Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 100 Crucial Omissions - Best Classic Bands (2024)

The Scene:The Classic Rock Legacy

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 100 Crucial Omissions - Best Classic Bands (1)

On April 21, 2024, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the inductees for its newest class. With the selection of Cher, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayall, MC5, Ozzy Osbourne, Dionne Warwick, Jimmy Buffett and Kool and the Gang—each of whom had been on our ever-changing list of artists who had been snubbed by the Hall—into the Class of 2024, Best Classic Bands has again updated our list.

It was Fall 2016 when we put together our initial list of artists that we felt deserved consideration for induction but had not been given the honor. Since that time, many core rock acts that had been overlooked for decades have finally been chosen. Notably, that list includes (in addition to the above) Pat Benatar (2022), Todd Rundgren (2021), the Doobie Brothers (2020), Def Leppard, the Zombies and Stevie Nicks as a solo artist (2019), the Moody Blues, the Cars, Bon Jovi and Dire Straits (2018), and Yes, the Electric Light Orchestra and Journey (2017). We update the list each year, deleting those that have made the cut and replacing them with other deserving names.

[There are so many that we’ve written Part 2 of our list of HoF omissions, which includes another 100 artists that have thus far been snubbed. Click the link for Part 2 at the end of this story.]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 100 Crucial Omissions - Best Classic Bands (2)

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland

With the Sept. 16, 2023, news that Jann Wenner had been removed from the Rock Hall’s Board, music fans are once again clamoring for their long-overlooked favorites to finally be inducted. Since the Hall’s inception, music fans have argued over who should be in, who shouldn’t be, why and why not? Lists abound online and there is almost never any consensus.

Below we present a list of our own: 100 artists we think deserve nomination. Our reasons for selecting them vary. One factor we considered in particular is whether they were important in their own time, not only how they are regarded today. Some will eventually make the Hall’s cut, others never will, and that’s just how it is. You will undoubtedly agree with some of our picks and we can already hear you shouting, “I can’t believe they left out (fill in the blank)!” Feel free to offer your comments.

In order to be eligible, an artist must have made their first recording 25 years prior to the current year (for the 2024 class, that means 1999).

One other note: This list considers only artists who recorded primarily under their own names. This is the only category that is submitted to the voting body each year. Thus it does not include musicians who have served primarily as “sidemen” or “sidewomen.” Some of the greatest musicians in rock history have never received the recognition they deserve because they contribute mostly to others’ recordings. The Hall of Fame has a separate sideman category, to which it occasionally appoints names its executives deem worthy. As those artists are not submitted for consideration to voters, we are not concerning ourselves with them here.

Names are listed alphabetically

The Association—Their ballads “Cherish” and “Never My Love” are among the most played songs in history. And “Along Comes Mary” is another classic.

B-52’s—One of the most danceable of the American post-punk bands, their tunes like “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster” were a whole lot of fun.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive—After finishing his run with the Guess Who, guitarist/singer Randy Bachman, a couple of brothers and bassist Fred Turner formed BTO and rocked out on hits like “Takin’ Care of Business” and “You AIn’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.”

Bad Company—Singer Paul Rodgers should also be in for the band Free, but we’ll settle for these crunching blues-rockers.

Badfinger—They have a tragic story but such great songs—and Beatle-approved, too.

Blood, Sweat and Tears—Along with Chicago, they kick-started the horn-rock genre of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Blue Öyster Cult—Hard-rock meets prog with lots of pre-punk attitude.

Blues Project—The New York quintet was tremendously influential. Keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper and guitarist Danny Kalb were superb instrumentalists. [Note: Kooper was inducted on his own in 2023.]

Boston—This perfectionist classic rock band, which scored with one of the best-selling debut albums of all-time, wasn’t very prolific afterwards but still retains a huge fan base.

Glen Campbell—Yes, he was usually tagged as country-pop, but for his session work alone (Spector, Beach Boys, Monkees) he should go in. Plus, he played a killer guitar.

Related: 13 times when Glen Campbell rocked

Canned Heat—One of the great blues-rock bands of the ’60s. The real deal. Here they are at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

Captain Beefheart—Never sold any records but had a tremendous influence on other experimental rockers.

