Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Non-Performer Candidates

QUALIFICATIONS (on a scale of 1-10)
10 - The Immortals
9 - Deserves To Be A First Ballot Lock
8 - Should Be Guaranteed An Induction
7 - An Eventual Induction Is Likely
6 - Should Be Nominated At Some Point
5 - Worthy Of At Least A Debate For A Nomination
4 - Not Insignificant, But Shouldn't Be Nominated
3 - No Business Being Debated By Committee
2 - No Business Being Even Mentioned
1 - No Business Visiting The Hall Of Fame Without a Ticket

(Note: DDD is not affiliated with the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame)

A category that apparently seems designed to induct (rather than indict) every label owner and executive that robbed, cheated and exploited an artist through the years, along with other personal cronies of the voting body. Though certainly some record company owners are entirely deserving of being enshrined the fact remains that this area of the Hall should be more attuned to honor people who actually contributed to the musical end of the equation such as independent producers, engineers and equipment innovators, not simply heap more praise on those who reaped the financial rewards off the work of others. 

This category encompasses a wide-range of positions, from songwriters, producers and arrangers to executives and media personalities (writers, radio DJ's and historians) making it a grab-bag of behind the scenes figures who helped bring the music to the masses.
Cholly Atkins
The first rock group choreographer Atkins, who had been a well-known dancer, began his association with rock music by devising stage moves for the Cadillacs that made them fan favorites in the mid-50's. His success with them led him to take on that role full-time for Motown Records in the 60's, developing their vocal group stable into the pre-eminent stage artists of their era and influencing everyone who followed that road since.
Qualifications: 6
Arthur Baker
The world's most renowned re-mixer, a vital element in bringing music to live dance audiences which spawns an entirely new market for the music. In addition he's produced or aided in numerous hits for artists from Afrika Bambaataa to Cyndi Lauper to New Order and Bruce Springsteen. The man most responsible for raising house music to a respectable position in rock.
Qualifications: 7
Richard Barrett
The man who essentially conceived the girl group idiom with Chantels in the 50's and then a decade later managed to update the style in the 70's with the Three Degrees. A songwriter and performer as lead singer of the doo wop group The Valentines, he quickly moved to the other side of the business and discovered such legendary artists as Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers and Little Anthony & The Imperials, before switching much of his focus to female artists. Barrett was successful in all areas of rock music he tried and did as much to level the playing field for women in rock as anyone.
Qualifications: 9
Thom Bell & Linda Creed
Among the founders of the Philly-soul style, prolific writers and producers throughout the late 60's and 70's. Few sub genres of rock were as successful as this one and Bell and Creed were at its forefront the entire time, penning hits for the Delfonics ("La La Means I Love You" and "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time"), The Stylistics ("Betcha By Golly Wow", "Break Up To Make Up", "You Make Me Feel Brand New", "You Are Everything" and "I'm Stone In Love With You") and The Spinners ("Rubberband Man"), all of which not only went Top Ten on the R&B Charts but the Pop Charts as well.
Qualifications: 9
Steve Binder
Film director who helmed the first ever rock concert movie, "The T.A.M.I. Show" in 1964, and later directed Elvis Presley's famed "68 Comeback Special". Binder, as much as anyone, showed rock 'n' roll performances themselves had natural dramatic power in motion picture form and much of what followed in rock film - from Woodstock to The Last Waltz - can be traced back to his groundbreaking work.
Qualifications: 6
Boudleaux & Felice Bryant
Writers of much of the Everly Brother's biggest hits, as well as work for Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, scoring numerous #1's along the way, including "Wake Up Little Susie", All I Have To Do Is Dream" and "Bird Dog", along with "Bye Bye Love", plus the oft-covered "Love Hurts". The pre-eminent husband-wife writing team of the 50's that gave birth to an entire wave of similar partnerships over the next few decades.
