Top Ten Acts Dissed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Growing up in Cleveland in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, we were well aware that our radio stations rocked! We also knew artists who were embraced here often went on to nationwide fame. It was a wonderful time and place to grow up- an amazing part of the rock music scene. All of this beautiful music was, and is, the background for our lives.

When discussions about where to put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame started, the loud and public outcry over where it rightly belonged brought it home to its Lake Erie perch. When the decision was made to build the Hall in Cleveland, we were in full agreement. However, many of us disagree with the nominating committee and rock experts when it comes to the crazy omissions- performers who definitely belong in the Hall, yet remain overlooked. We read the eligibility requirements- 25 years since they put out their first record and unquestionable musical excellence- and we wonder who, exactly, these brain-dead cretins are that are voting? We argue about them at parties and wonder what the heck is going on that these acts could possibly be excluded.

Here is one Cleveland girl’s list of the top 10 acts that have been dissed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

10. Michael Stanley

Michael is our hometown hero and his music rivals anybody in the Hall. Those who’ve heard him sing, get it. This man should have been more famous around the world than Mick Jagger, in my opinion. He’s a singer, and a songwriter, and his songs tell the story of growing up in Cleveland the way Springsteen’s glorify Jersey. Yes, he’s a local legend, but he is definitely eligible for nomination and inclusion based on unquestionable musical excellence.

9. Motley Crue

The Crue is a little edgy, and yes they are even quite grungy at times—in other words, these guys are the epitome of true rock stars. From all the hard partying days, scrapes with the law, through rehab and getting sober in the late eighties, they rocked! This band influenced scores of later bands, and deserves to be in the hall for that reason alone.

8. Styx

Yes, I have heard all the arguments about the commercial sound. In other words, this band played the music that people wanted to hear, and wanted to buy. I certainly don’t understand how that could be construed as something negative. Four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum, including The Grand Illusion through Paradise Theater.

7Electric Light Orchestra

One of the biggest selling bands in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, ELO was an English band that had much more success in the United States. After a career selling more than 50 million albums worldwide, including 12 different studio albums and more than four dozen singles, is there really any doubt that they belong in the Hall of Fame? And what about that crazy spaceship?

6. Judas Priest

I was tempted to say “WTH?” about this band. They have been nicknamed “Metal Gods” based on their song of that name, have sold over 35 million albums around the world, and are widely noted as having influenced many metal bands and musicians. In fact, MTV named them the number two most influential heavy metal band, behind only Black Sabbath. Through a number of Platinum albums- Hell Bent for Leather, British Steel, and Screaming for Vengeance– the band showed their musical power on song after song. Rob Halford’s leather biker look was picked up by most of the band, and lots of other rock stars as well.

5. Journey



Journey’s music is so uber-popular, it is hard to believe that they keep getting overlooked. Just one song, Don’t Stop Believin’, is the largest-selling downloaded tune on iTunes, and has been used in the Sopranos, Family Guy, and Glee, as well as helped the Chicago White Sox focus on their World Championship in 2005. Frontman Steve Perry is also eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame as an individual, and most fans of the band would be satisfied with that, as Steve Perry IS Journey. (Though they continue to tour with some less-talented singer at the helm, it is not the same band without Steve.)

4. Joan Jett

Often called the Queen of Rock, Joan Jett is best known for belting out I Love Rock ‘n Roll, her number one smash hit for two months in 1982. With three albums certified platinum or gold, and a score of other hits, including I Hate Myself for Loving You, Light of Day, and Bad Reputation, Joan is a hard-driving, guitar-playing rocker that just happens to be a beautiful woman. She has made appearances on TV shows, starred in the movie Light of Day with Michael J. Fox, and played in Broadway musicals, in addition to touring with the USO for the past twenty years.

3. Peter Frampton

Astounding that voters seem to have forgotten his little double live album that sold more than six million copies just in the United States, and led to sold out arenas and stadiums around the country in the late 1970’s. Frampton Comes Alive! made Peter an instant superstar and spawned hits that are still played regularly on every classic rock station around the country.

2. Def Leppard

The last time I saw Def Leppard in concert they played for three hours, and still did not have enough time to perform all of their hits. Hysteria, released in 1987, had seven top 100 hits- one of the only albums ever to do so. Def Leppard sold more records in the United States in the 1980s than any other band. They also won American Music Awards for best heavy metal artist and best heavy metal album (Hysteria, 1989). The band is well known for standing by drummer Rick Allen when he lost an arm in a car accident in 1984. They continue to tour and perform today, and are expected to release a new live album in 2011.

1. Kiss

Yes, they are goofy with their crazy platform boots and makeup…but the music speaks for itself.  Kiss is one of the highest-selling bands ever, having sold over 100 million albums around the world, with 24 gold albums in the United States alone. They are well known for their makeup, fire breathing, smoking guitars, blood spitting, and pyrotechnics during live shows, believing that when people pay to be entertained, they should give it their all.

