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ROCK HALL NOMS:
SWEET LITTLE 16

The 16 nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2020 are (in alphabetical order) Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy

DMB and Biggie made the ballot in their first year of eligibility; having released their first albums 25 years ago, in 1994. Also making the cut for the first time are T. Rex (whose first LP, as Tyrannosaurus Rex, came out in 1968), The Doobies (1971), Thin Lizzy (1971), Motörhead (1977), Benatar (1979), Houston (1985) and Soundgarden (who released their first EP in ’87). 

The remaining seven nominees failed to make the final cut in previous years, most recently The MC5 (1969), Rufus/Chaka (1973) and Rundgren (1970), who were all on the 2018 ballot. NIN got a nom in 2014, Trent Reznor’s first year of eligibility, but hadn’t been nominated since then. 

The inductees—typically five or six in recent years—will be announced in January, after the votes of 1,000+ artists, journalists and biz people are tallied. The 2020 Induction Ceremony, which will be held at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium on 5/2, will air live for the first time, according to the Rock Hall’s incoming Chairman, John Sykes, who’s determined to bring the institution into the 21st century. HBO will once again carry the show.

“I think that the Hall of Fame, if we do our job, will reflect the music the public is falling in love with and embracing,” Sykes told us recently. “And that’s going to look different than it did 15 years ago, because culture shifts. We’re doing something that we’re excited about, because we get to reinvent—so we don’t become Grandpa’s Hall of Fame.” 

If Biggie is inducted, he’ll be the seventh hip-hop act in the Hall, following Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (2007), Run-DMC (2009), The Beastie Boys (2012), Public Enemy (2013), N.W.A (2016) and Tupac Shakur (2017). The precedent-setting nominee is Houston, who would be the first MOR artist to be voted in.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice a change in the Hall's look as the Sykes era begins: The “and” in the name has been replaced by a tidier ampersand.

 

 

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