Qualifications: 7
Vivian Carter, James Bracken and Calvin Carter
Founders and owners of Vee-Jay Records in Chicago, among the first black owned record companies to compete nationally with the larger white labels. Considering most of the white post-war independent record labels have already had their owners and creative teams inducted, the company that succeeded at the same time in the face of even greater societal obstacles should be recognized as well. Artists like The Spaniels and El-Dorados put the label on the map with big hits in the mid-50's and R&R HOF'ers the Dells, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Jerry Butler and the Impressions, even the Four Seasons and Beatles (for early US distribution) all served time on their roster.
Qualifications: 8
Deborah Chessler
As manager and songwriter for the Orioles Chessler was the person behind the scenes most responsible for first seizing upon the connection between the music and the new younger black audience that gave birth to rock's rise. She got them on a national TV show before they ever cut a record, a major feat in the segregated early TV scene, which led to their recording contract.Still vibrant today, she is one of the pioneers of rock music in every way.
Qualifications: 6
Lew Chudd
Founder and owner of Imperial Records, one of the most successful independent labels in rock's first decade-plus. More than anyone it was Chudd who opened up the rich vein of New Orleans to the country, even though his company was based in Los Angeles. Chudd also broke ground by giving executive positions to two blacks, Dave Bartholomew and Eddie Ray, at a time of strict segregation in business. In Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson he had two of the most successful artists of all-time on his label for the bulk of their hitmaking years.
Qualifications: 8
Don Cornelius
Creator/producer of Soul Train, one of the longest running music shows on television and a vital avenue of exposure for black rock artists when it debuted in the early 70's, a time when the relatively new FM Radio outlets were being "formatted" to segregate artists, and listeners, by race. Soul Train's famed dancers reminded all viewers that rock 'n' roll was still dance-based music at its core.
Qualifications: 8
Bob Crewe
Prolific writer/producer, most notably for the Four Seasons and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels. Crewe also penned numerous hits for other artists in a variety of styles beginning with the doo wop classic "Silhouettes" through the disco smash "Lady Marmalade". Held virtually every conceivable role in the music industry from performer to publisher to record label owner and succeeded at them all.
Qualifications: 8
Maxwell Davis
Leading Los Angeles studio arranger on scores of 50's hits in addition to playing saxophone on most of them. Though he never got the acclaim as a producer that those who came after him did once the behind the scenes business of rock music became newsworthy, he was such a huge presence on that scene that chances are if you hear a song cut in LA during the 50's Maxwell Davis had something to do with it. 
Qualifications: 9
Luther Dixon
Writer/producer of note for the Shirelles and others in the early 60's. Among the enduring songs he wrote across all styles are Jimmy Reed's blues classic "Big Boss Man", the immortal doo wop record "Sixteen Candles" by the Crests, Chuck Jackson's uptown soul hit "I Don't Want To Cry" and the moody King Curtis standard "Soul Serenade", not to mention numerous Shirelles smashes. A major force in all aspects of rock 'n' roll.
Qualifications: 8
DJ Kool Herc
The father of hip-hop never got his due in the mainstream which is why he's probably unlikely for induction in a Hall Of Fame that too often caters to a mainstream mind set. But the Hall should also be about educating the masses and recognizing the vital contributions of otherwise obscure names and without Herc there'd be no rap today, for he was the one who conceived of emphasizing the breaks of records at neighborhood parties in the mid-70's and in the process essentially created the foundation of the dominant and most innovative sound of the last thirty years.
Qualifications: 9
Fab Five Freddy
Hip-hop entrepreneur who, among other things, introduced Blondie to rap music, resulting in the groundbreaking hit "Rapture" in which he's mentioned, then conceived, starred in and produced the music for the first rap-based film, "Wild Style", brought the first hip-hop tour to Europe, introducing the music to another culture, and broke down MTV's racially motivated, anti-hip-hop positions which led to him hosting the wildly successful "Yo! MTV Raps", the most popular music show in the network's history.