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84 Comments

  1. I think Motley Crue might have been blanked because of the killing (DUI) of the drummer from Hanoi Rocks? Sure a wild past is ok, but murder is a little too wild isn’t it? Then again..

  2. maybe you should check out journey’s new singer. it’s kind of scary how much he sounds like perry

  3. Jeff Lynne and the ELO certainly deserve recognition. As do the Moody Blues and America. America was huge for a few years in the early to mid 70s, came back with a big hit in ’82 and continue to write, record and perform 100 shows a year today. Their last CD charted and was written with Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) James Iha (smashing Pumpkins). While they have stayed true to their soft rock influences, they have built a strong, loyal following after 40 years. In fact, they have yet another new CD coming out in July.

  4. One man’s personal preferences: Would agree with ELO, J Priest, Joan Jett from the list, also Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult and definitely Dick Dale from the comments.

    My own:

    Paul Revere and the Raiders
    The Monkees
    Rockpile/Dave Edmunds/Nick Lowe
    The Spinners

    Also, I can’t believe we are only, what 4-5 years from Nirvana being eligible. Where does the time go?

    • Hey nirvana should be eligible for all they done. They better get in first year, but these bands need it to. Rush.

      • If Nirvana isn’t in the minute they are eligible, they should close the HOF doors and hang it up. At the risk of being flamed, i must confess that I never got it with Rush. When we were kids, my brother and some of my friends were big fans, but I never saw it and still don’t. We all have our personal preferences, I guess. I, for one, would love to see a band like The Pogues get consideration. Probably won’t happen, but should.

  5. 1st they should change the name to the The popular music hall of fame.
    so many of the inductes our no were close to rock in roll.
    just three examples:
    Madonna
    Micheal Jackson
    Abba
    with that being said.
    #6 thur 10 I’m sorry but no. maybe someday dor some but there are so many more
    worthy artists.
    And on the top of the list is Rush. People may not like the singing or confused by the lyrics
    but Peart, Lifeson and Lee are masters of there insrtuments and well resepted by there peers and with a fan base that has kept them going for close to 40 years. Any doubters should what a live show in person or on DVD. you will be impressed.
    5 other acts are Heart, Kiss, Stevie Ray Vaugan,Journey and Ted Nugent

  6. Of all of the above acts, the only one that deserves to be in the Hall is ELO. There are dozens of acts in the Hall that should be “delisted”!

  7. The Rock and Roll HOF is full of enough garbage. None of the above deseve to even be on the ballot. This is pop rock. Check out Bo Diddley 1973, YouTube, the definition of R ‘n R.

  8. When I heard of this list the two bands that I thought of were Judas Priest and Iron Maiden,while I see that you included Priest here,I see no reason of Iron Maiden not being no.1,or maybe No.2 after Rush.I mean,really,the guys sold 80 000 000 albums worldwide,their mascot,Eddie,which also shows up at their live shows is one of the most successful music merchandise around,having been made into posters,T-Shirts and even action figures.Plus,they are the only band in Rock’n’Roll history to have their own private plane that takes them to their shows,piloted by no other than frontman Bruce Dickinson!

  9. I don`t believe in the rock&roll hall of fame never have never will! I`ve seen whom they`ve let in & left out so far,it`s a farce. Some sort of elite hall of fame for who ,I have no idea?

  10. It’s the ROCK and ROLL HOF. It’s time to end the sham. How about The “POP” HOF, BLUES, SOUL, FOLK, HIPPIE/DRUGS, GLAM, HAIR, COSTUME, RAP, DISCO, GRUNGE, PUNK, GIMMICK, TRANCE, DANCE, etc. Rock and Roll died when it became big business. Those 17 year old kids in the garage playing their asses off for the love of the art. Yea art. I was about 15 when I heard The Sonics, “The Witch”. Hair on the bac of my neck stood up, same with the Kinks “You Really Got Me”. Rush, Moody Blues, BOC, give me a break. Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. Same with R n’ R the mold was broken long, long ago.

  11. I’ll mention a few…….UFO, Scorpions, Megadeth, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Ronnie James Dio (posthumously), Kansas

    • Joe Michaels on

      Guess Who was great. But, if Burton Cummings makes it in, that fulfills the Canadian quota. And then Rush remains a wanna-be.

  12. I actually don’t really care about this “hall of fame” since it’s a popularity contest and there are really no standards. Rush is my favorite rock band (seen them a dozen times at least). That they aren’t in there makes no sense. Their music has literally evolved in every album, their lyrics are actually meaningful, they have a massive following, and have been around since the early seventies. So… really… why aren’t they in the hall of fame?

