Jon Winkler: I guess they deserve it for their influence?
Matt Rice: They should have been in years ago.
Ryan Gibbs: considering EDM is the biggest genre right now and they’re the forebearers of most electronic pop music, this is as good a time as any for them to get in. If I had a ballot, they’d have my vote, no question.
Reagan Harrison: Definitely an opportune moment for them right now; not sure if they’d get in as easily in say 5 or 10 years.
Matt Rice: Have any German artists made it in yet?
Ryan Gibbs: No. In fact, if they were inducted, they’d be the first artist who recorded much of their music in a language other than English.
Reagan Harrison: I wonder how many artists are in the hall that are not U.S. based
Ryan Gibbs: Most of them are from the US, UK, Ireland or Canada. The only exceptions to that right now are Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, ABBA and AC/DC. If you want to get into individual band members or leaders, just off the top of my head, you got Grandmaster Flash, Freddie Mercury and Carlos Santana. That’s more or less it for artists not from those four countries
Matt Rice: I wonder if any African artists will ever make it in.
Ryan Gibbs: Technically Freddie Mercury is the only one (he was born in Zanzibar). I will be very mad if the next African artist inducted is Dave Matthews
Matt Rice: Hahaha. Franco, Tabu Ley Rochereau, and Youssou N’Dour are all major parts of my personal rock canon.
Ryan Gibbs: Fela Kuti has been considered by the nomination committee before
Matt Rice: Yeah, if any African artists make it in, he’d probably be the one.
Ryan Gibbs: Anyway any thoughts on the likelihood of Kraftwerk being inducted this year? Because I have a feeling this might be their year
Matt Rice: The strength of the other nominees might make it difficult for them.
Matt Rice: They definitely belong in.
Jon Winkler: Yes, very much so.
Reagan Harrison: They have a…weird history with their political affiliations.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, it’s one of the best known things about them.
Reagan Harrison: Doesn’t mean their music isn’t great, though.
Jon Winkler: Wayne Kramer is an exceptional guitarist.
Ryan Gibbs: They should have been on the ballot years ago. I have a funny feeling Tom Morello was responsible for pushing them through this year.
Jon Winkler: One of the early punk bands with a message.
Reagan Harrison: Most definitely.
Ryan Gibbs: Thoughts on the likelihood of their induction?
Matt Rice: If they decide to just choose one punk band, they might be the most likely choice.
Jon Winkler: I’d say they have a good shot.
Reagan Harrison: People would seriously consider them so yeah.
Ryan Gibbs: Yeah, I think they have a chance too.
Matt Rice: They’re the one choice everyone’s pretty certain about, right?
Jon Winkler: Obviously.
Ryan Gibbs: Uh huh.
Jon Winkler: And they deserve it.
Ryan Gibbs: Exactly the kind of huge name that the Hall waits for.
Jon Winkler: They fill out all the check marks: influence, work ethic, success, talent.
Ryan Gibbs: They’re such a foregone conclusion that, if I had a ballot, I wouldn’t even vote for them. Other acts would need my vote more than such a sure-fire choice. Not to take away from Pearl Jam’s obvious and plentiful accomplishments of course.
Reagan Harrison: I wish we had this much choice in the presidential election as we do nominations.
Jon Winkler: The question is will they show up to accept it.
Ryan Gibbs: Oh yeah they’ll show up, easy. Eddie Vedder’s given a few incredibly well received induction speeches already for Ramones and R.E.M.
Jon Winkler: Yeah, for other people, not so much themselves. And they indicted Neil Young too, and infamously called out Ticketmaster at the ceremony.
Reagan Harrison: The media seems to be stressing over whether they’ll show up.
Ryan Gibbs: I get what you’re saying. Since the R.E.M. induction, the induction dinner has kind of become a “thing.” Like it’s an HBO event now
Jon Winkler: Indeed.
Ryan Gibbs: That kind of room isn’t Pearl Jam’s scene, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t show if they were inducted.The MC5 on the other hand, if inducted, that’s the band that won’t show up. Never mind the fact that most of the MC5 are dead.
Reagan Harrison: I mean, I like them, but did they have enough hits? (Not that that constitutes anything but it does hold some weight)
Ryan Gibbs: I’m not one to decry “X band should be here instead of Y band”. I believe we should take nominees as they are and only compare them to the other nominees. But come on, this should have been The Monkees’ spot instead.
Matt Rice: I was thinking when we were talking about Chic, should there be a HOF for artists who had one or two major songs, that way more disco artists could be celebrated? And Steppenwolf would fit into that sort of category. “Born to Be Wild” is still a hard rock masterpiece for me. But nothing else they did even came close.
Ryan Gibbs: Some people got mad at us last year for what we said about Deep Purple, so I should be careful about this, but man Steppenwolf’s nomination is what I thought about Deep Purple’s tenfold. Deep Purple, I’m not mad they’re finally in. They were a solid inductee in hindsight. But Steppenwolf? Feels more dubious.
