My (Non-Anonymous) Ballot For The 2024 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame


It’s that time of year again. Do I mean Daylight Savings Time? Not exactly. The start of spring? Not quite. The time when votes are cast for the Rock & Roll Of Fame? Absolutely.

I started voting for the Rock Hall in 2021. Before that, I spent a lot of time online complaining about the Rock Hall. I still complain about the Rock Hall online. Therefore, I feel like it is only fair to make my ballot public, so that people can complain about me if they want. (Don’t worry, I won’t hear it, you will be muted.)

Before I share my ballot, here are seven pieces of essential information.

1) There are 15 nominees this year. I did not pick the nominees. I do not know how the nominees are picked. Do not blame me for the nominees. Do not say, “Why didn’t you vote for Warren Zevon?” as that is not an option this year. (I wish it were, but it is not.)

2) “But why are there non-rock acts nominated for the Rock Hall?” Sir, this question has been asked and answered one billion times. I will not waste time addressing it here.

3) You are allowed to vote for seven acts. That is two more than last year. There are no write-ins. (Please see my Warren Zevon note above.) Ballots are due on April 15, and the inductees will be announced (I think) sometime in May.

4) I have no idea how much weight the fan vote is given but my guess is “not much.”

5) This is a “fairly qualified” class. In 2023, it was “extremely qualified.” Last year, I could have made a case for voting for any candidate. That is not true this year. There are at least two acts that I feel don’t merit serious consideration. (I’ll make it clear which ones I mean below.)

6) In some cases, I didn’t vote for a particular artist I feel is deserving because I am confident that many other voters will go for them. Likewise, I felt compelled to support certain acts because they might potentially be overlooked.

7) I understand that the Rock Hall “does not really matter” and that you might “not give a rat’s ass about who is voted in.” That is all well and good. Nobody is forcing you to care. You may exit the conversation now.

Okay, let’s vote.

Mary J. Blige

Her case is strong, and it goes like this: The most dominant form of pop music in the past 30 years is an amalgam of R&B and hip-hop. And Mary J.’s nickname is The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul. She rules the music that has ruled pop music. Her first eight albums, released between 1992 and 2007, went at least platinum, which indicates that she was a central figure on the charts for most of the ’90s and aughts. If the idea of the Rock Hall is to tell the story of popular music, you can’t talk about R&B and hip-hop during the decades when that music reigned supreme without including Mary J.

Her case is solid. I think she will get in. And I don’t think she needs my vote to get there.

My vote: No.

Mariah Carey

The most famous and commercially successful nominee this year. Twenty years ago, her stock was at rock bottom in the wake of the Glitter debacle. But now, she is pretty much universally beloved. She has sold 220 million records worldwide, she has the record for most No. 1 singles by a solo act (19), she owns the most popular Christmas song of all-time, and even Glitter is now considered a cult classic. She is this year’s Dolly Parton/Tina Turner-style slam-dunk choice. There is a next-to-zero chance that she doesn’t get in.

Therefore, she does not need my vote.

My vote: No.


Her case is related to her longevity. She was a pop star in the ’60s, she was a TV star in the ’70s, she was a pop star and a movie star in the ’80s, she made Autotune cool in the ’90s, she mounted some wildly successful retirement tours in the aughts, and she made a Mamma Mia! movie in the 2010s. Cher is an incredible star and character. But is she a great musical artist? I like “I Got You Babe.” I like “Gypsies, Tramps, And Thieves.” I like “If I Could Turn Back Time.” I like “Believe.” Cher has bangers. I just wish I could also factor in her work in Moonstruck and Silkwood. But I can’t.

My vote: No.

Dave Matthews Band

Anyone who has paid attention to anything I have written about the Rock Hall knows that I have a vested interest in rock bands from the ’80s and ’90s getting in, as this remains a weirdly overlooked body of potential nominees. DMB obviously falls in this camp. In the late ’90s, they were one of the biggest bands in America. They eventually became a stadium act, and unlike most groups from the jam-band scene, they also managed to score pop hits. Today, they remain a popular touring attraction, and critical revisionists have also reassessed the artistic value of their output. In 2020, they easily won the fan vote, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again this year.

I appreciate all of this. Their support is broad, deep, and genuine. However, despite several attempts, I personally can’t stand DMB’s music. And there are other acts from this era nominated this year that I love.

My vote: No.

Eric B. & Rakim

One of the foundational acts of ’80s hip-hop. In their time they were known as rap music for the rap music aficionado. Their 1987 album Paid In Full is one of the best debuts of all-time — not just for hip-hop but for any genre. And it holds up well today as a signifier of old-school rap’s timeless pleasures. While their other records aren’t as accomplished, Eric B. & Rakim helped to integrate jazz into rap and set a new standard for lyrical sophistication, which influenced the course of the music well into the next decade. There is no good reason not to vote for them. But there is a reason nonetheless: I have seven votes and not eight.

My vote: No.


