Our first list of 100 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame omissions was compiled before the 2017 nominees were announced. Five of our initial picks are now slated for induction in April so we’ve deleted them from that list, which you can check out here.
But, as many readers let us know—sometimes rather strongly!—even our list of 100 omissions barely scratched the surface. So we went back to work and compiled this followup list of 100 more omissions by the Hall!
For the first list we concentrated solely on artists who made their first recording prior to 1980. In part two, we’ve included several worthy artists from the early 1980s.
We could probably put together a third list but we’re going to leave it at 200 (well, 195 now, to be precise). If we’ve forgotten someone you feel is worthy of inclusion in the Rock Hall, we’d love to know about it! (But please check the first half of the list before you give us hell about leaving out your favorites!)
Our reasons for selecting the artists we did vary. One factor we considered in particular is whether they were important in their own time, not only how they are regarded today. Some of these artists will eventually make the Hall’s cut, others never will, and that’s just how it is.
In order to be eligible, an artist must have made their first recording 25 years prior to the current year (for the 2017 class, that meant 1992).
One other note: This list considers only artists who recorded primarily under their own names. This is the only category that is submitted to the voting body each year. Thus it does not include musicians who have served primarily as “sidemen” or “sidewomen.” Some of the greatest musicians in rock history have never received the recognition they deserve because they contribute mostly to others’ recordings. The Hall of Fame has a separate sideman category (which seems to be known now as the Award for Musical Excellence), to which it occasionally appoints names its executives deem worthy (for 2017 they chose Nile Rodgers of Chic). As those artists are not submitted for consideration to voters, we are not concerning ourselves with them here.
Names are listed alphabetically
Pat Benatar—Her string of early ’80s hits like “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” made her one of the top female rockers of the era.
Brook Benton—One of the most popular R&B singers of the late ’50s and ’60s, he deserves to be remembered, especially for his ballads. And 1970’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” still sounds gorgeous.
Big Star—A classic example of a cult favorite, this ’70s Memphis band led by Alex Chilton (ex-Box Tops) had no real hits but has been enormously influential posthumously.
Blood, Sweat and Tears—Along with Chicago, they kick-started the horn-rock genre of the late ’60s and early ’70s. And why isn’t founder Al Kooper in?
Blue Cheer—Although known mainly for their cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues,” this San Francisco trio was one of the prototypes of heavy metal.
Bon Jovi—One of the most successful arena rock bands of the ’80s and since, they still pull in crowds whenever they tour.
Gary U.S. Bonds—This creator of early-’60s party-time anthems like “Quarter to Three” has been championed by Bruce Springsteen and others.
Boston—This perfectionist classic rock band, which scored with one of the best-selling debut albums of all-time, wasn’t very prolific afterwards but still retains a huge fan base.
Roy Buchanan—The blues-rocker exerted enormous influence on many other guitarists but is sadly overlooked today.
The Buckinghams—One of many AM radio pop-rock bands of the ’60s not yet recognized by the HoF; the soulful Chicagoans’ hits included “Kind of a Drag” and “Don’t You Care.”
Tim Buckley—With his ethereal voice and complex compositions and arrangements, the late singer-songwriter (father of Jeff Buckley) left behind a body of work that’s still being discovered by many.
Jimmy Buffett—Some listeners may only know his ubiquitous “Margaritaville” from 1977, but he has a huge, devoted following that savors his live performances.
Johnny Burnette—Before he had soft-pop hits like “You’re Sixteen” and “Dreamin’,” the late singer and his Rock & Roll Trio were a sizzling rockabilly outfit.
The Cadillacs—From uptempo R&B novelty hits like “Speedoo” and “Peek-A-Boo” to their exquisite ballad “Gloria,” this doo-wop group was one of the finest of the 1950s.
Freddy Cannon—Talk about rock ‘n’ roll, this wild singer did nothing but. His turbo-charged hits included “Palisades Park,” “Tallahassee Lassie” and “Action.”
The Cars—Nominated for 2017 but not inducted, the Cars presented no-frills pop-rock tunes that straddled mainstream classic rock and the hip new wave.
The Chambers Brothers—They started out as a gospel group and then, as their signature tune “Time Has Come Today” put it, their souls became psychedelicized.
The Chantels—One of the first black girl groups, their hits of the ’50s, among them “Maybe” and “Look in My Eyes,” featured the soaring vocals of Arlene Smith.
