Honors — February 10, 2021 at 8:29 am

Kate Bush, Devo, The Go-Go’s among 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

Kate Bush

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this morning unveiled 16 nominees for its Class of 2021, a field that includes Kate Bush, Devo, The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige, New York Dolls, Foo Fighters, Fela Kuti, Rage Against the Machine, Chaka Kahn, Jay-Z and more.

Also on the ballot: Iron Maiden, Carole King, LL Cool J, Todd Rundgren and Dionne Warwick.

The final list of inductees is expected to be announced in May after the Rock Hall’s membership votes. The induction will be held in Cleveland sometime this fall.

Fans can also cast their votes for their favorites, though that only adds a single vote to each of the top five artists in the fan vote, tallied through April 30.

Artists are eligible for nomination into the Rock Hall beginning 25 years after their first release. Kate Bush previously was nominated in 2017, and Devo was nominated in 2018. First-time nominees include The Go-Go’s, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Jay-Z, Carole King, Fela Kuti, and Dionne Warwick.

Last year, the Rock Hall inducted Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. The year before, The Cure was inducted alongside Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, Radiohead and more.

Here’s the full list of Class of 2021 nominees:

  • Mary J. Blige
  • Kate Bush
  • Devo
  • Foo Fighters
  • The Go-Go’s
  • Iron Maiden
  • Jay-Z
  • Chaka Khan
  • Carole King
  • Fela Kuti
  • LL Cool J
  • New York Dolls
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Todd Rundgren
  • Tina Turner
  • Dionne Warwick





  1. I assumed The Dolls were already in. It’d be cool if them and Rundgren get voted in on the same year. I’d hope that them, with King and Kuti, would be getting a majority of the votes.

    And there is always Kraftwerk. They gotta be recognized as the bands they’ve influenced keep getting in before them.

  2. not even nominating Kraftwerk now. completely, utterly absurd. The zeitgeist of electronic music. NO, I won’t consider Suicide just because they wrote rockabilly with electronics. Kraftwerk was the blueprint for everything electronic that followed, not Suicide, as great as frankie teardrop is. Another year accepting they couldn’t care less about history, another read of the John Lydon letter.

  3. haunted when the minutes drag

    Here are some thoughts on each of the nominees. Just a reminder that the Hall has become a joke and many of the acts who were inaugurated from the last 15 do not belong — to name just a few, Journey, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Stevie Nicks (solo), and Dire Straights. Sorry if anyone is offended.

    Mary J. Blige — why? How is she different from any other R&B singer? And if so, it seems a little premature given all the bands and acts that are not yet in — example, Chic and the Commodores.

    Kate Bush – I admit that I have never gotten Kate Bush, so maybe I’m not the best person to opine on her getting in. People I know and respect assure me that she is a genius. But nothing I have heard by her has ever moved me. Since the 80s, I have been turning the dial whenever Running Up That Hill and Don’t Give Up come on. So, on that basis alone, I would vote no.

    Devo — probably deserves to be in. Much like the Talking Heads (who are in), Devo pushed the boundaries of what music (and performance art) was and created many memorable and enduring songs along the way. I vote yes.

    Foo Fighters — for god’s sake, why? I get it that everyone loves Dave Ghroul. But what have the Foo Fighters ever done that has not been done a million times before them? They have lots and lots of hits. But, by that measure, I guess Nickelback, Styx, Creed, and Foreigner belong as well. I vote no.

    The Go-Go’s — a must. First all girl band to play instruments, write songs, and go to number one. That in and of itself is enough. Plus, they rocked. It is a crime that they are not in, but Joan Jett is. Maybe they both belong, but the Go-Go’s should have been first.

    Iron Maiden – of course. They and Judas Priest are as important to metal as the Clash and the Pistols are to punk. Ridiculous that Maiden (and Judas Priest) are out, but the likes of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard are in.

    Jay-Z — no, at least not yet. Don’t have much of a feel for Jay-Z other than what has been on the radio, but there are others in hip hop who should go first (looking at you Eric B & Rakim and LL Cool J).

    Chaka Khan – I have no idea. Maybe with Rufus. But her solo output never struck me as particularly impressive (Feel for you and the Prince cover she did are both fine, but groundbreaking?). But this is not my field.

    Carole King — she will get in for Tapestry. Again, not my field, but I have heard that album many times. I don’t love it, but I know people did and that it was something of a phenomenon at the time. Moreover, her influence on female musicians – particularly the singer-songwriters of the 90s – is obvious.

    Fela Kuti — no idea. I understand that he is the guy credited for Afro-beat, but I am just not familiar with his music.

    LL Cool J – of course. He was one of the first cross-over hip hop acts (basically, it was him and Run DMC, until the Beasties blew up). Radio is a pure classic, Bigger and Deffer is quite good, and he has had a number of hits along the way. Plus, Goin’ Back to Cali is in the discussion for the best hip hop song of all time, and the video an all time classic.

    New York Dolls — for the sheer weight of their influence, they are a must. Trash is amazing. Plus, every punk rocker in England wanted to be Johnny Thunders. An absolute must.

