Home Music Music Lists

15 Artists Eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Next

In advance of the 2016 induction, we look at who might join the ranks through 2021

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Artist next up; Eligible

Martyn Goodacre/Getty, Al Pereira/Getty

AC/DC once sang, "It's a long way to the top, if you want to rock and roll," and that's especially true if you want to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aspiring artists must wait 25 years after the release of their first record — i.e., album, EP or single — to become eligible. That's the easy part. Hopefuls are also judged on whether they've demonstrated a meaningful contribution to the "development and perpetuation of rock & roll." This subjective metric makes it hard to accurately predict who will earn entry in future classes. Some artists are tapped the first year they qualify, while other notables have been waiting for decades. Even when artists do get the recognition, it's a gamble as to whether or not decades of drama will dampen the honor (looking at you, Kiss, Guns N' Roses, Deep Purple, et al.). For now, we look forward to some noteworthy performers who will become eligible during the next five years and guess as to whether or not they'll be in a positive-enough place to attend the induction without any drama.

Pearl Jam

NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 14: Photo of PEARL JAM; 14-02-1992 Amsterdam, Pearl Jam (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Paul Bergen/Getty

Pearl Jam

Year Eligible: 2016

Debut Record:
Ten (1991)

Why They Should Be Inducted:
The group thought better of their original name, Mookie Blaylock, and, as Pearl Jam, issued one of the best-selling debut albums in history, Ten, which has been certified 13 times platinum. Moreover, they made a name for themselves while taking on the music industry, specifically Ticketmaster, and professing pro-choice ideology in the early Nineties. To their credit, all but one of their studio albums has sold at least gold.

Possible Drama:
Drummers aside, the group's lineup has remained remarkably consistent since the band formed in 1990. Only ex-drummer Dave Abbruzzese — who was ousted after recording the group's last multiplatinum record to date, Vitalogy — has expressed any bad blood, but he has since said he no longer harbors hard feelings.

tupac

Raymond Boyd/Getty

2Pac

Year Eligible: 2016

Debut Record: 2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Why He Should Be Inducted: From his "Thug Life" belly tat to his ability to deliver both a tender single like "Keep Ya Head Up" and a gritty track such as "Pour Out a Little Liquor," to challenging Biggie Smalls on "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" a few years later, he was a rock star through and through. Before his death at age 25, 2Pac recorded five albums, one album with the group Thug Life, and enough material for six posthumous albums and one record with Outlawz. With a string of multiplatinum records to his name, his legacy is big enough to warrant Dr. Dre bringing him out as a hologram at his 2012 Coachella appearance.

Possible Drama: None, as long as his hologram does not accept the honor. 

 
Mary J BLige

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Photo of Mary J. Blige Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Al Pereira/Getty

Mary J. Blige

Year Eligible: 2017

Debut Record:
What's the 411? (1992)

Why She Should Be Inducted:
If the infectious, enduring 1992 single "Real Love" doesn't warrant her inclusion alone, maybe her four other Number One R&B singles — produced by the likes of Babyface and Dr. Dre, among others — will make her case. Blige has also won nine Grammys, four American Music Awards and four BET Awards. Convinced yet?

Possible Drama:
"No More Drama"

Dr. Dre

Dr Dre during 1993 MTV Movie Awards at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Dr. Dre

Year Eligible: 2017

Debut Record:
The Chronic (1992)

Why He Should Be Inducted:
A year after leaving gangsta-rap firebrands N.W.A, Dr. Dre became the ambassador for the G-Funk era. His first solo album, The Chronic, became an instant classic, thanks to heavy MTV airplay, his public beefing with ex-bandmate Eazy-E and the introduction of one Snoop Doggy Dogg. He later discovered Eminem and helped turn Death Row Records into a force to be reckoned with, even if his departure from that label was acrimonious. Dre's long-awaited comeback, 2015's brilliant Compton, shored up his reputation as a legendary producer and rapper, and he continues to top lists of the richest rap stars. As of 2016, he's also already a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, along with the other members of N.W.A.

Possible Drama:
None. 

Oasis

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 1993: British rock group Radiohead, (clockwise L) drummer Phil Selway, singer/guitarist Ed O'Brien, bassist Colin Greenwood, guitarist Jonny Greenwood and lead singer Thom Yorke, pose for a 1993 portrait with a statue of Jesus in New York City, New York. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images)

Bob Berg/Getty

Radiohead

Year Eligible: 2017

Debut Record: Drill (1992)

Why They Should Be Inducted: The band members have proven themselves to be artistic visionaries, experimenting in the studio with the same verve as the Beatles and Pink Floyd decades before. Moreover, the group turned the music industry on its cauliflower ear when it released In Rainbows as a pay-what-want album in 2007. Radiohead's mysterious ways continue to keep adoring fans guessing.