Related: Meet the 2017 Rock Hall inductees
Petula Clark—Although a bit older than the other British invasion chanteuses, she rode that wave to the Top 10 with “Downtown,” “My Love,” “I Know a Place” and others.
Albert Collins—Many of the great bluesmen of the past century have been inducted but this omission remains a glaring one.
Phil Collins—Already in as a member of Genesis, but he arguably had a bigger impact on his own.
The Cramps—Whatever it is that they did—minimalist rockabilly punk?—they were the first to do it, and they influenced many other bands.
The Cure—Leader Robert Smith is the only remaining original member of this seminal British post-punk band, whose popularity and influence is still off the charts.
Def Leppard—They came along in the late ’70s as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement, and became arena-rock megastars.
John Denver—The Hall has been somewhat selective about the singer-songwriters it’s chosen, but the late “Rocky Mountain High” man was inarguably one of the most popular.
Devo—They injected a high-art, conceptualist spin into the new wave movement, and gave us at least one classic with “Whip It.”
Dire Straits—Not only is Mark Knopfler one of the most underrated guitarists and songwriters in rock, but the band brought a bit more of an organic feel back to late ’70s/’80s rock.
The Dominoes—Also known as Billy Ward and the Dominoes, they cut the R&B classic “Sixty Minute Man” and gave us vocal greats Jackie Wilson and Clyde McPhatter.
Lonnie Donegan—Everyone knows the Beatles emerged out of a skiffle band. Well, this is the guy they were trying to emulate.
Duran Duran—Of all the British New Romantic groups that emerged in the wake of punk, they made the most lasting music: “Hungry Like the Wolf” and their many other hits still sound great.
Brian Eno—After serving as a member of Roxy Music, Eno produced U2, Talking Heads, Coldplay and others, and his own ambient music albums were groundbreaking.
5th Dimension—Popularizing songs by Jimmy Webb, Laura Nyro and others, their mix of soul and R&B was extremely popular in the late ’60s/early ’70s.
Foghat—The British blues-rockers have been purveying the endless boogie for more than four decades, with several gold and platinum albums to their credit.
Foreigner—Few mainstream arena-rock bands were bigger in the late ’70s/’80s, and anthems like “Hot Blooded” and “Cold as Ice” are emblematic of that era’s radio-friendly mindset.
Connie Francis—By today’s standards, the pop singer may not be considered rock, but teens were buying up records like “Lipstick on Your Collar” and “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” in the ’50s/’60s.
Free—We listed Bad Company, the other band featuring the soulful frontman Paul Rodgers, in the first volume of our omissions. Free was just as great. You can’t not sing along with their “All Right Now.”
The Fugs—They never had a hit record, but their over-the-top irreverence inspired many who followed to experiment without fear.
Rory Gallagher—Not everyone knows his name, but ask fans of pure guitar mastery and this late Irish virtuoso is always near the top of the list.
The Go-Go’s—The new wave group was the first all-female band to hit the top of the Billboard charts with songs they wrote and played themselves. And those songs were great!
Johnny Hallyday—Unless you’re French there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of him. But if you are, he’s been your country’s reigning rock star for decades.
Tim Hardin—The singer-songwriter’s tunes, including “Reason to Believe” (Rod Stewart cut a definitive version),were covered by numerous artists. And his own recordings were always honest and insightful.
Slim Harpo—A virtuoso on the blues harmonica, and a dynamic singer, he was a favorite of the Stones and many other blues-rock bands.
Hawkwind—They found a sweet spot where edgy psychedelia, hard rock and space-rock met, plus they gave the world Lemmy. Truly adventurous musicians.
Whitney Houston—One of the best-selling artists of all-time, her pop/R&B blend and incredible pipes touched millions in the ’80s and ’90s.
Billy Idol—From his start with Brit punks Generation X and onward into his high-profile, MTV-era solo years, he delivered a string of high-energy rock tunes and a few memorable ballads.
Iron Maiden—One of the most successful and accessible metal bands of all-time, with tens of millions of album sales—and thousands of live shows—to their name, they’re still going strong after four decades.
Janet Jackson—She’s always been much more than Michael’s little sis, and her impact remains strong: her most recent album debuted at #1. Nominated for 2017 but didn’t make the cut.
Related: The Rock Hall opens in 1995
The Jam—Often compared to the Who and the Kinks, the English trio—led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Paul Weller, incorporated a strong soul influence into their punk/Mod sound.