    Check out some of the guys Rush got passed over for. And I like most of these too:
    Beastie Boys
    Neil Diamond
    Abba (realllly????)
    Genesis (decent, but better than Rush? Come on)
    Jimmie Cliff
    Run D.M.C.
    Isaac Hayes

    I could go on. Anyway, they shouldn’t call it the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the Music Hall of Fame or something more original than that. I get where they are going, trying to put in influenced acts that were innovative. I like that, but it’s a misleading name. There. Venting done.

    • Peter Boucher on

      @ DC. I am in 100%, total in agreement with you. My favorite group has always been RUSH (35+ years and continuing, ever since their first live album “All The World’s A Stage in 1976). I personally think that if RUSH were to get into the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Alex, Geddy and Neil would probably just shrug their shoulders and say “Oh Well”. That’s just my opinion. Three laid back and relaxed kind of guys. Plus they have a great sense of humor, especially Alex. There is one point that I would like to make regarding your list. Genesis. Rush actually were influenced by Genesis and also the rock group Yes. But Genesis is one of those bands who “sold-out” to the masses of teenage, gum chewing teenagers. Listen to Genesis when Peter Gabriel was with them (1975 and prior). But I agree, its a travesty. They are the leading exponent of music in all of Canada. You can actually go to the point of picking out a song by RUSH (i.e. “Xanadu”, “Hemispheres”, “The Necromancer”, etc.) and type the name of the song into the Wikipedia and it will give you the entire story behind the song. If you’re not familiar with this amazing fact, its regarding the song “YYZ”. YYZ is the International Aviation Code for Toronto (when you get your suitcase there at the airport, it has the tag with the 3 letters YYZ). So being from Toronto they decided to make a song of it. The opening or the very first part of the song and its rhythm is YYZ in MORSE CODE. Ingenious if you were to ask me. Take Care

  13. Peter Boucher on

    The Michael Stanley Band ??????? Back in the late 1970’s I purchased a double live album of them. Listened to it once, put the album back into the sleeve and gave it away. It was terrible !!!

  14. Rush, The Guess Who should be on the list……There should be a special wing in the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame for 1 hit wonders who have otherwise have no chance of getting into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and another for backup bands (E St. Band; Silver Bullet band and The Attractions are a few examples).

  15. Styx? ELO? Def Leppard? Seriously? And Peter Frampton is permanently disqualified for that horrible “Sgt. Pepper” movie that sunk his career along with the Bee Gees.

  16. Kraftwerk, anyone?
    Inventive. Changed pop music. Pioneered electronics. Cutting ede=ge at the time, stolen from by many.

  17. What about Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax — 3 of the BIG 4… Metallica is in (FINALLY) so why not the rest of the 4??

    Others that should be there:
    Thin Lizzy – one of the first bands to employ the use of double lead guitar. Influenced groups like Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, etc.

    Ronnie James Dio – His overall work with groups like Rainbow, Black Sabbath & even on his own has been some of the greatest music ever produced! His style was so unique and had one of if not, the most recognizable voices ever.

    T. Rex – One of the biggest influences in the glam rock, punk rock & Britpop genres. Without T. Rex, there probably isn’t a New York Dolls, Ziggy Stardust (aka David Bowie during one of his phases) which spawned off Gary Glitter, Suzi Quatro & The Runaways (with Joan Jett), Queen and Rod Stewart & Elton John to a certain extent. Which of course spawned off groups like Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, WASP, Motley Crue, Adam Ant and Flock of Seagulls.

    Diamond Head – While under-rated, they were still monumental in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with influences from Free, Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, UFO & Black Sabbath. With their own unique sound, they influenced such bands like Metallica & Megadeth. When Metallica was a local group in the Bay Area, a record producer came up to the group after the show and asked “Do you know Diamond Head?” Lars Ulrich (drummer from Metallica) stated in response “Know em? We just played half their fucking set!”

    Motorhead – While still a pioneer of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they still had a bit harder & faster of a sound. In my opinion, I would say Motorhead was the first band to attempt speed metal… 1 song alone: Ace of Spades! That came out in 1980 – just a couple more years before Slayer which mastered that style. Lemmy also proved the theory that you actually didn’t need to have a voice to make it big.

    Cheap Trick – Ranked 25th in VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Have influenced major artists like Guns ‘N Roses, Ratt, Angus Young, Joey Ramone acknowledged them as his favorite group, Gin Blossoms, Pearl Jam, Weezer, etc.

  18. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD …..THE ONLY ´A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N BAND´ OF THE GREATEST HAND OF FIVE HARD ROCK BANDS OF GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK 70s:
    DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, URIAH HEEP and …… GRAND FUNK RAILROAD!

  19. Id say Moody Blues, Rush, and ELO deserve a nod. I am the biggest STYX fan there is, but they deserve to be in the “good” rock band category, not HOF. But I hope we could all agree on something: Id put every single act on the top 10 before MADONNA saw the light of day.

  20. Blue Oyster Cult should be in. In fact, like many bands mentioned here, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not very creditable with their absence. Buck Dhama rules!!