30+ Musicians Who Don't Deserve to be in the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame


Back in the day, before they were kidnapped and replaced by holographic versions of themselves, ABBA were huge. The catchy choruses and glitzy one-piece outfits made Benny, Björn, Anni-Frid, and Agnetha into major stars in the world of... pop music.

While their songs are undoubtedly great and will forever fill the dance floors of wedding receptions, ABBA lacks any rock 'n' roll edge, making their 2010 induction into the Hall of Fame a strange and not exactly fitting one.


KISS is a band only recognizable to the current generation because they've seen their painted faces and band logo on knock-off band t-shirts at thrift stores. They lack any hits that would keep Gen-Z on their feet.

It's quite likely that the face paint and silly costumes were the driving forces in getting the band into the Hall of Fame. Regardless, their place should have been stripped from them the moment Gene Simmons turned his attention to reality TV.

Whitney Houston

If you're ever feeling like you're stuck in the wrong place, remind yourself that Whitney Houston is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Like Moroccan goats in trees, nobody quite knows how or why she got there.

Houston was only ever a pop singer. If anything, Houston's mother Cissy is more deserving of a place in the hall, having sung backup vocals for Elvis and Jimi Hendrix in her time. How cool is that?

Duran Duran

Duran Duran's inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is almost upsetting. In their 1980s peak, they were posers, the sort of guys you'd see getting out of a Ferrari outside a nightclub to crowds of screaming and swooning women.

How they managed to convince the decision-makers that it was their time to enter the illustrious hall, nobody will ever know. Maybe Simon Le Bon, who likes to be called Charlie, schmoozed them with some of his faux-suave small talk.


The members of N.W.A. have simply had too many individual controversies to be allowed into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, from Ice Cube's allegedly anti-semitic lyrics to Dr. Dre's various domestic violence scandals.

They no doubt had a huge influence on hip-hop, but wouldn't it be preferential if Hall of Fame inductees could also be a positive influence on the young people who aspire to be in their position?

Sheryl Crow

It may surprise you to know that Sheryl Crow somehow managed to squeeze her way into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2023. It's a strange call indeed, considering Crow has never even nudged a musical boundary, let alone pushed one.

In fact, Sheryl Crow's influence on the world of music and songwriting is so minimal, that it's hard to even know what cheap gag to make about her recent inclusion. Good luck to her!


Despite singer Annie Lennox being a massively compelling performer, Eurythmics' inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is dubious. The duo has a couple of songs that have stood the test of time, but most don't pass muster.

Eurythmics were the product of a generation where a synthesizer could get you anywhere. You could argue that Eurythmics did more with their synthesizer than most, but there are plenty of acts with a stronger case to appear in the Hall of Fame.

Deep Purple

Same old, same old. Deep Purple are just another of those rock bands from the '70s that churned out the same songs as their counterparts. Then again, it seems like that's all you need to bag a spot in the Hall of Fame.

It may sound great to those with a keen interest in rock music from that era, but to everyone else, Deep Purple sound like an eye roll and stink of hairspray. Hopefully, the hall is running out of 70s sludge rockers to induct.

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is a long-haired artist who enjoyed the majority of his success in the '70s. Oh dear. Needless to say, his brand of rock music was done to its absolute death, and little of it has stood the test of time.

Cooper lacked the wit and artistic capabilities to challenge some of his contemporaries at the top, ultimately turning himself into a novelty act. Eventually, that novelty wore off, and Cooper has resorted to making ill-meaning jibes at certain sections of society. Yikes.

Foo Fighters

Such was the cultural impact that Dave Grohl's previous band Nirvana, anything coming after would surely not stack up. That's exactly what happened with Foo Fighters, a band trying to sound like they have an edge, just in a family-friendly manner.

The band has a handful of decent singles, but they haven't really changed the face of the scene like Nirvana did. It was probably inevitable that they'd end up in the Hall of Fame though, given Grohl's commercial darling status.

Green Day

There's something about Green Day that just doesn't seem genuine. It might be the fact they were forcing themselves to be angry at everything for many, many years after their breakout record Dookie was released way back in the early 1990s.

The band's anger did eventually wane - but they ended up swinging too far the other way. The band has ended up with their own Broadway show and now exists in a climate where only around two of their songs have any bite.

