5 Artists Who Are Not In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (R&RHOF) has never been an institution without its fair share of controversy. It is primarily due to the artists and bands who are not inducted, rather than who has, and the backlash sprights from loyal rock & roll fans globally, and it happens yearly. Their selection criteria have been called to question in recent times as most fans do not understand how it’s possible that some of their favorite bands do not make the cut.

Some of the most notable exclusions from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to date include:

  • Iron Maiden
  • Motley Crue
  • Bad Company
  • Joe Cocker
  • Dave Matthews Band

The list of snubbed musicians is a sad one. Many rock & roll fans criticize the induction process of the Hall of Fame every year.

The list of snubbed artists and bands grows more extensive each year. There are bands inducted within a few years when becoming eligible, while others have not even been nominated after several decades. The Hall of Fame has and always will be under scrutiny when it comes to inductees. Rock fans are not a forgiving bunch when it comes to their heroes. This article will explain what the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is, the induction process, and some artists who get snubbed year after year.

What Is The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is an institution (museum) established in 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio. It opened its facility’s doors to the public in 1995. The institution records the history of some of the best-known, more importantly, the most influential artists, bands, and producers that have made a mark in the music industry-particularly in the area of rock & roll.

The HOF’s mission is clear “To engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock & roll’’, and the institution tries to achieve this through exhibits, innovative programs, and concerts.

And year after year after seeing some impressive artists and bands not make the cut, the debate of the institution’s credibility flare up again and spark massive arguments of who should have been inducted already, comparisons of previous inductions of particular “lesser” rock & rollers to the ones that are still being snubbed to this day. What is rock & roll without a bit of controversy?

How Does An Artist Get Inducted Into The HOF?

According to the current CEO Mr. Greg Harris, the process is as follows:

Nominating Committee: This committee extends to “roughly 24 people” who remain top secret to protect them from any artist lobbying them. Each of these “secret” members is allowed to nominate two artists for induction annually. They then narrow this list to more or less 15 nominations that make up the list for possible inductees into the HOF.

Nominee Ballots: The nominee ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 1000 artists (including all living artists inducted into the HOF), historians, and other music industry members.

Factors that are taken into consideration when voting (supposedly)

  • Musical influence on other artists.
  • Length and depth of career.
  • Body of work.
  • Innovation of said artists.
  • Superiority in style and technique.

Fan Vote: The HOF allows rock & roll fans the opportunity to take part in the induction selection process via votes for their favorite nominated artists (on rockhall.com), and they are given a chance to vote for their top 5 artists from the nomination list. The top 5 artists chosen by the fans will compromise a “fans ballot” and are then counted with the other ballots to select the new inductees.

The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductions

The top 5 artists for this year’s induction into the HOF, as voted by the fans

  • Tina Turner
  • Fela Kuti
  • The Go-Go’s
  • Iron Maiden
  • Foo-fighters

The artists that were chosen to be inducted into the HOF in the Performer Category

  • Tina Turner
  • The Go-Go’s
  • Foo Fighters
  • Jay-Z
  • Carole King
  • Todd Rundgren

The artists that were chosen to be inducted into the HOF in the Early Influence category

  • Kraftwerk (finally)
  • Charley Patton
  • Gill Scott-Heron

The artists that were chosen to be inducted into the HOF in the Musical Excellence category

  • LL Cool J
  • Billy Preston
  • Randy Rhoads

A snub yet again for Iron Maiden, surely, they are deserving of a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Is LL Cool J (no disrespect) more rock & roll than Iron Maiden? Has Jay-Z been rocking & rolling for more than 25-years? Let us delve into who has not made it into the HOF while other lesser rockers have.

5 Artists Who Are Not In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Let us dive straight into the confusing pool of snubbing when it comes to some pretty hardcore rock & rollers that does not seem to make the cut when the nomination and voting committees have to decide who is deserving of a spot in the HOF.

1. Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is considered one of the most influential and successful heavy metal bands in history. Love them or hate them, they are a solid, very technical band, who’s songwriting is on another level. Iron Maiden has been snubbed for 17 years, only being nominated this year, unfortunately not making the cut. Without Maiden, there would be no Metalica, and many other heavy metal bands, considering that they were the standard setters regarding metal.

Despite limited radio and television support, they still managed to sell over 100 million albums worldwide and still sell out international stadiums in a blink of an eye.

Hopefully, this band, whose music spans six decades, will get the nod soon, as they thoroughly deserve it!

Let us look at their career in numbers

  • Sold over 100 million album copies.
  • Sold over 200 million copies when adding visual releases to the equation.
  • Over 2500 live shows.
  • Releasing 17th studio album in September 2021.
  • Multiple Platinum and Gold Albums in the US and the UK.
  • The list of awards and nominations for Iron Maiden are too many to mention in this article.

