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.
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
Number of Years Snubbed: 27
Number of Albums: 3
Chart Performance: Nick Drake’s 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.
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
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
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.
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.
13. New Order
Number of Years Snubbed: 15
Number of Albums: 10
Chart Performance: Through their 68 total releases — including LPs, EPs, and singles — New Order have been an unstoppable presence in the UK charts with three Gold albums, two Platinum compilations, three Silver albums, and, you know, the best selling 12-inch single of all time with “Blue Monday”. Stateside, they secured two Gold albums and their Substance compilation was even certified Platinum.
Accolades: Chart success aside, they’ve only been nominated once by the Grammys, and it wasn’t until 2005, and it was a small nomination at that (i.e. Best Dance Recording for “Guilt Is a Useless Emotion” off Waiting for the Siren’s Call). Still, the outfit’s one of the most critically-acclaimed and influential acts of the last 30 years, changing the face of techno, rock, and pop forever.
Number of Years Snubbed: 9
Number of Albums: 6
Chart Performance: Surfer Rosa spent 60 weeks on the UK Indie Chart, peaking at No. 2. In 2005, a solid 17 years after its release, it was finally certified gold by the RIAA. Its followup, Doolittle, peaked at No. 98 on the US Billboard 200 and at No. 8 on the UK Albums Chart. In 1995, it was certified gold by the RIAA. Bossanova, however, was released on a major label (Elektra) and nabbed No. 70 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart.
Accolades: Both Surfer Rosa and Doolittle are consistently cited as one of the greatest albums of the ’80s and the most important albums in alternative rock, having influenced everyone from Nirvana to Radiohead, The Strokes to Pavement. It should be noted their 2009 box set, Minotaur, received a Grammy nomination and that Doolittle ranked No. 14 among Consequence of Sound’s Top 100 Albums.
Number of Years Snubbed: 19
Number of Albums: 9
Chart Performance: Devo’s critically acclaimed debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! reached No. 12 in the UK and No. 78 in the US. However, its 1980 follow-up, Freedom of Choice, went Platinum in the US and Gold in Canada, making it their highest-selling album. 1981’s New Traditionalists and 2010’s Something for Everybody peaked at No. 23 and No. 30 on U.S. charts, respectively.
Accolades: Their cult acclaim has only awarded them the first-ever Moog Innovator Award, which they received in 2010 at Moogfest in Asheville, NC. What’s integral about Devo is their pioneering sound and style, which impacted New Wave, industrial, and alternative in addition to how music videos could be conceived. Duty Now for the Future ranked No. 66 among Consequence of Sound’s Top 100 Albums. They were once again passed over by the Hall of Fame after being nominated this year.
10. Pat Benatar
Number of Years Snubbed: 22
Number of Albums: 12
Chart Performance: Let’s see, Pat Benatar has two multi-Platinum albums (1980’s Crimes of Passion and 1981’s Precious Time), five platinum albums, three gold albums, and 15 Top 40 singles, including four No. 1 hits (“Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, “Love Is a Battlefield”, “We Belong”, and “Invincible”). To date, she’s sold over 30 million records worldwide.
Accolades: Benatar was unstoppable in the early ’80s, walking away with four consecutive Grammy wins in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance: 1981 for Crimes of Passion, 1982 for “Fire and Ice”, 1983 for “Shadows of the Night”, and 1984 for “Love Is a Battlefield”. She was an icon then and she remains one today with her music featured in every facet of pop culture. And yet, her battle against Cleveland continues as she lost her nomination in 2020.