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Who'll Rock Into 21st-Century Hall of Fame?

January 17, 1988|ROBERT HILBURN

Pat Benatar--Not much critical support for her, but she may be remembered as a breakthrough for female rockers. Biggest problem: the fact that Chrissie Hynde is ever so much more compelling. 20%

Boy George--The bottom appears to have fallen out. 5%.

Kate Bush--Needs more exposure in the United States, but a magnificent talent. 40%

Bon Jovi--Massively popular, distressingly insignificant--so far. 18%

Elvis Costello--Though never a big seller, he is perhaps the most respected rock songwriter of the post-punk era. 90%

Duran Duran--The band's photos may have been on the walls of more girls than any other band of the '80s, but a lot of those photos are now in the garbage. 5%

Eurythmics--Classy record-makers and performers, but need to cement their reputation with a couple of anthems that overcome the impression that Lennox and Stewart are more master strategists than passionate artists. 40%

Peter Gabriel--He and Phil Collins will be inducted as members of Genesis, but Gabriel has risen to a whole new level on his own. Collins, too, has a shot at being voted in as a solo artist, but far less chance than Gabriel. (Under Hall of Fame rules, an artist can be elected for his solo work even if he has already been inducted as a member of a group.) 85%

Hall & Oates--They had some highly regarded hits, but the duo's music doesn't seem to be wearing well. 25%

Heart--The Wilson sisters' music isn't likely to win them a spot, but their influence as women rockers could win them a few votes. 7%

Don Henley--He'll win a place as a member of the Eagles, but he is already off to a commanding start in qualifying as a solo artist. 85%

Whitney Houston--She's got too great a voice and too many years left to discount her, but she has exhibited so little artistic vision and deals in too colorless a pop style. The Rock Hall of Fame isn't limited to rock performers (see the Supremes), but it helps to have some blues, country, gospel or R&B ties--rather than straight pop. 22%*

Billy Idol--Good performer with traditional rock instincts and a flash of artistic ambition in his last album. More progress, however, is needed. 35%

INXS--Certainly racking up the hits, but suffers from lack of individuality and the feeling that no one is all that passionate about them. 10%*

Janet Jackson--The last album was a smash, but can she do it again? 10%*

Michael Jackson--He'll be inducted twice, first as a member of the Jackson 5, then as the solo artist who may have achieved more international popularity in rock than anyone since Presley. 99%

The Jesus and Mary Chain--Another long shot, but a touch of greatness. 20*

Billy Joel--Despite his personal identification with rock and his vast backlog of hits, there is a softness at the core of his music that may work against him. Still, he'll have lots of support. 70%

Huey Lewis & the News--Not enough sizzle. 20%

Los Lobos--The "La Bamba" success finally brought this great band a mainstream following, but the heart of their case rests with their own endearing material. Just need a bit more longevity to make their selection certain. 55%

John Cougar Mellencamp--Has made believers out of a lot of suspicious critics in recent years as he has become a spokesman for honest American rock, but he still needs a couple more strong albums. 65%

George Michael--Initially dismissed as a simply a teen heartthrob, Michael earned some respect (and the cover of Rolling Stone magazine) for his new solo album--which shows signs of artistic life. Big question mark. 25%*

Madonna--She has not only opened a door for women and dance-oriented music, but won the respect of critics and the industry. Only possible threat is turning voters off through too much emphasis on celebrity-hood rather than achievements. 80%

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers--The songs alone should be enough. 80%

Pretenders--The continuing shifts in personnel may confuse the judges, but one way or another Chrissie Hynde will be inducted. 85%

Prince--A revolutionary talent whose impact has been felt on stage, screen and record. Count on it. 99%

R.E.M.--The most influential American rock band of the '80s, but requires more inroads into the rock mainstream to guarantee induction. 61%

Replacements--Like Husker Du, this band enjoys enormous critical respect, but needs to rise out of the underground to improve chances. 35%*

Lionel Richie--A shoo-in for the Pop Hall of Fame, but--like Streisand--may be too far removed from rock for judges to give him a nod. 45%

Run-D.M.C.--These rappers are still young and have made great strides in welding together the rock and rap audiences, but could be hurt if rap burns itself out. 50%

Bob Seger--A classic rocker and respected songwriter. 85%

The Smiths--This English band had a chance, but it probably broke up before it established enough of a presence in this country. 15%

Bruce Springsteen--He'll be inducted in 1998. 99%

Sting--He'll be inducted with the Police, but, like Gabriel, he is operating on a whole different plane since going solo. 85%

Talking Heads--Massive critical respect and still paying dividends. 90%

Tiffany--Lots of time, but no evidence of lots of talent. 1%*

Twisted Sister--Does the band still have a record contract? 1%

U2--The paramount band of the '80s. If the band stopped today, ironically, it would be a cinch. The band members, however, are still younger than 30 and if they fail to live up to expectations over the next decade, the band could slip in stature. 95%

Van Halen--Defined good-time hard-rock. 60%

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