January 19, 2017

One and Done? Artists That Should Return to the Rock Hall Ballot

One is the loneliest number... especially if you're a musician with a single Rock Hall nomination, and still on the outside looking in.

While a growing multitude of worthy artists remain excluded from that famous pyramid on Lake Erie, it's intriguing to consider those in the "one nomination club." There are 21 acts with this distinction; below is a list of 10 that by all rights should return to the ballot.

New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Nominated for Class of 2001 
It's interesting that Aerosmith was also on this ballot, and got in, as Steven Tyler would be the first to tell you how influential the New York Dolls were on his band. Deeply impactful on everyone from the Smiths to Guns N' Roses, the shambolic glam godfathers—David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Syl Sylvain, Arthur Kane, and Jerry Nolan—certainly deserve another shot at the Rock Hall.

Bon Jovi
Nominated for Class of 2011
Love'em or hate'em, even a brief survey of Bon Jovi's album sales, massive radio/MTV hits, and global popularity reveals that they're just too significant an act for the Hall to ignore permanently. The Jersey boys were nominated once, but they've been down on their luck with the institution since. Last October, Jon Bon Jovi had some rather candid, choice words about unspecified Rock Hall insiders, which could impact their chances, at least in the near future. Still, they are one of those groups that seem destined to get in. Before you moan and groan about it too much, imagine a Radiohead/Bon Jovi Rock Hall class... talk about balance.

The Cure
Nominated for Class of 2012 
Anyone that has followed "college/modern/alternative"-rock from the past 30 years would agree with the Cure's musical excellence and the shadow of their everlasting influence. They created a virtual social class of fans sporting their dark aesthetic, and remain a powerful live act.

Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim
Nominated for Class of 2013
A nomination in the next year or so could be nice timing for this Long Island hip-hop duo, as they are reuniting for a 2017 tour. They have deep respect in the hip-hop community thanks to Eric B.'s punchy, James Brown-sampling beats and Rakim's silken, poetic flow, and were held in high enough esteem to land a Rock Hall nomination. LL Cool J and A Tribe Called Quest could potentially be among the next hip-hop artists getting attention from the institution, but the influential Eric B. and Rakim deserve another appearance on the ballot.

Link Wray
Nominated for Class of 2014 
This six-string innovator basically pioneered the power chord and inspired the Who's Pete Townshend (and countless others) to pick up a guitar. A towering presence in rock and roll, Wray was featured recently in the documentary RUMBLE: The Indians who Rocked the World, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Replacements
The Replacements
Nominated for Class of 2014 
Perpetually teetering on the edge of self-destruction makes for some stellar music. Minneapolis enfant terribles Paul Westerberg, Chris Mars, and siblings Bob and Tommy Stinson forged a memorable artistic identity: drunken chaos mixed with unexpectedly genius songwriting. They were cocky enough to call one album Let it Be and cheeky enough to cover KISS' "Black Diamond," but it's tough to argue against their musical achievements and influence on so many acts—everyone from Nirvana to Guided by Voices to Ryan Adams.

Los Lobos
Nominated for Class of 2016
"Just another band from East L.A.," maybe, but they flirted with Rock Hall enshrinement when their nomination was announced, to some surprise, in 2015. They didn't get inducted, but Los Lobos' roots-minded, dynamic, and unique sound is deserving of another nomination.

Bad Brains
Bad Brains
Nominated for Class of 2017
It will be interesting to see where Dave Grohl is going next with his Nomination Committee advocacy (Motörhead?). This year, he was pushing for these Washington, D.C. hardcore legends, a choice so out of left-field that anyone hoping for punk bands like Black Flag, Fugazi, or the Minutemen to infiltrate the nomination list now has hope. In any case, it would be tremendous overall to see Bad Brains receive additional nominations.

Jane's Addiction
Nominated for Class of 2017
As the virtual mothership from which '90s "alt-rock" was beamed, then fostered through the Lollapalooza fest, Jane's Addiction belongs in the Hall. Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins and Eric Avery dropped two landmark albums in Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual, unleashing monolithic Zeppelin riffs, tribal drumming, freak-funk and ethereal psychedelia upon the world. Music hasn't been the same since.

Depeche Mode
Nominated for Class of 2017
Hit-making titans of synth-pop, Depeche Mode will get in eventually. That said, their nomination this past year was still a surprise, as it seemed like a nomination was still a few years off. Nine Inch Nails and the Smiths dropped out of contention on the last ballot, which seems to have made room for David Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and company. Their stack of hits and global prestige should rightfully land them on future ballots.

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