Top 10 Best Bands That Are NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

When it comes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, opinions tend to be rather strong regarding who should or shouldn’t be considered for induction.

That could be due primarily to the fact that the RRHOF appears to be the ultimate “Too Cool for the Room” club in which musical snobs determine who makes the cut and who doesn’t. The nomination process takes place amongst a select few at Rolling Stone Magazine, and the voting process supposedly takes place among 500 “Rock Experts”; however, who those experts are is a mystery. Evidence of that fact is the 2008 induction of Madonna, the shocking 2010 induction of Abba and the head scratching 2011 induction of Neil Diamond.

While Madonna, Abba and Neil Diamond have had huge careers in the recording industry – Rock and Roll would certainly not be the way to classify their music. Many current rock musicians have openly criticized the nomination and induction process, and want to see the actual artists and fans determine the new inductees.

Unfortunately, the following bands will have the knowledge that Madonna, Abba and Neil Diamond were actually inducted into the RRHOF before they were.

Honorable Mention

Deep Purple
Joe Cocker
Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Ted Nugent
The Cure

10 Motorhead

Motorhead Vocalist, Bassist and Frontman Lemmy Kilmister is widely revered as a major influence to many musicians within all types of rock music. Both Metallica and Guns and Roses have stated that Motorhead is one of their biggest influences. When you have the joke “Who would win in a fight, Lemmy or God?” named after you and the punchline is: “Neither, Lemmy IS God”; well, that should speak for itself. The fact of the matter is that Motorhead has been such an extremely influential band to so many other bands that their inclusion should not be ignored.

9 Def Leppard

Def Leppard stormed onto the scene in 1980 with their initial release “On Through the Night” and followed it up with “High ‘n’ Dry” in which they grabbed some radio and MTV airplay with the song “Bringing on the Heartbreak”. However, it wasn’t until 1993’s release of Pyromania that they became certified superstars. Def Leppard is one of only five bands to have two studio albums, Pyromaina and Hysteria, achieve RIAA Diamond Status (10 million units sold), the others being: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen – That stat alone should guarantee inclusion into the Hall.

8 Journey

Journey was a band that paid its dues and then some. Formed in 1973 by several former members of Santana, they spent years touring and recording before achieving superstar status with the release of 1981’s Escape. Sales have resulted in two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and one Diamond album (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). They had 18 Top 40 singles, six of which reached the Top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Just the sheer number of platinum albums should warrant induction into the RRHOF.

7 Ozzy Osbourne

Sure, he is already been inducted with Black Sabbath, but Ozzy’s solo work is also very hard to deny. His first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, went platinum without the benefit of a top 40 single and very little radio airplay and is now quadruple platinum. It’s follow up, Diary of a Madman, has been certified triple platinum. In all, Ozzy has had eight studio albums in a row go platinum (seven of which are multi platinum) and nine in a row have been certified Gold. To date Ozzy has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, which includes his sales with Black Sabbath. Ozzy has been called the “Godfather of Heavy Metal”, and has been a major influence to many bands, specifically with the Ozzfest Tours; he has given major exposure to many bands that are just starting out. At this point, not having him inducted as a solo act is ludicrous. However, his snub could be due to the fact that he has been very outspoken with regards to the way the RRHOF chooses who is inducted.

6 Yes

Yes has been recording and touring since 1969 and are considered to be the pioneers of progressive rock. Although the band has undergone many lineup changes, they have retained a signature sound that is almost instantly recognizable. Yes has been able to adapt to various changes in popular music over the years and has gone on to sell over 50 million albums worldwide.

5 Judas Priest

Judas Priest are considered to be one of the true pioneers of Heavy Metal; with Rob Halford’s operatic vocals, the twin lead guitar style of Glenn Tipton and KK Downing, along with the leather and studs look that Heavy Metal became famous for. Judas Priest has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has been a major influence in the way that Hard Rock and Heavy Metal have sounded through the years. With the release of British Steel, Priest took a more radio friendly approach to their music that paid huge dividends; they began to receive mainstream radio airplay and introduced them to a whole new generation of fans, while still maintaining a very heavy style.

