Who should be in Rock Hall’s Class of 2024? I have thoughts!

Published On February 10, 2024 » By »

Rock  Hall list '24


The nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 have been announced, and it’s certainly an interesting mix, spanning decades and genres, with 10 of the 15 shortlisted artists  pop/soul diva Mariah Carey, multi-hyphenate goddess Cher, AOR rockers Foreigner, guitar great Peter Frampton, jazz/funk combo Kool & the Gang, crossover rock ‘n’ soul star Lenny Kravitz, Britpop bros Oasis, Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor, prince of darkness Ozzy Osbourne, and sophisti-pop chanteuse Sade  being first-time nominees. (Yes, you read that correctly: Incredibly, none of those legends have ever been on the ballot before.) The remaining, previously nominated contenders are alternative rap trio A Tribe Called Quest, queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige, jam-band fan faves Dave Matthews Band, golden-age hip-hop duo Eric B & Rakim, and college-rock trailblazers Jane’s Addiction.

I am a bit surprised, even disappointed, that several of last year’s passed-over nominees  namely the two I voted for, Cyndi Lauper and Joy Division/New Order, along with Warren Zevon and 2023’s most straight-up-rockin’ options, Iron Maiden, Soundgarden, and the White Stripes  aren’t in the running at all this year. And don’t even get me started about the fact that the New York Dolls, who’ve been nominated three times since 2001 and should be the next logical glam-rock inductees after 2019’s Roxy Music and 2020’s T. Rex, didn’t get a nom. (I’m hoping they’ll eventually slip in via the “Early Influence” category, like the illogically long-snubbed Kraftwerk did.) Or that the never-nominated Monkees got snubbed again. Or that Buzzcocks will realistically never get in, despite pretty much inventing pop/punk. Etc., etc., etc.

Putting such gripes aside, 2024’s crop is solid, and a convincing case could be made for really any of them. According to my sources, industry voters will get to check seven boxes on the ballot this year, instead of the usual five, but even with those two extra votes, my decision-making process will be tough.

However, after much deliberation, I think I’ve whittled it down to my final lucky seven. They’re listed below, along with my (totally subjective and sometimes sentimental) reasons and  just for fun! — my own “nominations” for who should induct each artist. Scroll down, and don’t @ me.

Sinéad O’Connor – This one’s a no-brainer, but honestly, my brain boils over the fact that O’Connor was never nominated during her lifetime. For most of her career, she was misunderstood, shat upon, canceled before “being canceled” was even a thing. When she died last year, many of the celebrity tributes raged against an industry that, as Morrissey worded it, “stayed safely silent” and didn’t have “the guts to support her when she was alive.” O’Connor, who became an indie darling at age 20 with The Lion and the Cobra and an unlikely MTV pop star in 1990 thanks to her stunning cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was simply one of the most singular voices of her generation, paving the way for strong (and at times divisive) women of the ’90s like Liz Phair, Courtney Love, Tori Amos, and Alanis Morissette. Thankfully, the acclaimed 2022 documentary Nothing Compares allowed O’Connor to experience a new wave of support and appreciation while she was still here. But there’s little doubt that her too-little, too-late induction would be the Class of ’24 ceremony’s most tear-jerking and bittersweet moment.

Potential inductor: Cabaret artist Amanda Palmer, who posted an instantly viral essay on her Facebook page the day O’Connor died, would likely deliver an eloquent speech. So would Bono or Shirley Manson. But I suggest Kris Kristofferson, who had O’Connor’s back when she was nearly booed off the Madison Square Garden stage at Bob Dylan’s 30th anniversary concert two weeks after her Pope-photo SNL scandal. Like Sinéad, Kristofferson was on the right side of history then  and he could help make history in Cleveland this year.

Cher – Cher is 2024’s equivalent of beloved Class of 2022 queen Dolly Parton. There’s no one who doesn’t love Cher (or at least, anyone who doesn’t love her can’t be trusted and can’t be my friend). And there’s nothing she can’t do, from winning Oscars, to dueting with Beavis & Butt-head, to having her own delicious gelato, to being the only artist in Billboard history to chart a No. 1 single in each of the past seven decades. It’s bonkers that Cher has never been up for Hall consideration before (and yes, all you rockist snobs out there, she is a rock star, as her ‘80s power ballads and Spectorian early work with ex-husband Sonny Bono readily prove). It’s understandable that she’s miffed over being snubbed for so many years  so miffed, in fact, that she recently claimed she wouldn’t even accept a Hall nomination, not for “a million dollars.” But hopefully she’ll show up when she’s inevitably inducted, because we all know she’d deliver the most epic speech of the night (while hopefully looking like a million dollars in head-to-toe vintage Bob Mackie couture).

Potential inductor: Cher’s equally eccentric tourmate Cyndi Lauper would be entertaining (and it might help get Lauper back on the Hall ballot for 2025), as would Cher’s Burlesque co-star Christina Aguilera. But I nominate Cher’s fellow fashionista/quadruple-threat Lady Gaga for the job. Maybe they could even finally perform their unreleased Pride song duet, “The Greatest Thing.” That’d be the greatest!

Peter Frampton – This here’s another no-brainer. Frampton is a former child prodigy whose career has spanned (and despite many setbacks, survived) seven decades. He’s a bona fide guitar god who went from ‘60s mod-pop with teen idols to the Herd; to blues-rock with supergroup Humble Pie; to stadium superstardom when Frampton Comes Alive! set a record in 1976 as the then-best-selling album in chart history; to dependable journeyman playing for the likes of David Bowie, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bill Wyman, and Harry Nilsson. And it seems like he’s just going to keep on playing, even though he announced his farewell tour five years ago after being diagnosed with a rare degenerative muscular disease called inclusion body myositis. The window for ‘60s acts to get into the Rock Hall (which is already shifting from the 1980s to focus on ‘90s artists) is almost shut now, too  so, let’s give Frampton his flowers now, while he can still totally shred at the Cleveland ceremony’s all-star finale jam.

