Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2022 nominees include Dolly Parton, Eminem, Lionel Richie
After decades of too often slighting female artists, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is seeking to make up for lost time for the second year in a row.
The 2022 list of nominees, announced Wednesday, includes Dolly Parton and Carly Simon, both on the ballot for the first time, along with repeat nominees Dionne Warwick, Kate Bush, Pat Benatar and the Eurythmics, the long-defunct U.K. duo headed by vocal powerhouse Annie Lennox.
Parton is in a rare class. Fewer than a dozen other country music artists have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Only one of them, Brenda Lee, was also a woman.
The nominations for Parton and Simon are not as startling as the contenders on last year's ballot, which featured a record seven female nominees and saw three of them — Tina Turner, Carole King and The Go-Go's — earn enough votes to be inducted.
But the presence on the 2022 ballot of country music queen Parton (who seems like a shoe-in) and '70s pop favorite Simon (likely more of a longshot) suggests that last year's ballot wasn't a fluke. This holds true even though Mary J. Blige and Chaka Khan — who were each nominated for the first time last year — are conspicuously absent from the ballot this year.
The other first-time nominees this time around represent a broad array of styles. They include Lionel Richie, Beck, the innovative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest and rapper Eminem, who will be one of the halftime show performers at this year's Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Feb. 13.
In addition to Warwick, Bush, Benatar and Eurythmics, the repeat nominees this year underscore the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's efforts to represent an increasingly eclectic array of music-makers. Or, at least, to include them on the ballot. (The pioneering disco group Chic was nominated 11 times between 2003 and 2017, the last year its name appeared on the ballot, without garnering enough votes to gain induction.)
The other repeat nominees this year include Rage Against The Machine, Devo, deceased Afro-Beat pioneer Fela Kuti, MC5 (nominated this year for the sixth time), New York Dolls and English heavy-metal favorites Judas Priest.
"This year's ballot recognizes a diverse group of incredible artists, each who has had a profound impact on the sound of youth culture," said John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, in a statement released Wednesday morning.
"Their music not only moved generations, but also influenced the sound of countless artists that followed."
At 76, Parton and Simon are the oldest solo artists who are nominated this year. Eminem, at 49, is the youngest.
Artists become eligible for induction into the hall 25 years after the release of their first recording under their own name. That makes Eminem the only nominee to make the ballot this time around in his first year of eligibility.
Factors that are considered by the nominating committee include an artist's musical influence on other artists, the longevity of their career and the depth of their body of work, as well as their level of innovation and "superiority in style and technique."
But enduring stardom is no guarantee an artist's name will appear on the ballot, or that they will be inducted. Neither is having an impact on generations of subsequent artists, as fans of several of this year's repeat nominees — take a bow, Fela Kuti, MC5 and New York Dolls — can attest.
The fact that 10 of this year's 17 nominees released their debut albums after 1978 is an indication that many classic rock artists have already been inducted — or that they are unlikely to ever make the ballot if they haven't already.
The 10 video-fueled nominees in contention this year include such past MTV favorites as Beck, Eminem, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Devo, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics and A Tribe Called Quest. (In 1981, the video for Benatar's song "You Better Run" became the second ever played on MTV, following The Buggles's prophetically titled "Video Killed the Radio Star.")
Inductees will be announced in May, after ballots are cast by an international voting body of more than 1,000 artists, historians, music industry members and critics, including this writer.
Fans can participate in the induction selection process with the Fan Vote, which runs through April 29. Fans can vote daily at vote.rockhall.com, or in person at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
The top five artists selected by the public will comprise a "fans' ballot." These votes will be tallied, along with the other ballots, to select the 2022 inductees.
Still to be announced are the honorees in two categories that are selected by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, not by its voters.
Those two categories are: the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors nonperformers and last year went to record company executive Clarence Avant; and the "early influence" award, which last year went to blues pioneer Charley Patton, proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron and the visionary German electronic-music band Kraftwerk.
The 2022 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held this fall. The date, venue and ticket on-sale information have not yet been announced. However, 26 of the previous induction ceremonies have been held in New York City and six in Cleveland, including last year.
The ceremony has only been held twice in Los Angeles, including in 1993 when Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder memorably sang with the surviving members of The Doors.