Qualifications: 5
George Goldner
Few behind the scenes figures exerted as much influence over a specific style of rock as Goldner did for vocal group records (doo wop) of the mid-50's. His record labels - Rama, Gee, Gone, End - housed such notable acts as The Crows, The Wrens, The Valentines, The Cleftones, The Dubs, Little Anthony & The Imperials, The Flamingos, as well as the first girl group of note, The Chantels and most importantly Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers. A visionary who took the sounds of the streets to the mainstream.
Qualifications: 9
Grand Wizard Theodore
The Hall has been uneasy with rap from the start and gets far too much backlash when they DO induct someone from hip-hop so it seems unlikely they'd do so in an area that's not voted on. But the exception might be made here, as Grand Wizard Theodore is the widely credited inventor of the turntable scratching and needle drop techniques that defined early dee jaying. The fact the Hall has included him in hip-hop conferences over the years means he's at least on their radar. 
Qualifications: 7
Rick Hall
Producer, songwriter and co-creator of much of the southern soul sound of the 60's at his own FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, making that small town the most unlikely recording hotspot in the world, where Hall of Famers Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Etta James, The Rolling Stones and countless others cut some of their most enduring hits. In the process he basically invented country-soul while assembling the nucleus of several luminous studio bands along the way before moving into the Pop and Country fields with similar success.
Qualifications: 7
Lee Hazlewood
Producer and engineer who was an innovator in recording techniques, particularly echo and reverb. A former dee-jay turned songwriter (penning the smash rockabilly hit "The Fool") who went on to produce Duane Eddy for years which resulted in some of the most successful instrumentals ever. His Phoenix studio was the centerpiece of technical innovations in the late 50's and early 60's and was where Phil Spector soaked up much of his knowledge of production. Later he embarked on a successful collaborative partnership with Nancy Sinatra.
Qualifications: 7
Jimmy Iovine
Jack-of-all-trades who worked with John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith as an engineer early on before producing for Tom Petty, U2, The Pretenders and others. He went on to found Interscope Records, which included the Wallflowers, Primus and Blackstreet among its artists. Among the few to work his way up from the booth to the front office in rock 'n' roll and be successful at every stop along the way.
Qualifications: 7
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
Like Sly & Robbie, Willie Mitchell, Scratch Perry and a few others Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis could be considered as artists in their own right as well as Non-Performers, but in each case it is the behind the scenes skills that are most worthy of recognition. As the production team that created the New Jack Swing style that combined the traditional melodic R&B with the beats and rhymes of rap in the late 80's and in the process made rap itself far more appealing to radio and mainstream audiences, Jam and Lewis have immpecible credentials, making Janet Jackson a superstar and elevating the entire profile of the new sound of black rock in the 90's.
Qualifications: 8
Evelyn Johnson
The founder of the Buffalo Booking Agency which pioneered the concept of multi-artist package tours that featured Johnny Ace, B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Big Mama Thornton among others. Johnson was one of the first females to have a large hand in the industry in the 1950's and through her work the previously unreliable tours for black performers were honed into a steady, profitable and mutually beneficial gig.
Qualifications: 7
Frankie Knuckles
Pioneering house DJ and remixer whose work in clubs, including the legendary Warehouse, pushed the style into the mainstream and created a new format for music releases. His own releases never quite got the universal recognition he was receiving within the club circuit, so its unlikely that he's someone the notoriously headline happy Hall would consider, but his work with Michael Jackson in the 90's at least garnered him some attention outside his considerable niche. If dance music, which is the cornerstone of rock 'n' roll historically, ever gets its due, Frankie Knuckles would be honored.
Qualifications: 6
Alexis Korner
Great Britain's blues godfather, the man who helped launch the careers of virtually all of the British blues-rock invasion of the 60's, from half of the Rolling Stones to Cream, Eric Burdon and Jimmy Page. Though he played himself, founding Blues Incorporated, he'd be far more fitting as an inductee here, where the full scope of his contributions could be recognized.
