9 Future First-Ballot Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Artists

What do Guns N’ Roses, Madonna, R.E.M. and U2 have in common?

They were all recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first eligible year. They are also our generation’s finest artists whose impact is so huge that first-year induction is a foregone conclusion.

Not many current artists can claim to have that much influence in music. In fact, I think half of the artists I’ve compiled here would likely get snubbed. But it’s interesting to predict nonetheless.

Without further ado, in chronological order:

Nirvana (Eligible in 2013)

In Nirvana’s case, the debate on whether or not they are among this generation’s finest is off. Their consistent placement near the top of various critics’ all-time best rankings show that they are on their own class. Will their nomination translate to induction this year? Silly question.

Green Day (Eligible in 2014)

Green Day is the prototype of bad punk music and they don’t deserve to be on the Hall of Fame, purists will argue. But history disagrees: they were the one who emerged as a rock giant while the likes of Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains remain niche. Punk or not, for better or worse, their impact on rock music is undeniable.

Pearl Jam (Eligible in 2016)

A front-runner of the 1990s grunge music, Pearl Jam is both a commercial giant and a critical darling—the Hall of Famers is a sucker for that golden combination. They sell well, but they keep their integrity intact. They give first-rate live concerts and they have spawned legions of imitators. They define modern rock like no other bands could.

Radiohead (Eligible in 2017)

Like Nirvana, Radiohead is on a completely separate class. Their reinvention of modern rock music towards an artsier direction is a huge legacy. Pretty much every Pitchfork-approved alternative bands owe their existence to Radiohead. They are so important a precursor that if the Hall of Fame doesn’t embrace Radiohead’s forward-thinking music, they can forget about inducting any post-1997 band.

Oasis (Eligible in 2019)

Looks like Oasis is going to win the Britpop battle this time. While Blur’s induction is also inevitable—and they deserve it more, if you ask me—Oasis’ more traditional approach to rock music and the fact that they’re the most well-known Britpop band is important to bridge classic rock & roll with the entire Britpop scene.

OutKast (Eligible in 2019)

OutKast has always seemed like a modern-era Prince to me. They consistently churn out great funky records with lots of innovative hip-hop beats, commanding success and respect from contemporaries. OutKast shares the same rap dilemma with the next artist, but OutKast’s roots in soul/R&B has a pretty good bridging point to rock music so OutKast won’t have as much obstacle in getting inducted.

Eminem (Eligible in 2021)

Eminem is the reigning King of Rap, but does rap music have a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Rap and rock came from different place, but there has been instances where they’re married successfully. Thankfully, precursors such as Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Public Enemy have been unlocked in recent years so Eminem has a better chance now.

The White Stripes (Eligible in 2024)

The White Stripes is quite possibly the last rock giant which can be identified now. In addition, much like The Beatles, their early disbandment helped them to leave on a high note—becoming an immortal band with very solid discography, untarnished with diminishing returns from out-of-prime works.

Arcade Fire (Eligible in 2028)

Here’s where it gets hard. Arcade Fire is clearly leading the 2000s-2010s pack right now, but who knows what will happen in the next 15 years? Perhaps a little too soon to tell, but they are a very young band with plenty of room for growth. Looking at the greatness that they have achieved, though, Arcade Fire is well on their way to becoming a future legend if they keep up with their pace.

Did your favorite artist/band make it? Who else do you think will get inducted on their first year of eligibility?

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