The Carpenters—Some may say they’re too lightweight to be considered rock but Karen Carpenter’s voice is a thing of beauty, and they made wonderful pop records.

Harry Chapin—A supremely talented singer/songwriter whose life was tragically cut short, he had hits like “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Taxi.” Also one of music’s most generous spirits, who worked ceaselessly for humanitarian causes.

Chubby Checker—He took “The Twist” to #1 twice, in two different years. Give the man his due already!

Joe co*cker—That voice! That thing he did with his hands! A master interpreter of songs. Did we mention that voice?

Albert Collins—Many of the great bluesmen of the past century have been inducted but this omission remains a glaring one.

Judy Collins—More than just another talented folk singer, she was one of the artists who defined her generation.

Phil Collins—Already in as a member of Genesis, but he arguably had a bigger impact on his own.

Ry Cooder—For his guitar work alone he should be enshrined. Add his work as solo artist and producer, and it’s a no-brainer.

Country Joe and the Fish—San Francisco psychedelia met Berkeley social commentary in the ’60s. They were ubiquitous at festivals and on radio.

Jim Croce—His life was cut short before he had a chance to truly develop but the trove of hits he left behind was substantial.

The Crystals—Even more than the Ronettes, the Crystals were Phil Spector’s go-to girl group. Darlene Love and La La Brooks were (and still are) dynamic singers.

Dick Dale—The man invented surf guitar. That’s enough.

Related: A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cynic Visits the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Delaney and Bonnie—The husband-and-wife duo’s soul-rock revue at various times included Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, King Curtis, and, oh yeah, Eric Clapton.

John Denver—The Hall has been somewhat selective about the singer-songwriters it’s chosen, but the late “Rocky Mountain High” man was inarguably one of the most popular.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer—Prog-rock virtuosity and over-the-top showmanship all condensed into a powerful little package.

Marianne Faithfull—From Stones-associated chanteuse she reinvented herself as world-weary interpreter of the first order.

Flying Burrito Brothers—One of the seminal country-rock bands. Criminally overlooked.

Dan Fogelberg—The beloved singer-songwriter is best remembered for songs like “Part of the Plan,” “Same Old Lang Syne” and “Leader of the Band.”

Free—We listed Bad Company, the other band featuring the soulful frontman Paul Rodgers, above. Free was just as great. You can’t not sing along with their “All Right Now.”

J. Geils Band—Killer live band fronted by the dynamic Peter Wolf. In their heyday they were always the best show in town. Hits included “Centerfold” and “Love Stinks.”

Lesley Gore—“It’s My Party,” “You Don’t Own Me” and so many more hits. She was every teenage girl’s BFF in the ’60s.

Grand Funk Railroad—One of the first truly divisive rock bands, but love ’em or hate ’em you can’t deny they helped popularize hard rock.

The Grass Roots—Easy to forget them until you look at their long string of smashes: “Midnight Confessions,” “Let’s Live for Today,” “Temptation Eyes” and many more.

Related: Our feature story on the Grass Roots

The Guess Who—The Canadian band led by Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman was another hit machine: “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “No Sugar Tonight,” etc.

Emmylou Harris—Few singer-songwriters so successfully straddled the worlds of traditional Nashville country and the modern singer-songwriter genre of the ’70s and ’80s. And she still sounds amazing today.

Richie Havens—One of the most distinctive voices ever, he made every song he covered his own. And he opened the Woodstock fest.

Herman’s Hermits—They weren’t popular only because singer Peter Noone was “cute.” They also made many durable pop hits.

Related: Our interview with Noone

John Hiatt—A consistently excellent singer-songwriter, he’s got a rich catalog of songs that have been covered by everyone from Dylan to Ronstadt to Clapton.

Humble Pie—Steve Marriott is already in with Small Faces but his second great band is equally deserving. These guys seriously rocked.

Billy Idol—From his start with Brit punks Generation X and onward into his high-profile, MTV-era solo years, he delivered a string of high-energy rock tunes and a few memorable ballads.

Iron Maiden—One of the most successful and accessible metal bands of all-time, with tens of millions of album sales—and thousands of live shows—to their name, they’re still going strong after four decades.

Joe Jackson—The English singer-songwriter rode in on the new wave, then branched out in many directions, from the jazzy Jumpin’ Jive to the sophisticated Night and Day albums.

