Not a lot of responses so far in my quest for suggestions to add by subtraction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

So, here are my suggestions:

My criteria:

  • Performers only are considered, since they’re the centerpiece.
  • Artists from other genres should be tossed unless they had a significant cross-over appeal to the rock audience.
    • Aretha Franklin – Huge, in both senses, R&B artist. She ain’t rock and roll.

      Clyde McPhatter – Who?

      Big Joe Turner Who?

      Muddy Waters deserves to be there, but should really be an “early influence.” He’s not rock.

      Dion – He had, what, three songs?

      Hank Ballard – Huh?

      Bobby Darin – Name a song not involving a knife named Mack.

      LaVern Baker – Who?

      The Impressions – Not much staying power

      Jimmy Reed – Who?

      Ike and Tina Turner – Not really a rock act. CCR did their best song better.

      Bobby Bland – Who?

      Booker T and the MG’s – Minor act

      Ruth Brown – Early influence, yes. Rock act, no.

      Frankie Lymon – Frankie Avalon but not as good.

      Etta James – Sorry, but wrong Hall.

      Duane Eddy – Really?

      Bob Marley – OK, I’m letting him slide. But only because he was man enough to admit to shooting that sheriff.

      Al Green – Cool dude. But not rock.

      Martha and the Vandellas – Ya gotta have a Motown girl band just because. But that would be Gladys Knight and the Pips.

      The Shirelles – See above.

      Parliament-Funkadelic – A very cool funk band. Is funk rock and roll? I don’t think so. But, hey, one funk act should be in just to set a boundary; PF stays.

      Lloyd Price – If your name is Lloyd, you’re automatically DQ’d. (Pink Floyd is okay, though)

      Gene Vincent – Very similar to Lloyd Price.

      Curtis Mayfield – Very cool. But not enough crossover appeal, unlike the many Motown bands I left in.

      The Moonglows – Who?

      Solomon Burke – Who?

      The Flamingos – Please

      Michael Jackson – Not really a rocker. Plus, he ruined MTV singlehandedly. And he’s a child molester. Bye bye.

      Isaac Hayes – He gets to stay just because of Shaft. Sue me.

      Brenda Lee – Oh, hell no.

      Gene Pitney – Didn’t I already kick him out?

      Slim Whitman – Okay, he’s not really in. Consider this part of the doctrine of preemption.

    If you wanna keep any of these–or kick others out–make your case.

    FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, , ,
    James Joyner
    About James Joyner
    James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


    1. bryan says:

      Could you be suffering under a false assumption of what qualifies as rock ‘n’ roll? I mean, sure, some of these people are not considered rock by today’s standards, but were they considered rock by the standards of their contemporaries.

      Some of the people are very hard to explain from our late vantage point, but may have been perfectly suited for inclusion if you consider their time period.

      (someone’s probably mentioned this before, but I just started with this post).

      Even with that consideration, some of that list needs to go. And I’d say George Harrison (post-Beatles) shouldn’t be in either.

    2. chris says:

      If you’re making an exception for Muddy, you have to make one for Big Joe Turner – much bigger influence till the Stones arrived.

    3. Eric Akawie says:

      I think in the future we’re going to see even more marginal acts get in. I can only think of 4 likely candidates post-1980 – R.E.M, U2, Guns and Roses and Nirvana.

      While there are any number of other acts from this era that I think would be worthy additions, I just don’t see them getting in. (They Might Be Giants? XTC? The Smiths?) I think we will see a lot of Rappers in the next few years, though. I guess I can live with Run-DMC, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys.

    4. Brent says:

      I agree with most of your selections but…

      Big Joe Turner wrote Flip, Flop and Fly, See Ya Later Alligator and Shake, Rattle and Roll. The man deserves to be in the Rock Hall on those three songs alone. Bill Haley and The Comets made a career off of BJT and paid him no royalties.