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

Senior Pop Culture Editor
09.27.12 9 Comments
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.

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