One of the pillars of Chicago soul in the 60's Lance wracked up more than a dozen hits in that decade, two of which, "The Monkey Time" and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um", remain staples of the genre to this day. Yet the Windy City soul sound which was huge throughout the decade is woefully underrepresented in the Hall with only the Impressions making it so far, and so if they're searching for another candidate Lance fits the bill and is highly regarded by connoisseurs of the style.
With one of the most impressive debut albums in rock history, "She's So Unusual", Lauper burst upon the scene in the mid-80's and seemed to signify the increasingly dominant presence of female stars that helped to define the era. Lauper's songwriting, her quirky personality and image made her stand out as something other than a media creation, but unlike her biggest competitor at the time Madonna, the hits dried up for Lauper after a few exhilerating years. Yet she had enough of them while on top to make her mark as one of the decade's most iconic figures.
Huey Lewis & The News
Though today they get little respect Huey Lewis & The News were among the most dominant artists of the 80's, both in singles and albums, utilized the video form as well as anyone in MTV's early days, and they helped define the decade musically with their back-to-basics rock style. For too long voters have used image as a determining factor with some candidates, and Lewis, who once said it was hip to be square, may fall prey to that at first, but 12 Top Ten hits are too big to ignore forever and so they should get in eventually.
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Lost amidst the general dismissal of the 80's and its various popular, but sometimes critically reviled subgenres, is one of the more interesting acts of the decade. Early advocates of the mixing of sung vocals with hip-hop beats, they scored a few huge hits, had major album success and a surprising amount of stealthy influence, then got ignored historically once their time had passed, as if none of it had occurred. Their producers, Full Force, spearheaded the soon to be dominant trend of a distinctive production-based sound that would see full bloom in the next decade within hip-hop.
LL Cool J
The most dominant solo star in rap's first 15 years, LL Cool J was among those most responsible for bringing the style from the fringes of music to the mainstream. His role as rap's first sex symbol and setting much of the fashion trends and style of hip-hop were vital in ensuring its growth, but it was his rapping skills themselves that pushed the envelope at the time. His song structures and diversity gave rap an accessibility it needed at the time, bringing both harder edged disses and romantic topics into the forefront, both hugely influential in shifting the subject matter from its early boastful party style. His huge success (9 Top Ten albums) not only made the Def Jam label a major player in music, but also ensured that rap itself was seen as commercially viable and long lasting, with Cool J among the first to cross into mainstream culture where he remains still.
On the commercial side Love is among the least likely candidates for induction, as they were virtually unknown outside their Los Angeles home base, but the critical side makes them a constant threat. Their "Forever Changes" album is considered to be among the greatest ever released and frontman/songwriter Arthur Lee was one of the most inspired musical geniuses to emerge from the late 60's. Maybe a long shot based on sheer accomplishment but not without a chance thanks to their enduring lofty reputation.
One of the longer lasting vocal groups had hits in four decades, from the mid-60's to the 90's, and were a dominant force in the 70's when they scored their lone #1 hit on the Pop Charts, as well as 9 others that hit the Top Ten on the R&B Charts. They were widely respected over the years and have plenty of support from within the music community for at least a nomination. The fact that the style itself is still struggling to get the respect from voters it deserves makes their chances seem even more remote right now, but that could change.
Motown groups tend to be lumped together by some to begin with and without a "big name" lead that people can instantly identify those groups often get viewed as faceless interchangeable cogs in the Motown machine. But it was the Marvelettes who put the label on the map with "Please Mr Postman", the first #1 pop hit the company had, which solidified Motown's standing considerably when they needed it most. Eight more Top Ten R&B Hits followed and they were one of the first - and most diverse sounding - female groups of note in rock 'n' roll which by rights should be more than enough. Long overdue.
A group whose chances at being considered are difficult to gauge, for while they had definite impact as the originators of trip-hop, a style combining electronica and hip-hop, along with variants of dub, jazz, acid house and more, which became a dominant British style of rock in the 90's, they failed to make much headway in the U.S. That split in historical perception has proven impossible to overcome to date for the many post-70's British-oriented acts who might otherwise be strong candidates. Until that glass ceiling is broken by someone with even more widespread acclaim than they have, it's unlikely that Massive Attack are more than an outside shot at best for now, but they definitely added a unique blend to rock's incredibly diverse recipe as the century came to a close and down the road their candidacy may become more plausible.
Groundbreaking proto-punk band whose attitude defined the style to come. Like many in that sub genre they were without much commercial success but commanded a huge underground following with one near-immortal live album to their credit which launched their career. In the process they completely altered the image of Detroit music, which had been dominated by Motown's accessible style, but now took on a nastier edge thanks to them. Now that the Stooges have gotten in it bodes well for their own chances at recognition in the future.
Thrash metal's leading exponents whose albums were all hugely successful, even without the crossover hits, something that plagues metal acts in general. For a style of rock that has been around as long as metal has and with consistent popularity it begs for more representation in the Hall of Fame, which after all is supposed to celebrate all forms of rock 'n' roll and would therefore be reasonably proportionate to those styles place in rock. Considering their history in neglecting so many rock styles it may seem unlikely that metal's chances overall will improve with time, but Megadeth remain an outside candidate to break the logjam eventually.
Harold Melvin And The Bluenotes
One of the longest lasting groups out there, they began way back in 1954 and had only one very minor hit (in 1960) until the seventies when they exploded with the aptly titled smash "If You Don't Know Me By Now". Their rise coincided with the arrival of new lead singer Teddy Pendergrass, one of the 70s most distinctive voices, and while their fortunes faded after Pendergrass went solo in 1977, the group with him were solid performers and notched four hits that topped the R&B Charts.
