Fans of rock and/or roll and/or stiffly formal ceremonies have reason to celebrate today, as the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has released its list of 2017 candidates for possible induction. The roster boasts plenty of first-timers, including Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode, Bad Brains, Jane’s Addiction, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, and Steppenwolf—some of whom just became officially eligible this year, some of them only now being added according to the inscrutable whims of its nominating committee, who often seems to settle on artists by putting Spotify on shuffle. They join several names who have been up for the honor before, including Kraftwerk, Janet Jackson, The Cars, Chaka Khan, MC5, The Zombies, Yes, The J. Geils Band, Joe Tex, and Chic (the Susan Lucci of the Rock Hall, with a record 11 nominations now).
While you can’t change these nominees no matter how many angry “Where the hell is The Cure?” tweets you write, you can cast your vote on which ones from that list you’d actually like to see inducted over on RollingStone.com, where polls will remain open from now until December 6. The top five picks there will be lumped together as a single “fan’s ballot” to be tossed in with the more than 800 others from myriad artists, historians, and industry types. The winners will then be announced later that month, to be followed by the official ceremony next April on HBO and, if Tupac is in there, probably some more asinine quotes from Gene Simmons.
Of course, Simmons—and anyone else who finds themselves disgruntled by this year’s choices or snubs—can always take solace in the fact that the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame is, as a very pissed Steve Miller reminded us last year, less authoritative Valhalla than an especially pricey Hard Rock Café. Every year there’s little rhyme or reason as to which musician it suddenly chooses to recognize as an all-time great, other than the guarantee that it will get people talking—and hopefully, buying tickets to see, say, Journey be forced to reunite with Steve Perry, or Jeff Lynne with the rest of ELO. It’s a shrewdly commercial, self-aggrandizing endeavor that converts fire and passion into money; isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll is all about?