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If you look at the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, you might be struck with the notion that the term “rock & roll” is a bit of a misnomer for the revered museum. Indeed, the inclusion of an R&B artist and a rapper in this year’s group of inductees reflects that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has acknowledged many other genres since its very genesis. Since the museum was first established in 1983, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has inducted soul legends including Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, pop stars including Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, jazz icons including Miles Davis and Billie Holiday, and hip-hop artists including The Beastie Boys and N.W.A. You might thus be wondering, who are the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and what genres do they span? Learn all about them below.
Depeche Mode first formed in 1980, and the band hasn’t stopped releasing music since then. The new wave band best known for hits such as “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy the Silence” released its most recent album, Spirit, in 2017, an LP that unexpectedly forced the band to explicitly condemn the then-burgeoning U.S. alt-right movement.
The Doobie Brothers
Like Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers are still making music and performing, though they were inactive between 1982 and 1987 following their wildly successful 1970s. Frontman Michael McDonald, who joined the band in 1975, helped the group to usher in the “yacht rock” sound with which the band is now widely associated.
For many music fans, the unexpected death of Whitney Houston in 2012 remains a fresh memory. Late last year, Houston’s lifelong confidante made headlines when she claimed that the two had a longtime secret lesbian relationship. Houston’s name was also evoked often last year when Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” broke the record for the most weeks spent atop the Billboard Hot 100 – a record that Houston’s ubiquitous “I Will Always Love You” once held.
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails proved crucial in the mainstream acceptance of the rock subgenre known as industrial music. Frontman Trent Reznor’s string of three albums between 1989 and 1999 made the genre more digestible and led to more abrasive textures in dance and rock music, and Reznor has since used his band’s success to branch out into scoring prominent films and TV shows such as The Social Network (for which he and composing partner Atticus Finch won a Golden Globe and an Oscar) and Watchmen.
The Notorious B.I.G.
Few rappers are more venerated than The Notorious B.I.G. Although he only released two albums before his murder in 1997 at just 24 years old, his 1994 debut album, Ready to Die, led to still-inescapable hits such as “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” and permanently altered the trajectory of hip-hop music – and 1997 follow-up Life After Death, with its megahits “Hypnotize” and “Mo Money Mo Problems,” proved just as iconic.
In the modern era, the phrase “crunchy, gigantic, midtempo guitar riffs” might as well be synonymous with T. Rex. The influence of T. Rex hits such as “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” and frontman Marc Bolan’s distinct guitar sounds on genres such as punk, Britpop, glam rock, and even indie pop has only grown in the four-plus decades since the group disbanded after Bolan died unexpectedly in 1977.
Who do you think should be included in next year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees? Share your opinions in the comments!