Rock Hall 2024 Nominees Roundtable: Snubs, Surprises and More
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced its list of 2024 nominees, sparking all the usual debates about who's worthy, who's not, who's been overlooked and whether the institution has lost the plot completely.
This year's slate features several first-time nominees who have been eligible for decades, including Ozzy Osbourne, Foreigner, Peter Frampton and Cher. They make Lenny Kravitz, Jane's Addiction, Dave Matthews Band, Sinead O'Connor and Oasis look like newcomers by comparison. Additionally, the Hall continues to open its gates to pop, hip-hop and R&B artists, as demonstrated by the nominations of Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Eric B. & Rakim, Kool & the Gang, Sade and A Tribe Called Quest.
Our writers grapple with the aforementioned issues and give their predictions for the Rock Hall class of 2024 as they answer seven burning questions below.
1. Who is this year's most surprising nominee?
Bryan Rolli: I'm shocked to see Lenny Kravitz on the list, as I didn't think any "critical institutions" thought much of his catalog. I'm also surprised to see Foreigner on the list for the first time. I guess hell has finally frozen over!
Allison Rapp: It's probably a tie between Dave Matthews Band and Oasis, both bands who I have to imagine are shaking their heads right now and thinking, "Oh God, I guess that means I'm officially old now." I understand they both fit the necessary requirements, but wasn't it Dave Matthews himself who said not all that long ago he felt "unqualified" for the Hall? And for purely selfish reasons I'm choosing to be pleasantly surprised regarding Oasis, because it might push the brothers just one step closer to a reunion concert.
Corey Irwin: For me, it’s Mary J. Blige. I know she’s had a successful career, but I can only name two of her songs off the top of my head. Is that more of a reflection on me than her? Absolutely. But every other nominee brought forward specific tunes and memories. Blige just made me scratch my head.
Matt Wardlaw: I was surprised to see Sade on the list. I think there are a number of similar wild cards on this year’s list of nominees. It feels like they throw a good number of left-field nominees into the stew to see what sticks with the voters.
2. Who is the biggest snub?
Rolli: I'm sorely disappointed that Iron Maiden has yet to receive their due. Then again, they were previously nominated in 2021 and 2023, so I guess we'll have to wait until next year for them to get passed over a third time.
Rapp: There were a couple names from last year's list of nominees that I'm a bit surprised didn't get another shot this year. Cyndi Lauper is definitely one of them, and frankly the White Stripes, too. Also — I'm getting deja vu just writing this because I say it every year — Warren Zevon was snubbed yet again. It's beginning to feel as though they've simply given up on him.
Irwin: I’m tired of saying the same old names — Iron Maiden, Soundgarden, Motorhead, Devo, Smashing Pumpkins — so I’ll go with something a little more recent. The White Stripes were nominated for the first time last year, and I think they had a pretty good argument for induction. It didn’t happen, but I expected there to be enough support for a second consecutive ballot appearance. Clearly, I was wrong.
Wardlaw: Yes, Ozzy Osbourne is on the list of nominees. But it feels like hard rock and heavy metal got snubbed when you consider that groups like Soundgarden and Iron Maiden have still yet to be inducted. The fact that Ronnie James Dio has never even been nominated is a travesty.
3. Who are you happiest to see get nominated?
Rolli: Cher! Talk about a genre-spanning legend and cultural phenomenon. Honestly, her impact is so omnipresent that I was shocked to learn she hadn't even been nominated before, let alone inducted. That's specially egregious considering she's been eligible since 1991.
Rapp: I have been saying for years that it's wild Peter Frampton isn't in the Hall already. For a long time I just assumed he was in it, as any reasonable rock fan would. He's far too humble to push for inclusion himself, so it's been up to people like Sheryl Crow, who brought him onstage at last year's ceremony, to make this nomination happen. Unfortunately, we know that Frampton is dealing with health issues, so I'm glad that he might get this recognition during his lifetime.
Irwin: There are a lot of overdue names here: Peter Frampton, Jane’s Addiction, Ozzy (as a solo artist). Still, I’m happiest for Foreigner. This is a band who, according to multiple accounts, had been blackballed by the Hall’s former leader, Jann Wenner. With Wenner now dismissed in disgrace, Foreigner gets their due. About damn time.
Wardlaw: Peter Frampton. He’s always been so underrated and it feels like he’s finally getting his due in a lot of areas. This is a long-overdue nod.
4. Three of this year's first-time nominees are bonafide classic rock stars who have been eligible for decades: Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Frampton and Foreigner. Which do you think is the most deserving and why?
Rolli: I think they all deserve to be inducted immediately, but Ozzy is the no-brainer. He's easily the most iconic figure in heavy metal and has done more to popularize the genre than anybody else. His first two solo albums are stone-cold classics, and his late-career resurgence has been something to behold. Factor in his ongoing health concerns and the outpouring of support he's received from his fans and the industry at large, and it only seems right for the Rock Hall to induct the Prince of Darkness this year.
