Rock Hall Announces 2011 Nominees, Including Beastie Boys, Alice Cooper, and Bon Jovi

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No sleep till Cleveland!
  • No sleep till Cleveland!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum just announced the nomination list of artists eligible for induction in 2011. It's filled with the usual mix of legends (Tom Waits), leftovers (Alice Cooper), and longshots (Donna Summer).

The most surprising thing about this year's list of 15 nominees is that so many of them were eligible before. The Rock Hall's rules state that an artist's first record must be at least 25 years old before they're eligible for induction. Several artists on this year's list date further back than that.

Let's run down the full list and their odds of getting in, shall we?

Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper (band, frontman, whatever) has been eligible for a few years now (the band's first album came out in 1969). Everybody loves an Alice song or two, but the group's discography gets spotty over the years, especially once Alice became a person and not a band.

Chance of getting in: 45 percent.
Essential listening: Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits

Beastie Boys
The trio's first year for eligibility and they're pretty much shoo-ins for a spot. They've had a long career, they've made some awesome albums, and they occasionally play ball (for one thing, they're pals with HOF inductees like Elvis Costello). Plus, they can take this year's designated hip-hop spot.

Chance of getting in: 90 percent
Essential listening: Paul's Boutique

Bon Jovi
These New Jersey knuckleheads so want a spot in the HOF. And someday they'll probably get one. But for now too many voters remember the '80s and the awful records the band made back in the day. Bon Jovi think they're above their hair-metal roots, but they're not completely washed out yet.

Chance of getting in: 40 percent
Essential listening: Cross Road: Greatest Hits

Chic
Disco band that even disco haters love. That's because they came up with the killer riff that was sampled by everyone from pioneering hip-hoppers to Queen. But they're still a disco group, so they don't get the props they deserve. Plus, they've been eligible for several years now.

Chance of getting in: 50 percent
Essential listening: Risque

Neil Diamond
The much-loved singer-songwriter has been eligible forever. And eventually the HOF voting committee is going to break down and just let the guy in. He deserves it for a number of great songs he penned in the '60s. He doesn't deserve it for all the maudlin crap he sang in the '70s.

Chance of getting in: 55 percent
Essential listening: The Essential Greatest Hits Collection

Donovan
Dylan bitch-slapped him on camera in Don't Look Back, and that's pretty much how everyone has treated this Scottish troubadour. He's been kicking around since the '60s, so if he isn't in by now, this year probably won't be much different. Still, the dude has some great singles.

Chance of getting in: 35 percent
Essential listening: Donovan's Greatest Hits

Dr. John
Dr. John is a peripheral character on the rock scene. He was big in the early '70s, when people smoked a lot of pot and dug deep into his N'Awlins voodoo swamp-rock. He's regained some relevancy lately with a pair of great records about his doomed hometown. But he's too minor of a player to make the cut.

Chance of getting in: 25 percent
Essential listening: Gris-Gris

J. Geils Band
Another band that has been eligible for quite a while now. They're a great party band, and frontman Peter Wolf is a friend of all the right Hall of Famers (he shows up at a lot of the events). So they'll probably make it in someday (the Rock Hall likes artists who play nice). But really, when it comes down to it, they're a bar band. But a good one.

Chance of getting in: 45 percent
Essential listening: Best of the J. Geils Band

LL Cool J
He's a rap pioneer. He released a series of great albums in the '80s. But he hasn't quite sustained that initial blast. But the HOF feels obligated to get a hip-hop guy in there every year now, so LL might be their man. Then again, the Beasties have a better chance, and there's no way voters will let two hip-hoppers in the same year.

Chance of getting in: 60 percent
Essential listening: Mama Said Knock You Out

Darlene Love
Springsteen champions her. She was one of the biggest voices on Phil Spector's great run of singles. And she's the voice on one of the greatest Christmas songs ever. But Love has been around forever, and her solo career is spotty at best. Still, the HOF loves her. And so do we.

Chance of getting in: 60 percent
Essential listening: the Phil Spector box set Back to Mono

Laura Nyro
Like Donovan, Nyro is a '60s folkie with a very spotty career. She's written some good songs covered by others (most notably, the 5th Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues"), but her own solo albums aren't all that popular with voters or music buyers.

Chance of getting in: 30 percent
Essential listening: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

Donna Summer
Bad Girls (next to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack) may be the greatest disco album ever. And Summer recorded some crucial songs in the mid '70s that blended Euro-electro funk, old-school R&B, and discofied pop. But she's primarily known as a disco singer. And she's been eligible for about 10 years.

Chance of getting in: 35 percent
Essential listening: Bad Girls

Joe Tex
Obligatory old-school soul singer with a big set of pipes and some great singles ("Hold What You Got," "Show Me"). But Tex isn't a very memorable singer and often gets shuffled away with many of his peers from the era. And he's been eligible since the HOF founded 25 years ago.

Chance of getting in: 15 percent
Essential listening: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974

Tom Waits
Waits has been eligible for more than a decade now, but as his stature grows, so does his chance of getting in. His early beatnik records can be tough listens (though there are some great songs buried on them). But once he got weird in 1983 with Swordfishtrombones, there was no turning back.

Chance of getting in: 65 percent
Essential listening: Rain Dogs

Chuck Willis
A R&B pioneer who made some great singles in the '50s ("It's Too Late," "C.C. Rider"). But no one knows who he is. And he's been eligible forever. The dude should make it in on some early-influence loophole or something, but there's no way enough voters care to get him in.

Chance of getting in: 20 percent
Essential listening: Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974

What do you think of the list of nominees? Any glaring omissions this year? And which five do you think are ringers when the winners are announced in December? Let us know in the comments section. —Michael Gallucci

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