Later this month, the Rock Hall will likely come out with its list of nominees for next year's class of inductees. The following twelve artists are those who I feel should be nominated (in no particular order).
1. Green Day -- The power punk trio from Oakland, CA are in their first year of eligibility. Like Nirvana, I think this will be a one and done. From their early self released records to 1994's bombastic hit album "Dookie", and 2004's "American Idiot", these guys have taken punk well beyond what the Ramones could do. They've even made it on Broadway.
2. The Cars -- I feel the Cars were groundbreaking in their approach to rock and pop in their use of synthesizers meets old school guitar licks. (Let's Go, Moving In Stereo, Candy-O, Magic, etc) Having two lead singers also helped. As did the Lou Reed-ish lyrics. The Cars were consistently on the charts between the late 70's and late 80's and their influence can be heard in popular bands today like the Killers.
3. Boston -- Its time for some "corporate rock". Tom Schulz masterminded Boston with his innovative rock-man guitar sound and trippy keyboard work. Was there a better lead singer than Brad Delp? Was there a better debut album? Boston continues to record and tour despite Delp's death. Look beyond just the first three albums that everyone knows and you'll find some surprisingly solid material.
4. Todd Rundgren -- He's done it all from solo records to producing a zillion other artists. He had his time on the charts in the 70's and is well regarded by Rock Hall inductees like Hall & Oates among others. Still touring today.
5. Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo -- With Linda Ronstadt's induction last year, the time is right for Benatar and husband/guitarist virtuoso Giraldo. Benatar's hit parade in the late 70's through the 80's not only rivals Ronstadt's numbers, but the body of work is more impressive in my opinion. The duo are celebrating 35 years together and are still selling out club venues. Benatar's voice is a classic. She's arguable as big of an influence on female rockers as Joan Jett, Heart or Blondie.
6. Janet Jackson -- I've long decided (like many others) that the Rock Hall is really a Popular Music Hall of Fame. Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, ABBA..... Wouldn't Janet be just as deserving within that company?
7. 'Weird' Al Yankovic -- Lets' get some humor into the Hall. Funny man Al has been making us laugh with his stellar parody songs of rock and pop artists for over 30 years. His songs and videos were in equal rotation with many of the top artists. His latest album this Summer went to Number One on Billboard. There's even a big push to have him perform at the Super Bowl Halftime show.
8. The Doobie Brothers -- You probably assumed they were already inducted, didn't you? They are not. And further, have never even been nominated. The band has had multiple band members but the core remains intact. The Michael McDonald years only built upon a band that was already Hall worthy. "Listen To The Music", "Long Train Running", "China Grove", "Black Water". Come on.
9. Cheap Trick -- 40 years at your service. Three of the original four members still intact. Anthem like hits. Power Pop and Rock at its best. Zany guitarist. 8-string bass player. Dynamic lead singer. Bun E. Carlos. Enough said.
10. Iron Maiden -- Not many metal acts have been inducted into the Hall. I think Iron Maiden would make an interesting choice based on their worldwide popularity that seems to exceed not just other Metal bands, but any band in general. And, who doesn't love a band where the lead singer also flies the jet?
11. Steve Miller Band. Who doesn't own this guy's Greatest Hits? Texas blues meets pop/rock all wound up in that signature Miller voice. Still active.
12. Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band Did you know that Buffett was the guy the Rock Hall asked to induct the Eagles? His hit songs might mostly be about escaping to some type of paradise, but his songwriting is in fact quite accomplished if you look at his entire body of work. Legions of Parrotheads rival Deadheads as Buffett continues to be a huge draw at concert venues worldwide, now in his fifth decade of releasing new material. I would argue that Buffett created a category of music onto its own.
These are my nominees. What are yours?