Rapp: I'm making #JusticeforPeter t-shirts as we speak. But really, I think it's wild that someone with Frampton's level of technical talent and industry influence hasn't been inducted yet. The rock world changed practically overnight with Frampton Comes Alive! Not to mention, his continued dedication to playing live for his fans and collaborating with other artists makes him a perfect candidate.
Irwin: Ugh, that’s tough because they all should already be in there. I’ll go with Frampton, a guitar virtuoso with a catalog of classic material that’s long been deserving of recognition. Plus, his performance at last year’s Rock Hall ceremony with Sheryl Crow was one of the night’s biggest highlights.
Wardlaw: I think a lot of people will snark at the nomination of Foreigner, but there’s a reason that Mick Jones and Lou Gramm were voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame more than a decade ago. Their work together as writers has become timeless. Like Frampton, this is recognition that is overdue. Also, as a guitarist and producer, Jones has made his own mark with a guitar tone and style that are instantly identifiable.
5. Once again, the Rock Hall continues to branch further into pop, hip-hop and R&B. How do these nominees square against the more traditional rock artists on the ballot?
Rolli: As the eligibility cutoff crosses from the '90s into the '00s, we're going to see the nominees shift accordingly to reflect changing musical trends and the industry's actual movers and shakers. If the Rock Hall tries to scrounge up newly eligible rock acts each year, it's going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. At this point, the only logical paths forward are to correct the long-overdue rock omissions or continue expanding into other genres. Given the recent inductee classes, I suspect the Rock Hall will choose the latter.
Rapp: Honestly, I was expecting more in this regard. We've had some highly influential people make the cut in recent years — Eminem, Biggie, Missy Elliot — that this year seems a bit flat for me in terms of hip-hop. It's nice, though, to see a couple really important divas on the list: Mariah Carey and Cher. There is no rock 'n' roll without exceptionally individual women like that.
Irwin: The discourse over non-rock artists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has to be over now, right? I mean, at this point, people complaining about pop and hip-hop nominees sound about as out of touch as people complaining that Hawaii and Alaska are states. Stop shaking your fist in rage and just move on. Now, let me answer the actual question: A Tribe Called Quest and Eric B. & Rakim are both hugely influential hip-hop pioneers whose inductions are long overdue. Mariah Carey is a pop/R&B powerhouse whose success ranks up there with former inductees Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Madonna. Those three specifically should be shoo-ins for the 2024 class, as their case is arguably stronger than most of the rock nominees.
Wardlaw: For any of us that grew up spending a lot of time in record stores, the depth of genres here shouldn’t be upsetting, but a class of nominees that goes pretty heavy on pop, hip-hop and R&B will cause the usual debate. Those who see a lack of connection between certain acts and rock 'n' roll are missing some obvious threads.
6. What are your overall thoughts on this year's nominees?
Rolli: At first glance, this is a weird slate, especially if you balk at the idea of the Rock Hall expanding its horizons. But if you think of it as a more general music hall of fame, then it's difficult to argue with these choices. There are plenty of heavy hitters on this list, artists who sold tens of millions of records and made ripples throughout history. I'll give this list a C+, which would've been a B- if not for Dave Matthews Band.
Rapp: I'm not as wowed by this list as I have been in the previous couple of years. I'm going to root for my personal favorites — Sinead O'Connor is another one I'd like to see make it in — but beyond that, I'm not feeling all that invested.
Irwin: Reaction seems negative to this list of nominees. My guess is the discourse stems from three or four artists who seemingly fall short of traditional Hall standards. But if you focus on the top-tier names, the list is actually quite solid. It’s cool to see a wave of powerful female stars getting nominated, with Cher, Mariah Carey, Sinead O’Connor, Mary J. Blige and Sade all up for consideration. Now, I’ll be floored if more than three of those ladies get in, but I like that the conversation is no longer so male-dominated. Couple that with some overdue mea culpa nominations — Foreigner, Ozzy, Frampton, Jane’s Addiction — and you see the framework of a deserving class of 2024.
Wardlaw: I like it. There are always artists and bands that you would love to see on the list that are not, but it’s good to see the continued push for diversity.
7. Who do you predict will make up the Hall of Fame class of 2024?
Rolli: Cher, Sinead O'Connor, A Tribe Called Quest, Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Frampton and Eric B. & Rakim.
Rapp: Peter Frampton, Sinead O’Connor, Oasis, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Lenny Kravitz.
Irwin: Ozzy and Frampton receive their long awaited inductions. Same for A Tribe Called Quest and Eric B. & Rakim. Jane’s Addiction gets (deservedly) recognized for their impact on alternative rock. Mariah Carey becomes the latest pop icon in the Hall. And because there’s always one wild card, I’ll throw in Kool & the Gang.
Wardlaw: Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Frampton, Sinead O’Connor, Mariah Carey, Eric B. & Rakim, Oasis.
Most Awkward Rock Hall of Fame Moments
Gallery Credit: Dave Lifton