Possible Drama: None. Radiohead's lineup has remained consistent since 1985, a feat that warrants its own reward.

Rage against the machine

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Photo of Rage Against the Machine (Photo by Lindsay Brice/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Lindsay Brice/Getty

Rage Against the Machine

Year Eligible: 2017

Debut Record:
Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Why They Should Be Inducted:
Rage Against the Machine did not invent rap-rock, but they arguably did it best. Also, few other bands harnessed the political power of music as effectively as Rage, who played free concerts to protest war in Iraq and disrupted Wall Street for their "Sleep Now in the Fire" video.

Possible Drama:
As of 2012, guitarist Tom Morello has said the band may not ever play again. "I consider them brothers and brothers-in-arms, and whether or not we ever play music again in any capacity is unknown," he told Rolling Stone. "I'm grateful for the music we played together."

Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews Band Performing At The Marquee Club, London, Britain - 1995, Dave Matthews Band (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

Brian Rasic/Getty

Dave Matthews Band

Year Eligible: 2018

Debut Record:
Remember Two Things (1993)

Why They Should Be Inducted:
The Dave Matthews Band's first release was a live record, and, even though they have chalked up several multi-platinum studio albums, they have grown into one of the strongest live acts on the planet. Up until 2011, the group toured every year for the previous 20. Touring-industry trade magazine Pollstar named the band Top Act of the Decade, as they had grossed nearly $530 million at that point. But beyond economical concerns, hits like "Ants Marching" and "American Baby" continue to endure.

Possible Drama:
None. Aside from saxophonist LeRoi Moore's death in 2008 and the departure of two keyboardists who left on their own accord, the DMB lineup has remained consistent.

Outkast

Waring Abbott/Getty

Outkast

Year Eligible: 2018

Debut Record: "Player's Ball" (1993)

Why They Should Be Inducted: Six-time Grammy winners Outkast pioneered their own unique fusion of rap, soul and pop, which cohered in a way that earned them simultaneous Number One positions on the Top 100, R&B and Rap charts for "Ms. Jackson" in 2000. By the time they put out their next record, 2003's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, they reached the critical mass of earning a diamond-selling album.

Possible Drama: None. Although Outkast never officially broke up, the two rappers were estranged from one another throughout much of the 2000s, and André 3000 made public statements that 2013 remixes that featured both Big Boi and him were "not Outkast collaborations." But the duo began performing together again as Outkast in 2014 in celebration of its 20th anniversary, and in a 2016 speech honoring late A Tribe Called Quest MC Phife Dawg, André 3000 alluded to a recent scrapped collaboration between Outkast and ATCQ.

Wu-Tang Clan

A profile of RZA, rapper–producer and leader of many membered rap group the Wu–Tang Clan. Photo of RZA, center, with his clan members, some not wanting to show their face, at the W Hotel in Westwood, November, 2, 2000. (Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Ken Hively/Getty

Wu-Tang Clan

Year Eligible: 2018

Debut Record:
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Why They Should Be Inducted:
As a team or on their own, Wu-Tang are unstoppable: When they work together, they write anthems like "C.R.E.A.M." and hits like "Gravel Pit," and when they're apart, they keep the Wu mythology alive in their own unique ways. Plus, they're among rap's great entrepreneurs, applying a Kiss-like stamp of approval to clothing, video games, movies and more. Wu's individual MCs have fared better at establishing solo careers than members of the biggest rock bands.

Possible Drama:
Unlikely but plausible, considering the group's occasional penchant for infighting. Also, as with their concerts, there's no saying who would show up. 

Biggie Smalls; The Notorious B.I.G.

NY Daily News/Getty

The Notorious B.I.G.

Year Eligible: 2019

Debut Record: Ready to Die (1994)

Why He Should Be Inducted: Big in life and big on record, the man who went by Biggie Smalls rapped with a smooth swagger that, when coupled with smart technique and smarter lyrics, made him the voice of a generation. Since his death in 1997, at age 24, all of his posthumously released albums have charted in the Top Five and his story served as the basis for a biopic.

Possible Drama: None. There's even an outside chance that Jimmy Page would want to induct him.