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode was a more interesting group than many of their other synth-pop counterparts, putting out a couple of really impressive singles during the 1980s. However, they only really managed to have the UK captivated, with the USA giving them a lukewarm reception.

In this case, you have to judge their inclusion on whether other acts of their style and generation could have been included instead. You could make the case for a few, with New Order and the Pet Shop Boys top of the list.


Yes, Eminem did a lot to bring hip-hop and rap into the mainstream, and for a while, he was the most successful white man in the genre. It's his inclination towards violence that taints his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

The fact that it's called the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame also makes his inclusion seem a bit strange. Eminem seems like the type of guy who has never even entertained the thought of throwing on an AC/DC record.

Janet Jackson

The inclusion of Janet Jackson's brother Michael, and to some extent the inclusion of The Jackson 5, into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is justified. However, Janet Jackson's inclusion as a solo artist seems to be a tad baffling.

A string of pretty average albums and some ordinary singles don't seem worthy of a place in the illustrious hall, especially given that Jackson's sound is far from rock 'n' roll. There are plenty of others who could have taken her place.


Jay-Z is one of the most famous rappers of his time, breaking numerous commercial records during the peak of his career. His fame only escalated when news got out that he was dating the ultra-famous Beyoncé, formerly of Destiny's Child.

Jay-Z leaned more and more into the commercial side of music as the years went on, ending up as more of a money-making machine than a genuine musical artist. That trajectory should not grant him entry into the Hall of Fame.

LL Cool J

LL Cool J was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, alongside fellow rapper Jay-Z. It seems that the Hall of Fame induction panel was really trying to emphasize that they had worked out what rap music was.

You can't doubt LL Cool J's rap credentials, given that he worked his way up to the top of his game and stayed there. You can doubt his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame credentials, though, as he's a world away from it.

Missy Elliott

Dive deep into Missy Elliott's back catalog and... well, it's actually not that deep. She's hardly the most prolific artist, having largely gone missing since the mid-2000s. She seemed to prioritize production work after her initial career peak, which explains her absence.

Then you have the argument as to whether the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should continue inducting artists that are not remotely linked to the genre. Missy Elliott's music is so far from rock 'n' roll that her inclusion is bemusing.


It's surprisingly easy to conclude that Madonna's influence on pop music has been somewhat exaggerated throughout her career. Yes, she was at one point the biggest pop star in the world, but she never managed to write her own number-one singles.

For all her hits, there were also a lot of misses. The whole Madame X thing never landed in the way it was intended to, and her image has been dented by numerous bizarre tirades. Plus, she's never made a rock album!

Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys produced some memorable material in their heyday, releasing songs that built bridges between the contrasting worlds of rap and rock music. The problem is, they were obsessed with pretending to be something they were not.

They were the sons of well-off parents pretending to be guys who came from the rougher side of town, which was hugely annoying. No matter how catchy their hits, there is nothing punk about pretending to be harried underdogs.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis made a huge impact on the genre of rock 'n' roll in the late '50s with the release of his major hit, Great Balls of Fire. However, his career was soon derailed by his own personal dramas.

His reputation took a nosedive when news got out that he, at the age of 22, had married his 13-year-old cousin. It should go without saying that celebrating such a man, regardless of his contributions to the genre, is pretty gross.

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp, formerly known as Johnny Cougar, has written a few decent tunes over the years, although you're unlikely to have heard any of them unless you are of a certain age. Nevertheless, his eligibility for the Hall of Fame divided opinion.

That's because a lot of his music just falls flat. It's like he was trying to write songs for Bruce Springsteen but only got half way there. His inclusion is another example of the Hall of Fame panel scrambling for potential entrants.

The Dave Clark Five

Unfortunately, Dave Clark's music is not nearly as strong as his eyebrows. In fact, a lot of The Dave Clark Five's hits sound too basic and very much lacking in substance compared to the work of the group's many contemporaries.

Longevity says a lot about an artist's talents and credibility, and The Dave Clark Five's peak lasted less than two years. An inability to continue developing exciting new sounds has left the group languishing in the past.

Cat Stevens

While Cat Stevens/Yusuf has released two or three real standout songs during his long career, a lot of his work lies in the severely mundane category, with a lot of his legacy lying in Wild World and Father and Son.

Stevens should be respected for the longevity of his career, but whether he is a justified entrant in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame remains debatable. Especially when you look at some of the artists that have yet to be inducted.

Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro is a non-conformist, which should be a cause for celebration in the music industry. However, her work is not impactful enough, groundbreaking enough, or even famous enough to be considered worthy of a Hall of Fame spot.

Nyro deserves a great deal of respect for being a true artist, but the decision to include her in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame seems like it was made because someone on the judging panel was a big fan.

Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens did show an extreme amount of potential before his untimely death at the age of 17, when he was aboard the fateful flight carrying himself, Buddy Holly, and Big Bopper. His loss was a heartbreaking one for music.

However, this is where a heavy level of cynicism is needed. While La Bamba is no doubt a hit for the ages, did Valens produce enough in his short career to be regarded among the greats of rock 'n' roll?

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

The tragic tale of Frankie Lymon, a child star who struggled with fame and tragically passed at the age of 25, has been told many times before. It serves as a reminder of what can happen if artists are not fully protected.

However, aside from Why do Fools Fall in Love?, what exactly did Lymon and his backing group, The Teenagers, have to offer? It remains another case of being inducted into the Hall of Fame off the back of one great song.

Del Shannon

If anyone was ever inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame off the back of one song, it's Del Shannon. Shannon wasn't one of the standout artists of his time, and his song Runaway is the only one anyone knows.

It remains a mystery to many as to why he was inducted in 1999, the same year as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and the magical Dusty Springfield. It seems as though nostalgia gets you a long way with the panel.

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin had a nice voice, but did he have a back catalog worthy of a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? It's unlikely that most would think so, with Mack the Knife the only track that's stuck around.

Darin wasn't a bad singer or anything, he's just an example of the Hall of Fame's huge chasm in standards. Should artists with just one or two decent songs really be held in the same regard as bands like The Beatles?

The Lovin' Spoonful

Including The Lovin' Spoonful in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame always seemed a strange move. They had a handful of hits in the 1960s, but they failed to have the sort of groundbreaking influence that many of their contemporaries had.

They obviously don't come close to the likes of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones in terms of popularity and influence. They didn't transform the live music scene in the way bands such as The Grateful Dead did, either.

Joan Jett

The more you think about Joan Jett's inclusion into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the more confusing it gets. She only just escapes the tag one-hit-wonder, thanks to two other songs that squeezed into the top ten of the charts.

Ultimately, she simply does not have the portfolio to suggest that she should be inducted into the Hall of Fame itself. Maybe they did it because her only major global hit contains the phrase rock and roll in the title.

Percy Sledge

Ah, Percy Sledge. Nobody can deny that When a Man Loves a Woman is an unbelievable tune, worthy of a spot in a song-based Hall of Fame. However, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is unfortunately not based on individual songs.

There remains very little in Sledge's catalog that would suggest his suitability for an induction, other than a handful of alright soul songs. Plus, many of the songs he covered had already been made famous by other artists before him.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band always showed hints of promise back in their time, with excellent musicianship and a captivating sound. However, they never managed to get any killer original material over the line, failing to write and produce any hits.

One of the entry requirements of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should surely be that the band in contention has had at least three objectively great songs. Songs that can be appreciated by those with no interest in the genre.


This one may be a tad controversial because the members of Rush certainly have top-level musical ability... they just don't have the songs. You'd be hard-pressed to find many people who can name more than one Rush song if asked.

It's great that they can play those sparse, ambient progressive rock songs, but at least give people a chorus to grab onto. It's also quite ironic that the band are called 'Rush' when their songs tend to last around 20 minutes.


Journey like to think that they make heavy, classic rock music, but unfortunately their only radio play comes from easy-listening stations. Their main hit is, of course, Don't Stop Believin' - the upbeat anthem that got old insanely fast.

Perhaps Journey would be better if they weren't adamant about sticking to the 80s rock band dress code, which has aged like milk. The long hair, the jazzy patterns on their shirts, the leather trousers - it's all a bit much.

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi's brand of rock music had already reached parody status by the time they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Learn a few power chords, scream-sing a chorus, and you too can be Bon Jovi!

The worst part about Bon Jovi's inclusion in the Hall of Fame is the fact that their best, most memorable songs all relied on outside writing influence. You'd think that with as many members the band has, they could figure things out themselves.

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar is another inducted act who seems to care more about presenting herself as a rockstar rather than being one. Hit Me With Your Best Shot is her most famous offering, but it sure wears thin after about three-and-a-half listens.

