21 Facts About Rock Hall Nominees & Inductees


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 Stooges
The Stooges /

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 Robinson
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 & Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum /

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)
Bob Seger (sans The Silver Bullet Band) /

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 Clapton
Eric Clapton /


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 Clinton
Barry Gibb & George Clinton /


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.


Bon Scott, late AC-DC lead vocalist
Bon Scott, late AC-DC lead vocalist /


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.


The Beatles
The Beatles /


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.


Gladys Knight & The Pips
Gladys Knight & The Pips /


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!
Enter to Win! /