This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce their 2017 nominees. The five performers with the most votes will be inducted. This year, there’s a very impressive list of first timers including Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Alanis Morissette, PJ Harvey, and The Prodigy. Every year, a huge debate takes place in the music community about who really deserves it, who got snubbed again, and who will get in the following year.
I have been a big music fan my whole life and have seen some of my generation’s biggest acts get inducted over the last few years. Nirvana, Green Day, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, NWA, and The Beastie Boys were acts I grew up on. Now, as the 25-year minimum requirement hits 1991, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is now in the sweet spot for the rise of grunge and alternative music.
Here’s who I believe will be inducted next and few who should get in sooner rather than later.
Pearl Jam are on the ballot for the first time this year as Ten was released in 1991. Putting aside the fact that I am a huge fan, the band should be first ballot inductees because of the significant mark they’ve left on music. After all, Ten was a debut album for the ages.
Pearl Jam exploded onto the music scene and have stayed relevant for the last 25 years as they continue to release new music and tour annually. Many fans believe that the band is in the middle of a legendary live run, as their epic three-hour concerts have been a must-see for years. Next to Nirvana, no band is as known for the Seattle sound like Pearl Jam.
Tupac is a first ballot nominee this year as well. Even though he has been gone for so many years, Tupac’s music and legacy are as important today as they were 25 years ago. He was the poster boy for West Coast hip-hop and his rivalry with the East Coast hip-hop scene was unforgettable.
Tupac is one of the most influential rappers of all time, and for me, that is major criteria for induction. Now that more and more hip-hop acts are becoming eligible for induction, I believe we may see at least one from that genre every year for quite some time. Additionally, I’m quite excited for the Tupac tribute that will be on stage at the ceremony.
Trent Reznor’s brainchild has been nominated for the past two
Their presence in the music scene is all thanks to Nine Inch Nails. Reznor himself has produced numerous hit records, won an Oscar for scoring the Social Network, created amazing live shows, and is essentially the core of Nine Inch Nails. I’m positive that this is his year.
After those three, things become a little less clear. I think either The Smiths or The Cure will get nominated this year. Both bands are extremely influential to more than one generation of artists as synth bands, emo bands, and even some metal bands have cited The Cure and The Smiths as inspirations behind their band’s sound.
If I had to pick, I think The Cure will get the ones who get the nod considering how they are still together, and how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a history of one member or another not showing up due to years of fighting.
You can’t deny Janet Jackson’s contributions over the years. While she has essentially disappeared, her work in the 80s and 90s deserve an induction
This discussion can become heated, as there are so many artists whose fans will rally behind the belief that they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From fans saying that the Hall needs to recognize more metal bands like Judas Priest and their influences on modern metal, to fans that believe Chic needs to be inducted due to their influence on hip-hop and funk, the arguments never cease.
Then, you can go even further to bands like The Monkees, who still play shows with their surviving members 50 years later, and have songs that have stood the test of time.
In the end, we will simply have to wait and see what the outcome will be. And just to look forward to next year, the “Big 4” would be Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Rage Against the Machine, and Tool. The induction ceremony will take place in New York in April, and if I have my way, I will be there to see my two favorite bands of all time (Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails) get enshrined. Fingers crossed!
If you’re a Pearl Jam fan like I am, be sure to check out my incredible trip to Boston this summer to see two epic shows at Fenway Park. Also, head over and take a peek at my Temple of the Dog Vinyl Pick of the Week, which highlights their recently re-released album.