

Why? The only flaw with The Stone Roses is their discography is so short. Only two LPs, released five years apart. It leaves you wanting more. Like The Smiths, they’re from Manchester and their sound incorporates a lot of 60s and 70s sounds. Some people may say why put in this band for one album. My answer is it had an impact. Lots of artists had short discographies for one reason or another, but it’s quality over quantity.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†They were famous in Britain, not America. A lot of Americans don’t know about them. Seriously Americans, get with the programme, you’re missing out on a lot! I want this band to be adored!

What you should listen to: Their 1989 self-titled debut is often considered to be one of the best debut albums. In my opinion, this album is perfect, one great song after another and you can listen to the whole thing without skipping. The only thing you might be pushing is that rewind button so you can hear that last song again.

They haven’t released a lot, so it’s so easy to get into them. There’s no excuse. Their second album isn’t as good, sadly. There are a few other good songs not on the debut album like “Sally Cinnamon” and “Elephant Stone” that are worth a listen.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Thin Lizzy

Why?¬†They’re the most loved Irish rock band among people in Ireland. Sadly, one of the most criminally underrated rock bands. They along with Judas Priest and Motorhead were big influences on New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Phil Lynott is constantly left out of lists of black rock musicians. My guess as to why: not American and Thin Lizzy are generally forgotten about. 

Now let’s talk about their music. Their twin lead guitar attack slaps. Metal bands call them influential to their sound. Phil Lynott was a poet and he was versatile: could do pop music, metal, hard rock, and he proudly incorporated his Irish heritage into his songs. He also showed that bass players are cool too and can be the star of the show. Another thing I admire about him is that he didn’t forget where he was from and he was supportive of fellow Irish musicians.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall:¬†People in America only know “The Boys Are Back in Town” and maybe “Whiskey in the Jar”. They never really had much impact in America. Much of their tours of America were as supporting acts, like opening for Queen in 1977, or Aerosmith, Rush, and REO Speedwagon in the mid 70s.

What you should listen to: Hard to just pick one album of theirs. My personal favourites are Fighting from 1975 and Black Rose from 1979.

# Of Times Nominated: Once, 2020 (updated 7/2020)

Todd Rundgren

Update 2021: Todd Rundgren has been inducted into the Rock Hall

Why?¬†He’s a talented multi-instrumentalist who still plays concerts to this day. He played almost every instrument on Something/Anything?¬†That’s talent! Not only was he a musician, he was a producer too, versatile. He’s produced albums for The Band, Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, The New York Dolls, Hall and Oates, The Patti Smith Group, and Cheap Trick. Big names!

He was great with The Nazz and he was great on his own. His music is eclectic and I love how he stood out

Why he’s not in the Rock Hall: The quota probably. He’s been nominated a bunch of times, but it’s a total popularity contest. I don’t think getting into the Rock Hall is always based on talent and influence, like it should be. Snubbing him was a mistake.

What you should listen to:¬†His album¬†Something/Anything? is a classic. It’s not his only good album, but it’s a good springboard for getting into his other songs.

# Of Times Nominated: Once, 2019. Got in in 2021.


Why?¬†A lot of people think of The Beatles as just their work with The Beatles, which is a mistake. Paul McCartney had the most successful solo/Post Beatles career of the bunch. Chances are, you know a Wings song. “Silly Love Songs”, “Band on the Run”, “Jet”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”.

Paul himself has been inducted as a solo artist and as a Beatle, but not with Wings. I think the other members of Wings deserve to be recognised.

Why they’re not in the Rock Hall: I think it’s because Paul McCartney has already been recognised for his solo work and as a Beatle, ignoring the other members of Wings. The Rock Hall overlook a lot of deserving acts, as you can see.

What you should listen to:¬†Band On The Run,¬†easily. It’s their best known album and a good starting point. I also love their live album,¬†Wings Over America.

# Of Times Nominated: Never Nominated

Which bands do you think deserve to be in the Rock Hall? Have your say in the comments! ūüôā

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