Today, the classics will be respected! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officially announced that its 2020 induction class will consist of the eclectic sextet of Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, the Doobie Brothers, T. Rex, Depeche Mode, and the Notorious B.I.G. Additionally, producer/journalist/manager Jon Landau and veteran manager Irving Azoff will be the recipients of the Hall’s special Ahmet Ertegun Award, which honors industry professionals who have made a significant influence in the rock genre. The (guaranteed to be long) ceremony will be returning to Cleveland this year and will take place on Saturday, May 2, with HBO livestreaming it for fans for the first time.
Kraftwerk, Todd Rundgren, the fan vote–winning Dave Matthews Band, Soundgarden, Judas Priest, Pat Benatar, Thin Lizzy, Motörhead, MC5, and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan will all have to wait until 2021’s slate of nominees to be considered for the next Rock Hall induction class.
Reactions are already starting to come in from the inductees, with Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails’ sole recognized member (and noted Rock Hall hater in the past) basking in the surprise. “I’m pretty freaked out. I’m quite in shock,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m actually quite surprised. When I look back at how Nine Inch Nails are received, it always seems like we fall between the cracks or we’re not in this category or ‘that thing.’ I don’t know if it’s a defense mechanism, but I just assumed we’d stay in that category, so I’m pleasantly surprised to see us acknowledged. It feels pretty good.”
Michael McDonald, who’s being inducted as part of the Doobie Brothers, is thrilled that this “huge chapter” of his life is being recognized. “It’s exciting for sure,” he said. “I guess I was a little apprehensive just in the sense that I didn’t want to assume too much too soon because you never know how these things are going to fall. Even just up to a couple of days ago, I thought, ‘Well, anything could happen.’ But it’s great news for us. It’s very exciting.” Fellow Doobie Patrick Simmons joked: “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”
“We’re incredibly honoured to be included as one of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and to stand alongside the other incredible acts in the Rock Hall and those joining this year,” Depeche Mode said in a group social media statement. “A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us and our music over the years, who have made this possible.”