The slate of final nominees for 2019 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame runs from pop-R&B superstar Janet Jackson and influential German techno band Kraftwerk to English hard rock band Def Leppard, Detroit proto-punk band MC5 and critically acclaimed Chicago singer-songwriter John Prine.
Joining them on the short list are Devo, Stevie Nicks, Todd Rundgren, the Zombies, Rage Against the Machine, the Cure, LL Cool J, Radiohead, Roxy Music and Rufus & Chaka Khan.
Six of the 15 nominees are appearing for the first time on the final ballot: Nicks, Rundgren, Prine, Devo, Def Leppard and Roxy Music. Nicks is alone in the 2019 class for induction a second time: She was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac. If elected, she’ll be the first female artist inducted twice.
“The spectrum, the multiple genres of music — it’s a great snapshot of how big the tent is for rock ’n’ roll,” Hall of Fame President Greg Harris told The Times on Monday.
“To go from the Zombies to Radiohead is pretty wild, but to include LL Cool J and Janet Jackson and MC5 in the same sentence is pretty amazing and powerful. In addition, some of our first-time nominees are critically acclaimed — almost musicians’ musicians, songwriters’ songwriters — like Todd Rundgren, John Prine and Roxy Music.”
The inductees will be announced in December after being voted on by about 1,000 members of the Cleveland-based Rock Hall, including artists, managers, historians, critics and other members of the music industry. That body has been evolving over the three decades since the hall was launched in 1986.
“The lions’ share of the voting body remains the inductees,” Harris said. “As Pearl Jam has come in, Green Day has come in, these bands that were making music more contemporary, those folks are now eligible to vote. At the same time, we’ve also added more historians, writers and scholars.
“It’s a natural process. Smokey Robinson votes, Madonna votes — it’s really a fun, diverse group. By nature, as more bands are added, that brings new eyes, new ears and new thoughts to the process.”
Fans can also vote online, and the five most popular artists will receive a single extra vote. But even though, statistically speaking, the fan vote doesn’t significantly affect the final count, it has increasingly shown to voting members the will of the fans and has closely mirrored the final results.
In 2017, four of the six inductees finished near the top of the fan poll; last year, four of the top five fan favorites made it into the hall. Fan voting takes place at the Rock Hall’s official website.
“By aggregating the fan vote, it does give some direction early in the process,” Harris said. “The fans are diverse ages, and so is the voting body, so there are a lot of different areas they’re passionate about.”
To be eligible, an artist’s first commercial recording must have been released at least 25 years earlier, making 1994 the cutoff year for nominees for next year’s ceremony.