2. Motley Crue

Arguably the most influential and most successful band to emerge from the headband era, that was the 80’s. Motley Crue was a wild bunch known for their powerful music and hedonistic lifestyles that screamed Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. Their antics at times did overshadow their music, but most rock fans will recognize which band it is when a Motley Crue song plays, and without question, it will sound like rock & roll. They were labeled as the “The World’s Most Notorious Rock Band’’, a title that fit them to a tee.

The reason that they will probably not grace the HOF is a shame. According to their drug-afflicted (now rehabilitated) bassist Nikky Sixx who told Kerrang in 2019, “We were told by the Hall of Fame that we would never get in because of how we acted, so that’s kind of it.” And here we thought that the only requirement is that you released your first release 25 years ago, which they did with their platinum album ”Too Fast For Love”.

Motley Crue has been snubbed for 15 years, with no single nomination yet. Nikki Sixx may have been right when he said that it would never happen.

Let us look at their career in numbers

  • Five multi-platinum albums.
  • Three platinum-albums.
  • Four gold-albums.
  • Sold 100 million records worldwide.
  • Nominated for three Grammy’s and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2005).

3. Bad Company

This British hard/blues rock band was formed in 1974. Their lead singer Paul Rodgers is fondly referred to as “The Voice”. They achieved more success in the United States than in the United Kingdom, and their self-titled song, Bad Company, is rated just as good as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath’s same name titles. The HOF has snubbed them for the last 22 years with not one nomination.

Let us look at their career in numbers

  • Four multi-platinum albums are certified by the Recording Industry Association of America, two platinum albums, and three gold albums.
  • Four gold-certified albums are certified by the British Phonographic Industry.
  • Sold over 40 million albums worldwide.
  • They have made twelve studio albums, five live albums, and have released 29 singles.
  • Nominated for a Grammy award.

4. Joe Cocker

His exclusion from the HOF is not very rock & roll at all. People speculate that it’s because Joe did not write all of his songs, and if that is the reason, then shame on you, HOF. He sang covers like “With A Little Help From My Friends”, “You Are So Beautiful”, “Cry Me A River”, and “Feeling Alright,” and no disrespect to the original artists; he made it his own. Together with his writing partner Chris Stainton, they did produce original material as well.

Joe Cocker’s raspy voice is considered one of the greatest rock voices in the classic rock generation. The man is a true rock legend with a career spanning over four decades. His performance as a headliner at the very first Woodstock will forever live in the annals of rock, and his Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tours was one of the significant events in rock history! The HOF needs to induct him or lose any credibility that it has left.

Let us look at his career in numbers

  • Twenty-two studio albums.
  • Nineteen live albums.
  • Fourteen compilation albums.
  • Sixty-eight singles.
  • Three gold albums.
  • One platinum single.
  • Made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2007  for his services to music.
  • Seven Grammy nominations, winning one in 1982, for the song” Up Where We Belong”.
  • Sold millions of records in the USA and all over Europe.

5. Dave Matthews Band

The Dave Matthews Band is a rock band that formed in Charlottesville in 1991. They are considered to be one of the best alternative rock bands. The band has only been eligible to be inducted into the HOF for the last three years, so they still have a chance of being inducted in the near future. I am listing them because they were nominated in 2020, received over a million votes, and were the public’s number one choice to be inducted. They were not inducted.

It was the first time since public voting was allowed that the number one vote did not make it to the induction level. Is it because they are considered more jam band than rock & roll? The band utilizes elements from folk, jazz, rock, and at times R&B, making it hard to box them comfortably. Whatever the reason, the HOF has a terrible track record with regards to recognizing landmark bands from the ’80s and ’90s.

Let us look at their career in numbers

  • Sold over 31 million albums that place them in the top 100 of all time.
  • Nine studio albums (most of them multi-platinum).
  • Won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a duo or group.
  • Grammy nominations total 14.
  • Third on the list for number one albums, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
  • In 1999 the band formed the Bama Works Foundation channeling millions of dollars to charitable organizations worldwide.

Other Famous Snubs By The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

The HOF has always divided opinions. Some say it is run like a business, which in truth it is, and many believe that politics and shady dealings play a part in who gets in. The snubbing of some of the earlier rock & roll pioneers and other important and relevant artists continues today. As Bruce Dickenson from Iron Maiden once said of the HOF, “It’s a load of bollocks”.

Some feel that it is pretty unacceptable that some of the heavyweights of the rock & roll scene are continuously ignored to the point where it feels disrespectful when you take into account that some lesser bands and artists make the cut, some only with one hit behind their name (no shaming).  Have a critical look at some of the snubbed artists and decide for yourself!

Bear in mind that it took Black Sabbath 36 years to get in. Probably the most influential heavy metal band in history emphasizes how clueless the HOF operates at times.


The list of snubbed artists who have not been nominated, never mind inducted, is long. Have a look at the snubbed artist link above, and you will get an idea, even angry when you see the caliber of musical legends that the Nominating Committee of the HOF seemingly forgets.

Hundreds could have made the list; I have included the above to show you that even the best bands or most influential bands can be snubbed, time and time again, by the HOF. Sadly, it is not always about the music when it comes to inducting the real rock & rollers!


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