Years after their deaths, Whitney Houston, the Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex’s Marc Bolan have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Joining them as part of the hall’s 2020 class are Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and the Doobie Brothers.
Rock Hall president and CEO Greg Harris called the inductees “a super diverse class.”
“What it does is it underscores that rock and roll was never just four skinny guys with long hair and guitars,” Harris said.
Harris called Houston, who died in 2012, “the greatest voice of her generation.”
“I think Whitney is a great example. When people talk about the diversity of rock and roll and the diversity of music and sound,” Harris said.
The late icon’s sister- in-law and former manager Patricia Houston said the honor was what she’s always thought about.
“To be inducted in a year that has been unthinkable for her is incredible. So, I’d say it’s a wonderful feeling to know that this is a milestone, that this is something that she really wanted,” Houston said.
She added: “I always try to use Whitney’s words. And I always say I would never do what she didn’t want or wouldn’t want us to do. But she said herself, music isn’t black or white. It’s just music.”
The late rapper Notorious B.I.G. also got the nod.
“We’re past the point of discussing should rap be in or not. We have a bunch of rap artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They bring the voice of change. It’s an attitude. It’s a spirit. And he’s one of the greatest lyricists in one of the greatest and delivering it too,” Harris said.
B.I.G’s son CJ Wilson said his father could not have imagined the honor because of the obstacles of the genre.
“Hip hop and rock were both, you know, underground music. Underground music that was really pushed away from the masses for a long time. It took a while for rock to get its respect, too,”
He added: “I don’t even think my dad would have been able to be truly believe where his music is going now.”
Artists become eligible for induction to the Rock Hall 25 years after the release of their first record.
The Rock Hall’s annual induction ceremony was originally supposed to take place in May at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, the city where the rock museum is located, but things changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Harris explained this year’s format.
“Discussions with quite a few artists, it’s a deep biographical background of each of the inductees that gives you a lot more context. And it’s a – it’s a documentary style television show, but it’s produced at a level to be an eight o’clock prime time HBO global feature,” Harris said.
Celebrities set to make appearances during the TV special include Dave Grohl, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Gwen Stefani, Charlize Theron, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Levine and Brad Paisley.