Tommy James and the Shondells—“Crimson and Clover,” “Crystal Blue Persuasion” and, of course, “Hanky Panky.” So many hits, all very diverse.

Related: Our interview with Tommy James on all those hits

Jethro Tull—Their detractors will never understand why, but Ian Anderson and the band sold tons of records and were a major concert act for years.

Tom Jones—This masterful interpreter of songs belongs in. As a live performer, he’s better than ever now, and his past few albums have been spectacular.

Watch Tom Jones sing “Show Me,” a song made famous by another artist on our list, Joe Tex

Ben E. King—Inducted as a member of the Drifters, but his solo output includes “Stand By Me” and “Spanish Harlem.” He needs his own slot in the Hall.

King Crimson—Prog at its most inventive. Whatever you think of the genre on the whole, you must acknowledge that Robert Fripp is a genius.

Cyndi Lauper—One of the biggest stars of the ’80s and beyond, her hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “True Colors” and “Time After Time” are still radio staples today.

Huey Lewis and the News—Critics, for the most part, have shunned this popular ’80s and ’90s from the Bay Area, but a steady stream of multi-platinum albums and singles speaks for itself.

Gordon Lightfoot—If fellow Canadians like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell can make the cut, why not this terrific, recently departed singer-songwriter?

Little Feat—This L.A. outfit was just so funky, and with the late Lowell George as their lead guitarist they left audiences numb night after night.

Los Lobos—For five decades this East L.A. band has continued to innovate. Their output has been consistently strong since day one, and in concert they kill.

Love—Fronted by the gifted singer-songwriter Arthur Lee, this ’60s L.A. band was, for a while, as important to that scene as the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

Taj Mahal—His top-notch output beginning in the late ’60s introduced many rock fans to the more organic acoustic blues, plus he could rock like crazy and he incorporated world music and other elements.

Marshall Tucker Band—One of the most creative and durable of the Southern Rock bands, their best known tunes include “Can’t You See” and “Heard It in a Love Song.”

Meat Loaf—Larger than life in several ways, his Bat Out of Hell collaborations with Jim Steinman, both of them now gone, have persevered as classic rock staples.

The Meters—They are nothing less than the quintessential New Orleans funk/R&B band. That makes them pretty important, no?

The Monkees—Enough with the “didn’t play their own instruments” excuse. Their records were some of the finest pop-rock of the era, and their influence on the rock video medium was incalculable. Let’s get them in while Micky Dolenz, the only survivor, is still with us.

Motörhead—Fronted by the beloved singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister, they were the quintessential British metal band, spawning subgenres like speed metal and thrash.

Mott the Hoople—Just for the fact that they gave us the brilliant Ian Hunter, they belong in. Mott was more than glam; they rocked big-time.

Mountain—Leslie West and company took hard rock to the next level. “Mississippi Queen,” of course, but there was a lot more going on there.

The Neville Brothers—New Orleans funk royalty, the quartet included singer Aaron Neville, who scored a solo hit with “Tell it Like it Is” and a smash duet, “Don’t Know Much,” with Linda Ronstadt.

New York Dolls—Seriously, the Dolls are not in? Yes, their whole glam style thing was over the top, but they rocked like crazy and were a major influence on the punk scene.

Watch the Dolls sing “Personality Crisis”

Harry Nilsson—There are still many important singer-songwriters still on the outs, but it’s simply criminal that Nilsson has been ignored. He was loved by the Beatles and just about everyone else.

Phish—Formed in 1983 in Vermont, the jam-band’s unpredictable concerts, based on improvisational segments and complex arrangements, are legendary. They still fill stadiums regularly.

Poco—Another of the essential country-rock pioneers unjustly ignored.

Iggy PopInducted for the Stooges, but he’s arguably had even more influence as a solo artist.

John Prine—This 2018 nominee finally received recognition for his decades of solid songcraft and heartfelt performances.

Procol Harum—Just for “A Whiter Shade of Pale” alone they should get the nod, but they went on to record about a half dozen killer albums after that. And live—wow, especially in the early days with guitarist Robin Trower! RIP Gary Brooker and Keith Reid!