4 Heart

Quite plain and simply – the Wilson sisters rock. In the late 1970’s Heart managed to become very successful with two women leading the band, something that was extremely uncommon in rock at the time. With seven platinum albums, five of which are multi platinum, including 1983’s “Heart” which has sold over 5 million copies to date; it’s very hard to ignore this band. The songs “Crazy on You”, “Barracuda”, and “Magic Man” are still radio staples – over 30 years after their release. The Wilson sisters have also been credited with helping play a large role in the rise of the Seattle music scene in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, including Ann recording songs on the Alice in Chains EP “SAP”

3 Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden rose out of the London punk scene in the late 1970’s when it just wasn’t cool to be a hard rock band. In spite of this they were one of the pioneering bands of the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” that rose to prominence in the early 1980’s. Despite the fact that they received no radio airplay as well as extremely limited exposure on MTV; Maiden became highly successful through word of mouth and an exhaustive touring schedule. Having sold over 85 million albums worldwide, Maiden has seen resurgence in popularity and has just completed a major world tour. Considered to be a major influence of many bands, including Metallica, and Lady Gaga, the sheer impact of Iron Maiden is just too large to ignore.

2 Kiss

When it comes to RRHOF snubs, Kiss is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Like them or not, Kiss has had an impact in music that just can’t be ignored. While many would not consider the members of Kiss to be good musicians, they more than made up for it with their huge stage productions that included elaborate costumes, pyrotechnics, fire breathing, blood spitting, flaming guitars and a massive light show. Kiss has been awarded 24 gold albums to date, the most of any American rock band. The band has sold more than 40 million albums in the United States, and their worldwide sales exceed 100 million albums. The double live album “Alive!” has been regarded as one of the best live albums ever release, and the band spawned it’s own “Army”, the name for their official fan club. While often criticized for the overly aggressive marketing of the band by Gene Simmons, Kiss’ stamp on the music world just can’t be ignored.

1 Rush

The only RRHOF snub greater than Kiss, is Rush. Formed in the late ‘60’s in Toronto, Rush has gone on to become one of the most influential bands in all of Rock. While compared to Led Zeppelin after the release of their first album, they took a decided turn towards the progressive rock side after drummer Neil Peart joined the band in 1975. Rush has become known for their musicianship, and their style has changed over the years from blues rock to progressive to synthesizer driven rock. The members of Rush have been considered among the best musicians with their respective instruments: Alex Lifeson has been named Best Rock Guitar player by Guitar Player magazine twice and a runner up 4 times, Geddy Lee has been named to the Guitar Player magazine Hall of Fame, as well as being named best Bass player six times by the magazine, and Neil Peart has been universally regarded as one of, if not the greatest rock drummer of all time. Peart was inducted into the the Modern Drummer Magazine Hall of Fame in 1983, and has been named Best Rock Drummer nine times by the magazine. Rush has continued to record and tour for nearly 40 years, and has been such a huge influence among bands and musicians that the snub by the RRHOF is just a travesty.

About the author: Mike is the creator of Where’s My Seat? Seating Charts, Tickets and More!


  1. Interesting fact. More surprised by who made it to the HoF and who didn’t make it.

    • Unfortunately Tom, only a handful of people know how they really do it. ABBA?? When a bands biggest hit is called “Dancing Queen”, I really think that you need to question them being in a “Rock and Roll” hall of fame – a Pop Music Hall of fame? sure…

      Several artists have been very outspoken about how it’s not really a true HoF unless the artists and fans have a say in who gets inducted.

  2. Left out this little bit of information, sorry:

    As a group, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records.Rush’s sales statistics place them third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.

  3. I’m amazed that Journey and Kiss didn’t make it into the R&R hall of fame! They’re amazing!

  4. Yah, thanks for this extensive list of the best bands, really didn’t know about many of them, thanks for this very informative post…

  5. I think if you look at the list of acts that are in the rock and roll hall of fame, that you will find that are numerous acts that Are not rock and roll in the strictest sense and that’s been true since the beginning. {Michael Jackson , miles Davis etc )
    If they just picked two or three acts a year people would not argue about their choices so much. It is probably true that rock and roll heavy metal art rock and arena acts of the 70s and 80s are underepresentated compared to other genres. Another big problem is whether or not include groups that commercially big ,but artisticallly suspect or to let in acts there were not big but artistically important.

  6. Kiss is the best, and have long are, them a space in the hall of fame!

  7. How can you ignore Iggy Pop and The Stooges? Their raw, uncompromising sound foretold the punk revolution of the late seventies.

  8. Ozzy and Rush are two of my biggest insperations as far as music goes and the rest of them in that list are generally amazing.

