The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio announced the 16 nominees for the class of 2021. The list includes several artists making their first appearance on a ballot, including a few that have been considered long-time snubs of the museum.
The 16 nominated artists are Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Devo, Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick.
Foo Fighters and Jay-Z were nominated in their first year of eligibility. Artists become eligible for the Hall 25 years after they release their first recording. The Foos and Jay-Z released their debuts in 1995 – the Foo Fighters album and the “In My Lifetime” single respectively. Other artists that were newly eligible this year but did not make the cut include the Backstreet Boys, D’Angelo, Deftones, Garbage, Incubus, and Robyn.
Kate Bush, Devo, Carole King, LL Cool J, Chaka Khan, New York Dolls, Rage Against the Machine, and Todd Rundgren all appear on this year’s ballot after being nominated once before. King was last nominated as an artist in 1989, but was inducted as a non-performer in 1990 for her songwriting partnership with her former husband Gerry Goffin. King’s belated second performer nomination comes on the day of the 50th anniversary of her landmark second solo album, Tapestry. LL Cool J has appeared on the most ballots of any of the returning artists, with this being his fifth nomination since he first appeared on the ballot in 2010. Chaka Khan received her third solo nomination, although she has also been nominated four additional times as a member of the funk band Rufus. Kate Bush was nominated once in 2018, Devo in 2019, New York Dolls in 2001, and Rage and Rundgren both collect their third nominations.
Mary J. Blige, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Fela Kuti, Tina Turner, and Dionne Warwick are all on the ballot for the first time. While this is Turner’s long-due first nod as a solo act, she was also inducted in 1990 as a duo with Ike Turner. If she is inducted, Turner will be come the second woman to be inducted twice, after Stevie Nicks in 2019. Warwick has had the longest wait of any of the first-time acts, as she has been eligible for the Hall since 1989.
Starting today, the Rock Hall will open the “fan vote” for the Hall in which ordinary fans can vote on their website for which acts they think should be in. The six winners of the fan vote will be submitted as a single ballot among hundred, and do not guarantee the top vote-getter’s induction. For the 2020 class, The Dave Matthews Band topped the fan vote, but was not inducted and does appear again in this year’s list.
The inductees for this year’s class will be announced in May, and the ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Hall museum in Cleveland this fall if large-scale events are able to be held then.
Below is a Spotify playlist featuring two selections from each of the 16 artists on the ballot.