The late Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. are among the 16 artists nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
The 2020 nominees also include Dave Matthews Band, Motorhead, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden, The Doobie Brothers, T.Rex and Thin Lizzy. Rounding out the group are Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, MC5 and Todd Rundgren.
“It’s a diverse group,” Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Greg Harris said. “There’s four different countries represented: Germany, Ireland, England, and the U.S. There’s 9 first-timers on the ballot this time around. There’s three women. We have Soul, R&B, down the middle Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Dance, and Electronic. So it’s a great, broad group, and it underscores how broad Rock & Roll really is.”
Ballots are sent to an international voting body of more than 1,000 artists, historians, and members of the music industry. Impact and influence are among the factors voters will consider.
“Did they take the art form in a new direction?” Harris said. “Did they push the envelope? Sometimes the influence is more evident a few decades after they’ve made music, because you see current artists embracing it. If you look at all of the strong female artists today, so many of them turn and mention Pat Benatar and Whitney Houston as inspirations, and that’s where you get your impact and influence.”
Fans can again take part in the voting process, and it's easier than ever before to cast a ballot.
“If fans go to Google and just type in Rock Hall or Rock Hall vote or any of the nominee names, a ballot will pop up with 16 names and you can check off five of them,” Harris said. “You can vote every single day. That fan ballot counts for just a composite two ballots into the total. But remarkably, last year four of the top five winners in the fan vote were elected. So I think directionally it gives a good sense. And I think it helps inform some of the other voters in the voting body as well."
The class of 2020 will be announced in January. Induction ceremonies will take place May 2 at Cleveland's Public Auditorium.