First-time nominees Duran Duran, Dolly Parton, Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest lead Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 ballot

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Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon, Dolly Parton, Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip (Photos: John Swannell, Getty Images)

Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon, Dolly Parton, Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip (Photos: John Swannell, Getty Images)

The nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022 have just been announced — and there are a whopping 17 contenders this year, instead of the typical 15, which according to a Hall source is due to a tie during the nominating committee’s electing process. 

Hall voters will have especially difficult time whittling that list down to the mere five to seven artists who will be celebrated at the Hall’s 37th annual induction ceremony, as this year’s super-sized ballot features several first-time and past nominees who arguably should have been inducted long ago.

Seven of 17 nominees in the Performer category this year are first-timers: new wave idols Duran Duran, country legend Dolly Parton, hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest and Eminem, pop/soul veteran and American Idol judge Lionel Richie (whose former band the Commodores has yet to be nominated), ’70s singer-songwriter Carly Simon, and ‘90s indie-rock shapeshifter Beck. Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers, is the only artist on the ballot to be nominated in a first year of eligibility. 

Among the past nominees getting another shot this year is rock powerhouse Pat Benatar, who was nominated in 2020 and topped the fan vote, but was shockingly snubbed. Art-punk mavericks Devo, glam-rock pioneers the New York Dolls, avant singer-songwriter Kate Bush, British metal titans Judas Priest, and synth duo the Eurythmics, who have all been nominated twice previously, are also back in the running. 

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Detroit protopunk protest band MC5 is up for a sixth nomination; their logical successors, ‘90s political alt-rockers Rage Against the Machine, are up for their fifth. Rounding out the ballot are Afrobeat trailblazer Fela Kuti and soul diva/Twitter queen Dionne Warwick, who were both nominated and passed over last year.

“This year’s ballot recognizes a diverse group of incredible artists, each who has had a profound impact on the sound of youth culture,” Rock Hall chairman John Sykes said in a statement Wednesday. “Their music not only moved generations, but also influenced the sound of countless artists that followed.”

In 2020, Rolling Stone magnate Jann Wenner stepped down as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s chairman and was replaced by MTV co-founder Sykes — a development that could bode well for many of the ‘80s nominees on this year’s ballot, particularly fan favorites Benatar and Duran Duran. In 2015, an anonymous industry insider once famously told Billboard that darlings of the early-MTV era were viewed as “weird outcasts… who wear mascara” by the Hall’s old guard.

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“I have a problem with the institutionalization of rock ‘n’ roll,” Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon told Yahoo Entertainment in 2015, when he and bandmate John Taylor were asked about the Hall’s longtime Duran snub. “I don’t like going places where you’ve got to wear a black tie. I just feel like saying, ‘F*** off!’ I think the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in itself is not a bad thing, but I don’t feel that I have to be placed alongside Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, the Rolling Stones, U2, and all those other guys for me to have validity.” However, Le Bon and Taylor later attended the 2019 ceremony to induct their childhood heroes Roxy Music into the Hall.

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductees will be announced in May; the induction ceremony will take place this falI. The ceremony’s date, venue, and ticket-sale information will be announced later this year. Starting today, fans can vote at or at an interactive kiosk at the Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland. 

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