Sex Pistols, U2 lead Hall of Fame nominees. Also on the list: Grandmaster Flash, who could be the first hip-hop act to be inducted, Skynyrd, Patti Smith, and others

By Gary Susman
Updated September 13, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Sex Pistol: London Features

This year’s class of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame could see punks mix with hip-hoppers, or country artists mix with classic R&B acts. Making the list of nominees in its first year of eligibility is U2. Also on the list, after being snubbed twice, are the Sex Pistols, whose frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) once blasted the Hall as a ”place where old rockers go to die.” Rap pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five also made the list; if they’re voted in, they’ll be the first hip-hop act to make the cut.

To be eligible, an act must have released its first recording at least 25 years ago. Several other nominees released their earliest discs well before that. Dating back to the mid-’60s and early ’70s are such nominees as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Patti Smith, Randy Newman, the O’Jays, Percy Sledge, country-rock trailblazer Gram Parsons, and proto-punks the Stooges. Going back even further, to the 1950s, are country legend Conway Twitty (who died in 1993) and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.

The Rock Hall’s panel of experts who vote for the nominees typically narrows them down to five to seven winners. The inductees will be named in November, and they’ll be feted with a televised ceremony and jam session in March.