NEW YORK – Posthumous inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. will lead a new class to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, accompanied by Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex.
Gospel-trained Houston, whose rising voice transformed the Dolly Parton cover “I Will Always Love You” into a gigantic hit, was one of the four artists chosen after being voted for the first time. The Doobie Brothers, Biggie and T-Rex were the others.
The annual induction ceremony takes place on May 2 in the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, the city where the rock museum is located. The Saturday evening show is on HBO and will be broadcast live for the first time.
Houston, who succumbed to years of drug abuse in 2012, was immediately a success after being signed for a record deal at the age of 19. Her debut in 1985 had three number 1 singles: “Save My My Love for You,” “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love of All.” She had seven consecutive singles at the top of the charts, a first for every artist.
The daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston and cousin of Dionne Warwick grew up in the company.
The imposing Brooklyn-born rap artist Christopher Wallace was given the identity of The Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls and was enormously influential when rap became the dominant style of music in the 1990s. With hits like ‘Juicy’ and ‘Big Poppa’, he was the leader of a rap school on the east coast who found himself in a bitter rivalry with artists from the west coast.
He was killed in a still unresolved drive-by-shoot in Los Angeles at the age of 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 remains active, but the greatest influence came in the 1980s, when post-punk synthesizer-dominated music made the British a favorite of the gothic subculture. Hits include “Personal Jesus,” “Can’t get enough,” and “Enjoy the silence.”
Depeche Mode shares with fellow inductees Nine Inch Nails the honor of playing one of their signature songs under country legend Johnny Cash, who recorded “Personal Jesus” and NIN’s “Hurt” during his late career revival.
With songs like ‘Closer’, NIN was a leader of the industrial rock movement in the nineties. Just like Green Day, a memorable performance in the mud at Woodstock ’94 brought them to a wider audience. Leader Trent Reznor has become a go-to soundtrack producer alongside his ongoing work with Nine Inch Nails.
The Doobie Brothers were not critical favorites, but they had some indelible rock hits in the 70s, including “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water,” and “China Grove.” They are starting a 50-year anniversary this summer, bringing members Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee together for the first time in 25 years, and an induction in a rock hall provides perfect publicity.
The British band T-Rex was best known for its hit ‘Bang a Gong (Get it On)’ from the 70s and, to a lesser extent, ‘Jeepster’. The death of leader Marc Bolan in 1977 ended the band.
The two non-performing inductees may take some star power with them. Music manager Irving Azoff has looked at the finances of different bands, but since 1974 he is mainly known as the manager of the Eagles. Jon Landau is a former music journalist, known for an indelible rule when he saw a concert by an unknown artist in 1974: “I saw the future of rock ‘n roll and the name is Bruce Springsteen.” Shortly thereafter he became the manager of Springsteen, a job he still has today.
Tickets for the induction ceremony will go on sale on 27 February. The artists will be announced later.
David Bauder, The Associated Press