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The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

Be prepared for plenty of scoffing, maybe some eyerolls, and endless frustration

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs
Illustration by Allison Aubrey
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    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.


    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has revealed the inductees for its class of 2021. They include JAY-ZFoo Fighters, The Go-Go’sCarole King, Tina TurnerTodd Rundgren, Kraftwerk and LL Cool J.

    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.

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    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

     The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

    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.

    21. Oasis

     The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs
    Number of Years Snubbed: 2

    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.

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    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

     The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs
    Number of Years Snubbed: 4

    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.

    19. Nas

     The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs
    Number of Years Snubbed: 4

    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.

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    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

    screen shot 2018 10 09 at 11 26 33 am The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

    Number of Years Snubbed: 27

    Number of Albums: 12

    Chart Performance: Thanks to “Werewolves of London”, Warren Zevons 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.


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    17. Television

    Television, First Avenue NYC 1977

    Number of Years Snubbed: 21

    Number of Albums: 3

    Chart Performance: Not surprisingly, neither Marquee Moon nor Adventure graced the U.S. charts. However, Marquee did slot at No. 28 on the UK Charts and Adventure even peaked on the same chart at No. 7.

    Accolades: Television have no snazzy awards to their name, though their influence is paramount. Critics contend that Marquee Moon remains a cornerstone of alternative rock as it has experienced a wealth of acclaim. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it as No. 128 in their 500 greatest albums of all time, and in that same year, NME ranked it as the fourth greatest album of all time.


    16. Nick Drake

    nick drake The 22 Worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

    Number of Years Snubbed: 27

    Number of Albums: 3

    Chart Performance: Nick Drakes albums sold terribly upon release, but have since become essential albums posthumously. His final studio album, 1972’s Pink Moon, sits at No. 321 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All Time list.

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    Accolades: Since his early death, he’s been cited as an influence by R.E.M., The Cure, Lucinda Williams, Ben Folds, Badly Drawn Boy, Lou Barlow, Mikael Åkerfeldt, and many more. Pink Moon ranked No. 45 among Consequence of Sound’s Top 100 Albums.


    15. Iron Maiden

    iron maiden

    Number of Years Snubbed: 17

    Number of Albums: 16

    Chart Performance: With little radio or television support, Iron Maiden have sold over 90 million records worldwide. And yet regardless of the lineup shifts, several of their albums have received platinum and gold albums both stateside and overseas, specifically 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time, and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.

    Accolades: As of October 2013, the band have played over 2,000 live shows throughout their career. In 2002, they received the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement, and in 2005, were also inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA.


    14. Rage Against the Machine

    Rage Against the Machine

    Number of Years Snubbed: 4

    Number of Albums: 4

    Chart Performance: Given their political inclinations, Rage probably could care less about the Billboard charts, but they should. Each one of their records — even their final LP of covers, 2000’s Renegades — scaled the charts, with 1996’s Evil Empire and 1999’s Battle for Los Angeles claiming No. 1. What’s more, they’ve all been certified Platinum by the RIAA; in fact, both their 1992 self-titled debut and Evil Empire went 3x Platinum.

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    Accolades: Same thing. Could probably give a shit about awards, too, but of course that didn’t stop them from winning two Grammys for Best Metal (“Tire Me”) and Hard Rock (“Guerilla Radio”) Performance out of six nominations. And while Cleveland has yet to show them love outside of two nominations, they have been inducted into Kerrang’s own Hall of Fame. Better yet, NME gave ’em a Heroes of the Year Award back in 2010. Again, they do not care.


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