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Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Outside Genre Possibilities

Criteria: Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Outside Genre Possibilities (Eligible artists who have yet to be inducted and are not among this year's nominees). Names are in alphabetical order.

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

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Last Updated: 2016-10-19
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Candidates text title image
With the induction of many from fields that are not strictly rock 'n' roll there are a few names from outside of rock who have a stylistic precedent in the Hall along with the credentials in those genres with perhaps just enough of a connection to rock to be considered themselves. Those already inducted who technically fall into this category include everyone from Bobby Darin, Brenda Lee, Miles Davis and Johnny Cash to the many pure bluesmen who've made it as Main Performers over the years. If the Hall is going to recognize them for their contributions to rock from the periphery of the genre then here are ten others that may be considered who boast similar credentials.
Outside Genre Possibilities
Mariah Carey
Realistically she has no shot, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have a legitimate case to be made. Her staggering chart numbers aside (18 #1 singles, second most ever in the rock era), the fact remains that she always straddled the line between rock and pop, unquestionably leaning towards the latter but incorporating some hip-hop beats and deeper grooves often enough to stay modestly relevant in rock circles. Besides, if Chicago, Neil Diamond, Abba and Linda Ronstadt made it, Carey is more popular and influential than any of them, which means she's more deserving from a purely objective standpoint. But Whitney Houston is the key to Carey's potential chances, if Houston gets in first it opens the door for Mariah.
Robert Cray
The Hall has typically used older blues artists to guard against having increasingly all-white induction ceremonies since their voting body has been largely averse to crediting post-60's black rock styles such as funk, disco and hip-hop. But they're running out of venerable blues stars from the distant past and so Robert Cray, who was the man most responsible for the brief 80's resurgence of the blues - not Stevie Ray Vaughan, who’s already been inducted - may be The Hall's last hole card to use in this effort.  
Roy Hamilton
One of the most technically gifted singers in history, with a background in gospel and opera, Hamilton came along just as rock 'n' roll was breaking through from black audiences to white. Yet Hamilton veered more towards dramatic ballads that were huge hits ("You'll Never Walk Alone", "Unchained Melody", "Hurt"), and later were frequently covered by rockers. When he did try pure rock himself though, as with 1958's "Don't Let Go" and 1961's "You Can Have Her", the results were astounding. One of the biggest vocal influences on Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke, The Righteous Brothers and many others. 
Herbie Hancock
Has one unquestionable impact on rock music with his smash hit "Rockit", one of the most talked about songs and videos of 1983. Mostly Hancock was a brilliant jazz pianist who borrowed from all musical styles to create his own style, but he relentlessly explored synthesizers, electronica and the jazz-rock fusion which occasionally drew scorn from purists, even though he never fully abandoned pure jazz. Not quite the name recognition of Miles Davis, whom he started with, but known enough to elicit interest.  
Richie Havens
Folk icon often performing within rock concert settings of the late 60's make him an outside choice if the voters are seeking more broad interest candidates. A unique singer and percussive guitarist who could capture the attention of any audience through his magnetic stage presence, the exposure garnered from his acclaimed set at Woodstock made him a household name around that time and gave him his one major hit with a brilliant cover of the Beatles "Here Comes The Sun". Others here would probably go in before him but his name remains fairly well-known across all genres to get him a look.
Whitney Houston
Many of the artists that have already gotten in the Hall from other primary genres of music had some tangible connection to rock. In some cases, such as Bobby Darin and Freddie King, they recorded authentic rock 'n' roll hits but their main output came in other forms of music. Whitney Houston is another such artist. She, like Darin, began squarely rooted in rock 'n' roll and her early dance-floor rave-ups, "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", were some of the 80's biggest rock records. Not long after that however she turned her impressive pipes to singing emotional pop ballads, the biggest of which - "I Will Always Love You" - impacted all areas of music, rock included. With her tragic 2012 death at age 48 Houston's place in rock history will be reassessed and if she makes the Hall Of Fame there will be grumbles from a lot of people who want their rock 'n' roll dripping with machismo at all costs. But if she does get in those same disgruntled folks will have to go back and listen to her when she was rock's brightest new star and its greatest vocal talent heard in years and at least give her credit for that.
Willie Nelson
Modern country artists haven't had the rock-connection in voters minds that blues acts have, and so aside from a small handful (Johnny Cash and Brenda Lee) they've been left alone. While that's probably for the right reasons, chances are a pure country act will make it eventually and Nelson looms as the biggest name out there. The fact that he has worked with rock artists frequently throughout his career, as well as writing many songs cut by rockers over the years, and is so beloved by everyone, means that he's probably the best bet to get looked at from the country field.
If the Hall has shown anything over the years it's an obsession with the late 60's and early 70's and anyone or anything remotely connected to The Beatles. In Nilsson they have both, as he was one of Ringo Starr's closest friends and had a series of decent sized MOR hits and some Grammy awards to give him mainstream familiarity. 
Ravi Shankar
Brought Indian influences to rock through his association with George Harrison in the mid-60's, in the process introducing the sitar to rock 'n' roll where it played a significant role in expanding the sound textures of that era. He went on to play at three of the biggest rock concerts ever, Monterey Pop, Woodstock and the Concert for Bangladesh, bringing his own music to its widest audience. As the father of current star Norah Jones, coupled with his longstanding Beatle connection, he seems like an ideal long shot for the traditionally headline hunting voters.
Jimmy Smith
Not as recognizable a name as some others, at least to today's audience, but Smith was considered the leader of the soulful jazz instrumental movement on the Hammond B-3 organ of the 60's that worked its way into rock for a time. His album "Back At The Chicken Shack" was one of the most acclaimed of its time with rock artists and eight Top 30 albums from the 60's is a testament to how widespread his sound was. Later played on Michael Jackson's "Bad", keeping his hand in rock well into the 80's. Hugely talented in a field much closer to rock than some may think.

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