Qualifications: 7
Mutt Lange
The producer who brought hard rock/metal into heavy radio airplay with such classics as AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" and "Back In Black" and Def Leppard's "Pyromania" and "Hysteria". He quickly branched out into the more traditionally pop-oriented aspects of rock with Foreigner, The Cars, even Billy Ocean's most rock-sounding hit and concluded the run with Bryan Adams in the early 90's. Upon marrying country star Shania Twain he took her into stardom but turned his focus towards more lightweight pop fare of Michael Bolton, Celine Dion and the Backstreet Boys. His early work is what matters, but is it enough?
Qualifications: 6
Larry Levine
Top west coast engineer, who got his start helming all of Eddie Cochran's most indelible work. He introduced phasing with Toni Fisher's "The Big Hurt", but really made his name working at Gold Star Studios with Phil Spector on all of his hits, as well as cutting records later with Brian Wilson and the decade's biggest album oriented stars, Herb Alpert's The Tijuana Brass, for whom he literally built the A&M Studios and became that label's primary engineer. His innovative use of echo chambers and the resulting sonic depth he achieved defined that era's most meticulously crafted records.
Qualifications: 6
Arif Mardin
Arranger for much of Aretha Franklin's landmark records, as well as working as arranger or producer for sides for everyone from The Rascals, Chaka Kahn and AWB to Hall and Oates, Roberta Flack and Norah Jones. In the mid-70's he helped turn the Bee Gees from moderate hitmaking balladeers to platinum disco kings. Mardin's extensive jazz background brought sophistication to many rock productions over the years.
Qualifications: 7
Marley Marl
Groundbreaking and influential producer whose sampling techniques defined hip-hop's golden age starting in 1985 with the cut "The Bridge" by MC Shan. He had his greatest impact as leader of the renowned Juice Crew producing such legendary artists as Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo, and Masta Ace, as well as outside production for Eric B. & Rakim and LL Cool J. 
Qualifications: 9
Terry Melcher
Versatile jack of all trades began by singing with future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston on a series of car and surf songs (The Rip-Chords "Hey Little Cobra") before becoming a producer for the likes of the Byrds, Paul Revere & The Raiders and others. Son of pop singing star Doris Day, Melcher was a pivitol figure in the 60's LA rock scene as well as one of the first artists to make his mark on the other side of the control room glass.
Qualifications: 6
Willie Mitchell
A legendary figure who could be considered as a solo performer (numerous hits as an instrumentalist), or as a sideman (he played trumpet on dozens of major records), but it is the non-performer category where he might be best suited. He built Hi Records into a dominant label after taking over its ownership when its owners died years after he had started out there as an artist and producer in the early 60's. He subsequently shaped the career of Al Green and much of 70's Memphis soul during the label's glory years. That alone should allow him to walk in without question and as an all-around music figure he is a mandatory induction who's entry is long overdue.
Qualifications: 10
Chips Moman
Multi-talented writer and producer who helped create the southern soul sound in the 60's, first briefly at Stax in their early days, then at Muscle Shoals mid-decade and finally when he opened his own American Studios in Memphis, which was where Elvis Presley cut his massive late 60's comeback sides. Moman's success during this time was virtually unprecedented for a small independent studio and at one point over a 39 month period he churned out over 120 hits. In addition he's written numerous benchmark songs for artists from rock to country.
Qualifications: 7
Richard Nader
Promoter who virtually created the idea of rock music as nostalgia with his massively successful early 70's Rock 'n' Roll Revival concerts featuring all-star lineups of artists from the 50's, aimed at both those who grew up with the music and a generation who'd only heard stories of those days. His filmed chronicle of one such show, "Let The Good Times Roll", is considered one of the greatest live performance features of all-time.
Qualifications: 5
Jack Nitzsche
Though he had one big hit under his own name, "The Lonely Surfer", his biggest role was as Phil Spector's arranger on the sides that brought the famed Wall of Sound to the world. Along the way he wrote hits ("Needles & Pins" being his biggest with Sonny Bono), was the musical director for the famed "T.A.M.I. Show, and worked with the Rolling Stones, most notably arranging the choir for "You Can't Always Get What You Want". After hooking up Neil Young with Crazy Horse he became a popular movie-score composer who won an Oscar for "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", but it was with the most elaborately arranged rock hits of the early 60's that he made his name.