Oasis

NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 01: NETHERLANDS Photo of Noel GALLAGHER and Liam GALLAGHER and OASIS, L-R: Tony McCarroll, Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan - posed, group shot (Photo by Michel Linssen/Redferns)

Michel Linssen/Getty

Oasis

Year Eligible: 2019

Debut Record: Definitely Maybe (1994)

Why They Should Be Inducted: Oasis might not have invented Britpop, but they surely ratified it. Brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher always had a knack for writing catchy, curl-lipped anthems for music fans as disaffected as they were. Well maybe not quite as disaffected, given their penchant for inner-band pugilism, but who can forget "Wonderwall"?

Possible Drama: More like "probable drama." After years of bickering between the Gallagher brothers, Liam sued Noel in 2011 for slandering him as the band broke up. Since then, Liam has said he is open to a reunion, but tensions flared again in 2015, spurring Sir Paul himself to weigh in. Definitely maybe?

Sleater-Kinney; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Anthony Pidgeon/Getty

Sleater-Kinney

Year Eligible: 2019

Debut Record: "You Ain't It!" (1994) 

Why They Should Be Inducted: Commercial sales didn't match the critical praise heaped upon the Pacific Northwest trio in their early career, but that only increased their post–riot grrrl cred. Musically, the band's stripped-down, bass-less punk inspired many women to make noise, but their mix of personal and political lyrics ensured people heard as well as listened. They called it quits while on the cusp of major mainstream success, stoking reunion demands for a decade. They relented in 2014.

Possible Drama: None. The band members have been working together peacefully since 2014, and each has the space to try new things outside of Sleater-Kinney.

Weezer

American band Weezer on stage, 1994. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images)

Ebet Roberts/Getty

Weezer

Year Eligible: 2019

Debut Record:
Weezer (1994)

Why They Should Be Inducted:
Weezer were the alt-rock era's kings of kitsch — with videos that played off Happy Days and songs about crying over poor sewing — but it's Rivers Cuomo's songwriting on infectious singles like "Buddy Holly," "Hash Pipe" and "Beverly Hills" that could earn them their place in the Rock Hall. That and whether or not nerd culture will still be en vogue by the end of the decade.

Possible Drama:
None. Frontman Rivers Cuomo is on good terms with the original group's two living ex-members, Jason Cropper and Matt Sharp — both reportedly attended Cuomo's wedding in 2006 — and, a few months before his death in 2011, bassist Mikey Welsh played "Undone" with the band and Flaming Lips in New York.

Foo Fighters; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of FOO FIGHTERS (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Mick Hutson/Getty

Foo Fighters

Year Eligible: 2020


Debut Record: Foo Fighters (1995)

Why They Should Be Inducted: In the wake of Kurt Cobain's suicide, Dave Grohl healed by retreating to the studio and recording a demo tape, playing all the instruments himself. This cathartic exercise kick-started one of the most consistent rock collectives of the last quarter century. Bolstered by a core crew including Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear, the Foos have cranked out strong albums aimed directly at the heart of anyone who wonders where all the rock stars have gone. The Sonic Highways project underscores Grohl's genuine care for music history and preservation, so it seems only right that he take his place alongside the idols he unabashedly worships.

Possible Drama: With Dave Grohl rivaling Bruce Springsteen for the title of Rock's Nicest Guy, it seems unlikely that any bad blood could creep into the proceedings. Even the band's 2016 hiatus was announced with customary self-mocking humor. Now that the long-standing feud with Courtney Love is dead and buried, Grohl and the guys are beloved on an unparalleled scale.

Eminem; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Michel Linssen/Getty

Eminem

Year Eligible: 2021


Debut Record: Infinite (1996)


Why He Should Be Inducted: Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, B-Rabbit: Eminem goes by many names, and one of them is Highest Selling Male Artist of the 21st Century. Even Adele couldn't touch 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP for worldwide bestseller of the new millennium. But stats aside, Em's lyrical poetry and high-voltage delivery have made him one of the most critically acclaimed and influential rappers in history. "Eminem does for his audience what [Bob] Dylan did for his," Sir Elton John has said. "He writes how he feels. His anger, vulnerability, and humor come out."


Possible Drama: The real question is whether he'll even come. The fame-phobic MC's awards show attendance record is spotty. In 2003, he bailed on the Academy Awards, where "Lose Yourself" was crowned Best Original Song, and in 2015, proxies took home his 14th and 15th Grammys. If he does accept the Rock Hall honor in person, it's uncertain whether he'll resist firing shots at any one of the impossibly long list of figures he's had beef with over the years.

In This Article: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Show Comments