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Take a Stroll Through Music History With Every Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee By Year

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Logo 2022

A few days ago, we got our Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees for 2022. After all the hubbub with Dolly Parton initially passing up her nomination, some of the fanfare died down a bit, but it’s still worth a discussion. In fact, Dolly’s decision only adds to the wider introspection of whether or not this is even a working institution. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has widened its definition of the genre. However, there are, rightfully so, accusations of the Hall of Fame using favoritism over artistry to choose inductees—especially in regards to race and gender.

Like any institution or awards, especially related to the music industry, there are a great many things that merit change. Nevertheless, the musicians who are inducted are largely deserving of such an honor, and since this country has such a rich musical history, it’s ultimately a good thing that we have an institution that attempts to honor said history.

With all that said, it’s very fun to look at all the honorees over the years. So, here’s a full, comprehensive list of every inductee since the Hall of Fame was founded. There are a lot of musicians to comb through, so their entries will be fairly brief, but I’ll try to give some history (A.K.A. nerd facts) over artists that deserve some “special” attention.

1986: The First Year


Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Alan Freed, John Hammond, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Sam Phillips, Jimmie Rodgers, and Jimmy Yancey.

Yes, yes, Elvis, we get it. But the real fanfare should be in such an open recognition of Black talent, especially since “rock” music as we know it was largely established by Black musicians. Even if some of these artists don’t necessarily fit the “rock” label, they’re emblematic of some of our nation’s greatest talents. In particular, I want to recognize Robert Johnson as an icon of the blues. If you want to go down a particular rabbit hole of history, look up Robert Johnson’s “deal with the devil.”

And, of course, Buddy Holly, our indie darling. History’s first “quirked up white boy,” if you will.


Leonard Chess, The Coasters, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, Ahmet Ertegun, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Bill Haley, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Louis Jordan, B.B. King, Clyde McPhatter, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Smokey Robinson, Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Hank Williams, Jerry Wexler, Muddy Waters, and Jackie Wilson.

Oowee, that’s a lot of people. Lotta talent. Can we talk about how badass it is that Aretha was the first woman to be inducted? Well-deserved.


The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Lead Belly, The Drifters, Bob Dylan, Berry Gordon Jr., Woody Guthrie, Les Paul, and The Supremes.

A shorter list, but one with more of a bang. My God, this is a good one. We already know the big boys, but I’m excited to get a chance to share with you some of the others. If your Nirvana phase is coming late, a la Batman, then you should definitely listen to Lead Belly. This folk-blues God influenced a lot of their early music, and they also covered his songs during their famous MTV Unplugged session.

And then there’s my dear Woody Guthrie, oh, how I love Woody. You might recognize him for writing the original “This Land Is Your Land,” but did you know of its Socialist intent? Woody wrote the song to be a reclamation for the people, in response to the theocratic “God Bless America,” and considering the time period, that’s pretty incredible. There’s such a rich history to folk music as a whole, and Woody was toeing the line all the way.


(Sony Music)

Dion, The Ink Spots, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Bessie Smith, The Soul Stirrers, Phil Spector, The Temptations, and Stevie Wonder.

All my love for Stevie, obviously. But definitely make sure to check out Otis and Bessie.


Louis Armstrong, Hank Ballard, Charlie Christian, Babby Darin, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Holland Dozier Holland, The Kinks, The Platters, Ma Rainey, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Who.

Perhaps you recognize Ma Rainey from the recent movie, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” We stan a queer icon.

Maybe this is TMI, but I definitely had my taste in men influenced by The Kinks and Simon & Garfunkel. Don’t know what that says about me…


(The Orchard Enterprises)

Lavern Baker, Dave Bartholomew, Ralph Bass, The Byrds, Nesuhi Ertegun, John Lee Hooker, Ike and Tina Turner, The Impressions, Wilson Pickett, Jimmy Reed, and Howlin’ Wolf.


Bobby “Blue” Band, Booker T. and the MG’s, Johnny Cash, Leo Fender, Bill Graham, The Isley Brothers, Elmore James, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Professor Longhair, Doc Pomus, Sam and Dave, and The Yardbirds.

Kinda late to include Jimi, of all people, but okay.



Ruth Brown, Dick Clark, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Milt Gabler, Etta James, Van Morrison, Sly and the Family Stone, and Dinah Washington.

Another year of hard-hitters. Did we all go through a Jim Morrison phase, or was my group of girlfriends just…like that?