Qualifications: 7
John Peel
Visionary British DJ on Radio 1, who was one of the first and certainly most famous to break the longstanding boundaries of acceptable programming on the strict British airwaves, starting in 1967. His unique personal delivery, his championing of artists and styles outside the mainstream and his connection with generations of listeners made him the U.K.'s most important rock announcer. 
Qualifications: 6
Dan Penn
One of the prime shapers of the southern soul sound as a songwriter Penn, often with organist Spooner Oldham (see sidemen), scored his first hit as a writer for Conway Twitty while still a teenager. He then established himself in the soul scene and wrote the classics "I'm Your Puppet", "Dark End Of The Street" and "Do Right Man-Do Right Woman", among many others. Branching out further he both wrote and produced for the Box-Tops, giving them their biggest hits as well.
Qualifications: 7
D.A. Pennebaker
Pioneering rock videographer, directing the mid-60's documentary on Bob Dylan, "Don't Look Back", and later the massive groundbreaking cinema verite film on the Monterey International Pop Festival. Though those were his two signature moments he went on to helm films on John Lennon's "Sweet Toronto" concert with a host of 50's rock icons, David Bowie's 1973 Ziggy Stardust tour and works on Depeche Mode, Jerry Lee Lewis and 60's soul. The rock music documentary form stems largely from Pennebaker's work.
Qualifications: 7
Lee "Scratch" Perry
The most important reggae producer who was instrumental in the creation of its dominant rhythm, brought the dub mix to its highest level and who's production work with Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals and Jimmy Cliff was key in bringing the music to a wider audience. The image, sound and vibe of reggae as a whole is as much Perry's doing as any single human being.
Qualifications: 9
Shep Pettibone
One of the original remixers and the founder of the mastermix which included multiple disparate versions of a song on a single release. Pettibone began in the disco era as a radio DJ and seamlessly shifted to the nascent house music scene where he established his style which was often heavy on echo, inventive use of delay and rapid fire drum effects. Of all of the early mixers it was Pettibone who made the biggest mark commercially, turning the Pet Shop Boys "West End Girls" into a #1 smash and working extensively with Madonna and Janet Jackson.
Qualifications: 6
Norman Petty
Most famous as Buddy Holly's producer, Petty helped shift the focus of music from corporate studio controlled climates to artist-dominated environments by building his remote studio out in Clovis, New Mexico and allowing the artist to dictate the sessions. In addition he conceived multiple production innovations including work with echo, miking techniques and overdubbing and was instrumental in creating the famed Tex-Mex sound.
Qualifications: 8
Jerry Ragovoy
When his frequent co-writer Bert Burns made the Hall in 2016 it left Ragovoy on the outside looking in, but Ragovoy has enough credentials as both a songwriter and producer to be strongly considered on his own. Among his famous compositions are "Cry Baby", "Time Is On My Side", "Piece Of My Heart" and "Stay With Me", as well as most of Howard Tate's discography. One of the key figures in popularizing a more heavily orchestrated dramatic soul style of the 60's.
Qualifications: 6
"John R." (John Richbourg)
The famed DJ at WLAC out of Nashville in the 50's and 60's who brought black R&B to most of America via his high powered broadcasts. His vast loyal audience ordered his record packages of more obscure sides and hung on his every word for decades. One of the most enduring and far reaching dee-jays in history was vital in helping to break many legendary careers - James Brown, Otis Redding among others - and was the avenue that many people first discovered this music called rock 'n' roll existed.
