The votes are all in, and on Wednesday (May 12), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will announce the 2021 inductees, which means it’ll be time to argue about who should’ve gotten in, who shouldn’t have, and who should be on the ballot in 2022.
We asked a Hall of Fame voter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, about how one becomes a voter, and how they decided on who to vote for this year.
“I’ve worked in the media side of the music business for quite a few years,” the voter tells us. “I’ve covered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for more than twenty years and have also been a pundit, discussing it on radio and on TV. I had a few friends who were voters, but I didn’t know how you you could become a voter. And I didn’t want to ask. But one day, I got an email from the Rock Hall asking if I’d be ‘interested’ in voting. Um, yeah! I asked why they reached out to me, and they said that someone in the organization suggested me, but they wouldn’t tell me who it was. And I never found out. But to whoever suggested me: thanks!”
“This year’s ballot is the most difficult one in my three years of voting,” our voter tells us. “Of the seventeen nominees, I think that fifteen deserve to be in. And while I’m a rock fan, and I’ve worked in the rock genre for much of my career, I don’t have a bias against artists that don’t fit into an orthodox definition of ‘rock.’ I always look back to the first two induction classes, from 1986 and 1987: you had Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Elvis Presley, guys who really defined ‘rock and roll.’ But there were also straight up soul — or R&B — singers, like Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. And you had artists that you could consider ‘pop,’ like the Everly Brothers and the Coasters and Ricky Nelson. You even had country: Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. I think that’s the spirit of rock and roll, combining all of these different types of music.”
You’ve been warned! Here’s this person’s ballot, in alphabetical order, with explanations.