Classic Rock Corner

The 10 Biggest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

On April 8, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A, Steve Miller and songwriter/record producer Bert Berns were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York. As always seems to be the case, there was some controversy surrounding the event. Gene Simmons of KISS got into a Twitter battle with members of N.W.A. after he told Rolling Stone that he “looked forward to the death of rap” and said that rap artists do not belong in the Hall. Steve Miller ranted against the Hall in the press room following the ceremony, claiming that the Hall does not respect the musicians it inducts, and complained how he only got tickets for himself and his wife for the ceremony and would have had to pay $10,000 for any additional tickets; The Black Keys said they regretted inducting him because of his behavior.

Of course there always seems to be controversy about the bands that get inducted each year, with fans of groups that don’t get in voicing anger and frustration on social media; there are indeed a lot of great bands that have not gotten in yet. Artists are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first recording, and looking over the list of bands that have not yet been inducted, these ten seem to us to be the biggest Rock Hall snubs, because of both their musical importance and the length of time since they first became eligible.

Years Eligible: 20
Formed in 1970, the Doobie Brothers have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide having initially took off with the release of their second album Toulouse Street in 1972 which featured hit singles "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright," songs that remain in heavy rotation on classic-rock radio stations to this day. The group's other early hits include "Long Train Runnin'," "China Grove" and their first No. 1 single, “Black Water.” Original lead vocalist Tom Johnston was sidelined with health problems in 1975 so Michael McDonald took over on 1976 album Takin' It to the Streets; the title track and "It Keeps You Runnin" were also hits for the band. The Doobie Brothers have had numerous lineup changes over the years, but continue on to this day with original vocalist Johnston and guitarist Patrick Simmons currently back in the band.
9. MC5
Years Eligible: 25
They never had any hit singles and their career was short-lived, but Lincoln, Michigan, hard-rock band MC5 was big on the East Coast and especially Detroit; one of their energetic live performances there in 1969 was recorded and became their debut album, Kick Out the Jams. MC5 was a rebellious, heavy-drug-using band with far-left political ties and anti-establishment lyrics; their sound mixed elements of garage-rock, blues and psychedelic rock. Many have described them as a proto-punk band along with fellow Michigan band The Stooges, whom MC5 mentored in their early years. The band recorded two more albums, Back In the USA (1970) and High Time (1971), before being dropped from their record label. Vocalist Rob Tyner died of a heart attack in 1991, and guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith died of a heart attack as well in 1994; guitarist Wayne Kramer returned to the music scene with his debut solo album in 1991.
Years Eligible: 23
Best known for classic-rock biker anthem “Born To Be Wild,” which was prominently featured in Dennis Hopper’s 1969 counterculture film Easy Rider co-starring Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, Steppenwolf also had a hit with "Magic Carpet Ride," which reached No. 3 on the charts. The band has sold more than 25 million records worldwide, with eight albums certified Gold; because of personal conflicts within the band, the original lineup broke up in 1972. There have been various reunions and lineup changes throughout the years, with original vocalist John Kay being the only constant; the Kay-led Steppenwolf still plays a limited number of live shows every year, often at biker rallies.
Years Eligible: 23
British band Jethro Tull started off playing blues-rock in 1967 but soon incorporated elements of folk and hard rock and created a progressive rock sound that has influenced many bands; Tull is still one of the few prog-rock bands to be led by a flute-playing front man, legendary lead vocalist Ian Anderson. The band’s sound (and membership) has changed through the years; along the way, they have sold more than 60 million albums, with 11 gold and five platinum albums among their releases. Anderson announced that Jethro Tull was over in 2014 as he concentrated on his solo career.
6. T. REX
Years Eligible: 23
T. Rex were an English glam-rock act that found more popularity in England than America; they once had a string of 11 singles in the British Top 10, and their popularity in their home country was compared to Beatlemania at the time. Lead guitarist and vocalist Marc Bolan actually started the band off as a folk act under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex, releasing four albums under that moniker starting in 1968 before making the transition to electric guitar and shortening the band’s name for its self-titled album T. Rex in 1970. After releasing eight albums throughout the '70s, Bolan was killed in a car crash in 1977 prior to his 30th birthday, ending the band. T. Rex’s music has since continued to be a big influence on glam and punk bands to this day; their best-known song is "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," from 1971’s Electric Warrior album. T. Rex is referenced by The Who in the lyrics to their song "You Better You Bet" and by David Bowie in "All the Young Dudes,” which he wrote for Mott the Hoople.
Years Eligible: 26
The Guess Who are a Canadian band whose first hit song was 1969's “These Eyes,” which became a Top 10 U.S. single; the band's most popular and famous song is, of course, “American Woman” from the album of the same name, which became a No. 1 hit in 1970. The single also featured another popular song, “No Sugar Tonight," on the B-side. "American Woman" was famously covered by Lenny Kravitz, who won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Performance in 2000. The Guess Who initially broke up in 1975 and, enduring  numerous re-formations and lineup changes, continues on to this day.

