The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has announced this year’s class of inductees: Six acts (and two industry figures) who will be forever enshrined in the Cleveland institution. This happens every year, and every year it seems, at least on some level, like a boomer bad-taste nightmare. But this year, there’s a whole lot to like about the class of inductees.
The big news in this year’s class is probably the induction of Nine Inch Nails, the project that brought industrial music to the masses. This wasn’t the first time Nine Inch Nails had been nominated. They were on the ballot for the first time in 2016, and then they were snubbed the last two years. This year, Reznor will be the sole NIN member joining the Hall Of Fame.
Speaking to Stereogum in 2018, band mastermind Trent Reznor said, “Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, who knows what that is. I don’t give a shit.” But his views have evolved. Last year, Reznor showed up to induct his friends in the Cure. And earlier this year, Reznor said, “It doesn’t feel as bullshit as I kind of snarkily dismissed it as. I don’t have any problem admitting I’ve changed my opinion about something.” This morning, Reznor, whose wife just had a baby over the weekend, talked to Rolling Stone and said this:
I’m pretty freaked out. 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.
NIN aren’t the only electronic rock group inducted this year. They join fellow arena-level synth-throb glammers Depeche Mode. Five members of Depeche Mode are being inducted, including original member Vince Clarke, who left Depeche Mode in the early ’80s, going on to form Yazoo and Erasure. (Clarke’s replacement Alan Wilder is also joining the Hall Of Fame. He left the band in 1995.)
Three of this year’s nominees will not be around to enjoy it. Late rap great the Notorious B.I.G., murdered in 1997, is on his way in; he’s only the seventh hip-hop act to be inducted. Whitney Houston, who died in 2012, is also on her way in. And glam pioneers T. Rex, eligible for induction for more than 20 years, will be joining the Hall; frontman Marc Bolan died in a car crash in 1977. This year’s final inductees are the Doobie Brothers, who have also been eligible for more than 20 years.
Ten acts who were nominated this year will not be joining the Hall Of Fame: Soundgarden, Kraftwerk, Motörhead, MC5, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Todd Rundgren, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Pet Benatar, and the Dave Matthews Band. (Dave Matthews Band won this year’s fan vote, but they didn’t get enough overall votes to make it in. This is the first time the winner of the fan vote, which began in 2013, didn’t get inducted.) It seems to me that they could’ve bounced the Doobie Brothers to make room for Kraftwerk or Motörhead, but I don’t get to choose these things.
The two behind-the-scenes figures getting the Ahmet Ertegun Award this year are Jon Landau, the former rock critic who became Bruce Springsteen’s longtime manager, and Irving Azoff, the former band manager who went on to serve as an executive at Ticketmaster and LiveNation.
This year’s Hall Of Fame induction ceremony is going down 5/2 at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium. For the first time ever, the induction ceremony will broadcast live on HBO.