Our take on this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees: Should the Beastie Boys, Guns 'N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others get in?

beastie-boys

Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This year’s crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have just been announced, and it’s the usual weird assortment of mega-band veterans and less-known innovators. So who will actually get inducted come April? I have no idea. But here’s my personal take on who I think deserves to get in. Disagree? Weigh in below!

BEASTIE BOYS
Should they get in?
Definitely. When Licensed To Ill came out in 1986, nobody could have predicted all that brat-rap bravado marked the launch of one of the next two decades’ major artists. But the album was a blockbuster (the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200), and the followup, Paul’s Boutique, remains one of hip-hop’s greatest achievements. They’ve been pumping out consistently innovative and entertaining albums ever since.

THE CURE
Should they get in? Yes. Dock points for the hair-spray-attack fashion crimes (is there a bad-hair Hall of Fame?), but this is one of the best bands of the past 30 years, from perky hits like “Close To Me” to moody masterpiece Disintegration.

DONOVAN
Should he get in?
Probably not. I like “Catch the Wind” and some other tunes just fine, but there’s a reason he’s never made the cut before: Donovan’s dippy sunshine folk just hasn’t aged well.

ERIC B. & RAKIM
Should they get in?: Yep. The narrow-minded will carp — endlessly — that hip-hop is not “rock and roll” and thus should be disqualified from consideration. But the R&R HoF isn’t just for long-haired power-chord guitar dudes. It’s always recognized a broad range of pop music, and hip-hop absolutely belongs. As do Eric B. & Rakim, whose Paid in Full once topped an EW list of the best hip-hop albums.

GUNS ‘N ROSES
Should they get in? Obviously. The glory years may have been few and Axl has tarnished the brand over the years, but it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing against their inclusion.

HEART
Should they get in? I’d vote no. There’s nothing wrong with these ’70s rockers turned ’80s balladeers, whose “Barracuda” and “Magic Man” still have a certain feathered-hair-in-the Camaro charm. But it’s the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, not the Rock & Roll List of Every Band Who Ever Had a Few Good Tunes. To me, they’re just not up there with the greats.

JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS
Should they get in? Nope. Even if you count Jett’s work with the Runaways and her classic single “Bad Reputation” (which you shouldn’t, since that was all pre-Blackhearts), she still seems like a stretch. Just because her biggest hit has the phrase “rock and roll” in the title doesn’t make her a hall of famer.

FREDDIE KING
Should he get in? Will the R&R HoF ever tire of second-tier blues guitarists? Not a chance. Does this particular one seem like a total must-include? Not really. Still: pretty great.

LAURA NYRO
Should she get in?
She should. This eccentric ’70s songwriter seems like a natural for the HoF given her many hits (“Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die”) and beloved albums, but somehow she’s escaped induction. Time to change that.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Should they get in?
Personally, I’d leave their chest-beating frat-funk out. But they’re super popular and they’ve been around forever and they’ll almost certainly get in on the first few tries, so I’m not gonna fight it.

RUFUS WITH CHAKA KHAN
Should they get in?
Probably not. “Tell Me Something Good” and “Sweet Thing” are great. Chaka Khan is a powerhouse. But Hall of Fame seems like a stretch.

THE SMALL FACES/THE FACES
Should they get in?
For sure. How are they not in there already? Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and singles like “Itchycoo Park” should alone be enough to guarantee a slot, and when you factor in later Faces triumphs like “Debris” and “Stay With Me” this seems like a bizarre omission. Hopefully this year that will change. (Side note: Why are these two very different-sounding bands lumped together? Hmm.)

THE SPINNERS
Should they get in?
You can certainly argue in favor of this ’70s soul group, whose hits include “Rubberband Man.” But I wouldn’t be too upset if they got passed over. Hard to imagine too many people are reading this thinking, “Yes! The Spinners!”

DONNA SUMMER
Should she get in?
Even now some people scoff at disco, but Summer’s voice drives some massive pop classics, including “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls,” and “Last Dance.” Her induction won’t shut up the skeptics, but her music endures and recognizing her would be a gutsy statement from the typically conservative HoF. Still, it’s hard to make a case for her when, say, Rush still hasn’t been nominated.

WAR
Should they get in?
No. Good band, some classic songs (“Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “Low Rider”), not enough lasting impact to qualify for this particular honor.

So there you have it. I’m going to go listen to the Faces’ amazing “Debris” now, but let us know what you think below. Which of these acts should definitely get in? Who should never make the cut?

Follow me on twitter: @RobBrunnerEW

More on EW.com:
Radiohead on ‘The Colbert Report': Way better than Radiohead on SNL?
Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jett, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and the Cure all nominated for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Vh1’s Top 100 Songs of the ’00s: Find the first 11 songs here! — An EW Exclusive

Comments (173 total) Add your comment
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  • G.R.

    The only group in the bunch that I feel strongly about are the Cure — I think it would be cool if they were inducted.

    • Robert

      This isn’t the depressed hall of fame. This is the ROck and RoLL Hall of FaMe..