  9. Everyone of those bands are phenominal. I am ashamed that my beloved band, the Scorpions, are also not among them in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as they should be. Its insulting…I have never seen a band that has always made such inspirational masterpieces like that of Wind of Change, Send Me An Angel, Still Loving You and memorable rockers like Rhythm of Love, No One Like You, Blackout, The Zoo, and Rock You Like a Hurricane….and so on!!! Nor have I ever seen a band that puts on a damn good live performance every time or dedicates songs to their fans like Coming Home for example. A band that is still kicking ass around the world………but as a sign of our lackluster musical taste, has struggled here in the States since 95. The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is a joke….and should be stripped down to nothing but what is in its acclaimed title…Rock!

  10. Cheap Trick. The best damn band not in the Hall of Fame…or on this list.

  11. Their are a lot of great bands in the RRHOF. ABBA? Seriously. I am familiar with everyone of the bands listed here in the snub list, there are alot of other bands that should be added here as well. I think that there should be a hall of fame for other genre’s of music. While the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, and ABBA deserve the right to be recognized as well as a few other bands and individuals that have been inducted I as well as many others don’t think they should share the same acclaim that true Rock and Roll artist do. I agree with most of the bands that are on the list, but when you see groups nominated for a spot lose it to a disco group then that seems a bit obscured to me as well as many others. Funny thing, I grew up in the 70’s and out of thier top 10 songs I only remember 2 or 3 of them on this list of their top 10 ( while I can name and remember the lyrics of songs from almost everyone of the snub bands here as well as some of the bands with honorable mention and the bands listed in previous comments. Come on now let’s get real.

  12. I am not surprised to see most of the names on this list, and Rush in the top spot. It seems like every year another crowd gathers, ready to stone the selection committee for their sins. I think I know why their identities are so carefully guarded. Do they think we, the music fans of the world, are oblivious to the fact that they select one “artist” each year based entirely on the ability to bring publicity to the hall. It is the same reason we have to endure crappy halftime shows every February, because money trumps integrity.
    I can (almost) understand some of the “non-rocker” inductions over the years. Let’s face it, R&B heavily influenced early rock, so we see a ton of artists from this genre entering the hall. I also recognize that the hall tries to bring a wide variety of representation to the table each year. If you look at the inductee list year-by-year, you see a little of this, and a little of that. I guess Madonna would qualify as a little of THAT. Still, the names on this list…
    Perhaps the answer is a new hall, one that truly represents what all of these artists have spent their careers working for. A hall that does not induct the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, or the others mentioned here. One that knows that Rush and Journey make it in long before The Righteous Brothers and Brenda Lee. A hall that lives up to it’s name by being both Rock and Roll and people of fame.
    The problem is simple. The name is already taken, and any attempt to open a new hall will be watered-down and criticized (by guess who [Not to be confused with THE Guess Who]). It is a shame and it is shameful. Many of the artists in the current hall deserve recognition in some sort of ceremony, like the R&B HoF, or the Popular Music HoF, or the IT AIN’T FREAKIN’ Rock and Roll HoF! Meanwhile, all of these great musicians, and many more not mentioned here, sit and wait for someone to recognize them. Hmmf!
    As for the top dogs, Alex, Geddy and Neil are recognized on an ongoing basis as “musician’s musicians,” something that I think they put on their personal mantle every day. They are also recognized with a full house every night of the tour. I don’t think they need the hall to know they are famous, I think the hall needs them to know they are righteous.

  13. Why do you pick on Abba, Madonna, and Neil Diamond. At least they’re pop. Why not bring up Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, a RAP group!

  14. Jeff Healey? Is Rory Gallagher in the HOF? Sorry….scrap the R&R HOF it’s b.s. pure and simple. AND why can’t we create a true R&R HOF that doesn’t have pop garbage or worse still crap…I mean rap.

  15. Seriously….why can’t we scrap the HOF? At least purge it of bands like ABBA or artists like Neil Diamond who are talented but are considered a stretch under the definition of R&R. The HOF has no credibility as long as it ignores true Rockers like Jeff Healey, Rory Gallagher, Scorps, RUSH. Madonna in the HOF????? Come on, cut the crap, the HOF is a joke as long as the criteria used to determine who gets in allows ABBA but NOT Iron Maiden. Seriously…the HOF can suck on it.

  16. Status Quo, an English rock band has had more charted hits than any other band. They have had 64 hit songs and have sold about 130 million records. They’ve been playing for almost 50 years now while performing over 4,500 concerts world-wide. While their music was not played much in the USA, they are huge everywhere else. They definitely belong in the RRHOF.


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