Potential inductor: David Bowie would’ve been the best choice here, but obviously that can’t happen. So  while I realize that the 1978 box-office bomb Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which starred Frampton and the Bee Gees and nearly destroyed both artists’ careers in one fell swoop, might be the reason that some crotchety, grudge-holding Hall members won’t vote for Frampton  I’m unreasonably obsessed with that cult movie musical. Therefore, I say let’s have Frampton’s big-screen co-star Barry Gibb do the honors here… preferably while wearing a satin Pepper jacket.

Ozzy Osbourne – Ozzy is already in the Hall as a member of pioneering sludge-rockers Black Sabbath, but he deserves to be a double-inductee. He’s arguably even more famous for his solo catalog (which comprises 44 years of his overall career), and he is a true survivor (like Frampton) and an unlikely crossover pop-culture icon who (like Cher) is adored by all. And with all of his health issues that are cutting his career, at least as a touring artist, tragically short, it’s time to give him his flowers now as well.

Potential inductor: This might seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. I nominate superfan Post Malone. The cross-generational 2019 Post/Ozzy duet “Take What You Want” was Osbourne’s first top 10 single in 30 years, and it led to Ozzy working with Malone producer Andrew Watt on his all-star comeback album Ordinary Man. Two of the collaborators on that LP, Hall inductees Chad Smith (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Duff McKagan (of Guns N’ Roses), would also be good choices.

Jane’s Addiction – Rock Hall inductees Nirvana get most of the credit for pounding the grungy nail in hair metal’s Spandex-lined coffin, but it was this band of artsy L.A. street urchins that started the first wave of that sea change. By artfully mixing heavy metal thunder, jam-band jungle boogie, and piñata-smashing punk-funk into a cacophony of (Tijuana) biblical proportions, Jane’s orchestrated a seismic shift beneath the Sunset Strip’s asphalt — becoming the unlikely hottest draw in the ’80s Hollywood scene. Their studio debut, Nothing’s Shocking, was a druggy death-rock masterwork that influenced the Seattle scene too. But they never got the props that Nirvana or their above-mentioned Los Angeles peers RHCP and GNR did, because they imploded shorty after 1990′s Ritual de lo Habitual made them MTV darlings. However, frontman Perry Farrell’s masterminding of the game-changing alt-rock Lollapalooza festival tour alone makes his band induction-worthy.

Potential inductor: Jane’s contemporary and occasional Jane’s member Flea would kill this induction speech. And Flea needs to stay for the ceremony-closing jam as well.

Mariah Carey – OK, this will probably be my most controversial pick. But I refuse to entertain any rockist arguments that Mariah is, well, “not rock.” That ship sailed long ago. I fully accept that the Rock Hall has expanded its definition of the admittedly generic term, and if Madonna, Janet Jackson, Donna Summer, and especially Carey’s multi-octave diva peer Whitney Houston can all be in the Hall, then there’s absolutely no reason why Mariah does not qualify. She is one of the all-time finest vocalists (right up there with Whitney, Aretha, and Celine) and biggest hitmakers, and she’s co-written much her material, including the top-selling holiday song in RIAA history, the 14-times-platinum perennial “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” She overcame a traumatic childhood and mental health struggles to become one of the top pop stars of her generation (or any generation), and she orchestrated one of the greatest comebacks in music history after that Glitter fiasco, something Frampton couldn’t even pull off after Sgt. Pepper. (Side note: Glitter really wasn’t all that bad.) And for those of you looking for a “rock”-oriented reason to induct Carey, her cover of Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” is pretty sweet. Plus, she keeps hinting that her secret/shelved 1995 alt-rock album, Someone’s Ugly Daughter, might finally get an official release, and timing that with the Hall ceremony would be a genius marketing move.

Potential inductor: Any number of young divas influenced by Mimi would do, including Adele or logical successor Ariana Grande. But since an adorably awestruck Miley Cyrus devoted much of her first-ever Grammy acceptance speech this month to praising her iconic presenter, the other “MC,” let’s keep that MC-squared lovefest going and have Miley do the honors here.

Oasis – If I’m being totally honest, I should probably grant this final spot to the long-overlooked A Tribe Called Quest, who’ve become a sentimental favorite since the death of member Phife Dawg. But for admittedly selfish reasons, I am going with Oasis, even if I think they peaked too early and it was all downhill after Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?. Why? Well, first of all, there’s no Britpop representation in the often-xenophobic Rock Hall — and while I’d love to see Blur, Suede, or Pulp get the glory, that definitely, not maybe, won’t happen. (Blur frontman Damon Albarn’s “side-project,” Gorillaz, has a better shot at an eventual induction, really.) Second, this might be the only way to bring about a Gallagher brothers reunion. And finally, I am here for all the drama, especially since the Hall of Fame ceremony is now live-streamed. I almost want Liam to just ghost the ceremony and end up heckling Noel from the peanut-gallery balcony, MTV Unplugged-in-1996-style. I’m sure Oasis would make the Fame telecast producers’ lives hell  but they’d no doubt make for popcorn-passing good TV.

Potential inductor: Let’s just have the Gallaghers induct each other and turn their stage time into an expletive-filled roast. Bring it on.

Rock Hall 2024


The Class of 2024 ceremony will once again stream live (this year from Cleveland) on Disney+ this fall; inductees will be announced in late April. In the meantime, fans can cast their own ballots at vote.rockhall.com.

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