      • Acaseofgeo

        I’d put Summer, Heart, GNR, and the Beasties in. That’s 4 I’d like to see in; I’ll let someone else add the 5th for me. I’m guessing Summer won’t go in as she’s been nominated and overlooked before. I don’t think 5 is enough. Too many are left out.

      • kalo

        I’d like to see The Cars included. Very influential to many garage bands, had a huge amount of hits, plus Ric Ocasek has been the producer on albums of many indie-groups.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via Millionaireloving.C óM ..it is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online.You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • Tyler

        Cue all the whiners who will inevitably cry about the nominations of non-white people who don’t play guitars. “That’s not rock and roll!” Blah, blah, blah. Yawn.

      • lori

        CHAKA KHAN but no Rush? I think I am going to throw up.

  • Bobby’s Robot

    Disagree about Joan Jett. Some classic tunes, plus her tough-rock-chick persona was influential for many female artists who followed.

    • Patrick

      But can you say Joan deserves to get in before Pat Benatar? There’s just no way that should be possible!

      • Robert

        Rap isn’t Rock and Roll. Sorry!

      • dimbulb

        joan jett definitely belongs before headband damage

      • Shaun

        I have nothing against Joan Jett, but based on sales and chart success Benatar would probably deserve inclusion first. I think both have had a fair amount of influence on other women rockers, so all things being equal it should probably be Benatar. But I think Jett is probably more respected critically, due to her punk-rock lineage.

      • Deke

        @Shaun: Let’s not base induction on sales. Bieber has plenty of sales, but he should not be allowed to even visit the HOF, let alone be inducted into it. I like both Jett & Benatar, but I think Benatar may be more influential. It’s a close call, as you noted Jett’s punk cred. I would put them both in, and I would induct Heart as well. I don’t see how Heart can be denied.

      • lori

        the wrath of chaka khan

  • Hv

    Overall this isn’t a great list. The Cure and Nyro, being the only ones here I’d be absolutey sure to vote for if I had a vote although I will allow as to how the Beastie Boys influence probably give them a pass even if they aren’t my cup of tea. Heart certainly paved the way for women in rock, but their Diane Warren arena power ballad phase is a big mark against them.

    • Shaun

      Freddie King is one of the most important guitar players ever… Plenty of other guitar players already in the Hall wuld say the same thing if you were to ask them.

      • QED

        On the subject of blues guitar players, where is Stevie Ray Vaughan???

      • lori

        hangin with Rush in the never going to get into the hall of fame room in the back

  • Dana

    Disagree about Heart.And still no Rush or Deep Purple? This is a joke!

    • Patrick

      And still no KISS either.

      • Robert

        Kiss sucks in comparison to Rush. Get your head out of your tailpipe.

      • A…

        Neither Rush or Kiss deserve induction.

      • lori

        Rush is better than CHAKA KHAN

  • Richard

    no to heart? a few good tunes? written by someone who obviously doesn’t know the bands history very well. and joan jett! of course! and they need to focus on that it’s the “rock” n roll hall of fame.

    • Robert

      Nobody wants to go to Cleveland anyways! They can take it and shove it!

      • Ellen

        Speak for yourself! I’ve visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame several times and it’s a great place. I like the HOF and I like Cleveland.

  • NonEntity

    No Cheap Trick or Todd Rundgren. Rush isn’t there. Crowd pressure and money rules. Crowds and money equal rock? This Hall of Shame will crumble under the weight of its own ego. RHCP is popular because America loves crap, so does EW.

    • jp

      And so does NonEntity, because he/she/it took the time to browse and comment on the EW article.

  • TrueladyMD

    I beg to differ. I read the list and said, “Yes, The Spinners.” Obviously, the author of this article has not seen the show “Unsung.”

    • dimbulb

      I think the Spinners belong, but can understand why others disagree.

  • Randy

    Should be in Heart, Kiss,Todd Rundgren, Johnny Rivers, Tommy James, Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels, Laura Nyro, Rush, The Guess Who, Big Star (or at least Alex Chilton).

  • kaydevo

    This is an awfully weak group of nominees. I won’t even go into all the glaring omissions. Makes me wonder what the criterion is supposed to be for the Hall of Fame. Disagree with the writer’s opinion on several of these too.

    • Shaun

      It is a weak list… They should do like the Baseball Hall and only let someone in if they get a certain number of votes each year. Some years, one or even NO ONE gets in.

      Still plenty of Rock Hall omissions, but it’s at the point where they need to limit it. It’s becoming a joke.

  • Dave

    Until Chicago gets in, nobody deserves to get in!

    • CG

      Chicago’s not in? Nor KISS? I hate Rush, but they should be in. Love ELO, they should be in. Who runs this place? I will never attend until ELO is in. Maybe we should open the History of Rock museum.

      • lori

        The sadists invented it to tick off the people who know what rock and roll is really about.

    • Luke

      Chicago will have a tough time living down their 1980s cheese era. It’s a shame too, because before that, they were an amazing jam band.

      • NonEntity

        RHCP hasn’t gotten through their cheesy era yet they are looked upon as worthy.