Rick James—The late funk great was one of the last stars to emerge from the Motown empire; his riffs were sampled by countless rapper.
James Gang—The Cleveland-based hard-rock band is best known for its early incarnation featuring future Eagle Joe Walsh, but continued to make solid music after he left.
Joy Division—Fronted by the charismatic Ian Curtis, who would commit suicide a few years into their run, the British band didn’t last long but influenced many with their two brilliant albums.
Chaka Khan—From her early days fronting the R&B/funk band Rufus she’s been a versatile, hugely popular singer for four decades.
Kingston Trio—The folkies sold millions of albums and influenced many singer-songwriters and folk-rock groups.
LaBelle—Originally a ’60s girl group called Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles, they reincarnated in the ’70s and tore up the charts with funky hits like “Lady Marmalade.”
Cyndi Lauper—One of the biggest stars of the ’80s and beyond, her hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “True Colors” and “Time After Time” are still radio staples today.
Manfred Mann—From their initial run as an R&B-heavy British Invasion band (“Do Wah Diddy Diddy”) into their reconfiguration as Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Springsteen’s “Blinded By the Light”), they created a solid string of quality singles and albums.
The Marvelettes—One of the few major Motown groups yet to be inducted, they had more than 25 hits, including their #1 Billboard debut, “Please Mr. Postman.”
Meat Loaf—Larger than life in several ways, his Bat Out of Hell collaborations with Jim Steinman have persevered as classic rock staples.
Melanie—A star of the Woodstock festival, the singer-songwriter was a radio favorite with hits like “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” and “Brand New Key.”
George Michael—The late British pop singer first enjoyed 1980s success in the duo Wham! He then established superstar status with his solo debut, Faith. His huge hits include “Careless Whisper,” “I Want Your Sex” and “Father Figure.”
Moby Grape—Some said that they were the greatest of the ’60s San Francisco bands, with a triple-guitar front line and well-crafted songs.
Motörhead—Fronted by the beloved singer-bassist Lemmy Kilmister, they were the quintessential British metal band, spawning subgenres like speed metal and thrash.
The Move—Before there was ELO, there was the Move, featuring Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. They never caught on in America but their psychedelic sound influenced many.
Fred Neil—The singer-songwriter behind often-covered songs like “Everybody’s Talkin’,” “The Dolphins” and “The Other Side of This Life” was left a mark on many ’60s singers and bands.
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New Order—The English post-punk/dance-pop band organized quickly from the ashes of Joy Division and has been a major creative force ever since.
Peter, Paul and Mary—Amidst the individual singer-songwriters, they were the most popular of the ’60s folk revival groups. Their #1 “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was one of several big hits.
Phish—Formed in 1983 in Vermont, the jam-band’s unpredictable concerts, based on improvisational segments and complex arrangements, are legendary. They still fill stadiums regularly.
The Pointer Sisters—Their versatility has been proven repeatedly over four-plus decades, resulting in a string of hits including a great cover of Springsteen’s “Fire.”
Suzi Quatro—One of the first female rock stars who wasn’t just a singer but also played an instrument, this glam heroine was an inspiration to Joan Jett and others.
The Raspberries—They were one of the bands that invented power pop, and although their only hit single was 1972’s “Go All the Way” they inspired many other bands to forego the excess and return to rock and roll basics.
The Replacements—The Minneapolis quartet came out of the local punk scene and developed its own brand of lovablychaotic, sloppy but often brilliant rock.
Charlie Rich—Although best known as the country crooner behind “The Most Beautiful Girl,” he started out as a Sun Records rockabilly artist equally at home with blues and R&B.
Lionel Richie—After a successful run as the lead singer of Motown’s Commodores, he took off as a wildly popular solo artist, scoring five #1 singles.
Rockpile—The band itself released only one album but it served as temporary home base for guitarist-singer Dave Edmunds and bassist-singer Nick Lowe, two of England’s great no-nonsense rockers.
Diana Ross—As if she hadn’t already broken enough ground with the Supremes, Ross then went on to have a huge solo career, with #1 hits like “Upside Down” and “Touch Me in the Morning.”
Otis Rush—The Chicago blues great, now 81, was a major influence on guitarists like Eric Clapton, Michael Bloomfield and Peter Green. How about honoring him while he’s still around?
Bobby Rydell—Among the many squeal-inducing ’50s/60s pretty-boy pinups, he made some of the best records, all for Philadelphia’s storied Cameo label.