One of the top instrumental units in rock history, The Meters not only scored a succession of hits on their own starting in the late 60's with some of the most sinewy laid back funky records of all-time, eventually adding vocals to the mix mid-career, but they also were the de facto backing band for much of what emerged from New Orleans in the 60's and 70's, as well as being sought after by some of the biggest artists from all corners of the rock world. The Meters work on their own should be more than enough to get them in, as the four members all are among the greatest on their instruments rock has seen, but when adding their prodigious session work to the mix, they should be automatic selections.
Maybe a decent dark-horse candidate among the recent eligibles, as the Hall's preference for the distant past might be usurped by a critical favorite with an eclectic style from a recent era to try and prove their relevance isn't completely gone. It's still tough to call him a sure thing considering the Hall's utter lack of respect for both post-70's rock and especially electronic dance music (Chic has been knocking at the door for how many years now without getting in?), so the odds are still against him for sure. But his credentials, should anyone care to look, are solid, as he was vital in spreading EDM in the 90's and beyond, very well respected throughout the music community and has branched out into so many different areas that he's not lacking for broad impact despite somewhat middling chart performance.
Don't laugh, the Monkees have more than enough success and plenty of influence in the rise of the video to be considered strong contenders under normal circumstances. The problem is their image, beginning with how they were formed for a TV show and the nagging belief that they were never authentic artists. Though accepted by the music community at the time (Hendrix opened for them, Neil Young and Steven Stills played with them, Lennon was a huge fan) their credibility today is non-existent. Probably have no chance despite credentials that put most of the recently inducted 60's acts to shame.
Pioneers of speed metal which became a dominant form of the style following the heavier incarnations of the early 70's, gives them a large amount of influence. But relatively little commercial success to speak of and influence in a rock sub genre that is still widely ignored by the Hall voters doesn't make it likely they'll ever be considered let alone inducted, but they would be a daring choice from an establishment not known for making many of them.
My Bloody Valentine
There have been relatively few artists to make the Hall of Fame for their influence alone and that's the ticket that My Bloody Valentine would have to punch in order to be considered. Among the premiere underground bands of the 80's whose experiments with noise and feedback inspired legions of followers that took the form into the heady days of the alternative revolution in the early 90's. My Bloody Valentine were perhaps the most accomplished in the studio of their cohorts, but they also gained a reputation as strong, if unusually distant, live act. A lack of notable crossover success remains their stumbling block to greater acclaim.
New York Dolls
A very long shot with only influence as their hole card but if the history of 70's rock is accurately written then the Dolls will have to be mentioned early and often making their exclusion from even outside consideration for the Rock Hall seem strange. They're just the type of identifiable name that could find a surge of support if they ever make the ballot, especially now that most of the major punk acts have been enshrined already.
Nine Inch Nails
Essentially a one-man group of Trent Reznor's creation, NIN's industrial rock sound merged well with the alt-rock movement of the 90's resulting in a string of classic songs and huge albums, branching out into movie scores and acclaimed production work for other artists. Along the way he not only brought industrial rock to wider audiences, but on the basis of the band's growing popularity helped to make the first Lollapalooza festival tour a success. Wildly ambitious and not afraid to take risks he battled record companies for creative control, struggled with censors over video content and sidestepped the industry's traditional outlets in order to distribute his music the way he wanted. Uncompromising and influential and one of the defining artists of the 90's.
The Ohio Players
If the sampling of their work can keep their name alive the Ohio Players might eventually get looked at. That it hasn't happened yet though isn't a good omen. One of the premiere 70's funk bands with some notoriously steamy album covers to boot, they began way back in the early 60's backing the Falcons and they managed to thrive well into the disco era, scoring two #1 hits, but in the years since they've had little mainstream recognition for their accomplishments.
Pet Shop Boys
Considering the failure of more prominent synth-pop artists to make the Hall thus far, extending even to mainstream rock acts from the 80's who prominently used synths in their records as it was the dominant sound of the day without those artists ever being housed in pure synth-based subgenres, it's probably far-fetched to think a duo that defined that style for years would get any recognition. But The Pet Shop Boys have had plenty of critical acclaim over the years to go with a long string of international hits which at least gives them a pretty strong base of support to build their case from. They remain long shots until the Hall overcomes its resistance to the 80's as a whole and its aversion to synthesizers specifically, but if the bigger names start breaking through then the tide would begin to turn and their candidacy would be better received.
Little Esther Phillips
From her start as the front-woman for Johnny Otis on three huge #1 R&B hits when she was still just 14 in 1950 to her first comeback in 1962 with the country-soul weeper "Release Me", and finally to her widely acclaimed jazzy blues albums in the 70's Phillips was the ultimate survivor and a great vocal interpreter. Probably has a slightly greater chance as an Early Influence, since it has less competition, but worth a look either way. She had a few early nominations (1986 & 1987), but hasn't gotten mentioned since.
Underground band of renown, more influential than commercial, undoubtedly hurting their chances at being seriously considered. It is true that they never cracked the mainstream, with just one single getting significant airplay, and only two of their albums even breaking the Top 100. However, within the growing indie rock community they were idolized and for a time anyway were critically adored as well. The changing membership, along with the inability for the style to breakthrough, ultimately made them more of a cult act, but their role in shaping the dissonant sounds of white rock in the 90's was fairly significant.
Considered by many to be the start of the alternative movement, the Pixies' influence alone should make them solid bets for eventual induction, even if their mainstream success was extremely limited. Their musical blueprint, combining harsh abrasive sounds with melodic hooks, shook up the rock world with their debut LP "Surfer Rosa" and its follow-up "Doolittle" but it was left to the next wave of alternative bands to reap the commercial rewards of the style. Yet the Pixies were never relegated to obscurity as the bands who drew from them praised their work incessantly giving them enough renown to be familiar to even casual voters.