Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Reveals 2020 Nominees: Soundgarden, Whitney Houston & More


On Tuesday (Oct. 15) morning, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for the Rock Hall Class of 2020 — and of the 16 artists shortlisted, nine are first-time nominees.

Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Motörhead, The Notorious B.I.G., Soundgarden, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and Whitney Houston are up for the honor for the first time. Returning nominees are Depeche Mode (two previous noms), Judas Priest (nominated for Class of 2018), Kraftwerk (nominated five previous times), MC5 (nominated four times before), Nine Inch Nails (nominated two times before), Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (three previous noms) and Todd Rundgren (nominated for Class of 2019). 

After the 2019 induction ceremony in Brooklyn, the RRHOF returns to its homebase in Cleveland, Ohio for its 35th annual induction ceremony on May 2, 2020. 

The RRHOF Class of 2020 is decided by an international body of more than 1,000 voting members, but fans can impact the vote: Starting Oct. 15 and running through 11:59pm ET on Jan. 10, 2020, fans can go to Google and search “Rock Hall Fan Vote” or any nominee’s name plus “vote” to cast a ballot with Google, vote at or at the Museum itself in Cleveland. The five artists who receive the most fan votes comprise a fans’ ballot that will be tallied along with the others to determine the 2020 inductees, which will be announced in January 2020. 

To be eligible for the Rock Hall, an artist’s first commercial recording must have been released 25 years prior to the year of induction. Detroit proto-punks MC5 have been eligible the longest of this shortlist (since 1991), while late hip-hop legend The Notorious B.I.G. — frequently cited as one of, if not the, greatest rapper in history — receives a nomination in his first year of eligibility. If Biggie Smalls is inducted, he would become just the second solo rapper to join the Rock Hall, after 2Pac, who was inducted in 2017. 

Six of this year's 16 nominees have never won a Grammy Award: Depeche Mode, MC5, the Notorious B.I.G., Todd Rundgren, T. Rex and Thin Lizzy. Just three of the nominees — Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. and the Doobie Brothers — have topped the Billboard Hot 100, while pioneering U.K. metal band Motörhead never cracked the chart.

Below, check out each nominee's highest-charting Hot 100 hits:

Pat Benatar, "Love Is a Battlefield' and "We Belong," No. 5 in 1983 and 1985, respectively.
Dave Matthews Band, "American Baby," No. 16 in 2005.
Depeche Mode, "Enjoy the Silence, " No. 8 in 1990.
The Doobie Brothers, "Black Water" and "What a Fool Believes," No. 1 in 1985 and 1989, respectively.
Whitney Houston, 11 No. 1 hits, including "I Will Always Love You," No. 1 in 1992.
Judas Priest, "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," No. 67 in 1982.
Kraftwerk, "Autobahn," No. 25 in 1975.
MC5, "Kick Out the Jams," No. 82 in 1969.
Motorhead, no Hot 100 hits.
Nine Inch Nails, "The Day the World Went Away," No. 17 in 1999.
The Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money Mo Problems" (featuring Puff Daddy & Ma$e), No. 1, both in 1997.
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, "Tell Me Something Good," No. 3 in 1974. Chaka Khan also reached No. 3 as a solo artist with "I Feel for You" in 1984.
Todd Rundgren, "Hello It's Me," No. 5 in 1973.
Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun," No. 24 in 1994.
T. Rex, "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," No. 10 in 1972.
Thin Lizzy, "The Boys Are Back in Town," No. 12 in 1976.

Ticket information for the induction ceremony will be announced at a later date. 

Additional reporting by Paul Grein.