The Searchers—You think there was only one great band to come out of Liverpool? This quartet’s harmony-rich tunes like “Needles and Pins” and “Love Potion Number Nine” were keepers too.
Neil Sedaka—After racking up a series of hits in the early ’60s, like “Calendar Girl,” he returned a decade later with more, this time with major support from Elton John.
Siouxsie and the Banshees—Starting out as a promising U.K. punk band, they quickly expanded their focus, creating richly textured psychedelia and experimental music.
The Smiths—Led by singer Morrissey, with fine guitar work by Johnny Marr, they were one of the most popular British bands of the early ’80s.
Sonic Youth—The New York post-punk band was relentlessly experimental, using noise and unorthodox tunings, inspiring other indie bands to take their music to the edge.
Joe South—Although mostly known for his biggest hit, 1969’s “Games People Play,” he was also a prolific songwriter (Deep Purple’s “Hush”) and session guitarist (Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde).
Spirit—One of the most underrated California bands of the ’60s, led by guitar whiz Randy California, they created a series of fine albums like The Family That Plays Together.
Status Quo—Another great example of a band that was huge at home—England—but had only minimal impact in the U.S. They’re still boogieing after more than five decades.
The Sugarhill Gang—The Hall of Fame has been actively inducting rappers but has inexplicably ignored this seminal old-school group.
The 13th Floor Elevators—One of the first bona fide psychedelic bands of the ’60s, these Texans, led by the mercurial Roky Erickson, are revered by many for their unique, uncompromising approach.
Carla Thomas—Like her dad Rufus Thomas (also yet to be inducted), this Memphis soul great turned out hit after hit in the ’60s.
Irma Thomas—A true legend in New Orleans, this soulful vocalist sounds as great today as when she was turning out hit records like “Time Is on My Side,” covered by the Rolling Stones.
Toots and the Maytals—If Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff can be inducted, then why not this pioneering, dynamic reggae band that openly acknowledged its debt to American R&B?
Peter Tosh—And as long as we’re talking reggae, this former Wailers-mate of Marley’s made a strong impact with his songs advocating Rastafarianism, equal rights and weed legalization.
Pete Townshend—Would this singer-songwriter-guitarist have become a force in rock even if he hadn’t been in a certain English band? His solo work suggests that he had the goods.
Luther Vandross—After serving as a backup vocalist for the likes of Bowie and Diana Ross, he went solo and racked up a long string of huge modern R&B hits, plus several Grammys.
Bobby Vee—The recently deceased singer started out as a Buddy Holly protégé and then found his own groove with AM radio classics like “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “Come Back When You Grow Up.”
Mary Wells—Another Motown star who’s been unjustly ignored by the Hall, her hits included “Two Lovers” and the #1 “My Guy.”
Tony Joe White—The master of swamp-rock had a big hit with “Polk Salad Annie” in 1969 and wrote “Rainy Night in Georgia” for Brook Benton. He’s released dozens of albums, as recently as 2016.
Larry Williams—Just ask the Beatles if you don’t know who this ’50s singer was: they cut his “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” “Bad Boy” and “Slow Down.” His other hits included “Short Fat Fannie” and “Bony Moronie.”
Sonny Boy Williamson (II)—There were two blues greats with this name. The second—also known as Rice Miller—was a harmonica master and singer who had a huge influence on the Stones, Yardbirds, John Mayall, Animals, etc.
Chuck Willis—This long-gone R&B singer was nominated for five consecutive years by the Hall and then forgotten. He still deserves recognition for “C.C. Rider” and “What Am I Living For,” among other sides.
X—The U.S. produced dozens of great punk bands and X was one of the most important. Their debut album, Los Angeles, was a landmark of the genre.
Jeff has also served on the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and as a consultant to the Grammys. As a consultant to the Music Club CD label, he assisted in releasing over 180 reissues and compilations, in styles ranging from jazz to country to pop. His first book was Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane (published in June 2003) – the first biography of this legendary San Francisco band written with the cooperation of all of the band members. He is also the co-author of Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc, with Howard Kaylan. From 2002 to 2006 Jeff was the editor of Global Rhythm, the leading magazine for world music and global culture. He was the Associate Editor of JazzTimes from 2008-16. He lives in Hoboken, NJ, with his wife, the novelist and Boston Globe book columnist Caroline Leavitt. Their son, Max, is a theater major at Pace University in New York.