The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its latest members on Wednesday. Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T. Rex will join the pantheon of 330 artists at the institution at the 35th annual ceremony in Cleveland on May 2.
The members of the class of 2020 recognize the achievements of black artists, while nodding to the most recent stars of the 80s and 90s.
Whitney Houston, who died in 2012, was one of the most commercially successful artists of the twentieth century and influenced generations of pop divas. Notorious B.I.G., killed in 1997, was widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, and helped turn hip-hop into a cultural force through his vivid narration. Depeche Mode popularized grumpy synth-pop, while Nine Inch Nails pioneered the dark and distressed sounds of industrial rock. In the 1970s, the Doobie Brothers combined soul, rock and pop to become one of the most popular groups in California. T. Rex, directed by the late Marc Bolan, offered crunchy glam-rock.
The previous members, the class of 2019, included only one black artist, Janet Jackson, but brought more acts of the 1980s and 1990s than in the past, including Radiohead, Def Leppard and The Cure.
Notorious B.I.G., who was eligible for the first time this year, will be the seventh member of hip-hop, after Tupac Shakur and N.W.A in recent years. In the previous two classes, two women were inducted each year, while Mrs. Houston is the only honoree of 2020.
Four of the 2020 candidates are nominated for the first time: The Doobie Brothers, Notorious B.I.G., T. Rex and Ms. Houston, who has been eligible since 2009.
An international body of more than 1,000 previous winners, critics and music executives chose among the 16 nominees this year. According to the Rock Hall rules, artists are eligible for the nomination 25 years after their first commercial recording, so, this year, 1994.
The Rock Hall takes into account a “fan vote”: five artists chosen by public vote online. This year, Dave Matthews Band led the fan vote, after being nominated for the first time, but did not win induction. Among the five winners of the fan vote, only the Doobie Brothers did. In the last two years, four of the five winners of the fan vote were included.
The nominees for the first time, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden, Thin Lizzy and Motörhead were left without votes. Kraftwerk failed for the sixth time; It was the fifth attempt of MC5 and the fourth for Rufus with Chaka Khan.
Other nominees who failed to make the cut include Todd Rundgren and Judas Priest (both nominees twice). Music executives Irving Azoff and Jon Landau will receive a separate Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors industry professionals.
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