Predicting The Next 10 First Ballot Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers

Both Green Day and No Doubt put out new albums this week (although only one doesn’t suck), and in an article from Grantland’s Steven Hyden examining the releases, he made me feel old:

Green Day and No Doubt are likely going to be first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. And it will happen soon; Green Day is eligible in three years, and No Doubt in five. Let that sink in for a moment: Not only have Green Day and No Doubt existed nearly long enough to garner institutional recognition of enduring musical value, but Green Day and No Doubt actually have enduring musical value. (Via)

First ballot hall of famers are increasingly rare. In 2003, three artists made it in their first shot (the Clash, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, and the Police); since then, only seven, including R.E.M., Prince, and Guns N’ Roses. Going off the extremely helpful Future Rock Legends database, these are my predictions for the next 10 acts that will make it into the Hall during round one. Sorry, Spin Doctors, maybe in 2017?

2013: Nirvana

The easiest pick on the list. Nirvana, whose Nevermind is widely considered one of the best records ever, has everything going for them: they “saved” rock from hair metal, sold tens of millions of albums, won multiple awards, made cardigans cool again, one of them’s dead (the Hall loves a good tragedy), and everyone admires the crap out of Dave Grohl, who will likely make it into the Hall again in 2020 with the Foo Fighters. This is a sure thing.

2014: Green Day

Green Day is a rock ‘n’ roll institution, up there with U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Whether you agree with their musical decision post-Warning (or post-Kerplunk, if you’re one of THOSE kind of people) is besides the point — they’re considered rock gods by many. They’ve sold 65 million albums globally, will have put out 11 albums by the end of next year, remain extremely influential, and, because this matters to the Hall, appreciate famed acts who came before them, like Joe Strummer and Paul Westerberg. The Hall likes when young whippersnappers appreciate their elders, and soon, Green Day will be the elders. Probably not Blink-182, though. Dammit.

2015: A Tribe Called Quest

I don’t actually think they’ll make it, but I refuse to accept that Quest, the people’s choice, is somehow considered less “important” to music than John Mellencamp or the Eagles.

2015: Mariah Carey

Since 1995, only two solo female artists have been inducted into the Hall on their first try: Janis Joplin and Madonna. Mariah Carey will be the third. The odds are stacked firmly in her favor: she’s sold more than 200 million albums worldwide (equal to Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones), was the best-selling female artist of the 1990s, has spent more weeks at the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 than anyone ever, won five Grammys, is widely considered to have the greatest technical voice of all-time, and now that she’s on American Idol, she’s acting as a mentor to the next generation of singers. Plus, “Heartbreaker” is a perfect song and I hope she wears this to her induction ceremony:

2016: Pearl Jam

The Hall has a boner for Eddie Vedder, which coupled with the fact that Pearl Jam is one of the best-selling and influential rock bands of the 1990s, makes them an easy pick. I’ll buy my tickets to the ceremony via Ticketmaster.

2016: 2Pac

Hip hop is slowly starting to be embraced by the Hall (Run DMC made it first ballot in 2009), so over the next couple of years, you’ll see more rappers inducted, beginning with 2Pac. Rolling Stone named him of the 100 greatest artists of all-time, Me Against the World and All Eyez on Me are both essential albums, and pretty much every rapper ever cites him as an influence. He’s an icon, and icons make it into the Hall of Fame. He’ll probably have a new album out for the occasion, too. (For what it’s worth, Notorious B.I.G. in 2019 or bust.)

2017: Dr. Dre

If you were to guess the single rap album that shows up in the most non-rap fans’ collections, The Chronic would likely be the answer. For many, it was their introduction to the genre, and although it’s only one of two albums Dr. Dre has put out (we’re assuming Detox won’t be out by 2017), it’s a classic. That’s good enough for the Hall. Plus, Dre has his production legacy (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Eminem, etc.) to fall back on.

2017: Radiohead

Obviously. If they had stopped after OK Computer, they would have made it — and then they released four more excellent albums, and The King of Limbs.

2018: Wu Tang Clan

I asked honorary Wu-Tang Clan member, Danger Guerrero, for his thoughts on why they should make it:

The Wu-Tang Clan deserves to be a first ballot inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for many reasons (their music, their influence, their legacy), but even if you strip all that away, they should be inducted for the music video for “Gravel Pit” alone.


2018: Dave Matthews Band

Our high school selves are totally PUMPED, bro. DMB is tough. On one hand, they’ve been one of the biggest touring acts for years now, have sold in excess of 30 million albums, are the only band ever to have six straight albums debut at #1 , and their peace, love, and understanding message is something that appeals to the Baby Boomers who vote for the Hall inductees. On the other, there ain’t many jam bands in the Hall, and the few that have made it (the Grateful Dead, Traffic, to a certain extent) are looked at with fonder eye by critics than DMB. I still think they’ll make it, however, because otherwise, fans will revolt and choke the nearest Hall voter they can find with their hemp bracelets. Also, Dave Matthews has played the Hall of Fame ceremonies before, and why would he be invited if they didn’t plan on returning the favor?