Quicksilver Messenger Service—Along with the Dead and the Airplane, QMS defined the San Francisco scene. Give them their due too. Guitarist John Cipollina played like no one else!

REO Speedwagon—Although they were never a critics’ favorite, the Illinois-based rockers have sold tens of millions of records and retain a large fan base.

Paul Revere and the Raiders—With charismatic frontman Mark Lindsay, they released hit after hit: “Kicks,” “Hungry,” “Just Like Me” and more.

Related: We talked to Lindsay about the Raiders’ “Good Thing”

Cliff Richard and the Shadows—Richard was Britain’s reigning pre-Beatles solo artist. His backup band the Shadows influenced the Beatles and everyone else in the U.K. They should each have their own place but we’d be happy to see them honored jointly.

Johnny Rivers—No one reimagined others’ songs as deliciously: “Memphis,” “Secret Agent Man,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Summer Rain.” He was a constant presence on the charts for years.

Related: Our feature on Johnny Rivers

Rockpile—The band itself released only one album but it served as temporary home base for guitarist-singer Dave Edmunds and bassist-singer Nick Lowe, two of England’s great no-nonsense rockers.

Diana Ross—As if she hadn’t already broken enough ground with the Supremes, Ross then went on to have a huge solo career, with #1 hits like “Upside Down” and “Touch Me in the Morning.”

Related: Many of these artists are still on the road – Links for100s of tours

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels—Rockin’ blue-eyed soul at its finest. “Devil With a Blue Dress On” alone makes him worthy.

Boz Scaggs—The guitarist and singer brought classy stylishness, and a jazzy elegance, to the Bay Area music scene in the ’70s, then expanded beyond that with first-rate albums like Silk Degrees.

Neil Sedaka—After racking up a series of hits in the early ’60s, like “Calendar Girl,” he returned a decade later with more, this time with major support from Elton John.

Squeeze—Fronted by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, they turned out one classic pop-rock gem after another, including such great tunes as “Cool for Cats” and “Tempted.”

Steppenwolf—Yes, the band behind “Born to Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride” is still on the outs. What’s up with that?

Styx—When we inadvertently left these Chicago-based prog-rockers off of our initial list, their multitude of fans came after us with torches. But the truth is that the Hall routinely ignores bands of this ilk, and it’s time they got over it.

Television—Most of the other big NYC punk-era bands are in but Television predated all of them. Highly influential but someone forgot to tell the Hall. RIP Tom Verlaine!

Ten Years After—Did you ever see the Woodstock movie? Remember watching Alvin Lee shred? That was just a taste.

Thin Lizzy—The Irish rockers led by the late Phil Lynott were a whole lot of fun to watch and kicked ass live. “The Boys Are Back in Town” indeed.

Rufus Thomas—From the Stax Records stable that gave us Otis Redding and Booker T. and the MG’s, but he actually began his career in Memphis long before. An R&B giant.

Three Dog Night—If we judge Hall of Fame nominees by the impact they had in their own time, then Three Dog Night deserves a look. Hit after hit after hit.

Toto—This group of virtuoso musicians made a significant impact together but the band’s members have also been first-call sidemen for decades.

Pete Townshend—Would this singer-songwriter-guitarist have become a force in rock even if he hadn’t been in a certain English band? His solo work suggests that he had the goods.

The Turtles—The L.A. band was one of the few that didn’t use studio musicians, and they came up with “Happy Together,” “She’d Rather be With Me,” “Elenore” and more. That’s impressive.

Jr. Walker and the All Stars—Walker was the only Motown star who was primarily an instrumentalist. His sax powered hits like “Shotgun” and “Road Runner,” great stuff all.

War—They’ve been nominated but have yet to make the final cut. They fused R&B with funk, rock, jazz and more to create their own sound.

Barry White—Did you ever hear Barry White’s voice? And if so, can you ever forget Barry White’s voice? Didn’t think so.

Edgar Winter—Like his late brother Johnny, Edgar Winter has been a favorite of dedicated rockers for 50 years, and his huge hit “Frankenstein” still receives airplay.

Johnny Winter—There was never an artist like him before, and never again will be. A spellbinding guitarist and master performer. Watch him perform “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Steve Winwood—Inducted with Traffic, but he needs to be similarly honored for his solo career.

