The nominations for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 are in, and the list features the Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T. Rex, and Thin Lizzy. The top vote-getters will be announced in January and inducted May 2nd, 2020, at a ceremony at Cleveland’s Public Hall.
To be eligible for this year’s ballot, each nominee’s first single or album had to have been released in 1994 or earlier. In a break with recent history, a majority of the nominees are appearing on the ballot for the first time, including Dave Matthews Band, the Doobie Brothers, Motörhead, the Notorious B.I.G., Benatar, Soundgarden, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, and Houston. This is the sixth ballot appearance for Kraftwerk, the fifth for the MC5, the fourth for Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, the third for Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, and the second for Judas Priest and Rundgren.
A voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists, and members of the music industry will select the new class. Fans will also have a chance to take part in the process by voting at rockhall.com or at an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland.
“Nothing stays the same in music,” incoming Rock Hall chairman John Sykes told Rolling Stone last month. “Therefore, really, the institution that honors it has to evolve with all the music. Just like hip-hop is very much a part of the Hall of Fame now, everything we do — the board members we have, the events we build on — has to reflect a changing culture without ever disregarding or turning our backs on the ideals and fundamentals of the Rock Hall.”
As has become tradition, the Hall of Fame has announced the individual members of each band that will be inducted. The countless iterations of Nine Inch Nails, however, mean that Trent Reznor will accept the honor alone should the group get in.
Current Dave Matthews Band members Matthews, Stefan Lessard, Carter Beauford, Tim Reynolds, Rashawn Ross, and Jeff Coffin were selected along with former violinist Boyd Tinsley and deceased saxophonist LeRoi Moore.
The Doobie Brothers have seen many members come and go over the years, but the Hall of Fame went with Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and Michael McDonald. Judas Priest have also gone through many changes, but Les Binks, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford, Ian Hill, Dave Holland, Glenn Tipton, and Scott Travis are the only ones on the ballot.
The current Depeche Mode lineup of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher made the cut along with former keyboardists Vince Clark and Alan Wilder; Soundgarden’s final lineup of Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell, Ben Shepherd, and Kim Thayil is on the ballot along with original bassist Hiro Yamamoto.
The MC5 lineup of Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Dennis Thompson, and Rob Tyner was selected. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan members Dennis Belfield, Al Ciner, Andre Fischer, Chaka Khan, Tony Maiden, Nate Morgan, Kevin Murphy, Ron Stockert, and Bobby Watson all appear.
Benatar is listed along with her husband and longtime collaborator, Neil Giraldo, and the classic Kraftwerk lineup of Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos, and Wolfgang Flür appears without any more-recent members. Motörhead are represented by Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, while T. Rex members Marc Bolan, Mickey Finn, Steve Currie, and Bill Legend were selected; Thin Lizzy will be represented by Phil Lynott, Brian Downey, Eric Bell, Scott Gorham, and Brian Robertson.
This will be the first Hall of Fame induction ceremony since Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner stepped down from his role as chairman. He was replaced by Sykes.