The nominations of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 are in, and the list features George Michael, Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, the White Stripes, Sheryl Crow, Iron Maiden, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, the Spinners, A Tribe Called Quest, and Warren Zevon. The top vote-getters will be announced in May and inducted in the fall.
“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.”
To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to have been released in 1998 or earlier. Eight of the nominees (Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, The White Stripes, and Warren Zevon) are on the ballot for the first time. Missy Elliott and the White Stripes are appearing in their first year of eligibility.
This is the fifth nomination for Rage Against The Machine, the fourth for Kate Bush and the Spinners, and the second for Iron Maiden, A Tribe Called Quest, and Iron Maiden.
Listing Joy Division and New Order as a single act may seem odd since they’re technically two different bands. But New Order was formed by the three surviving members of Joy Division almost immediately after the suicide of frontman Ian Curtis in 1980. The only difference was the addition of keyboardist Gillian Gilbert a few months later. (In 2012, the Hall of Fame brought in the Small Faces and the Faces as one unit even though they had two different singers and rather different sounds. It’s easy to argue Joy Division and New Order have more shared DNA than those two groups.)
The Hall of Fame is one of the few places outside of a courtroom where bitterly estranged bandmates are forced back into the same room. That has led to amazing reunions over the years of dormant bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, the Police, and the Doors. This class presents an opportunity for New Order to perform with former bassist Peter Hook for the first time since 2006 and for Jack White and Meg White to play together again as the White Stripes for the first time since the final episode of Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 2009.
It’s also a chance for the surviving members of A Tribe Called Quest and Soundgarden to play together again. Rage Against The Machine are on indefinite hiatus as frontman Zack de la Rocha recovers from a severe tear to his left Achilles tendon he suffered during the second night of the group’s 2022 reunion tour, but it’s possible they could play as well.
The 2023 class will be chosen by a group of over 1,000 artists, historians, and members of the music industry the Rock Hall has selected as voters. In recent years, the Hall of Fame has given The Award for Musical Excellence, the Ahmet Ertegun Award, and Early Influence Award to a wide selection of artists that didn’t appear on the ballot. In 2022, seven acts from the ballot were formally inducted, and another seven were given other awards.
The last Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held on Nov. 5, 2022, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. There’s no word on where it will be held this year.