21 Facts About Rock Hall Nominees & Inductees

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At mental_floss, our job is to present information in an entertaining and informative fashion. So when an opportunity came along to offer one of our readers a trip to the sold-out 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, we did two things. First, we rocked (loudly!) to some tunes recorded by each of the five inductees. Energized, we did some serious digging on the new inductees as well as other inductees and nominees from previous years. We crunched the numbers, sorted the names, and came up with this blackjack bundle of facts. Enjoy! And when you're done reading, go enter our sweepstakes.

Background: Individuals and groups can be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in several categories: Performers, Non-Performers, Sidemen, Early Influences, and Lifetime Achievement. It's the "Performer" category that goes through the nomination process, so we're focusing on those for the purposes of this list.

Nominated performers must receive at least 50 percent of the committee's vote to win induction. The committee is made up of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame insiders, and isn't swayed by public opinion. Sure, there are candidates that we personally feel should be in the Hall of Fame, but have never even been nominated. But let's be fair: If public opinion entered into the picture, few musical acts would be excluded... and what's the point of a Hall of Fame if everyone gets in? 

ONE Bad Apple

1. Only one first-year nominee failed to win induction this year: the band War. In 2008, three new names didn't make the cut; Afrika Bambaataa, Chic, and Donna Summer. None of those three were renominated in 2009.

TWO Tickets to Paradise

2. After another nomination in 2009, The Stooges have been up for induction seven times but have yet to garner enough votes to succeed. They've been nominated more often than any other performer still on the "waiting" list.

THREE Window Coupe

The Stooges3. If The Stooges are nominated again next year, they will tie Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers as the only performers to be nominated eight years in a row. (Lymon and his vocal group finally reached the Hall in 1993.)

FOUR Walls

4. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members have names beginning with every letter of the alphabet"¦ except the letter X. (But fans of XTC remain hopeful that the band will remedy that situation soon.)

FIVE Years

Smokey Robinson5. The Hall of Fame's Class of 1987 was the largest ever. Fifteen performers were inducted that year, including music legends Aretha Franklin, Bill Haley, B.B. King, Marvin Gaye, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, and Smokey Robinson.

SIX Underground

6. In contrast to the huge 1987 Class, only five performers were inducted in 1988: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, and The Supremes. No induction ceremony has honored fewer than five performers.

SEVEN Bridges Road

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum7. Two of this year's inductees are already in the Hall of Fame as members of other acts. Jeff Beck won a spot as one of The Yardbirds in 1992; Sam Strain of Little Anthony & The Imperials joined four years ago with The O'Jays.

EIGHT Miles High

8. Four of the original Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees from 1986 found that eight was their lucky number. Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers (1993), Duane Eddy (1994), Little Willie John (1996), and Gene Pitney (2002) were each inducted on their eighth nomination.

NINE Pound Steel

Bob Seger (sans The Silver Bullet Band)9. Consideration is given when nominating artists who have succeeded both individually and with a regular group. Tom Petty and Jimi Hendrix were inducted with their bands, while Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen were chosen as solo acts.

TEN Days Late

8. Solomon Burke was nominated ten times, more than any other performer. He appeared on the nomination list in 1986 (the Hall's first year) and finally secured his place in the Hall 15 years later, in 2001.

ELEVEN O'clock Tick-Tock

Eric Clapton11. Eric Clapton is the only performer to have been inducted to the Hall three different times. He won the honor with The Yardbirds (1992), with Cream (1993), and as a solo artist (2000). He could feasibly earn a fourth with Derek & The Dominoes.

TWELVE a-Go-Go

12. Five acts who appeared on the very first list of nominees in 1986 have yet to reach the Hall: Johnny Ace, Ben E. King, Esther Phillips, Mary Wells, and Chuck Willis.

  • (Ben E. King has not been inducted as a solo artist, but did join the Hall in 1988 as a former member of The Drifters. Chuck Willis was nominated each of the Hall's first five years, from 1986 through 1991, but never made it.)

THIRTEEN Steps Lead Down

Barry Gibb & George Clinton13. The Bee Gees and Parliament/Funkadelic were the only first-time nominees on the 1996 list. Neither won the vote that year, but like all 16 performers nominated that year, both won a spot in the Hall (eventually).

FOURTEEN Days

14. Six of the seven 1999 inductees entered the Hall as solo artists: Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Curtis Mayfield, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, and Bruce Springsteen. Only one group "“ The Staple Singers "“ joined the Hall during that year's ceremony.

FIFTEEN Stories

Bon Scott, late AC-DC lead vocalist15. The Class of 2003 was the only one not to include at least one solo performer. The inductees that year were AC/DC, The Clash, Elvis Costello & The Attractions, The Police, and the Righteous Brothers.

SIXTEEN Candles

16. Stephen Stills is the only performer to be named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice at the same year's ceremony. In 1997, he was a member of two groups "“ Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash "“ that were inducted.

Just SEVENTEEN

The Beatles17. John Lennon was inducted in 1994, followed by Paul McCartney in 1999 and George Harrison in 2004. Ringo Starr recorded seven Top-10 U.S. hits (including two gold #1 singles) within five years of the group's 1970 breakup, but he remains the only former Beatle not inducted as a solo artist.

EIGHTEEN and Life

18. Gene Pitney holds the record for the longest period of time between his first nomination and his induction: 16 years. He appeared on the Hall's very first nomination list in 1986, but didn't make the cut until 2002.

NINETEEN Forever

Gladys Knight & The Pips19. The Rock Hall's Class of 1996 was comprised of David Bowie, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Little Willie John, Pink Floyd, The Shirelles, and The Velvet Underground. Each had been previously nominated, making 1996 the only year that no first-time nominee earned a spot.

TWENTY Miles

20. Wanda Jackson was nominated this year as a "Performer," but won induction under a different category: "Early Influence." Three others "“ King Curtis, Elmore James, and Carole King "“ failed to gain induction as "Performers" but were inducted to the Hall in a different category.

TWENTY-ONE Questions

21. This year's ceremony will be only the second (along with 2007) to not include at least one inductee in the "Non-Performer" category.

Enter to Win!

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February 17, 2009 - 8:55am
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