Monday, September 04, 2017

2018 Rock Hall Nominee Predictions

Last year's bountiful 19 nominees excited many long time Rock Hall watchers.  But will the NomCom do it again?  The average is usually around 15 or 16 names, but the response to that super-sized ballot was so positive, I think they'll come close to it again.  So, I settled on 19, as well.  I mean, who knows what they'll do? It's the mystery of the NomCom that keeps us intrigued.  A lot depends on how many new NomCom faces show up for the annual nomination meeting, and push their picks, which turn out to be the most surprising names imaginable (Bad Brains, Jane's Addiction, Steppenwolf).

Outside of one newly eligible name and a handful of returnees from last year's ballot, the rest is indeed wide open.
Easy to look at past nominees as a blueprint for who the NomCom picks, but the fun is predicting a shocker or two.
Who will be this year's Bad Brains, Jane's Addiction, Los Lobos, Steppenwolf, J.B.'s, Replacements?

Bad Company - This might be perceived as a surprise pick, but really shouldn't Paul Rodgers would be a popular pick for many current Hall members.  They're a semi-populist band, and Rodgers is still out there touring with some form of Bad Co.

Cars - I have a feeling they are close to induction.  The NomCom seems to like them as this would be their 3rd nomination in a row.  Last year finished 5th in the fan vote.

Eurythmics - I'm always amazed when I think of artists that have not been nominated.  Eligible since 2006, Annie Lennox is a beloved musician who would do very well first time on the ballot.  Why does the NomCom forget about these types of artists?

Janet Jackson -  Nominated last two years, and I couldn't pass her up for a third try.

Kraftwerk - Interesting.  Kraftwerk have been nominated in 2003/13/15/17.  Which means I should wait until 2019 to predict them.  But there's new NomCom voices.  Maybe they'll break that 2 year gap.

Link Wray - Nominated once in 2014, we know that he has a huge supporter in veteran NomComer Steven Van Zandt.  All a matter of whether he can get Link back on the ballot.

Los Lobos - Nominated once in 2016.  Many think this will be one of those one-nominated wonders (e.g. Replacements, Procol Harum). It seems their chances rest on whether NomCom member Dave Marsh can get them back.

LL Cool J - The biggest Rap male star from the mid-80's to mid-90's.  Thinking most voters have forgotten that and instead think of him as a TV star.  And in December he will become first Rap name awarded with a Kennedy Center Honor. Nominated 3X, last in 2014.

Marvelettes - Just to prove they haven't forgotten about early 60's Pop acts (which they have), the NomCom will pick someone like this 2X nominated group.  Or a newcomer like the Shangri-Las.  Maybe a past multiple nominee like Questlove & Dave Marsh fave, Joe Tex.

Moody Blues -  Because everyone thinks this will happen, it probably won't.  It's the Moody Blues.  It's the NomCom.  That's how pessimistic I remain.

Nina Simone -  There's no question that Simone's profile was raised with the acclaimed 2015 documentary.  But the NomCom has resisted.  This past summer she placed 3 albums in Pitchfork's list of Top 200 of the 60's (including a #5 pick).

Nine Inch Nails - Not nominated last year after being there in 2015/16.  Trent Reznor seems to have been in the Music News quite often in 2017.  So, I think they'll be back this year.

Radiohead - Of all the new 2018 eligible acts, this is my only sure pick.  Critical favorites with a huge fan base.

Roxy Music - A name that has been discussed by the NomCom.  And one of those that you could have sworn was nominated before?  But haven't been.

Smiths -  Having tried Depeche Mode and the Cure, it might be time to go back to this 2X nominee ('15/'16).

Soundgarden -  Death is no fast track to the ballot, which is why I'm not predicting Glen Campbell (but want to). And with Chris Cornell's former Audioslave bandmate Tom Morello, they'll have a vocal supporter in the room.

Spinners - Right, predicting my beloved Spinners.  How original.  But in all seriousness I really wanted to go with the Commodores.  A Populist R&B act, and Lionel Richie is a big name the Hall should love to have on its induction stage.  But I can't forget the Meters and War.  And honestly, I want more R&B in the Hall.  But back to the Mighty Spinners.   Anybody got Cliff Burnstein's number (he was the one responsible at the 2011 NomCom meeting for the Spinners' first nomination)?

Warren Zevon -  David Letterman makes a surprise appearance at the NomCom meeting, says one name, "Warren Zevon", and walks out of the building.  But seriously, this semi-annual singer/songwriter slot could go to a variety of names:  Carly Simon, Carole King, Harry Nilsson, etc.

Zombies - Don't know if having an exhibit of your work at the Hall can help you get back on the ballot.  But the Zombies had one this past Summer.  Nominated in 2014/17 they should still be a favorite for a return.

One of the reasons I hate making the nominee predictions is that I can never make up my mind.  So, let me say that I have a feeling I'm going to kick myself for not predicting the Judas Priest, Rage Against The Machine, J. Geils Band. All names I cut at the last minute.

Other Names I considered:
A Tribe Called Quest
Bon Jovi
Carole King
Depeche Mode
Glen Campbell
Harry Nilsson
J. Geils Band
Joe Cocker
Joe Tex
Judas Priest
Kate Bush
Rage Against The Machine
Todd Rundgren
T. Rex
Willie Nelson

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