The Animals, The Band, Willie Dixon, Duane Eddy, The Grateful Dead, Elton John, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Johnny Otis, and Rod Stewart.

Good lord, this year’s hitters are even harder. Are you a Deadhead, reader? I went to UC Santa Cruz for college and we had a Grateful Dead “museum” in our library. It was fine, if you’re into that sort of thing. But altogether, during my time in that town, I learned more about the Dead than I ever really wanted to. There are worse things to learn about, though.


Paul Ackerman, The Allman Brothers Band, Al Green, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Martha and the Vandellas, The Orioles, Neil Young, and Frank Zappa.

And they don’t stop comin, and they don’t stop comin. Al Green’s “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart” still makes me cry every time I listen to it.


(Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

David Bowie, Tom Donahue, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Little Willie John, Pink Floyd, Pete Seeger, The Shirelles, and The Velvet Underground.

I never went through a Bowie phase (blasphemous, I know), but I was insufferably fond of Pete Seeger and The Velvet Underground. In particular, while I worked at my campus radio station, I constantly played Seeger’s “Folk Songs for Young People,” because it’s just that lovely. Plus, my show was a Saturday morning folk show, and his sweet voice was a perfect accouterment to anyone’s cup of coffee.

1997: The Year I was Born!

Bee Gees, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills and Nash, Mahalia Jackson, The Jackson 5, Joni Mitchell, Bill Monroe, Syd Nathan, Parliament-Funkadelic, and The (Young) Rascals.

I’m always surprised by how few people know about Joni, at least in my own life. She was a pioneer for folk music, and women singer-songwriters, and her music is never not topical.

But in any case, now I have “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 stuck in my head…


Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Mamas and the Papas, Jelly Roll Morton, Lloyd Price, Santana, Allen Toussaint, and Gene Vincent.

Fleetwood Mac is really having its moment nonstop. Remember the cranberry juice TikTok? I shan’t forget.


(Universal Music Group)

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Charles Brown, Billy Joel, George Martin, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, and The Staple Singers.


Hal Blaine, Eric Clapton, Nat “King” Cole, King Curtis, Clive Davis, Earth Wind and Fire, Billie Holiday, James Jamerson, Lovin’ Spoonful, The Moonglows, Scotty Moore, Earl Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, and James Taylor.

How in the hell did it take this long to include Billie? Smdh.


Aerosmith, Chris Blackwell, Solomon Burke, James Burton, The Flamingos, Michael Jackson, Johnnie Johnson, Queen, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Ritchie Valens.

Do you ever think Paul Simon goes about his day, then remembers that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, and Garfunkel wasn’t? I bet he laughs. I probably would.



Chet Atkins, Isaac Hayes, Brenda Lee, Gene Pitney, Ramones, Jim Stewart, Talking Heads, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

“Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”


AC/DC, Benny Benjamin, The Clash, Floyd Cramer, Steve Douglas, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Mo Ostin, The Police, and Righteous Brothers.

Everyone likes to dig on “Every Breath You Take” for being a creeper song, but they need to chill out, because it’s genuinely a bop.


Jackson Browne, The Dells, George Harrison, Prince, Bob Seger, Traffic, Jann S. Wenner, and ZZ Top.

Reader, tell us: who was your favorite Beatle? I think this says a lot about a person. In regards to Harrison, I think for most people I’ve met who say this, claiming that he’s your favorite Beatle means, “I’m better than most people I meet.” Or they just think he was the cutest. (Because he was.)


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Frank Barsalona, Buddy Guy, The O’Jays, The Pretenders, Percy Sledge, Seymour Stein, and U2.



Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Sex Pistols.


Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Van Halen.

If you’re familiar with my other music articles, you’re probably aware of my love for Patti Smith. But for those of you unfamiliar with her, first of all, how dare you, and second of all, go listen to Horses right now. Homegirl invented punk. Get outta here with that post-punk, pop-punk nonsense, and return to your roots. Then read Just Kids. And cap it off by following her Instagram, which is delightfully diary-like.


Courtesy of Movieclips

Leonard Cohen, The Dave Clark Five, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Madonna, John Mellencamp, The Ventures, and Little Walter.

Did you know Leonard Cohen wrote “Hallelujah?” As in the Hallelujah that everyone and their mother knows? I didn’t learn that until way later in my life, which only makes that one scene in Shrek funnier.


