The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame 2020 Inductees Are Here And Just One Woman Was Voted In
For most people, the idea of making it to work without the grace of headphones and their beloved playlist is enough to see them call in sick, too horrified at the very thought of a music-less (and by extension, joyless) commute. Music is an art form that transcends class, race and gender. It maps onto our own experiences and allows people to see themselves represented in the lyrics and chords of another, whether it be through genre or the fashion choices of those on stage. And while the Hot Hits chart will continue to churn out one-hit wonders and artists of celebratory fame as fleeting as their hairstyle, other musicians become iconic. Their songs are played on repeat, passed down from generation to generation through one vinyl collection to another’s iTunes account.
The Grammys does well to support the trailblazers and stars of music in today’s age, but no establishment is as prestigious and renowned as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the museum is home to the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and notable names who have contributed to its development over the years.
Established in 1983, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF) began inducting artists in 1986 and overtime, it has accrued some of the biggest names in music. Much like Jack Black’s character in School of Rock, for those who live-and-breathe rock music, there is no higher honour than seeing your name sit alongside that of David Bowie, or Bruce Springsteen and Rush. Artists are inducted into the RRHOF at an annual ceremony, which typically sees a half-dozen to a dozen artists recognised. The honourees are voted in by a group of more than 1,000 artists, industry professionals and historians, as well as a fan vote that counts as one ballot.
Today, the honourees of 2020 were announced. Those who will be inducted into the RRHOF include Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, and T-Rex. It’s an exceptional list, but one can’t help notice that just one woman was voted in. This comes after the RRHOF has been criticised for its internal politics and lack of diversity, with Janet Jackson addressing the issue at the 2019 induction when she said, “2020 – please induct more women.” Houston becomes just the 70th woman to be inducted, alongside over 900 men.
Non-performing music figures were also honoured with Ahmet Ertegun awards for lifetime achievement, including Irving Azoff who managed banks including the Eagles and founded Global Music Rights, and Jon Landau, a music critic and longtime producer of Bruce Springsteen. With the induction ceremony set to take place on May 2, here is a look at those that will be honoured for their contribution to music in 2020.
Fronted by Marc Bolan, the flamboyant band set the precedent for '70s glam rock. Their music was as captivating as it was a spectacle to see live, with the big hair, big costumes, and big sound all going on to inspire musicians and bands across alternative to metal. For fans of T.Rex, there are simply too many hits to list, but some notable favourites include "Get It On", "Mambo Sun", and "Cosmic Dancer."
The multimillion-selling singer emerged in the '80s as the voice of her generation, instantly cementing her name as one of the most iconic and powerful R & B voices in music history. But despite all her success and numerous accolades, Houston's career was plagued with obstacles as she struggled with recreational drug use and an abusive marriage. The singer passed away in 2012 at just 48-years-old, but her music continues to live on and inspires a new generation of fans.
Nine Inch Nails
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails said he was “in shock. When I look back at how Nine Inch Nails are received, it always seems like we fall between the cracks. I don’t know if it’s a defence mechanism, but I just assumed we’d stay in that category, so I’m pleasantly surprised to see us acknowledged.”
The gothy, synth-pop group from Essex accrued a huge following of loyal fans during their time. Their music instantly ushered in a new sound during the British new wave scene, with a number of their songs going on to inspire artists in the future.
You only need to listen to the infectious tunes from The Notorious B.I.G. to understand why this rapper is considered one of the best of all time. Songs like "Hypnotize" and "Juicy" became the biggest hits of Biggie's time, going so far as to mae the rapper an icon in music.
In an interview with The Guardian, Michael McDonald of the band said about the inductees for 2020: “Each of those bands has helped shape the form that rock’n’roll has taken over the years. That’s what I like to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame do: pick those bands that have sculpted what we see rock’n’roll as today.”