The nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 are in and the list features Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, Iron Maiden, Tina Turner, the Go-Go’s, Rage Against the Machine, Kate Bush, Devo, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Fela Kuti, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, Todd Rundgren, and Dionne Warwick. The top vote-getters will be announced in May and inducted in a Cleveland, Ohio, ceremony in the fall.
To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to have been released in 1995 or earlier. Seven of the 16 acts on the ballot (Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Fela Kuti, and Dionne Warwick) are appearing for the first time, although Carole King was inducted along with Gerry Goffin as a non-performer in 1990 and Tina Tuner entered the institution in 1991 along with Ike Turner.
If King and Turner are inducted, they’ll be the second and third female artists to enter the Hall of Fame twice following Stevie Nicks in 2019. It’s also an opportunity for Dave Grohl to enter the Hall of Fame for a second time following his 2014 induction as a member of Nirvana. Foo Fighters and Jay-Z are the only acts this year to appear on the ballot in their first year of eligibility.
This is the sixth ballot appearance for LL Cool J; a third for Todd Rundgren, Rage Against the Machine, and Chaka Khan; and the second for Kate Bush, Devo, Carole King, and the New York Dolls.
According to the Hall of Fame, this is the most racially diverse ballot since 1996, as nine of the 16 nominees feature people of color.
“This remarkable ballot reflects the diversity and depth of the artists and music the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates,” Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Chairman John Sykes says in a statement. “These nominees have left an indelible impact on the sonic landscape of the world and influenced countless artists that have followed them.”
Per the tradition of the past few years, the Hall of Fame named the individual band members that will enter should their group get inducted. For Iron Maiden, they cited the current lineup of singer Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, drummer Nicko McBrain, and guitarists Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers, along with former singer Paul Di’Anno, former drummer Clive Burr, and former guitarist Dennis Stratton.
For the Foo Fighters, it’s the current lineup of Dave Grohl, drummer Taylor Hawkins, bassist Nate Mendel, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett. Original drummer William Goldsmith and former guitarist Franz Stahl did not make the cut.
If Devo get in, it’ll just be the classic Seventies/early Eighties lineup of Mark Mothersbaugh, bassist/singer Gerald Casale, drummer Alan Myers, keyboardist/guitarist Bob Casale, and guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh.
For the New York Dolls, it’s frontman David Johansen, bassist Arthur “Killer” Kane, guitarists Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain, and drummers Jerry Nolan and Billy Murcia. Johansen is the sole living New York Doll after the recent death of Sylvain Sylvain.
A voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists, and members of the music industry will select the new class. Starting Wednesday, fans will also have a chance to take part in the process by voting at rockhall.com or at an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland. Their selections will count as a single “fan ballot” that gets tabulated along with the others.
The 2020 Hall of Fame class honored Depeche Mode, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G., T-Rex, and the Doobie Brothers. The ceremony was originally slated to take place at Cleveland’s Public Hall in May but was pushed to November due to the pandemic. They were ultimately forced to hold a virtual ceremony that aired on HBO.