Jeff Beck, Bill Black, D.J. Fontana, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Metallica, Spooner Oldham, Run DMC, and Bobby Womack.

“Jerome, Jerome, put on that Bobby Womack!”


Abba, Barry Mann and Cynthia Well, Otis Blackwell, Jimmy Cliff, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, David Geffen, Genesis, The Hollies, Mort Shuman, Jesse Stone, and The Stooges.

I’m a little surprised to see Mort Shuman here, as I’m only familiar with his work composing the score for the 70s film, “Une Vraie Jeune Fille.” Never seen the movie, since it sounds fairly intense, but the score is beautiful.



Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Jac Holzman, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Art Rupe, Leon Russell, and Tom Waits.

One of my dearest friends has been in love with Tom Waits for the longest time, and really, can you blame her? It’s Tom Waits.


Beastie Boys, The Blue Caps, The Comets, The Crickets, Donovan, Tom Dowd, The Famous Flames, Guns N’ Roses, Glyn Johns, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, The Midnighters, The Miracles, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Small Faces/Faces.

As a Donovan fan, one of my favorite Donovan facts was that, even though he was technically friends with The Beatles, they thought he was a massive, massive dork. How catty, I love it.


I’m so sorry. This is the first thing I think of when I see Randy Newman’s name anywhere.

Lou Adler, Heart, Quincy Jones, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, and Donna Summer.


The E Street Band, Brian Epstein, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Kiss, Nirvana, Andrew Loog Oldham, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens.

Another great year, this one being a year of Crushes. My mom had a crush on Hall and Oates, I had a crush on Nirvana, and my dad had a crush on Cat Stevens. As did every mom, daughter, and father of those respective time periods.


Green Day, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Lou Reed, The “5” Royales, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble, and Bill Withers.

Yay, Ringo, you did it! And congrats Lou for joining the Twice Inducted Club, well-deserved.



Bert Berns, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller, and N.W.A..

N.W.A. absolutely tops this list, but nothing for me will ever beat Conan’s infatuation for Cheap Trick.


Joan Baez, Elo, Journey, Pearl Jam, Nile Rodgers, Tupac Shakur, and Yes.

I once asked a guy if I looked like Joan Baez so he could indirectly call me pretty, and it worked. Ladies, learn from this: folk music will get you (kinda) far in your dating lives.


Courtesy of Vintage Gospel Hub.

Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

About damn time they induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She basically founded rock and roll as a genre. Don’t believe me? Then do some reading and figure it out yourself, because it’s the truth, plain and simple. A queer Black woman invented rock. Hell, yeah.


The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, and The Zombies.

Everyone’s been making Radiohead memes lately (particularly in reference to Paul Dano’s performance as the Riddler, for some reason), and you know, even though Radiohead is one of my top five favorite bands, I can’t help but love these memes. Radiohead is objectively great, but goddamn, are they a specific mood. A very specific mood.


Irving Azoff, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Jon Landau, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., and T. Rex.

Quite an eclectic year, no?


Billy Preston, Carole King, Charley Patton, Clarence Avant, Foo Fighters, Gil Scott-Heron, Jay-Z, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, Randy Rhoads, The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, and Todd Rundgren.

I wonder if Dave Grohl is pissed that Pearl Jam got inducted before Foo Fighters did. The 90s PNW punk scene was so catty, all across the board. The feuds weren’t on the level of Blur vs. Oasis, sure, but they were still pretty salty about their rivalries.

2022: What You’ve Been Waiting For

Thank you for bearing with this incredibly long list. I like to think the history here is worth looking into, and it helps to make the newest inductees feel like there’s more weight behind them.

That said, without further ado, here are 2022’s inductees:

Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon, Harry Belafonte, Elizabeth Cotten, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Judas Priest, Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine, and Sylvia Robinson.

Big congrats to everyone involved, as this is a very talented list! But I have to give one last personal commendation to Elizabeth Cotten, who is very dear to me. If Sister Rosetta helped establish rock and roll, Elizabeth Cotten helped establish folk music as we know it. She is an immeasurable talent who goes unnoticed far too often, and I’m incredibly pleased to see her recognized this year for her contributions to music history.

Courtesy of Vintage Music Hub.

Who were you excited to see? Any stories or facts to share? Please leave a comment down below, and don’t forget to listen to anyone who grabbed your attention!

(Featured Image: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.