The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday announced seven inductees for its 2019 class, whittled down from a list of 15 nominees. They are as follows (drum roll, or guitar solo, please):
- The Cure
- Def Leppard
- Janet Jackson
- Stevie Nicks
- Roxy Music
- The Zombies
Though the class features a healthy mixture of styles, from Jackson’s soaring soul to The Cure’s brooding post-punk to Radiohead’s endless experimentation, some genres were notably absent. Not one rapper made the class — even though LL Cool J was nominated.
The other nominees who didn’t make the cut this year include John Prine, Kraftwerk, Devo, the MC5, Rage Against the Machine, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and Todd Rundgren.
Artists become eligible for the Hall 25 years after releasing their first single or album and can be nominated as many times as necessary before they are inducted. And, generally, it takes a few attempts — so it’s notable that Def Leppard, Roxy Music and Nicks were nominated for the first time this year. This is also technically Nicks’s second entry into the hall, as she was inducted with Fleetwood Mac in 1998. And though this marked the group’s second nomination, Radiohead is the youngest band on the list (they only became eligible in 2017).
It was The Cure’s second time being nominated, and Jackson’s third.
The Zombies, though, are the band that has truly persevered. The group, perhaps best known for “Time of the Season,” first became eligible in 1989. They’ve been nominated four times, their first coming in 2014. Though many acts often don’t care (or pretend not to care) about the Hall, The Zombies appeared to be nothing short of ecstatic this year.
“You do start to doubt that it could happen,” the band’s singer Colin Blunstone told Rolling Stone Thursday. “I’ve tried to be fairly philosophical about it and tell myself that if we don’t get inducted, it’s just a bit of fun. Don’t take it too seriously. But of course when you’re actually inducted, everything changes. You think, ‘This is a career-defining [and] life-defining moment."
Keyboardist Rod Argent agreed, telling the magazine: “I know it’s fashionable in some circles to say, ‘I don’t mind whether I get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or not. But that is not how I’ve ever felt. When we were first nominated, that felt like a huge honor in its own right. And this time to turn the corner and get inducted, feels fantastic … I’m just so delighted.”
Of course, some who were nominated but didn’t make the cut might not feel so pleased. Chuck Yarborough of Cleveland.com wrote a particularly impassioned takedown of the Hall for not including Rundgren this year. In the piece, Yarborough mentions an interview he conducted with the rocker four years ago, in which the musician dismissed the institution entirely.
“It’s always been a thorny subject with me. I never thought a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland or anywhere else was a good idea,” Rundgren said. “It’s not rock-and-roll anymore anyway. What we used to call rock-and-roll — the original term, defined by DJ Alan Freed — meant to refer to a certain kind of music that Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Elvis [Presley] were playing, and it was distinguishable from ‘popular music’ at that time. What you have now is a pop music hall of fame, and I don’t care if I’m in the pop music hall of fame or not."
The Hall has inducted 323 artists since 1986. The voting system, though, remains oblique. The Hall says its voting body consists of “over 1,000 previous winners, historians and members of the music industry.” Since 2012, it has “also included a fan vote, which has no practical mathematical effect on the outcome; the winning top five artists of the fan vote are compiled into a single ballot. That ballot is then factored into the total tally of 1,000-plus votes from the Hall’s voting membership.”
If that sounds a bit confusing, that’s because it is — by design. Jon Landau, who manages Bruce Springsteen and serves as the chair of the Hall’s nominating committee, told the New York Times in 2011: “We’ve done a good job of keeping the proceedings nontransparent. It all dies in the room.”
The induction ceremony will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 29. It will later be aired on HBO.