Let the arguments begin: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released the ballot for the class of 2014.
This year, Nirvana is the only act to be nominated in their first year of eligibility (i.e., 25 years since the release of their first single or album). Besides Nirvana, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, The Replacements, Yes, Cat Stevens, Link Wray and The Zombies are also first-time nominees on this year’s list, though most have been eligible for years.
Here’s the entire list of nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, in alphabetical order:
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – A seminal ’60s combo much-loved by music lovers, but not a high profile group; in fact there isn’t even an official website paying tribute to the group.
Chic – They were on the ballot last year, but the disco vote likely went to the late Donna Summer. Nile Rodgers is the only surviving member of the group, and endured a pretty dire cancer health scare recently. Truthfully, it’s likely that voters will want to vote the living legend in sooner rather than later.
Deep Purple – They, too, were on the ballot last year, and likely lost out the hard rock vote to Rush. The big question with them is, what versions of the band will be included. The “Mark II” version is a no-brainer, though.
Peter Gabriel – Already a Hall of Famer as a member of Genesis, Gabriel is now seeing his first time on the ballot, despite an incredible solo career that commercially peaked in the ’80s with So.
Hall & Oates – Always stuck between rock and pop and R&B, they’re one of the most successful duos of all time. Despite eligibility all the way back in 1997 and a bevy of indelible No. 1s throughout the ’80s, this is Hall & Oates’ first time on the ballot. Guess their comeback in recent years worked.
KISS – Hall of Fame founder Jann Wenner has never made his disdain for the group a secret, and nominating committee member Dave Marsh has gone on the record saying, “KISS is not a great band, KISS was never a great band, KISS never will be a great band, and I have done my share to keep them off the ballot.” Could this be their year, or is this just a tease? (Related: Interview: Gene Simmons)
LL Cool J – Though he now dedicates the bulk of his day-to-day to acting and hosting, LL’s contributions to early hip-hop are undeniable. Of course, some “rock” fans will never accept hip-hop, and will always complain that LL is on the ballot when Foreigner, Journey and Styx are not. (Related: Watch LL’s new ‘NCIS’-themed video)
The Meters – No one argues the impact that the music of New Orleans has had on rock and roll, but there aren’t too many acts from the Big Easy in the Rock Hall. The Meters are practically royalty there, but, like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, don’t have any big hits that are well known to the general public.
Nirvana – If you’re putting your money on one band being inducted in 2014, put it here. They’re only eligible this year on a technicality; while debut Bleach was released in 1989, Nirvana did release a cover of Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz” in late 1988.
N.W.A. – Probably a bit threatening to parts of the voting body, but as with KISS, their influence is there both as a group and as individuals (Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are likely to be nominated solo down the line). They missed being inducted last year. probably because fellow hip-hop legends Public Enemy made the cut. (Related: N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 25 Years Later)
The Replacements – The pioneering alt-rockers’ mere appearance on the ballot makes this list a bit more credible, only because they aren’t a totally obvious choice. Their reunion earlier this summer has apparently reminded voters that they’re still there and yep, they influenced a whole generation of rock bands.
Linda Ronstadt – Eligible for nearly two decades, this is her first appearance on a ballot. She represents the California country-rock that has become a bit more hip in recent years, thanks to the Laurel Canyon revival. Her recent announcement that she has Parkinson’s Disease was, of course, tragic, but the sad truth is that this may push her higher up on some voters ballots.
Cat Stevens – He’ll probably compete for the soft-rock vote with Ms. Ronstadt, but can you really deny the guy who wrote “Wild World” and “Peace Train”?
Link Wray – If you’re not familiar with him, take two and a half minutes to watch this video. His early work in the ’50s changed the way rock and rollers played electric guitar. He’s not the marquee name of his contenders, but the Rock Hall typically includes an “influence” vote or two each year.
Yes – Genesis and Rush have been inducted, so why not this giant of prog-rock? If inducted, it’ll be fun to see who is invited to the party, considering Yes has had nearly 20 members through the years.
The Zombies – It’s a bit surprising that this legendary British invasion band hasn’t been inducted by now. To paraphrase the band, this could be their year.
The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony returns to New York, and will be held April 2014. Venue and public ticket sale information will be announced at a later date; the show will air on HBO in May.
As they did last year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will again offer fans the opportunity to officially participate in the induction selection process. From October 16 through December 10, the public can cast their vote at the Rock Hall’s website. The top five artists, as selected by the public, will constitute a single “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2014 inductees.