Saturday, 18 July 2009

Using the Top 100 Artists on Billboard's Top 200 as a predictor for the Rock Hall - Or Why the Charts Don't Matter?

In 1996, Billboard magazine published a list of all albums to have charted, and the list was updated in 2005. Though I have not read the updated version, I found the top 100 artists listed as part of the Future Rock Hall blog and sincerely thank one Roy for providing the list for me to analyse. Future Rock Hall has previously said that a successful singles career is simply not sufficient grounds for being inducted to the Rock Hall.

Being far more familiar with album than singles charts, I have ever since reading that study been curious about whether the top album artists on Billboard are likely to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Notable about the list below is that much more than the top singles artist list mentioned earlier, none of the artists are remotely recent: there is no Whitney Houston, no Janet Jackson, no Bon Jovi, no R.E.M., no Duran Duran, even no John Cougar Mellencamp. Only Mariah Carey and Garth Brooks remain ineligible as of the 2010 induction, and I do not imagine that very much will have changed in this direction since 2005.

It must be noted that most of the artists who are not Hall of Famers have most of their album sales from compilations of singles rather than original albums, which is why a number of pre-Billboard artists can be seen below. It is however true that some artists in the Hall of Fame with large cults (Morrison, Zappa, the Grateful Dead) also have sales from compilations that are vital to their place here. So does James Brown.

Of the 100 artists listed below
  • forty-nine are Hall of Famers as Performer, which is a somewhat better success rate than with the singles charts.
  • three are Hall of Famers in a category other than Performer (marked with for Non-Performer inductee and for Early Influence inductee)
  • but of the remaining forty-eight as few as seven (marked with #) have received serious discussion from the Nominating Committee, and it is not likely even these seven will get in soon.
On paper, this list is no better a predictive tool than the singles list and one cannot recommend it as a predictive tool, although there exist prospect of improvements if compilations could be excluded (a virtually impossible task).

The complete list, with links to those not in the Hall of Fame as a Performer, is:
  1. Elvis Presley
  2. Frank Sinatra
  3. The Beatles
  4. Barbra Streisand
  5. The Rolling Stones
  6. Johnny Mathis
  7. Elton John
  8. Bob Dylan
  9. Neil Diamond#
  10. The Temptations
  11. The Beach Boys
  12. Eric Clapton
  13. Ray Conniff
  14. Willie Nelson
  15. Ray Charles
  16. Rod Stewart
  17. Mantovani
  18. Aretha Franklin
  19. Paul McCartney
  20. David Bowie
  21. Prince
  22. James Brown
  23. Pink Floyd
  24. Andy Williams
  25. Lawrence Welk
  26. Neil Young
  27. Bee Gees
  28. Chicago#
  29. The Supremes
  30. Henry Mancini
  31. The Kingston Trio
  32. Jimmy Buffett
  33. Herb Alpert
  34. Kenny Rogers/First Edition
  35. Jimi Hendrix
  36. Aerosmith
  37. Stevie Wonder
  38. The Grateful Dead
  39. Roger Williams
  40. Fleetwood Mac
  41. The Ventures
  42. Led Zeppelin
  43. Van Morrison
  44. George Strait
  45. Nat "King" Cole
  46. KISS#
  47. Linda Ronstadt#
  48. Metallica
  49. Johnny Cash
  50. Billy Vaughn
  51. Bruce Springsteen
  52. Diana Ross
  53. Barry Manilow
  54. Queen
  55. Santana
  56. The Who
  57. Garth Brooks (eligible 2014/2015)
  58. Madonna
  59. Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship
  60. U2
  61. Dionne Warwick
  62. Billy Joel
  63. John Denver
  64. Rush
  65. Mitch Miller
  66. Michael Jackson
  67. James Taylor
  68. Harry Belafonte
  69. The Isley Brothers
  70. Alabama
  71. The Lettermen
  72. The Eagles
  73. AC/DC
  74. Nancy Wilson
  75. Marvin Gaye
  76. The Doors
  77. Jethro Tull#
  78. Dolly Parton
  79. Tony Bennett
  80. The Kinks
  81. Dean Martin
  82. The Monkees
  83. Joan Baez
  84. Journey
  85. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/Tom Petty
  86. Glen Campbell
  87. Gladys Knight and the Pips
  88. Earth, Wind and Fire
  89. The Moody Blues#
  90. Frank Zappa
  91. Mariah Carey (eligible 2015/2016)
  92. Anne Murray
  93. Steve Miller Band#
  94. Enoch Light
  95. Cher
  96. Carole King
  97. Hall & Oates
  98. Elvis Costello
  99. Carly Simon
  100. Bob Seger
Please note that some of the links are defective as the artists do not have a Future Rock Hall page. They are there for consistency only and do not worry if you are redirected to the main Future Rock Hall list.

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