Hall of Famers should be the ones that stick out from the rest of their generation's most famous musicians, the ones that provide the world with at least a handful of instantly recognizable classics. Not people that you have to Google.

Def Leppard

Def Leppard is a band your dad would wax lyrical about for ten minutes before realizing he was thinking about Mötley Crüe. It's easy to get any band from that era mixed up amidst the sea of long hair and leather outfits.

The issue with Def Leppard is that they've tried to carry their iconic look into the present day, but have instead ended up looking like two older gentlemen who have decided to go to a Pamela Anderson convention in fancy dress.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

It's hard to imagine the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction committee sitting around a table listening to Anthony Kiedis talk jibberish over a guitar track and thinking: "This lot should be held in the highest musical regard."

It's hard to imagine... until you realize that the band's then-manager sat on the induction committee in 2012 when they were drafted in. You'll be surprised to know that the band kept all their clothes on when accepting their award.

Stevie Nicks

By all means, include Stevie Nicks in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame based on her work with Fleetwood Mac. Nobody can dispute their greatness, which is why they were inducted in 1998. However, Stevie Nicks' solo work is not as rocking.

Aside from Edge of Seventeen and her wondrous ability to swirl around in loose-fitting dresses, did Stevie Nicks set the world alight post-Fleetwood Mac? It doesn't seem right that she managed to squeeze in there before the likes of other rock icons.

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie has always been the artist you put on to satisfy an indecisive retirement home common room. His blander-than-bland approach to pop music shrinks into the background in the same manner as the noise from an extractor fan.

It's the fact that Richie has neither rocked nor rolled throughout his undeniably long career in music that makes his inclusion just feel wrong. How can he sit in the Hall of Fame alongside greats such as Hendrix, The Beatles, and Elton John?


Sure, AC/DC may have a whole lot of fans, but does that really mean they moved music forward enough to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

AC/DC are terrible. They write the exact same song every single time and have no ambition beyond paint-by-numbers guitar solos.

Louis Armstrong

Few people have beef with Louis Armstrong but this induction was a bit misplaced to say the very least, based purely on musical genre.

The guy who sang about how wonderful the world is? A lovely song, sure - but hardly rock and roll.

Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan is one the greatest and most popular artists of all time, bursting onto the scene in the 1980s.

She is pure pop, though. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? No way.


Aerosmith has, what, two good songs? One of which was a collab with Run-DMC while the other written for a dumb space movie.

Little more than a slightly louder Rolling Stones tribute act, they haven't written anywhere near enough bangers to count themselves among rock royalty.

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke's life was tragically cut short at the age of 33 so this one feels a little harsh - but as great as his voice was, it was soul.

Who knows, Cooke may well have gone on to become a rock and roll legend but all we have are his other, non-rocky treasures.

Leonard Cohen

The late Leonard Cohen was a special, special boy. Good looking, talented, a name that can be shortened to "Leo", this guy had it all.

Well, almost. He had it all... except a knack for rock and roll. Cohen's songs are far too slow, downbeat and intellectual.

The Cure

If only there were a cure to the malaise one feels after being subjected to a song by British goth rock pioneers The Cure.

Robert and the boys should have admitted they were never gonna be The Smiths and hung up their boots in the 80s.

Neil Diamond

Did you know that Neil Diamond has sold over 130 million albums worldwide? You do now. Still doesn't mean he should've been inducted.

Diamond, talented as he is, is a tad... variety, isn't he? He's a residency kind of act. A company man who can please undemanding easy listening fans.

Dire Straits

Dire Straits should've left the second bit off of their name, ripped up their record contract and gone into isolation.

Nobody likes them. Nobody with anything about them, anyway. This is radio rock nothingness designed to demean the giant that is British musical heritage.

The Doors

Is there a door we can throw Jim (RIP) and the rest in and lock behind them? If so, get in touch.

Enough time has lapsed. The acid has cooled off. Let's be brave and admit that The Doors are self-indulgent claptrap.

Earth, Wind and Fire

Do you remembah... when Earth, Wind and Fire released all the rock and roll songs? Nope! Disco legends for sure, but not rock.

These boys knew how to boogie on down, but that doesn't equate to rock and roll. Let's not get the genres confused.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin wanted, more than anything, respect. So please, let's do away with the idea she was rock and roll.

