Back in October, when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its 2020 class, metalheads were somewhat heartened: The Hall has typically given heavy music the cold shoulder, but with the likes of Judas Priest, Motörhead, Soundgarden, Thin Lizzy and MC5 on the ballot, this year seemed like it might be different. Think again.
Today (January 14th), the Rock Hall revealed the final inductees — as reportedly chosen by a voter pool of over 1,000 artists, historians, journalists and members of the music industry — and guess what? None of the aforementioned artists got in! Not even Motörhead. Fellow nominees Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Kraftwerk, MC5, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and Todd Rundgren also failed to get enough votes.
Who did get in? Well, Nine Inch Nails, for one, which heavy-music fans can count as a small victory, considering Trent Reznor’s history of abrasive, angsty music. Plus, Depeche Mode — perhaps the non-metal band most universally beloved by metalheads — were inducted. They joined Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, the Doobie Brothers and T. Rex. Additionally, big-name music managers Jon Landau and Irving Azoff will be presented with the Ahmet Ertegun Award.
“I’m pretty freaked out,” Reznor commented. “I’m quite in shock. When I look back at how Nine Inch Nails are received, it always seems like we fall between the cracks. I don’t know if it’s a defense mechanism, but I just assumed we’d stay in that category, so I’m pleasantly surprised to see us acknowledged. It feels pretty good … I’m allowing myself, for a limited period of time, to feel good about this.”
As for Depeche Mode, they responded to the news in a joint statement: “We’re incredibly honoured to be included as one of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, and to stand alongside the other incredible acts in the Rock Hall and those joining this year. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us and our music over the years, who have made this possible.”
The 2020 induction ceremony will be held at Cleveland’s Public Hall on May 2nd and will air live on HBO and the SiriusXM Rock and Roll Hall of Fame radio station. Tickets go on sale on February 27th.