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Janet Jackson is one of 15 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (via @JanetJackson on Twitter)

Ranking the induction chances for all 15 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

Whether or not its name has become a misnomer over recent years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame still remains a shrine of the very best and most influential figures in music. The 2019 nominees for induction were unveiled Tuesday. Here are all 15 ranked by their chances for actually having their names enshrined in Cleveland:

15. John Prine

A folk singer-songwriter, Prine incorporated humor and social commentary into his lyrics. He was a large part of Chicago’s folk revival in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but his contributions to music likely aren’t of a wide enough influence to warrant a Hall of Fame induction.

14. LL Cool J

LL Cool J is better known as an actor than a rapper nowadays, but his hip-hop hits and romantic ballads lit up the airwaves in the late ’90s and early ’00s. This is his fifth time as a nominee, and his chances seem to dip with each passing year.

13. The Zombies

The Zombies were part of the famed 1960s British Invasion. Though the group’s 1968 hit “Time of the Season” — you might have heard it and mistaken it for The Beach Boys — is well-known for its many placements in films and on TV, the band’s role in the ’60s rock music wave probably isn’t enough to get it into the Hall of Fame.

12. Roxy Music

A successful ’70s rock band that combined pop and glam rock, Roxy Music was a big influence on the new wave craze of the ’80s. The group also launched the solo careers of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno. Seeing as those two are more renowned for their work after departing Roxy Music, it’d be a long shot for the band to make it in.

11. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan

Just like Roxy Music, Rufus is better known for launching Chaka Khan’s career than its music as a group. However, the group’s role as one of the most popular funk bands of the ‘70s should mean that it isn’t counted out of consideration.

10. Todd Rundgren

Likely best-known for his hit song “Hello It’s Me” — not to be confused with the Lionel Richie or Adele songs with similar lyrics — Rundgren’s wide influence on songwriting, music videos and digital music distribution probably warrants a spot in the Hall. However, it probably won’t this year, as it is his first year on the ballot.

9. MC5

This hard rock band was a pioneer of American punk, combining anti-establishment views with pulse-pounding garage rock. However important they were, the three studio albums the group released before its untimely 1972 breakup probably aren’t enough to induct the band. This one is a toss-up.

8. The Cure

Critics are wrong all the time — this article’s predictions will probably get torn apart in December when LL Cool J gets inducted but Def Leppard doesn’t. In 1982, critics tore apart The Cure’s Pornography. That album turned out to be one of the greatest in gothic rock history. For its contribution to post-punk alone — disregarding the group’s move to new wave — The Cure ought to be inducted.

7. Radiohead

We’re reaching the point at which ’90s nostalgia is officially a thing, and maybe that means it’s finally time for Radiohead to make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 1997’s OK Computer is one of the very best albums of the decade, capturing the angst, consumerism and melancholy of the turn of the millennium. Let’s not forget that Radiohead continues that success today. That unfaltering success — and that the band hasn’t retired — should be the only thing keeping one of the most important bands of the past 30 years out of the Hall of Fame.

6. Stevie Nicks

She’s best known for her role in legendary folk rock band Fleetwood Mac — which is already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — but Stevie Nicks became a chart-topping singer on her own. It’s iffy whether or not Nicks’ career on her own actually warrants a second spot in Cleveland, but her name recognition and indelible mark on singing and songwriting will likely lead to her induction.

5. Devo

Yeah, it’s the “Whip It” guys who wore the flowerpot hats. Devo made widespread contributions to new wave and synth pop, as well as significant innovations to music videos at the dawn of the MTV age. Should the group make it into the Hall of Fame? Yes. Will it? Probably. Will people be angry either way? Definitely.

4. Rage Against the Machine

In the nine years of its first run together, Rage Against the Machine became one of the most influential bands in the world for its sonic mix of metal, rap and punk rock and its outspoken political views. Though nu metal is often scoffed at in retrospect, its dominance can’t be erased from rock history — and Rage was the driving force behind its innovation. Hell, Tom Morello’s guitar skills deserve their own spot in the Hall of Fame.

3. Kraftwerk

It’s a travesty that Kraftwerk hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame yet. A 2013 article in The Observer claims that “no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture.” Though that might be a stretch, Kraftwerk brought electronic music into the mainstream and influenced artists from Depeche Mode and New Order to Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem. Vote the band in. It’s time.

2. Def Leppard

When you think hair metal, you think Def Leppard. Not much needs to be said about the band’s influence — it should be a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.

1. Janet Jackson

Though her famed nipple controversy at the 2004 Super Bowl is perhaps her most memorable moment, Janet Jackson’s decades-long career has changed pop, R&B, hip-hop and dance. She’s the most important and most influential Jackson not named Michael. This should be no question, though it is her third nomination.


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