The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced the class of 2020. Whitney Houston, the Notorious B.I.G., Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, T. Rex, and the Doobie Brothers will be inducted into the Rock Hall on May 2. The induction ceremony will take place in Cleveland and broadcast live on HBO.
Trent Reznor said in a statement: “A sincere THANK YOU goes out to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting body—it always feels great to be recognized for your artistic efforts and I am honored. Many congratulations to this year’s fellow inductees (DM finally!)—see you back in Cleveland where it all began for me!”
While Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode had both been nominated multiple times, it was the first year that Whitney, T. Rex, and the Doobies were considered. Biggie was the only artist who was nominated in his first year of eligibility (25 years after an artist’s first commercial release).
After expressing ambivalence about the Rock Hall in previous interviews, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor publicly changed his tune about the institution when he gave a speech inducting the Cure. “I remember distinctly saying to myself, among other things, how can I even take this awards ceremony seriously if they’ll open their doors to X, Y and Z and not acknowledge the Cure,” Reznor said. “Let’s just say I’ve never been as happy to eat my words as I was tonight.”
The nominees who weren’t inducted this year include Soundgarden, Motörhead, Dave Matthews Band, MC5, Kraftwerk, Thin Lizzy, Pat Benatar, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, and Judas Priest. DMB were the winners of this year’s Rock Hall fan vote.
The Rock Hall also announced two recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors non-musician industry professionals including songwriters, producers, record executives, and others. One recipient is Jon Landau, the journalist and producer best known for his production work with Bruce Springsteen. The other is Irving Azoff, CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2019 was Radiohead, the Cure, Janet Jackson, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, Def Leppard, and the Zombies. On January 1, Rolling Stone and Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner stepped down as chairman.
Read “What Depeche Mode’s Seduction of Eastern Europe Can Teach Us About Late Capitalism” on the Pitch.