There’s still time to vote.
No, not in the mid-terms. Mercifully, those are over.
But you can still vote for the nominees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2019 at the Hall’s website.
Each year that a new class of inductees is announced, rock fans find themselves wondering, “How did THOSE acts get in?”
Many of those fans are not aware that they have a vote—one per day, to be precise, until December 9 when the polls close.
So who do you get to choose from this year?
In alphabetical order: The Cure, Def Leppard, Devo, Janet Jackson, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, MC5, Stevie Nicks, John Prine, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Roxy Music, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren and The Zombies.
How did they get nominated in the first place? Well, keep in mind that the Hall was established in 1983, and the first class was inducted in 1986. That group included ten pioneers of the form, mostly 1950s legends like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley.
Round two in 1987 included more inevitable choices: Roy Orbison, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Having honored rock’s most important influences, the Hall dove headfirst into the seminal 1960s with the 1988 class, which included the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the Supremes.
In each subsequent year, the Hall has continued to induct the biggest remaining names in rock, from the Rolling Stones and the Byrds to Madonna and Metallica.
How it works
That doesn’t leave many household names to choose from, but there are still dozens of fan favorites from which to assemble a yearly class of nominees.
To be eligible, each new act must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to becoming eligible. After that, it’s an annual mosh pit to see who survives the winnowing process for the class of five.
That process is started each year by the Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s nominating committee, which has been chaired since 1992 by Jon Landau, the former music critic who turned Bruce Springsteen into a star by producing his Born to Run album in 1975.
Musicians Dave Grohl (Nirvana and Foo Fighters), Robbie Robertson (The Band), Amir “Questlove” Thompson (The Roots), Miami Steve Van Zandt (E Street Band), Paul Shaffer (World’s Most Dangerous Band) and Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith group) are also on the committee, along with music critics and industry insiders.
Beginning in 2012, fans have been allowed to vote from among the nominees when the list is announced in October. Fans may vote for up to five acts, once per day, at the Hall of Fame web site.
It is mostly a symbolic vote; the top five vote-getters from the public comprise one ballot that will be weighted the same as the ballots submitted by each of the 1,000 Rock and Roll Hall members, artists, historians and music industry types who make up the annual voting body.
This year’s class of inductees will be announced later in December, and the induction ceremony will be held in Brooklyn on March 29, 2019.
Out in front
As of this writing, the top five vote-getters are, in order, Def Leppard, Nicks, Rundgren, the Zombies and the Cure. Janet Jackson and Devo are, at this point, the next two in line, with a fair amount of ground to make up.
Will it lead to more record sales or concert tickets sold for the winning acts? A slight bump at first, but in the long run, probably not.
The Rolling Stones certainly don’t bother to tout their membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when they go on tour. As the years go by, however, it certainly means more to the newer acts being inducted, as it bestows upon them the same honor as that given to the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Smokey Robinson.
As a lifetime achievement award, it is also a harder bar to clear than a Grammy, which is often claimed by one-hit wonders.
Who gets the Considerable vote
We’re going to get purely subjective here: How in the name of Buddy Holly is Todd Rundgren still on the outside looking in?
He’s been a guiding force in rock ‘n’ roll since his band, the Nazz, released its first album in 1968, containing two of rock’s greatest songs: Open My Eyes, a killer psychedelic raver, and Hello, It’s Me, a classic ballad Rundgren re-recorded for a hit in 1972.
He’s recorded more than two dozen albums and produced/engineered influential albums by the New York Dolls, XTC, The Band, Badfinger, Jesse Winchester, Patti Smith and Grand Funk. He’s also been on the cutting edge of music videos and internet music delivery for decades.
The Rock Hall should present him with a formal apology along with his statuette.
Of this year’s front-runners, the Zombies come the closest to the ideal rock band—a huge dose of creativity to go with the beat. Back on tour again after their all-too-brief original run (1964-1968), the band is best known for three unforgettable hits: She’s Not There, Tell Her No and Time of the Season, and a hugely influential concept album, Odyssey and Oracle.
Despite this modest output, any objective perusal of their recorded output (roughly 75 songs) shows that they never recorded a bad track or wrote a mediocre song. They can proudly walk in the front door of the Hall.
Who would you vote for? Go to our Facebook page and tell us!