Nirvana will get in. Everybody knows that.
But who will join them when the class of 2014 is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? There's certainly no shortage of worthy candidates.
The Rock Hall recently announced its latest batch of nominees, and the 16 acts include Nirvana, Kiss, N.W.A., Yes, LL Cool J, Linda Ronstadt and the Replacements.
Now, it's the job of the Hall's 600 voters to determine which of the acts deserve to be enshrined. The winners will be announced in December, with the induction ceremony to follow in April in New York City.
Not all of the 16 will make it, of course. Last year, the Hall inducted six performers -- including Rush, Public Enemy and Donna Summer -- and two producers. (In order to be eligible, an act must have released its first single or album 25 years before nomination.) Here are the six performance acts that should make it in 2014:
Nirvana: The single most significant rock band of the last 25 years is an absolute lock for induction. Indeed, I'd call it the safest bet since R.E.M. was nominated in 2006. It would be a ridiculous shocker, one that the Hall simply couldn't recover from, if Nirvana's name isn't called in its first year of eligibility.
N.W.A.: The band should have been inducted at the 2013 ceremony, which was held in N.W.A.'s old stomping ground of Los Angeles. Its influence on hip-hop and popular culture, as well as the work its core members would go on to do as solo artists, demands that N.W.A. be inducted in 2014.
Kiss: How much longer can the Hall deny admission to these costumed characters? They are as much a part of rock history as Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Metallica. (Granted, Kiss hasn't produced the quality of work that those others have -- but those Kiss lunchboxes sure rocked!) The wait stops here, to the delight of the always passionate Kiss army.
Linda Ronstadt: She's been overlooked for years, but it seems like the time is right to recognize Ronstadt for her longevity, influence and smash records from the '70s and early '80s. Plus, it's high time that the Hall add more women to its ranks.
Chic: The disco-dance band is bound to get into the Hall one of these years -- for its incredible collection of hit singles in the '70s as well as for Nile Rodgers' genius production work. Hopefully, voters will want to add some disco to an inductee mix that is already likely strong with rock and rap.
Link Wray: The sixth spot is a bit of a crap shoot. Yet I think the 2014 inductees will be heavy on big names like Kiss and Nirvana, which will open the door for a true innovator and pioneer like the late guitarist whose 1958 instrumental hit "Rumble" inspired many a rock ax slinger.
ALSO IN THE RUNNING: Here's a breakdown of the other 10 nominated acts:
Deep Purple: Despite the band's impressive stats, there's little chance we'll be hearing an all-star jam on "Smoke on the Water" at the induction ceremony.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Could take Link Wray's spot.
Peter Gabriel: It's just a matter of time before he joins the ranks of two-time inductees. (Gabriel was inducted as part of Genesis in 2010.)
Hall and Oates: I can't go for that. No can do.
LL Cool J: It seems doubtful that the Hall will honor two hip-hop acts in the same year -- and N.W.A. definitely deserves to go in before LL.
The Meters: Mardi Gras will eventually be celebrated at the Rock Hall, just not in 2014.
The Replacements: The Rock Hall has not been kind to '80s alt-rock pioneers.
Cat Stevens: I'd be OK with his selection, as long as organizers don't tap Natalie Merchant to sing "Peace Train" at the ceremony.
Yes: Rush got inducted in 2013, but I can't imagine that the Hall will honor prog-rock in back-to-back years.
The Zombies: It's not (yet) their "Time of the Season."
MY VOTE GOES TO: Here are six eligible acts I'd dearly like to see get inducted one of these years:
Roxy Music: There is no better band in rock 'n' roll history.
Joy Division: The post-punk equivalent of Nirvana, only with better songs.
Dead Kennedys: The West Coast equivalent of the Sex Pistols, only with better songs.
Throwing Muses: More original and daring, as well as just plain better, than the Pixies, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr. and the other more heavily championed alt-rock pioneers.
Phish: One of the two best jam bands of all time -- and I shouldn't have to tell you the other one.
Devo: Unfortunately, the plastic red hats, the bright yellow jumpsuits and other gimmicks overshadow the band's incredible body of work.
Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic, Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.