Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Pandemic Playlist XI: Not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

For evidence of Newton’s third law of motion, one can always cite the nominating process for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. For every action—six inductees making the cut into the Hall’s esteemed walls—there is an equal and opposite reaction: the internet’s customary hair-pulling and rage-tweeting about the important artists once again omitted.

Later this month (Oct. 30, in fact), the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony will officially induct Tina Turner, Carole King, the Go-Gos, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters and Todd Rundgren, a generally unimpeachable list of names that deserve Hall recognition. And yet it’s stunning how many vital, paradigm-shifting artists still have not received the Rock Hall imprimatur. The helpful website keeps an updated tally of hundreds of the institution’s most glaring snubs.

Looking over this list, patterns emerge: Punk, metal and their splinter genres are the redheaded stepchildren of Rock Hall nominators. Heavy, weird and potentially alienating music, no matter how influential, remains the hardest sells for these kingmakers, whose collective taste is no doubt more pedestrian than mine. Looking back, it’s almost a miracle the Velvet Underground made it.

With all of this in mind, I combed through the list and curated songs for the top 20 artists I believe are most deserving of recognition. Who else most deserves Rock Hall respect?

Dick Dale, Ghost Riders in the Sky

Devo, Uncontrollable Urge

The Smiths, Bigmouth Strikes Again

Sonic Youth, Catholic Block

The Monkees, Not Your Steppin’ Stone

The MC5, Starship

King Crimson, The Great Deceiver

Joy Division, Atmosphere

Brian Eno, I’ll Come Running

Big Star, The India Song

Gram Parsons, In My Hour of Darkness

Willie Nelson, Come on Back Jesus

Toots & the Maytals, Pomps and Pride

War, Summer

The Replacements, Waitress in the Sky

Warren Zevon, The Factory

Captain Beefheart, Click Clack

Motorhead, (We Are) the Road Crew

Dr. Dre, Stranded on Death Row

Rage Against the Machine, Wake Up

For more of Boca magazine’s arts and entertainment coverage, click here.

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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