It's that time again when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame releases its nominees for induction ... and we get to offer our thoughts on the nominees.
There are 15 nominees this year, and usually five to seven acts are inducted, so we're basically cutting this list in half.
- Def Leppard
- Janet Jackson
- John Prine
- LL Cool J
- Rage Against the Machine
- Roxy Music
- Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
- Stevie Nicks
- The Cure
- The Zombies
- Todd Rundgren
Six of those acts are first-time nominees: Def Leppard, Devo, John Prine, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks (already in for Fleetwood Mac) and, somehow, Todd Rundgren.
Given that five to seven acts are usually inducted, here are my five choices:
Def Leppard. They moved from British heavy metal (check out their early 1980s stuff) through arena rock (late 1980s), surviving tragedy (Rick Allen losing an arm in a bus accident; Steve Clark dying of alcohol overdose) to build a four-decade career.
Janet Jackson. The youngest sibling in one of the most famous (infamous?) musical families of all time, she carved out her own career, first as an actress before following her older brothers into music. But she rarely performed with her brothers, other than a few times with Michael in the 1990s. Instead, she blazed her own trail. And she remains a vibrant recording and touring presence.
Radiohead. They're not my personal taste, but it's hard to quibble with the influence Thom Yorke has levied on the business in the past two decades-plus. (Remember the "pay what you want" album?)
Rage Against the Machine. They either invented rap metal (as Scott Ian of Anthrax believes) or were at least at the forefront of it. Would we have Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. without it? What about Papa Roach or Saliva? Rage Against the Machine is presently inactive (Tom Morello is extremely active while Zack de la Rocha has been less so), but this would be a great time for a reunion.
The Cure. Another group I'm not the biggest fan of, but their unique style of dark and tormented music even coined its own term, "goth rock." They successfully morphed into a bona-fide pop act in the late 1980s and early 1990s with hits like "Just Like Heaven," "Lovesong" and "Friday I'm in Love," and front man Robert Smith influenced millions of boys around the world with his unique hairstyle and makeup.
Toughest omissions? Devo (fondly remembered at the dawn of MTV more for their look than anything else); John Prine (probably belongs in, but how is he just a first-time nominee at this point of his career?); LL Cool J (I've advocated for him before, but his legacy feels faded at this point); Todd Rundgren (one of the most influential acts of the last half-century and if I gave myself a sixth vote, he'd get it).
You've read my thoughts. Now share yours!
You can vote on who you think is most deserving through Dec. 9 at rockhall.com. The top five artists in the public vote will comprise a "fans' ballot" that will be tallied along with other ballots to choose 2019 inductees. Voting is capped at one ballot per day, and log-in is required.
Inductees will be announced in December, and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place on March 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.`