Friday, August 31, 2018

2019 Rock Hall Nominee Predictions

Not my most daring of predictions.  I'm picking many former nominees, with a couple of newly eligibles.  Predicting what the NomCom will do is always tough.  We only get a smattering of info about their yearly get together.  But it's a tradition that we long time Rock Hall watchers love to do.

Also, must throw in this every year.  Surprises.  Always expect some NomCom shockers.

I'm going with the new standard of 19 nominess.

Bad Company - There's still some life left in the Classic Rock genre. Or should I say the Dad Rock genre? Many will say Free was the better band, but it's with Bad Company that Paul Rodgers' voice became an AOR staple.  And with the current voting bloc having expanded in past years with more AOR acts, Rodgers & Co. would make an easy pick for many of his peers  Bonus:  they are Steven Van Zandt approved.

Beck - Newly eligible, and a few years ago I would have said he was going to sail right in.  But now I'm not so sure that he'll get on the ballot first try, let alone go in first time out. Still, if the Hall wants to keep moving into the 90's, then Beck would be a popular choice.

Bjork - Kate Bush was a surprise nominee last year.  But she could end up as one of those one-time nominees that the NomCom soon forgets about (e.g. Los Lobos, Replacements, Eric B. & Rakim). If she does, then look for Bjork or Sinead O'Connor to take her place.

Def Leppard - They could be a likely Fan Vote winner. Which has meant instant induction.  But will they go on the same ballot as Judas Priest?  I have my doubts. Bet the NomCom mulls this one over real good.

Depeche Mode - Nominated the last 2 years, which means they've got some NomCom support.  But will they appear again?  Or could the Cure or the Smiths return?

Eurythmics - A very respectable 7th place fan vote finish for their first nomination last year.  So, a return is probable.  Last year when I predicted they would be inducted, I asked the question, "who doesn't love Annie Lennox?" A fellow Rock Hall watcher mocked my question when making their predictions, but I still say Annie Lennox is a beloved figure for those of us who followed Pop music in the 80's. But the voting bloc is still shunning acts from that decade.

Go-Go's - Before I get to the Go-Go's, let's tackle the Singles Inductee Category. When Steven Van Zandt surprised everyone at the 2018 ceremony by introducing a new Singles Inductee category, it left a lot of questions unanswered. The point of the Singles Inductees was to recognize important songs by acts that Van Zandt feels have been bypassed by the NomCom or voters.  He didn't word it that way, but everyone knew the truth. The years for the 6 singles ranged from 1951-68.  Does this new category mean that this is the end of pre-70's acts getting nominated? So what happens to Link Wray and Procol Harum? Both had singles inducted, and have been on the ballot in the past. So, the 2019 ballot could answer some of our questions.

So, when I thought of Singles being inducted, one of my first thoughts revolved around great Girl Groups from the 50's/60's that are still not in the Hall.  Previous nominees like the Chantels and Marvelettes.  And the Shangri-Las, who have never been nominated.  All 3 have iconic Singles that could be picked. But I want those groups inducted. But let's say the NomCom moves away from that era and steps into the 80's for the Go-Go's.  With a Broadway show in the Summer of '18, they've been in the news a lot more this year.

Janet Jackson - If there was one name everyone thought would be on the 2018 ballot, it was Janet.  Nominated in 2016 and '17, she has to be back this year.  A World Tour and a Billboard Icon award have put her past achievements back in the limelight.  And if her fans show up at the polls, she could be another contender to take the Fan Vote.

Judas Priest - On the ballot for the first time last year, they should be back, unless Def Leppard takes their place.  Or maybe both take show up.  That combination is already perplexing many Rock Hall watchers.

Kraftwerk - Nominated in 2003/'13/'15/'17, so a 2019 berth could happen. It's obvious many on the NomCom want them in.  But voters have been hesitant.

LL Cool J - NomCom member Alan Light is LL's biggest supporter, and an influential voice on the panel.  LL's  a 4 time nominee (also last year).  From the mid-80's to mid-90's,  he was also one of the, if not the biggest, male Rap act. But I've said it a million times, that his TV career has diluted his appeal to some voters.

Nine Inch Nails - Nominated in 2015 and '16, they've been surprisingly absent from the ballot the last two years.  But Reznor & Co. have been out on tour supporting a new album.  I think they're due to return. If not then Rage Against The Machine will be back for a 2nd nomination.

Radiohead - Their first time eligible in 2018 they get a nomination.  And most thought it was a no-brainer induction.  But they don't get in.  And soon the conspiracy theories come out.  They would be on tour induction night 2018.  Thom Yorke doesn't care about the Hall.  Who knows?  But I think the NomCom will forget all that and and go for them again. This is a band they want inducted.

Roxy Music - Not sure I buy the theory that they haven't been nominated yet because in the U.S. they didn't sell enough records.  Maybe not a bunch of Gold albums, but by now everyone knows who they are and what their music sounds like.  And how influential they were.  Still crazy that they've never even been nominated.

Rufus/Chaka Khan - This would be Chaka's 5th nomination (2 solo, 2 w/Rufus).  But I'm beginning to worry that the heavily leaning Rock voting bloc will shut her out the way they did Donna Summer (until the year after she died) & Chic.  They weren't a disco act, but enough could perceive them that way. And we all know the anti-disco bias of most Rock Hall voters is enough to block an induction. But the NomCom wants her in, so expect her to appear a few more times on the ballot.

Soundgarden - I know a lot of people thought Chris Cornell's death last year would finally get them nominated.  But the NomCom doesn't always do what we think.  Which is why I'm picking them this year.

Todd Rundgren - I don't think the NomCom cares that Rundgren is always ranting about the Hall.  But even more so than Roxy Music, it amazes me that he's never been nominated.  His credentials are solid, and many voters will also be surprised that he hasn't been inducted yet.

War - Other 70's/80's R&B groups were more popular, and if the NomCom wants to lean that way then Kool & The Gang (who had 3 members inducted into the Songwriters Hall this year) and the Commodores were be good choices. But up until the last of their 3 nominations in 2015, War had NomCom supporters.  Maybe they still do.  They are an R&B group that also has some Rock fans.  But we know how poorly 70's R&B groups have done with voters.

Zombies -  Speaking of respectable Fan Vote finishes.  How about a 6th place one for the Zombies last year? But questions remain.  Will the NomCom close the door on 50's/60's acts?  Let's see what happens this year.  A 3 time nominee, it will be interesting to see what happens to pre-70's names. Bonus: Steven Van Zandt approved.

Other names to consider:  A Tribe Called Quest, Commodores, Cure, Devo, Jethro Tull, J. Geils Band, Joe Cocker, Kate Bush, Kool & The Gang, Link Wray, Monkees, Pat Benatar, Rage Against The Machine, Shangri-Las,  Sinead O'Connor, Smiths,  Spinners, Warren Zevon

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