Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, Dave Matthews, Whitney Houston Among First-Time Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees

It’s that time again! Once a year, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame announces a list of 15 artists who may join next year’s class of inductees. Only seven artists will make the cut. For artists to be eligible for nomination, it must be at least 25 years since they released their debuts, so artists who released their debuts in 1994 are now up . The Hall Of Fame just announced this year’s nominees, and nine of the 15 are up for the first time: The Notorious B.I.G., the Dave Matthews Band, Whitney Houston, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, Pat Benatar, Motörhead, and the Doobie Brothers.

Most of those artists have been eligible for induction for many years. Only two people from that list released debut albums in 1994: The Notorious B.I.G. and the Dave Matthews Band. The others could’ve been nominated a long time ago. Frankly, it’s surprising that T. Rex and Thin Lizzy haven’t already been inducted.

Other nominees have been up for induction many times. Kraftwerk, on their sixth nomination, are now in that Chic spot where it just seems like they’re never getting in. MC5, similarly, are on their fourth nomination. Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Depeche Mode, Todd Rundgren, Judas Priest, and Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan have all returned to the list of nominees. Nine Inch Nails haven’t been nominated since 2016, and Trent Reznor has made it very clear, in an interview he did with us last year, that he doesn’t really care.

So we’re looking at a Hall Of Fame induction class that could potentially honor almost exclusively dead artists and bands with dead frontmen: The Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, Whitney Houston, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, Motörhead. That sounds like a very morbid ceremony!

Given that 1994 was a big year for debut albums, it’s notable that plenty of that year’s incoming class weren’t nominated for this year’s Hall Of Fame. OutKast, Nas, the Fugees, Beck, Oasis, Weezer, Portishead, Aaliyah, Korn, Hootie & The Blowfish, and Bush are all eligible for the Hall Of Fame now. None of them were nominated. Not nominating OutKast, Nas or the Fugees seems objectively insane. Some other early-’90s-vintage artists have never been nominated despite being eligible. That list includes the Wu-Tang Clan, Hole, Björk, Snoop Dogg, Pavement, Liz Phair, the Roots, PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill, Jeff Buckley, Suede, Rancid, and the Verve.

Plenty of past nominees were not nominated this year, including Rage Against The Machine, a Tribe Called Quest, Devo, the Geto Boys, LL Cool J, the Replacements, the Smiths, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Iron Maiden, Carole King, Gram Parsons, Eric B. & Rakim, King Crimson, Ice-T, New Order, Pantera, Big Star, and the New York Dolls.

Here’s this year’s list of nominees:

Pat Benatar
Dave Matthews Band
Depeche Mode
The Doobie Brothers
Whitney Houston
Judas Priest
Kraftwerk
MC5
Motörhead
Nine Inch Nails
The Notorious B.I.G.
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
Todd Rundgren
Soundgarden
T. Rex
Thin Lizzy

The Hall Of Fame will announce next year’s inductees in January. Next year’s induction ceremony goes down 5/2 at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium. A voting body of more than a thousand artists, historians, writers, and industry types will pick this year’s class. (I’m not one of them.) Next year’s ceremony will be the first one without Jann Wenner as chairman of the Hall Of Fame Foundation. Wenner, the Rolling Stone founder, will step down at the end of the year, and he’ll be replaced by MTV/VH-1 co-founder John Sykes.