The class of 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees are out, and it’s an eclectic list of artists.
Nine of them are on the ballot for the first time: Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Motörhead, The Notorious B.I.G., Pat Benatar, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy.
The repeat nominees are: Depeche Mode, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Kahn, and Todd Rundgren.
Vicky Cornell, wife of late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, thanked fans for helping propel the prolific and influential singer-songwriter and his band to iconic status: “Congratulations @soundgraden,” Vicky wrote on Twitter. “I know @chriscornell would be so honored! Thank you @rockhall this means so much...”
Cornell isn’t the only artist who sadly would not be able to enjoy the honor in person if elected. The class is also headlined by Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G, two more talents who left us way too soon.
Houston blazed a trail for the pop diva through the 80s and beyond with her soaring voice on hits like “I Will Always Love You” and “How Will I Know.” The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, was a crucial figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and is widely considered to be one of the greatest rappers of all-time.
With classic rock staples like Led Zeppelin, The Doors and the Allman Brothers Band already firmly entrenched in the hall, some of the second and third wave of bands who helped soundtrack the 70s finally found room for themselves on the ballot. The Doobie Brothers (“China Grove"), Thin Lizzy (“The Boys are Back in Town") and T. Rex (“Bang a Gong (Get it On”) remain in heavy rotation to this day.
2019 nominees who didn’t make the cut this year: LL Cool J, Devo, Rage Against the Machine and John Prine.
Acts are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording.
The official inductees will be announced in January, with a fan vote helping narrow down the list. The 2020 induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland on May 2nd.