Warren Zevon—He’s one of the most beloved singer-songwriters of the past four decades, yet he’s been inexplicably shunned by the Hall. What are you waiting for?!

For Part Two, we’ve included 100 more worthy artists. Click here.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 100 Crucial Omissions - Best Classic Bands (2024)


What band is banned from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

In 2019, Sixx said that CRÜE was told by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame that it would never be inducted into the institution because of how he and his bandmates "acted." Tommy, for his part, told "CLE Rocks" that he didn't believe the band's exclusion had anything to do with CRÜE's notorious 1980s partying lifestyle.

Who is surprisingly not in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

100 biggest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs
  • Steve Winwood.
  • Rufus with Chaka Khan. ...
  • Sparks. ...
  • The Ravens. ...
  • Fela Kuti. ...
  • The Doobie Brothers. ...
  • Bad Company. Bad Company has the hits, longevity and impact to argue that maybe the super group could have been considered (and inducted) before some of its recent peers that got in. ...
  • 100. Phish. ...
Dec 13, 2018

Why isn't Joe co*cker in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

One major artist never inducted is Joe co*cker. The year co*cker died, artist Billy Joel — interviewed in a documentary about the life of Joe co*cker — hand-delivered a petition to get him included in the hall before co*cker's death of cancer. The Hall refused and he has not been inducted since.

Who snubbed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Artists that were once on the list but then removed after their first nomination: The Go-Go's, Iron Maiden, A Tribe Called Quest, George Michael, and Joy Division/New Order, as well as 2024 nominees Cher, Kool & the Gang, and Mariah Carey.

Who asked to be removed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has been removed from the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which he also helped found, one day after an interview with him was published in The New York Times in which he made comments that were widely criticized as sexist and racist.

Who declined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Dolly Parton rejected her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. The Rock Hall rejected her rejection.

Who is the only person in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times? ›

Three inductions, three words: “Clapton is God.” Eric Clapton is a consistent hitmaker and one of the greatest guitarists of all time—perhaps that's why he is the only person to be inducted into the Rock Hall three times.

Why is Reo Speedwagon not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

How it works: To be eligible, an artist had to release their first official recording at least 25 years ago. Despite being eligible since 1997, REO Speedwagon has yet to be nominated.

Who was the first person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

As of February 2021, there were 338 inductees. The first group of inductees, inducted on January 23, 1986, included Elvis Presley, James Brown, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Why is Ted Nugent not in the rock n Roll Hall of Fame? ›

When Keith noted that Ted's "politics" are the main reason he hasn't been inducted into the Rock Hall, Nugent said: "Let's examine the foundation of that observation, very accurate observation. I'm not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame because of my politics. My politics are the U.S. Constitution. Thank you very much."

Why didn t Carly Simon attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

19 on HBO, told us, “she kicked ass!” Sara Bareilles also honored Simon by performing the 1977 ballad, and James Bond theme, “Nobody Does It Better.” Simon did not attend due to the recent deaths of her sisters, who both died from cancer last month. Bareilles accepted the honor on her behalf.

Who is surprisingly not in the rock N' Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Sadly, artists like Daft Punk, Oasis, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Chaka Khan, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden, The Smiths, Joy Division, and Iron Maiden will have to wait another year for possible induction. Those left out, however, aren't exactly in poor company.

Why is Thin Lizzy not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

How it works: To be eligible for the Rock Hall, an artist had to release their first official recording at least 25 years ago. Thin Lizzy has been eligible since 1996 but nominated just once, in 2020.

What bands are overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Top 25 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame snubs of all time
  • Joy Division/New Order.
  • Chic.
  • Sonic Youth.
  • John Coltrane.
  • Iron Maiden.
  • Mariah Carey.
  • Eric B. & Rakim.
  • New York Dolls.
Jan 5, 2024

What band was banned from the USA? ›

The American Federation of Musicians handed the Kinks a four-year ban from touring in the States. “That ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks' career when the original band was performing at its peak,” Davies later remarked.

Why did paul McCartney not attend Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Paul McCartney

When The Beatles were inducted into the Rock Hall in 1988, McCartney sat out the induction due some then-ongoing issues around songwriting royalties. In a statement, Macca said, "After 20 years, the Beatles still have some business differences, which I had hoped would have been settled by now.

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