The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame revealed the nominees for the Rock Hall’s Class of 2023 on Wednesday (Feb. 1), announcing the 14 (or 15, depending on how you look at it) acts eligible for induction into the Rock Hall this year.
The following artists are nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023: Art rock auteur Kate Bush; rootsy hitmaker Sheryl Crow; hip-hop iconoclast Missy Elliott; metal legends Iron Maiden; post-punk-turned-dance-rock pioneers Joy Division/New Order; eccentric pop icon Cyndi Lauper; pop titan George Michael; country GOAT Willie Nelson; rap-metal firebrands Rage Against the Machine; grunge trailblazers Soundgarden; soul vocal pros The Spinners; alt hip-hop progenitors A Tribe Called Quest; garage blues revivalists The White Stripes; and caustic singer-songwriter Warren Zevon.
Of these nominees, eight (or arguably nine — more on that later) are first timers (Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, The White Stripes and Warren Zevon), and two acts receive the nom within their first year of eligibility (The White Stripes and Missy Elliott). To be eligible for the RRHOF, an artist’s first commercial release must have come out at least 25 years prior to the nomination year. For those with an encyclopedic music knowledge who think, “wait, Missy’s debut Supa Dupa Fly dropped in 1997, and The White Stripes’ first single came out in 1998 – how does that math work out?” there’s a reason for it. The nominating committee at the Rock Hall has recently started meeting the same year the inductees are honored, as opposed to the year before. This means 2023 is a sort of “make-up year” for artists whose first release was in 1997 or 1998. But in the future, when it comes to Rock Hall nominations, you can subtract 25 from the induction year to determine eligibility.
As for the aforementioned issue over the number of artists nominated for Rock Hall induction in 2023, it comes down to the singular entry for two bands, Joy Division and New Order. For the uninitiated, Joy Division was a U.K. rock band who helped punk evolve into post-punk from 1976-1980; after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis in early 1980, the remaining members (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris) regrouped as New Order, added a keyboardist (Gillian Gilbert) and proceeded to set the template for dance-rock and alternative dance music. While some might quibble over inducting both bands as one, there is precedent: The Rock Hall previously inducted Parliament/Funkadelic together in 1997; the (Young) Rascals, also in 1997; and Small Faces/Faces as one entity in 2012.
Inductees will be revealed in May, with the induction ceremony taking place this fall. The top five artists selected through fan voting will be tallied along with the ballots from the Rock Hall’s international voting body to determine the Class of 2023. Fans can vote online every day through April 28 at vote.rockhall.com or IRL at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland.
“This remarkable list of nominees reflects the diverse artists and music that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honors and celebrates,” said John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “These artists have created their own sounds that have impacted generations and influenced countless others that have followed in their footsteps.”