Joy Division, 1979.
To get into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, it must be at least 25 years after your first major release came out. Each year a slate of potential nominees are selected, from which each official class is chosen. Seems simple enough—what could go wrong?
It turns out a lot.
Competing with all of the first-time eligible performers are all of the snubs from the previous years. What follows is a list of the 5 biggest snubs—that is, 5 artists who haven't even made it into the nomination level, let alone the official one. I specifically focused on artists who have been eligible for five years or more, as recent snubs like N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, & Pearl Jam will surely be rectified in coming years; let's remember that even the likes of The Velvet Underground & Stevie Wonder didn't get in their first year of eligibility.
1. Joy Division (11 years eligible).
The definitive band of the postpunk era who didn't simply play rock & roll, they took their place in line after The Beatles & The Sex Pistols to reinvent the music in their own image—arguably for a final time.
2. Whitney Houston (5 years eligible).
Usually death helps you get into the Rock Hall (case in point: Donna Summer), but so far, no such luck for Whitney Houston. She is the rare performer who deserves to get in simply for being so big, so popular, & so talented. The saddest casualty of the Rock Hall's bias against mainstream pop.
3. Sonic Youth (7 years eligible).
The statesmen of college/alternative/indie rock who took the fuzz of an amplifier & helped to define a genre—& outlasted nearly all of the major bands they influenced in the process.
4. Big Star (17 years eligible).
The band that all but invented power pop, & in their own way, rock's most influential pop songwriters since The Beatles.
5. The Chantels (32 years eligible).
The archetypal girl group, who solidified the movement's sound in the epic "Maybe" (written & sung by 15-year-old Arlene Smith) before the 1950s had even ended.
Never Nominated: Roxy Music, The Smiths, & T. Rex.
Nominated At Least Once: Gram Parsons, The New York Dolls, & The Zombies.