Whitney Houston, Doobie Brothers head list of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees

Rock Hall welcomes eight new inductees

The Doobie Brothers are among the honorees in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Inductions Saturday on HBO.

It may be called the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but the Cleveland edifice is home to a number of different genres, which is again reflected in the list of this year’s inductees.

Airing live for the first time Saturday, Nov. 7, on HBO, the 30th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Inductions at Public Auditorium in Cleveland opens the hallowed halls to six new members: first-time nominees The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G and T-Rex, and holdovers Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode. Also going in are the winners of the Ahmet Ertegun Award for industry professionals who had a major influence on rock and roll: rock journalist Jon Landau and music executive Irving Azoff.

The following are a rundown of each of the six artists.

Depeche Mode: From 1980 to the present, Depeche Mode has explored the realms of postpunk, industrial rock, synth pop and blues and built a cult following with such bestselling albums as “Black Celebration,” “Music for the Masses,” “Violator” and “Songs of Faith.” More recent releases such as “Delta Machine” (2013) and “Spirit” (2017) proved they’re still a force to be reckoned with and they remain a great live act.

The Doobie Brothers: In a career that has spanned the 1970s to the present, the creators of such guitar-driven hits as “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove” and “Listen to the Music” sold more than 48 million records worldwide and charted five top-10 singles. Over the years, they segued from rock and blues into softer sounds like bluegrass and folk before going back to their rock roots on their 1987 reformation, where they’ve been since.

Whitney Houston is among the honorees in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Inductions Saturday on HBO.

Whitney Houston: Blessed with a set of pipes like few others, Houston and her powerful voice propelled hits like “The Greatest Love of All,” “I Will Always Love You” and “How Will I Know” to the heavens. But she also was versatile, spanning the genres of gospel, R&B, pop, soul and dance and earning her six Grammy Awards and more than 200 million albums sold worldwide before her tragic death at age 48 in 2012.

Nine Inch Nails: Singer and driving creative force Trent Reznor recorded the band’s first album “Pretty Hate Machine” while working as a janitor at a Cleveland recording studio in 1989. From there, the industrial/electronic/alternative rock outfit consisting of Reznor and partner Atticus Ross went on to record 11 studio albums and sell more than 200 million records worldwide. They also earned 13 Grammy nominations, winning for the hit songs “Wish” and “Happiness in Slavery.”

The Notorious B.I.G.: Though his career and life were cut short in a drive-by shooting in 1997, the rapper otherwise known as Christopher Wallace made his mark in that short five years, combining hard-hitting beats with smooth R&B to create hits like “Juicy,” “Big Poppa” and “Warning.” His four studio albums (two released posthumously) sold 28 million copies worldwide and he was an influence on artists like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Eminem.

T. Rex: They started with a psychedelic folk rock sound that combined elements of Eastern music, baroque and fantasy and segued into guitar-oriented rock, resulting in one of rock’s greatest anthems, the driving 1971 hit “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” Their career lasted only 10 years, ending with leader Marc Bolan’s death in a 1977 car accident, but they were a direct influence on later artists such as the New York Dolls, the Ramones, Kate Bush and R.E.M.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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