The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2021 nominees on Wednesday (Feb. 10) morning, revealing the most gender-inclusive ballot in the Rock Hall’s history.
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 and Dionne Warwick are all on the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot.
Seven of those 16 acts feature women, with two of those women already in the Rock Hall: Carole King’s era-defining songwriting earned her Rock Hall entry in the non-performer category, and Tina Turner was previously inducted as part of the duo Ike & Tina Turner. Both, however, enjoyed blockbuster solo success, releasing seminal GOAT albums (King’s singer-songwriter lodestone Tapestry; Turner’s resilient comeback classic Private Dancer) and see their impact continue to grow with each passing decade. One other nominee, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, was previously inducted, as part of Nirvana.
Hard rock mainstays Foo Fighters and East Coast hip-hop icon Jay-Z see their names on the ballot during their first year of eligibility (an act is eligible 25 years after their first commercial recording is released). In addition to the Foos and Hova, five previously eligible acts see their first nominations in 2021: new wave hitmakers The Go-Go’s (the first all-female band to top the Billboard 200 while writing their own songs and playing their own instruments), new wave of British heavy metal rockers Iron Maiden, queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige, Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and soul-pop vocal pro Dionne Warwick.
Of returning acts hoping for more luck this year, hip-hop pioneer LL Cool J receives his sixth nomination, and soul-funk dynamo Chaka Khan sees her seventh nomination in some form (this is her third solo nom; she was also nominated as part of Rufus & Chaka Khan four times).
Fan votes, which you can cast at RockHall.com, contribute to the induction process, but don’t guarantee entry.
In 2020, the Rock Hall inducted Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, T. Rex and the Doobie Brothers into its ranks during a virtual ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.