Jon Winkler: They were a fun enough 60s rock band but noting entirely memorable outside of “Born to be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”
Ryan Gibbs: I just don’t see what puts Steppenwolf over the top. I don’t think they have a solid chance at being inducted, either.
Matt Rice: Are there any artists who are only major for one song that should be in the HOF? Or does it require a tighter legacy than that?
Ryan Gibbs: Percy Sledge is in. Technically Ritchie Valens is in for basically three songs
Matt Rice: I love Percy beyond “When a Man Loves a Woman,” but if any single song can get somebody into the Hall, it’s probably that one. Ritchie is such a “what if?” artist. Buddy Holly had a terrific recording career in the years he was a performer, while The Big Bopper had one great song and likely wouldn’t have done much afterwards. But Ritchie Valens could have done so much.
Ryan Gibbs: True, Valens was only a recording artist for under a year. and we’re comparing him to Steppenwolf, who had a longer career than that
Reagan Harrison: Steppenwolf aren’t memorable enough to me. If “Born To Be Wild” is their only contribution, I don’t think it’s enough
Ryan Gibbs: Well, there’s also “Magic Carpet Ride”. Any thoughts on their chances?
Reagan Harrison: Don’t think they’re looking too hot.
Jon Winkler: Unlikely.
Matt Rice: I don’t think they have much of a chance. Unless people vote for them for coining “heavy metal.”
Ryan Gibbs: With a ballot this strong, I don’t think they’re getting in.
Jon Winkler: I’m a Biggie fan myself.
Matt Rice: Yeah, Tupac is not a personal favorite for me at all. But he should be in the HOF.
Reagan Harrison: Since this is the first year he’s eligible and being a rapper I feel like he’ll make it. Plus people love him which doesn’t hurt
Ryan Gibbs: He’d be the first solo rapper to be inducted.
Jon Winkler: I think for his help putting West Coast map on the map, he should go in.
Ryan Gibbs: The Hall has been skittish about inducting rappers, but I think Tupac might get in in one go.
Reagan Harrison: It seems like it to me.
Jon Winkler: Are they even that interesting?
Ryan Gibbs: Yes, they are! Pun intended. I think Yes are an excellent band and they have an outside chance of getting in.
Jon Winkler: I mean I love “Owner of a Lonely Heart” but that doesn’t even sound like a Yes song compared to their earlier work, which I never found too interesting.
Ryan Gibbs: Even their longer stuff was more accessible than, say, Emerson Lake & Palmer. All 8+ minutes of “Roundabout” are very catchy
Reagan Harrison: Their earlier albums have some depth to them. 90125, the album that has “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, was later, in 1983
Ryan Gibbs: Like I mentioned, the Rock Hall already listed the members who would be inducted. Neither of the Buggles would be inducted as members of Yes Which is understandable I suppose, but it would have been cool for Trevor Horn to get in somehow.
Reagan Harrison: It would’ve been
Ryan Gibbs: Any thoughts on their chances this year?
Reagan Harrison: I don’t really see a difference since last year, but I can hope there’s room for them
Matt Rice: They might make it in as a prog pick. But we’ve already determined several artists who will probably make it in, so I don’t see them as having a great chance.
Ryan Gibbs: Right. That’s why I hope there’s more than five inductees this year.
Matt Rice: Odessey and Oracle is an amazing album.
Ryan Gibbs: The Hall loves to nominate 60’s British bands, and The Zombies aren’t a bad choice at this point. They were also central to one of the most fascinating pieces of music journalism this year.
Reagan Harrison: They’re a solid group and a solid nomination, unlike some of the other ones who tend to be weaker or much stronger.
Ryan Gibbs: They’re one of many bands I think have an outside shot of getting in.
Ryan Gibbs: What did you think of this year’s choices, overall?
Matt Rice: Much better than last year’s.
Reagan Harrison: The choices are a very good mixture. I didn’t see any particular one that stood out to me, but in general are pretty great!
Matt Rice: More diverse, and none of the artists are really infuriating, although a couple are questionable.
Jon Winkler: Good collection, the hall should focus on the oddball picks.
Ryan Gibbs: I’m happy the Hall is picking esoteric candidates now. Now for them to get some of them in…
Our picks if we had a ballot
Jon Winkler: Bad Brains, The Cars, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, Pearl Jam
Matt Rice: Bad Brains, Chic, Janet Jackson, MC5, Joe Tex
Reagan Harrison: The Cars, Chaka Khan, Journey, Tupac Shakur, Yes
Ryan Gibbs: Chic, Electric Light Orchestra, Janet Jackson, Kraftwerk, Yes
What are your thoughts on this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees? Let us know in the comments!