Matt Knight

Matt Knight

With the recent announcement of the 2023 nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there’s always the debate of “they don’t deserve to be on this list” to “how come _____ isn’t included this year?” It’s a guarantee that there will be a case for both sides of the argument, but I believe there are some artists that everyone can agree SHOULD be nominated/inducted and keep getting snubbed.

I now present to you my case(s) for some of the biggest snubs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…in no particular order.

  • John Coltrane - Eligible since 1982

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    John Coltrane performs on stage at the Half Note club, New York, 1965. (Photo by Adam Ritchie/Redferns)

    Why he should be in: There isn’t much that has to be said here. Every music historian will agree that John Coltrane is one of the most important musicians in American history. His Rock Hall candidacy rests in proving his impact beyond jazz. That’s not hard. Hip hop is the easiest connection. But Coltrane’s experimentation with improvised melody would also serve as a huge influence on every rock band that ever broke into a “jam” both in live settings and in the studio.

    Why he’s not: In 2006, the Rock Hall made a statement by inducting Miles Davis and acknowledging his impact on rock and roll. The institution just never took the next step in honoring other key figures, specifically Coltrane.
  • Sonic Youth - Eligible since 2008

    Sonic Youth
    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Why they should be in: Until Sonic Youth arrived, punk rock was the dominant influence in rock music. But the band’s brand of noise rock and unorthodox guitar sound shook things up. Sonic Youth’s ability to reject the norm and turn their experimental rock into respected art would become one of the driving forces in alternative and indie rock moving forward.

    Why they aren’t: Noise rock isn’t something the Rock Hall has addressed, despite the induction of multiple artists that were influenced BY Sonic Youth.
  • Iron Maiden - Eligible since 2005 (Nominated this year)

    Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden
    Photo by Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

    Why they should be in: Another member of heavy metal’s elite class. Iron Maiden is the complete package when it comes to metal bands, influencing both the early thrash groups and melodic metal acts that would follow. Iron Maiden also built up one of the most loyal fanbases in music history thanks to live shows that rank among the greatest of all time.

    Why they’re not: The metal pecking order hasn’t gotten to Iron Maiden yet, but this could be the year they finally break through with their second nomination and first since 2021.
  • George Michael - Eligible since 2013 (Nominated this year)

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    MJ Kim/Getty Images

    Why he should be in: An icon of not just 1980s music, but pop culture in general. George Michael has the album sales, hits and stunning voice to stack up with just about anyone from his era. But the legacy the Rock Hall should be most willing to honor is how he used his success to become a campaigner for rights within the gay community and to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. Michael passed away on Christmas 2016.

    Why he’s not: He may be a bit too pop. Still, as one of the greatest blue-eyed soul vocalists of all time, Michaels should get the same treatment as acts like The Righteous Brothers and Hall & Oates.
  • Chic - Eligible since 2003

    Nile Rodgers
    Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

    Why they should be in: Ask the Nominating Committee that put the band on the ballot an astonishing 11 times! Chic was one of the most influential bands in three genres: Disco, funk and hip hop. The group’s influence is through the roof with some of the biggest dance hits of all time to its name.

    Why they’re not: It’s short-sighted to label Chic a “disco band.” And sadly, leader Nile Rodgers earning the Award for Musical Excellence in 2017 will probably be as far as Chic ever gets with the Rock Hall.
  • Diana Ross - Eligible since 1996

    Diana Ross
    ShowBizIreland/Getty Images

    Why she should be in: The definition of a pop diva. Diana Ross isn’t just a music superstar, but a cultural icon whose career served as the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film “Dreamgirls.” Sure, Ross was the lead singer of The Supremes. But her solo career also features seven No. 1 hits.

    Why she’s not: She was already inducted with The Supremes in 1988, which might be good enough for some.
  • Cher - Eligible since 1991

    Cher
    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

    Why she should be in: Considered the “Goddess of Pop,” Cher’s impact on music stretches back to her days as a folk-rock star with husband Sonny Bono. Cher eventually stood on her own as a solo star in the 1970s, adjusting with seemingly every major music trend to stay relevant while crossing over to fashion and film.

    Why she’s not: Sonny & Cher’s hits were light and fluffy while Cher’s most memorable solo hits are in the realm of disco, which wasn’t the most respected genre.

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