Mark Ronson has been busy campaigning lately for these stalwart corporate rockers who peaked in the late ’70s and early ’80s. But this is one of the two acts I feel don’t belong here. Foreigner’s inclusion once again exposes the willingness of the nominating committee to dredge up every quasi-significant boomer-era band at the expense of countless deserving alt-rock and indie acts with far better pedigrees. I admit to enjoying some of their power ballads from the Reagan era — “I Want To Know What Love Is” being a prime example — but overall this is a workmanlike band whose unexceptional, by-the-numbers boogie-gruel has been played way too much on classic-rock radio.

My vote: No.

Peter Frampton

A fine guitarist, both with Humble Pie (not in the Rock Hall) and on his own. I appreciate the hits from Frampton Comes Alive!, including the 15-minute one with all the Talkbox emoting. Peter Frampton is totally, solidly, aggressively okay. But, like Foreigner, Frampton’s nomination is yet another indicator that the current powers-that-be at the Rock Hall would rather put C-tier classic-rockers up for consideration than, say, Sonic Youth or The Replacements. No offense, but I do not feel like they do.

My vote: No.

Jane’s Addiction

I suspect that many voters will overlook them because (1) the aforementioned bias against alt-rock bands (2) their relative lack of big-time pop success and (3) the relative shortness of their career, which — if we’re talking about when they were truly great — only lasted a few years. But the albums they put out during this brief golden era, 1988’s Nothing’s Shocking and 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, are both masterpieces. And in terms of influence, those records helped to invent the sound of ’90s alternative rock, particularly grunge. I think Jane’s Addiction is not only legitimately great, but also legitimately important.

My vote: Yes.

Kool & The Gang

The most underrated of this year’s nominees. Kool & The Gang had an Aerosmith-like duality in the ’80s. I discovered them as a young kid when they were making yacht rock-y R&B custom-fit for roller rinks and episodes of Soul Train airing on WGN. This was the era of irresistible hits like “Celebration,” “Too Hot,” “Joanna,” and “Cherish.” It wasn’t until I was in my teens (via the Pulp Fiction soundtrack) that I learned about their hard-funk “Jungle Boogie” phase in the ’70s. In either guise, they were one of the best and most resilient bands of their ilk during those decades. I loved them then, and I love them now.

My vote: Yes.

Lenny Kravitz

Back in 2018 I wrote a column called “Why Lenny Kravitz Is Good In Spite Of Being Mostly Bad.” I posited my theory that Lenny Kravitz has three great songs and 80 bad ones, but that’s okay because those three songs (“Always On The Run,” “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way”) are so good that it makes me overlook the many, many Lenny Kravitz tunes that are awful. (Even his cover of “American Woman,” which is just abysmally stinky.) I still agree with the premise of the article, though I admit that the Rock Hall ballot truly puts it to the test. I love those three songs, but are they enough to make me overlook the fact that Lenny also put out “Fly Away,” one of the dumbest rock songs of the ’90s?

I’m going to flip a coin.

My vote: No.


I’ll be brief. I have already publicly stated my love for this band on many occasions. And I already wrote a bunch of words about why I think they will be voted in. My stance here is already perfectly clear. Explaining any further would be like listening to Sean Hannity explain who he is voting for president this year. Nobody cares because everybody already knows.

My vote: Yes.

Sinéad O’Connor

The Rock Hall tends to be coldly unsentimental about inducting artists that have died. Soundgarden was nominated right after Chris Cornell’s death, and it wasn’t enough to overcome the institution’s entrenched alt-rock bias. There was a public push to induct Warren Zevon last year upon the 20th anniversary of his passing and the Rock Hall instead left his spirit sitting alone at the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel. But I think things will be different for Sinéad O’Connor. There’s a general feeling that she was treated poorly during her life, as well as an acknowledgement that her activism (to say nothing of her music, particularly the records she put out in the ’80s and early ’90s) was ahead of its time. Putting Sinéad O’Connor in the Rock Hall — even though the woman herself would have likely scoffed at the honor — seems like the least we can do.

My vote: Yes.

Ozzy Osbourne

He’s already in as a member of Black Sabbath. But his solo career is also hugely important to the history of metal. Records like Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman helped to set the template for rock music that was edgy and subversive while simultaneously appealing to millions upon millions of stoned teenagers. And that music continues to find new audiences. Last weekend, I took my kids to the movies and I heard “Crazy Train” in the trailer for Inside Out 2 and then again during Kung Fu Panda 4. Ozzy is still being subliminally slipped into young, impressionable minds. Which I will absolutely support until my kids start biting the heads off of bats.

My vote: Yes.


For years Kate Bush was the “slightly left-of-center but still hugely popular star that has remained cool for younger generations” nominee that struggled to get in the Rock Hall. I wonder if that torch has now been passed to Sade. A popular hitmaker going back to the ’80s, Sade continues to grow in popular and critical esteem even as the Nigerian-born singer-songwriter (like Bush) has mostly stayed out of the spotlight. Her last album came out in 2010, but Sade’s sultry, low-key R&B feels as influential as ever on a generation of artists dedicated to making vibes-heavy jams for streaming platforms. This is her first nomination and I think she should get in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes her a couple of nominations to finally clear the threshold.

My vote: Yes.

A Tribe Called Quest

This their third nomination. I voted for them the first two times. I will keep voting for them until they make it.

My vote: Yes.

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.