Top 10 Artists Who Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

[Brent Chittenden is at it again. – AC]

There are a lot of musical acts in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame… and non musical acts… and bands you’ve never heard of. And while I completely get we have to honor some lesser known acts there are a stunning amount of acts that DESERVE to be in the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame that keep getting looked over for various reasons. Now before we start, three things:

Number 1: We are only looking at musical acts this round, no producers, managers, etc. We’ll tackle them in another list.

Number 2: Anyone who has declined their nomination is not eligible for this list mainly because according to the Hall’s official website, they are inducted anyways (The Sex Pistols and Axel Rose).

Number 3: We are going with the HoF’s rules in terms of eligibility.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are the Top Ten Artists That Deserve To Be In The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.


10) Public Enemy

With RUN DMC and The Beastie Boys now firmly in the Hall, Public Enemy is the next hip hop act to make sense. One of the most influential hip hop acts EVER, Public Enemy has not only influenced hip hop but many rock acts as well. Public Enemy showed what you could do combining rap with social consciousness and an amazing sense of production.


9) Joy Division / New Order

Joy Division is a band that had only two proper albums but managed helped create the new wave and goth genres as well as serving as a huge influence for a ton of rock and industrial bands. I’m also including New Order at the same time because it was pretty much the same band that went into a different direction and helped introduce electronic and house music into rock.


8) Kraftwerk

A long shot I suppose but it would be wrong not to mention Kraftwerk on this list. Not only did these German electronic pioneers influence tons of New Wave and Synth bands (OMD, Depeche Mode, New Order) but they also had a lasting effect on hip hop, techno and house.


7) Peter Gabriel

Initially, I was going to avoid people who are already in the Hall for other reasons (Gabriel was inducted as part of Genesis in 2010) but the sheer innovation of Peter Gabriel’s solo work needs to be recognised. From bringing the idea of “World Music” to the attention of the masses to pushing stage and video performances to their limits, Gabriel deserves a spot of his own.


6) The Smiths

Perhaps it’s due to being more known in the UK than in the US but I think The Smiths deserves a nod. Their influence can be found in tons of indie rock and pop bands, the genre of Britpop as well as popular culture in general. Books and plays have been inspired by The Smiths. And maybe this could be the thing to get the boys back together for one last performance.  Yeah, right.


5) Graham Parsons

While not the biggest name on our list, his influence has gotten bigger in the past ten to fifteen years. Parsons was one of the first guys to combine elements of rock and country which still reverberates in artists like Emmylou Harris and Wilco.


4) Weird Al Yankovic

“WHAT THE HELL IS BRENT THINKING? WEIRD AL?” Hear me out. Weird Al is a “novelty” act right? A “novelty” act that has been making hit albums for 30 years. Yes, a large portion of his catalogue is made up of the music made by others with re-written lyrics but how is that any different from a number of the Motown acts that are in the Hall? And to be fair, Al is a pretty solid comedic song writer, Devo has stated that Dare To Be Stupid is the best Devo song ever written despite the fact it’s not an actual Devo song. His parodies are often seen as a rite of passage in the music industry. You’ve made it if Al has covered you. Doesn’t all of this earn him a slot?


3) Black Flag

Blag Flack was probably the most important band to come out of the American Hardcore scene. Much like The Ramones, wherever Black Flag went, as soon as they left town, three new punk bands sprouted up. Beyond punk, Black Flag also had an influence on metal and grunge with everyone from Slayer to Nirvana.


2) Rush

An underdog in getting in, Rush has built a huge fan base as well as influencing a huge amount of musicians. The key argument in Rush’s favor would be quality of quantity. Their influence may not be in thousands of bands but those bands that were tend to be really good musicians like Les Claypool and Trent Reznor.


1) Kiss

I am not a Kiss fan by a big stretch. I don’t mind their hits but I am not part of the Kiss Army by any stretch of the imagination but the fact remains that Kiss has influenced more rock bands then you can shake several thousand sticks at. From Pantera to Gwar to Garth Brooks, Kiss’s sense of rock and showmanship have left a huge mark on rock. And as much as I may not be a fan, I’d be willing to be there are almost as many Kiss fans as there are fans of ABBA who were inducted in 2010. Not to mention the fact that the Hall currently has a ton of Kiss memorabilia in it!

Special thanks go to all of the people on my various Facebook pages who contributed ideas for this list. But there is so many other bands that were almost in the top ten. I heard very strong arguments for both Cheap Trick and The Monkees. Jethro Tull and The Cure almost sneaked in there as well. Who do you think should get into the Hall of Fame? We will revisit this list so please make your thoughts known in the comments below.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

17 thoughts on “Top 10 Artists Who Should Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

  • September 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Solid list.

    I admit, I'm a little shocked to see Weird Al on the list, but you do make a valid point.

    Personally, I think the Cure should definitely be on the list. They've had as much of an influence as The Smiths, and have done it over a MUCH longer stretch.

  • September 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I am a huge RUSH fan, and to this day, I am still baffled as to why they aren't in the Hall.

    But you really opened my eyes to the Weird Al argument. I totally agree, he deserves a spot as much as anyone on your list.

  • September 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Stevie Ray Vaughan should be on that list, as well as Chicago.

  • September 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Stevie Ray Vaughn was another one that killed me to leave off the list. Maybe next time we should make it a top twenty.

    Chicago was one I debated on and really it came down to influence and while I'm sure there are a ton of bands influenced by Chicago, I could really find any other the Huey Lewis and The News that openly list them. Again, they probably would have made the top 20.

  • September 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I think Fishbone is a candidate that is worth consideration…
    They have been together for over 30 years and have a huge impact and influence on Ska and Punk…

  • September 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    what about deep purple, thin lizzy and motorhead?

  • September 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Pet Shop Boys, they get nowhere near their due, best band of all time.

  • September 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Pretty darn sure the name is Gram Parsons. And that is not a short form of Graham, his birth name is totally different.

  • September 22, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Depeche Mode seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • September 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

    If you have Smiths and Joy Division/New Order, you have to have Depeche Mode

  • September 22, 2012 at 1:41 am

    How is it possible rush is not in ? And they have just put out one of their best albums of all time. Talk about relevance? Their still selling out everywhere in arenas ( not a little concert hall ) and still getting 100 to 250 a ticket ! Cmon man !

  • September 22, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Rush is not in because Jann Wenner is not a fan of prog. Sad. I'm not a big Rush fan, but as a music fan I understand their importance, and think that they're the number one HOF omission that needs to be addressed.

    Regarding other bands from the comments, Chicago probably deserves it, too. They were huge in popularizing their genre.

    Kiss, I can see from a pop culture standpoint, even if not from a musicianship one. They were huge on the former, average on the latter.

  • September 22, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Yes, i'm in agreement re: Fishbone. Huge impact. On me. And that's all that matters. Oh, and of course the Pixies. C'mon. But you can't be a Canadian kid coming of age in the 70s and 80s and not think first and foremost of Rush. First album I ever bought…Sgt Peppers. Number two, Rush Archives. Not a bad start to the collection.

  • September 22, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Thin Lizzy is massively underrated and should be in the HoF.

  • September 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Before anything on that list
    Jethro Tull
    Deep Purple
    Grand Funk Railroad
    Moody Blues
    Three Dog Night
    and a bunch of others

  • September 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Sonic Youth
    The Replacements
    Husker Du
    The Flamin' Groovies
    New York Dolls

    These are all very influential bands that are not in the Hall of Fame and should be.


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