      • Go

        Chicago went from composing cool stuff like “Color My World,” “Wishing You Were Here,” and “25 or 6 to 4″ to releasing uber-cheesy prom tunes like “You’re the Inspiration,” “Will You Still Love Me,” and “Hard Habit to Break.” I wonder if a band can get into the HOF for half of its career.

  • Oliver Rockside

    Keep in mind, this is not a real rock ‘n roll hall of fame….It’s who Jann Wenner is buddies with.

    The Beastie Boys, along with The Doors and Led Zeppelin are the most overrated bands in history. In The Boys case, great videos do not equal great music.

    I loathe Rush, but their musicianship and devotion by fans should have gotten them in long ago.

    Devo and Roxy Music, the reason New Wave existed in the first place, are not even considered.

    Kiss is self-explanitory.

    Pop music seems to get the short end of the stick….John Mellencamp, another lame act, is in, but Hall & Oates, Donna Summer and one of the most underrated acts ever, Crowded House, are not in.

    And finally, I’ll leave you with this….

    Public Enemy.

    • Shaun

      Mellencamp has sold more records than any of the acts you named, he helped found Farm Aid, has been involvede in other activism, and he’s been a critically respected artist for almost 30 years. His later, less commerical, work has been eclectic and daring too. If nothing else, his massive string of hits in the 80s and 90s makes him a valid Hall member.

      • HTC

        Mellencamp needs no defending. He is one of the more important artists of his era, musically and socially.

      • Oliver Rockside

        An interesting point, Shaun…..I applaud Melloncamp’s devotion to Farm Aid, but it’s not the activism hall of fame. If it was, Bob Geldof would be in.

        Mellencamp’s sales figures are not debatable, but if that was the criteria, Barry Manilow would be in.

        It is about people would changed and redefined music (or it’s supposed to be), not doing Springsteen Lite…….or being completely insufferable while doing it.

    • amble

      I love Crowded House but there is no way they belong in the ROCK and ROLL Hall of Fame. Well-crafted Melodic Pop Hall of Fame maybe.

      • Oliver Rockside

        Glad to hear we share the love of Crowded House….but if the trinity of horrendousness that is Billy Joel, The Dave Clark Five and Neil Diamond are in, well…….

      • lori

        well… It is a bunch of Horsesh_it then

  • s-k-s

    Wow. Good job on finding reasons why very famous women who were incredibly influential on future generaitons shouldn’t get in, while obscure male hip-hoppers should. Geez.

    • lenscrafter

      Rolling stone is like that too. Two Smashing Pumpkin albums in the top ten of the ninety’s, and not a single female artist among the other white rockers . . . lame!

      • alan of montreal

        yeah, his assessment of this list wreaks of sexism. And why didn’t anyone nominate Siouxie and the Banshees before The Cure?

      • Tom

        The Smiths. This is the Rock n Roll HOF, not The US RnRHOF. I love The Cure, but The Smiths have had a greater overall influence.

        And Laura Nyro should be in there. She and Joni Mitchell created the entire female singer-songwriter genre.

        And while I loathe rap, you do have to give Beastie Boys a place. Along with Public Enemy.

      • lori

        rock and roll? that’s rap.. (buzzzzt!)

    • anonymous

      I wouldn’t call The Beastie Boys or Eric B. and Rakim “obscure”.

  • c

    LOATHE Heart. “All I wanna do is make love to you” has to be the Worst.Song.Ever. That song alone should keep them out.

    • DRG

      The inductees to the Hall has long been little more than a list of the personal tastes of Dave Marsh and Jann Wenner.

      • Oliver Rockside

        You’re right, DRG…..I forgot to include Springsteen uber-sycophant Dave Marsh in my earlier post….

      • Scott

        This comment is absolutely 100% correct.

    • Shaun

      Yeah, their later stuff is terrible. But, like it or not, they probably deserve to be in at least for their earlier (somewhat better) stuff, and because they’re one of the more successful female-led acts ever.

    • Kim

      I agree. What an absolutely horrible song. Ugh.

      • HTC

        Yes, “All I Wanna…” is a dumb song, but “Barracuda” alone cancels that out ten-fold. The Heart catalogue also includes such songs as “Magic Man,” “Never,” and “Dog & Butterfly.” The band belongs in the HOF.

  • Big Brutha

    I’d like to see The Cars included. Very influential to many garage bands, had a huge amount of hits, plus Ric Ocasek has been the producer on albums of many indie-groups.

    • candacetx

      ^this

    • G.R.

      Amen, Brutha!

    • aleksa

      Kind of surprised they aren’t already there.

    • lori

      Rush, ELO, The Cars. No way. Anything that is trendy popular lately belongs in the Rock and roll hall of horsesh_t.

  • MattyG

    Joan Jett absolutely deserves to be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (I’m surprised she hasn’t been already). She’s had a long, hit-filled career, is still making and performing music today, and is continuously cited as an inspiration to women in rock. Leaving her out would be a travesty, in my opinion.

    • Chris R

      Right on MattyG!!

    • Shaun

      Hit-filled? The one big hit (“I Love Rock& Roll”) of course… And there was “Bad Reputation,” and the cover of “Crimson and Clover” too. But did she have any actual hits other than those? I’m not putting her down, I just don’t remember any others.

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