The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2020 finalists, and more than half of the 16 nominees are on the ballot for the first time: Dave Matthews Band, Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, Whitney Houston, Motörhead, The Doobie Brothers, Pat Benatar, T.Rex and Thin Lizzy.
Meanwhile, the returning nominees include Depeche Mode (previously nominated twice), Judas Priest (nominated in 2018), Kraftwerk (five previous nominations), MC5 (four previous nominations), Nine Inch Nails (two previous nominations), Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (three previous nominations), and Todd Rundgren (one previous nomination in 2019).
A voter pool of more than 1,000 artists, historians, journalists and music industry bigwigs will ultimately select the 2020 class, which had to have released their first single or album in 1994 or earlier.
Uproxx points out that the Notorious B.I.G. is the sole hip-hop artist in this year's HOF class:
Biggie Smalls is the only rapper in this year’s nomination class. As Billboard notes, six of this year’s nominees have never won a Grammy Award (Depeche Mode, MC5, Notorious B.I.G., Todd Rundgren, T. Rex, and Thin Lizzy).
Furthermore, only Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. and the Doobie Brothers have topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Motörhead never appeared on the chart at all.
Fans can vote at rockhall.com or on an interactive kiosk at the museum in Cleveland before the top vote-getters are announced in January and inducted May 2, 2020 at a ceremony at Cleveland's Public Hall.
Incoming Rock Hall chairman John Sykes recently spoke with Rolling Stone on the decision to include musicians from genres outside of what's classically been considered as rock and roll.
“Nothing stays the same in music. 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.”