Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. to join Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Posthumous inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. will lead a new class into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, joined by Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex.

May 2 induction ceremony to air on HBO, televised live for the first time

Rapper Notorious B.I.G., left, and singer Whitney Houston will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2020. (Associated Press)

Posthumous inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. will lead a new class into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, joined by Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex.

The gospel-trained Houston, whose soaring voice transformed the Dolly Parton cover I Will Always Love You into a gigantic hit, was one of four artists elected after being on the ballot for the first time. The Doobie Brothers, Biggie and T-Rex were the others.

The annual induction ceremony will take place May 2 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, the city where the rock museum is located. The Saturday night show will be on HBO, televised live for the first time.

Houston, who succumbed to years of drug abuse in 2012, was an instant success after being signed to a record contract at age 19. Her 1985 debut had three No. 1 singles: Saving All My Love for YouHow Will I Know and The Greatest Love of All. She had seven consecutive singles top the charts, a first for any artist.

The daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and cousin of Dionne Warwick, she grew up in the business.

The imposing, Brooklyn-born rap artist Christopher Wallace took on the identities of The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls and was massively influential as rap became music's dominant style in the 1990s. With hits like Juicy and Big Poppa, he was the leader of an East Coast school of rap that found itself in a bitter rivalry with artists from the West Coast.

He was killed in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at age 24 in 1997. On the album, Life After Death, with hits like Mo Money Mo Problems and Hypnotize, he became the first artist to earn multiple No. 1 singles after his death.

Depeche Mode members Martin Gore, from left, Dave Gahan and Andrew Fletcher will also join the Rock Hall. (Charles Sykes/Associated Press)

Depeche Mode remains active, but its biggest influence came in the 1980s, when its post-punk, synthesizer-dominated music made the Brits a favorite of the goth subculture. Hits included Personal JesusJust Can't Get Enough and Enjoy the Silence.

Depeche Mode shares with fellow inductees Nine Inch Nails the honor of having one of their signature songs covered by country legend Johnny Cash, who recorded Personal Jesus and NIN's Hurt during his late-career resurgence.

Industrial rock heavyweights Nine Inch Nails, led by Trent Reznor, will be inducted. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

With songs like Closer, NIN was a leader of the industrial rock movement in the 1990s. Like Green Day, a memorable performance in the mud at Woodstock '94 brought them a wider audience. Leader Trent Reznor has become a go-to soundtrack producer in addition to his continued work with Nine Inch Nails.

The Doobie Brothers weren't critical favourites, but they had some indelible rock hits in the 1970s, including Listen to the MusicBlack Water and China Grove. They're embarking on a 50th anniversary tour this summer, bringing members Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee together for the first time in 25 years, and a rock hall induction makes for perfect publicity.

Tom Johnston, from left, Michael McDonald, John McFee and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers recently announced they will be embarking on a 50th anniversary tour this summer. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press)

The British band T-Rex was know primarily for its 1970s hit Bang a Gong (Get it On) and, to a lesser extent, Jeepster. The death of leader Marc Bolan in 1977 ended the band.

The two non-performing inductees may be able to bring some star power with them. Music manager Irving Azoff has watched the finances for several bands, but is best-known as the manager of the Eagles since 1974.

Jon Landau is a former music journalist, known for an indelible line when he saw a concert by a little-known artist in 1974: "I saw rock 'n roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Shortly thereafter, he became Springsteen's manager, a job he still holds today.

Tickets for the induction ceremony go on sale Feb. 27. Performers will be announced at a later date.


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