Qualifications: 9
Sylvia Robinson
A woman who not only spanned the eras from the 50's to the 80's, but during that time wore many hats over her music career, from artist to writer to producer to label owner. With legendary session guitarist Mickey Baker she formed Mickey & Sylvia who scored numerous hits together, most prominantly the seductive "Love Is Strange" in 1956. Then in the 70's she launched a comeback with disco as an artist, a songwriter and producer for others that gave her multiple hits in those capacities. But it was as the founder of SugarHill Records in the late 70's that should guarantee her a Hall nod, as that label, one of the first female owned and operated no less, put hip-hop on the cultural and musical map. 
Qualifications: 8
Bunny Robyn
Studio engineer extraordinaire in Los Angeles in the 50's Robyn mastered the records of that fertile ground as well as sides from New Orleans recorded on LA labels. His work altering tape speed for final release led to widespread experimentation in that area and his overall sound was a major calling card for west coast rock when it was struggling to compete with the more powerful east coast labels.
Qualifications: 7
Rick Rubin
The most renowned non-performing music producer to emerge in the past three decades, Rubin began with Russell Simmons forming Def-Jam Records, the most innovative label to emerge in the mid-80's, and while there was instrumental in mixing guitar-rock with rap with both Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. His work with metal gods Slayer established his diversity, something that emerged even more when he started his own label Def-American and worked with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and most famously reviving Johnny Cash's career. His output since the early 90's has been more eclectic and less commercial, but his reputation remains as impressive as anyone in the industry.
Qualifications: 9
Lester Sill
Veteran record man who began as a salesman for many R&B labels, including Modern and RPM, later produced such luminaries as B.B. King before moving into executive ranks where he gave four of the most legendary names in the business (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Lee Hazlewood and Phil Spector) their start. His creative partnerships with them through the years resulted in some of the most important records in rock history and while he remained largely behind the scenes, that's what this category is supposed to honor.
Qualifications: 9
Russell Simmons
Of all of the behind the scenes figures to emerge in the 80's none are more of a mandatory induction than Russell Simmons. From producing the breakthrough 12" single "The Breaks" by Kool Moo Dee to building the immense Def Jam empire, Simmons is the Berry Gordy of hip-hop and essentially created the template for rap to become the most culturally impactful form of rock music over the past few decades.
Qualifications: 9
Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield
Songwriting/producing duo at Motown that defined the label after Holland-Dozier-Holland departed in the late 60's. Their work with the Temptations took the group from sweet harmony records to psychedelicized protest anthems without sacrificing any of their popularity. Countless hits to their credit, separately or collectively, including Strong's own performance of "Money" which was the label's first legitimate hit and a bar-band staple ever since.
Qualifications: 9
Junior Vasquez
One of the most influential and popular remixers in rock history, famously running the Sound Factory club that made house mixes a growing industry trend. Unlike others whose work were rarely heard outside their own clubs and the circle of followers they attracted, Vasquez parlayed his popularity into working with some of the biggest names in music, remixing songs for Beyonce, Pearl Jam, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Prince and most famously Madonna, with whom he had a notorious falling out. If Madonna's got anything to do with it, Vasquez will never get an induction, but his work deserves recognition.
Qualifications: 6
Paul Williams
The true creator of rock journalism, who as a teenager in the mid-60's began Crawdaddy, the first rock magazine. The Hall put in Jann Wenner and while Rolling Stone was ultimately the bigger, more successful and far longer lasting publication, it wasn't nearly as innovative, never as good, and it wasn't first. That credit has to go to Williams and shepherding through an induction for him should be a point of honor for every "rock journalist" who has a vote, since without him leading the way they might not have careers.
Qualifications: 8
Wolfman Jack
The most legendary rock 'n' roll DJ outside of Alan Freed, the Wolfman rose to fame by broadcasting from border radio stations just inside Mexico, taking advantage of their massive half million watt singles that beamed his hypnotic growl and voice and his crazed off-the-cuff skits halfway around the world. During the 60's he kept rock 'n' roll's wild dangerous image on the dial to everyone within earshot, then in the 70's finally showed his face by playing a vital role in the acclaimed film "American Graffiti" and hosting "The Midnight Special", which featured live performances of hundreds of rock artists over the years on its network television run.
Qualifications: 10

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