This article originally ran in 2013 and has been updated. As of 2021, Kraftwerk and Tina Turner have finally graduated from our list of worst snubs, while Daft Punk and others now qualify.
Sadly, nominees Rage Against the Machine, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, DEVO, Iron Maiden, New York Dolls, Dionne Warwick, Fela Kuti and Mary J. Blige will have to wait another year for possible induction.
Those left out, however, aren’t exactly in poor company. Many great artists have been shut out from the warm confines of the Cleveland institution.
Here’s a list of 22 artists who have yet to be enshrined, accompanied with rankings and our semi-formal arguments for their inclusion.
As this list proves, however, things do change.
22. Daft Punk
Number of Years Snubbed: 2
Number of Albums: 4
Chart Performance: While the duo’s only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 is “Starboy,” a collaboration with the Weeknd, “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams made it to No. 2, and Random Access Memories topped the Billboard 200 albums chart (plus, it won a boatload of Grammys, but more on that in a sec).
Accolades: The two helmeted robots of Daft Punk may have logged off, but their impact remains. Beyond all of those Grammys — Random Access Memories alone won five in 2014, including AOTY — the duo was responsible for a pretty major introduction of electronic music to a mainstream audience, proving that futuristic, EDM-inspired sounds could have a home with the masses. Their accessibility didn’t negate their inventiveness, though, and artists like The Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, and countless others have all pointed to Daft Punk as critical influences. Recently, Daft Punk was even named one of the most critical acts of the 21st century (by more than one outlet) — they became eligible in the last couple of years, and their cross-genre impact should be enough of a signal for consideration.
Number of Albums: 7
Chart Performance: Though they’ve had just one Top 10 hit in the US with “Wonderwall” (No. 8), Oasis is one of the best-selling bands ever, and have eight No. 1 singles and eight No. 1 albums in the UK.
Accolades: Oasis had more than a moment — they had an era. They were a mega-group among groups, nestled in the final days of albums ahead of the streaming era. They were cool, they were controversial, they were constantly feuding within their own group. The act dominated the touring landscape, and, even now, it’s nearly impossible to find a startup young band unwilling to wax poetic on Liam and Noel Gallagher. Famously, in 1996, they pulled off the largest outdoor concerts in UK history at the time when they performed for two nights at Knebworth in front of 125,000 people each night. “Wonderwall” also sparked a meme for the ages.
20. Wu-Tang Clan
Number of Albums: 8
Chart Performance: Wu-Tang Forever debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, but their only two songs to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 are both from 1993’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): “C.R.E.A.M” and “Method Man.”
Accolades: The Wu-Tang Clan, of course, changed hip-hop forever. It’s now been almost thirty (!) years since their earth-shaking debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and the group is as important as ever. In addition to their collective sound, the real edge that the group introduced was their savvy business approach, which gave the members the freedom to sprawl into solo careers while always having the collective available for a return. JAY-Z, Kanye, and Nas cite Wu-Tang as idols. And don’t get us started on Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the most expensive piece of music ever.
Number of Albums: 13
Chart Performance: His only two Top 10 hits on the Billboard 100 are as a featured artist, but It Was Written, I Am…, Hip Hop Is Dead, Life Is Good and his untitled ninth album all hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Accolades: Known for his sharp wit and immersive storytelling, Nas opened up the rap landscape to a whole new world of possibilities. His debut album, Illmatic, holds up even today as a sprawling portrait of life, putting the listener in his shoes. Artists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and RM of BTS, modern iterations of notably poetic and thoughtful rappers, point to Nas as a prime influence. After receiving thirteen Grammy nominations over his career, King’s Disease finally won Nas his first Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2021.
18. Warren Zevon
Number of Years Snubbed: 27
Number of Albums: 12
Chart Performance: Thanks to “Werewolves of London”, Warren Zevon’s third studio album, 1978’s Excitable Boy, remains the late singer’s most successful effort to date, peaking at No. 8 and finally going Platinum in 1997. Outside of that, he saw relatively modest success — his final album, 2003’s The Wind, topped at No. 12 and was certified Gold — which perhaps explains why he’s been cruelly excluded all these years.
Accolades: After spending years behind the scenes, where he wrote for The Turtles and toured as a session musician for The Everly Brothers, Zevon really came into his own. He collaborated with greats like Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac, eventually becoming rock critics’ favorite best-kept secret. Although he’s remained a cult icon, even long after his sudden 2003 passing, his trademark wit and intuitive lyrics continue to inspire countless musicians year after year.