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The Good, the Bad and the Forgotten: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Biggest Snubs

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snubsThis year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees include Nirvana, KISS, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens. Each year, it’s the same story: A few get picked, and the others are left to wait for their next chance to join the Hall-of-Famers club yet again. In honor of the momentous occasion, Elmore compiled a list of the greatest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snubs.


Joy Division

These pioneers of the stirringly melancholic alt-rock that would gain increasing popularity decades later in the “emo” “indie” and “post-punk” categories did gloom and doom before it was cool.

The Zombies

These guys were one of the bands that characterized the popular British Invasion of the ‘60s, but even with hits like “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” and a stone-classic album in Odessey and Oracle, this band just didn’t make the cut. 

The Runaways

Even today, the music industry—and particularly the rock music industry—is still dominated by men, but it’s definitely not as bad as it used to be. This all-girl rock band paved the way for plenty of girl-powered acts to follow. These “Cherry Bomb” singers weren’t the most popular in the states, but powerhouse singer/guitarist Joan Jett started quite a musical career as a runaway.



We all know about Motown and the hit-makers it churned out, and this all-girl group is no exception. They sang the popular “Please Mr. Postman,” which became one of the first number one singles recorded by a female vocal group. The ladies were named as nominees for this year’s ceremony, but ultimately didn’t make the cut.


The Smiths

They may not have torn up the charts in America at the time, but this band was certainly a hit with critics and garnered a cult following. And now, it would be pretty hard to imagine the ‘80s without the melancholy alt-rock of the Smiths.

John Coltrane

This man was jazz. His musicianship, his improvisations—all greatly influenced the genre. This is just more proof that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been kind of slow in recognizing the jazz greats.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

This guitarist, known as the founder and frontman for Double Trouble, took his cues from the greatest artists in the worlds of blues, rock and jazz. SRV, heralded as one of the great guitarists of American blues rock, was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000.


Again, we have some more influential alt-rockers who haven’t been able to make the hall. Using a diverse mix of musical elements and styles, the Pixies incorporated dramatic shifts and unorthodox techniques that produced songs like “Where is My Mind?” “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone to Heaven.”

Chick Corea

Just check out this guy’s list of award wins and nominations. We don’t have the time (or room) to go through every one of his accolades, but this pianist, keyboardist and composer is critically acclaimed in the world of jazz and has won 20 Grammy Awards alone—not to mention the others.

John Mayall

We dare you to name all of the great, influential artists that have performed with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. If you’re having a hard time, that’s because the list goes on and on. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Fleetwood and Mick Taylor are just a few of the artists who’ve teamed up with Mayall. Plus, Mayall’s got over five decades of blues under his belt.

Nina Simone

Simone was influential not only in terms of music, but also in terms of the civil rights movement. As a singer/songwriter and pianist, she incorporated jazz, blues, R&B, folk and gospel into her songs, which include “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” “Trouble in Mind” and “Love Me or Leave Me.”

Johnny Rivers

This singer/songwriter, guitarist and record producer incorporated touches of soul, blues, folk and rock ‘n’ roll. Rivers topped the charts in the ‘60s with hits like “Poor Side of Town,” “Secret Agent Man” and “Summer Rain.”

Merle Haggard

We’re going to bring a little country to the list. Haggard was one of the producers of the Bakersfield sound. If that wasn’t enough, he was also a vital part of the “outlaw country” movement alongside fellow legends like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. With modern country becoming as sleek and produced as mainstream pop, authentic country singers like Haggard deserve even more recognition.

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