Years Eligible: 25
The Monkees were brought together by producers for a television show about a fictional band inspired by The Beatles, which aired from 1966 to 1968; at the height of their popularity in 1967, The Monkees' albums actually outsold those of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In the beginning, the band, which consisted of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork as well as Englishman Davy Jones, was allowed only a limited amount of input into its music; they eventually convinced their producers to give them the freedom to create and control their own music, and, after the show was canceled, carried on until 1971. The band's hits include "Last Train to Clarksville," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer," a song composed by Neil Diamond. The band found new popularity when the show was brought back to TV in the '80s and the band reunited for a tour; singer Davy Jones died in 2012.
Years Eligible: 20
Irish rock band Thin Lizzy formed in Dublin in 1969 and was led by bass guitarist and vocalist Phil Lynott, who wrote or co-wrote almost all of the band’s songs. Their hits include a version of traditional Irish ballad ”Whiskey in the Jar," "Jailbreak" and their most famous song, "The Boys Are Back in Town." Thin Lizzy’s music is often described as hard rock or even heavy metal, though it is actually more eclectic and includes elements of blues, soul, Irish folk music and psychedelic rock. The band is known for the twin-guitar attack that featured Gary Moore and John Sykes, among other acclaimed guitarists, throughout their history. Lynott’s lyrics were about real-life working-class people and their struggles, closer to Van Morrison than Van Halen; he died in 1986 at age 36 from multiple organ failure brought about by his drug dependency. Sykes re-formed Thin Lizzy as a tribute to Lynott in 1996, and the band has continued on with various lineups.
2. YES
Years Eligible: 22
English progressive-rock band Yes was formed in 1969 by bassist Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson; the band is known for its lengthy songs that feature mystical, cosmic lyrics and complex arrangements and odd time signatures. The group has released 21 studio albums, which most of their fans like to listen to from beginning to end to get the full Yes experience; they did have a couple of hit singles, including a shortened version of “Roundabout,” the opening song from their 1971 album Fragile. In 1983, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," from their album 90125, reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts; its video was also a hit on MTV. Squire died from cancer in 2015, and the band carries on although currently no founding members are left. Loyal Yes fans have been very critical of the Rock Hall throughout the years for not inducting the band, much like fans of fellow prog-rockers Rush; the Canadian trio finally got inducted in 2013 after a 14-year wait.
Years Eligible: 27
Formed in England in 1964, The Moody Blues were pioneers of progressive rock and art-rock, especially with the release of 1967 sophomore album Days of Future Passed. Two singles from the album, "Nights in White Satin" and "Tuesday Afternoon," were instant classics and remain popular on classic-rock radio to this day. The band has released 16 studio albums and has sold more than 70 million copies of them worldwide; the band found renewed success in 1986 with the release of its album The Other Side of Life, which featured a hit single and MTV video with the track "Your Wildest Dreams." Founding member Ray Thomas retired in 2002, leaving drummer Graeme Edge as the only original member left in the band; longtime members guitarist Justin Hayward and bass player John Lodge remain, and Moody Blues continue to tour extensively.

Other Notable Snubs: Dick Dale, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Zombies, Captain Beefheart, Jim Croce, Harry Nilsson, The Carpenters, King Crimson, Three Dog Night, Warren Zevon, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Electric Light Orchestra, New York Dolls, Bad Company, etc.

The 31st Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony premieres Saturday, April 30 on HBO.
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David Rozycki
Contact: David Rozycki