    Rage Against the Machine – also a must. Maybe the most energetic live band ever. Also, they were completely original at the time and did what few bands could ever do – mix rap and rock and make it sound good. Most bands only got the first point, but failed miserably at the second. They also carried the torch of the Clash. If you ever saw them live, you probably agree that they need to be in.

    Todd Rundgren – I have never got this guy, so I am not the best person to opine (see Kate Bush above). I can only say that his “hit” songs are, in my opinion, unbearable. Thinking of “Hello It’s Me” and “Bang the Drum All day.” I know he was a good producer (and even produced the Dolls and XTC), but I doubt that is enough to get him in the Hall. Is Bian Eno in the Hall as a producer? I’m not sure, but I doubt it. If not, then Rundgren should not be in either, as Eno was a much better and and more influential producer than Rundgren, to say the least.

    Tina Turner – she is already in for Ike and Tina, and that is when she produced her best music. Yes, I get it. He was horrific. But her solo stuff doesn’t do it for me. It’s not bad, but not really worthy of the Hall of Fame. The song (not the album) “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is truly great, although as a young teen I did not like it much. But other than that, her output is somewhat bland. That said, her personal story will probably be enough to get her in as a solo artist. Maybe that story is so inspiring that she deserves it. I have no problem with that. But it won’t be for her music.

    Dionne Warwick – for god’s sake, no. Why? What relation to rock and roll does she have? I felt the same way about Whitney Houston last year. She was as adult-friendly as Pat Boone. She has no place in the Hall.

  4. La vache qui pête

    Hi there! I’d just like to take a moment to go over something you said here:
    “The Go-Go’s — a must. First all girl band to play instruments, write songs, and go to number one. That in and of itself is enough”
    I couldn’t agree more.
    Now in case you were unaware of this fact, I’ll paste something in here… re: Kate Bush
    ” In 1978, aged 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single “Wuthering Heights”, becoming the first female artist to achieve a UK number one with a self-written song.[10] Bush has since released 25 UK Top 40 singles, including the Top 10 hits “The Man with the Child in His Eyes”, “Babooshka”, “Running Up That Hill”, “Don’t Give Up” (a duet with Peter Gabriel), and “King of the Mountain”. All 10 of her studio albums reached the UK Top 10, including the UK number one albums Never for Ever (1980), Hounds of Love (1985), and the compilation The Whole Story (1986). She was the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist to enter the album chart at number one.[11] ”

    I know she isn’t for everyone. I love her, but actually didn’t always, took me until my early 2-s to “get” her.

    I was just wondering, would you perhaps agree that by your own logic with The Go-Go’s, Kate’s a yes?

    Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts on each nominee. I always love reading all kinds of observations and assessments. Cheers!

  5. Haunted when the minutes drag

    Thanks for the reply. The only reason to post a comment on a site like this is to spark discussion and I welcome it.

    Your argument is good, but ultimately I don’t think she belongs. The Hall of Fame is, at its core, and institution celebrating American rock ‘n’ roll, not world rock ‘n’ roll. And although there are many English acts in the Hall of Fame, each of them made a significant impact on American music. That is not to say that the Hall of Fame is correct in this approach. On the contrary, my all-time favorite band, the stone roses, would most definitely be in the English Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as would New Order, the Smiths, and oasis. Certainly, bands like journey and Bon Jovi would not be in the English Hall of Fame, although I could definitely see Slade and status quo as replacements for those bands in a hypothetical English Hall of Fame.

    That is why I don’t think kate bush belongs despite her significant accomplishments on the English charts. That is not to say that she is not a great artist. Again, I have never had a feel for her, but I never denigrated her work because, like I said, many, many of my friends who are just as big of music snobs as I am assure me that she is amazing. But, at the end of the day, she had little to no impact on American music, and certainly no impact on the American charts. And that, for better or for worse, is what the Hall of Fame is looking for — whether it is a combination of those two criteria (see the clash) or a strong showing in one category or the other (see Whitney Houston [charts] and Patti Smith [impact]).

    • Agreed 100%, and she’s my favorite artist on the list of nominations. They only care about sales and think that equates to greatness. They don’t look at the history of rock, regardless of country of origin, and think they are running a museum so maybe history might actually matter. If it did matter, things like selling out over 20 shows to a star studded audience night after night that traveled world wide to see her put on an unparalleled production, or closing the olympics in her country, would matter. She influenced many over the years, but because her only hit was because Peter Gabriel tapped her for a duet, she won’t make it. Carol King is already in there for songwriting, but there she goes to the top the voting list, and no surprise the foo fighters who have done absolutely nothing to advance music history will sail through.

  6. “Next to the SEX-PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not coming.” It’s a statement that the band would happily strand by for years and years to come.

    “Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table, or $15000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organisation selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges, but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL.”

  7. Without Big Star, the Museum has no credibility.

  8. For rock and Roll fans and snobs is annoying to see mainstream shit bands like Foo F and Bon Jovi get recognition. But still is a museum now. For that reason we are waiting to see members of The Smiths or Iron Maiden together again at least for one night. I will be forever thankfull to them to gave us a last Talking Heads reunion.

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