Franklin had one of the greatest singing voices ever, and never allowed anyone to trample all over her, but her music was pure R&B.


Nobody ever hears Genesis on the radio and goes, "Oh great, a Genesis song!" Listeners would have to request the band's music to begin with.

The band's respective frontmen Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins may have released some bangers as solo artists, but Genesis classics are few and far between.

George Michael

We love George Michael. Anyone who doesn't need sectioning immediately. That said, he was a pop singer-songwriter through and through.

This being the case, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should have never come knocking for the late Michael.

Guns N' Roses

"Yes!" fans of Guns N' Roses say when they hear one of their songs. "3 minutes of filler rock with screeching vocals!"

Just because Guns N' Roses are a famous rock band doesn't mean they automatically qualify as hall of fame worthy.

Hall and Oates

When the DJ drops a Hall and Oates banger, not one person is complaining. But like a lot of other entries here, they are not rock and roll.

Somebody please create a pop hall of fame and put the rest of us out of this confusing misery, because we can't go for that. No can do.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson may have liked to wear leather jackets in his music videos but he was about as rock and roll as the Windows XP background.

There are many things Jackson can be called, and Rock and roll Hall of Famer shouldn't be one of them.

Elton John

Hey, who doesn't love a bit of Elton John? But he'd have been better off calling Rocket Man "Rock Man" in order to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

His melodic piano-driven music may have captivated listeners for decades, but it's far too light and poppy to be classed as rock.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin seemed like a good egg but was her output (admittedly cut short) all that good? The answer is no.

Some may have been impressed by her high-octane screeching, but others found it unlistenable, and her actual music was fair to middling at best.


Kraftwerk were true musical revolutionaries... in the field of techno. Rock and roll? Maybe in attitude, but not in any other sense.

Is there a Techno Hall of Fame? Hopefully, because Kraftwerk deserve to be inducted before anyone else. But anyway you cut it, their music isn't rock and roll.

Brenda Lee

Just because Brenda Lee claimed to have been rockin' around the Christmas tree doesn't mean she was rock and roll.

If anything, Brenda Lee was swingin' around the Christmas tree. It's a festive favorite that we all enjoy, but that doesn't make her a rock and roll icon.

Bob Marley

You have to be a misanthrope to hate Bob Marley. And you apparently have to be deaf to work at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bob Marley was reggae through and through, and boy do we miss him. As great and enduring as his music may be, it isn't rock and roll.


Metallica are like the Michael Bay of music: big and loud but ultimately empty. Being a rock band isn't enough in this case.

Go and join the Overrated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more like! Or don't join any. Just please write some good music.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman has provided us many gifts in song form, particularly across the Toy Story films, but let's get it straight.

Randy Newman is not rock and roll. Even if he wore a leather jacket and shredded an electric guitar he wouldn't. Sorry, Rand.


Wouldn't it have been great if Biggie Smalls' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was all a dream?

Alas, it was real. As real as his lyrics. With all due respect to the late rapper, he is very much not rock and roll.

Pink Floyd

From their psychedelic days to their prog rock superstardom, Pink Floyd always specialized in producing experimental music. Some love it - others are sent to sleep by it.

Call us harsh, but we'd put the tired British rock dinosaurs in a space shuttle with a one way ticket to the dark side of the moon.

The Police

The Police are a highly-influential band that lit up the 1980s like few others. Unfortunately, they're also insufferable, and almost unlistenable today.

The British trio's reggae-inspired post-punk may have been distinctive, but was it really rock and roll? And does anyone really care about them anymore?


Queen's enduring popularity has a lot to do with the legacy of tragic frontman Freddie Mercury, and a whole lot less to do with their music.

Let's be honest now, the British band's discography is riddled with camp and corny nonsense that hasn't held up well at all.


It's easy to bag on U2 so this entry almost feels a little futile. Still, a mediocre stadium rock band is a mediocre stadium rock band.

Nonetheless, U2 were inducted in 2005 along with Buddy Guy and The Pretenders (who, unlike them, are actually rock and roll).

Billy Joel

Billy Joel didn't start the fire but he did start a debate about whether he was rock and roll enough for the Hall of Fame.

In our opinion, no, he isn't. Why? Because we said so. Don't like it? Write your own list of rock and roll legends and put him on there.