By Andrew Zerman | Staff Writer
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio honors the best that the rock genre has to offer and the genres that it has influenced. This is reflected in the class of 2020, which consists of acts from different eras and genres of music.
MC5, the earliest band nominated, came into prominence at the same time as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Notorious B.I.G., Dave Matthews Band and Soundgarden are among the newest nominees having come from the 1990’s, representing genres from Seattle-based grunge rock to jazz-fusion rock. There are also acts that transcend rock who are nonetheless popular, such as Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G.
An act is eligible for nomination 25 years after their first recording, though it is uncommon for an act to be inducted in their first year of eligibility. Acts such as Deep Purple and Kiss were not nominated or inducted until more than forty years after their first record. And even when an act is nominated, it doesn’t necessarily lead to a timely induction. Current nominees, such as Kraftwerk, Thin Lizzy and MC5 have been stuck in nomination limbo for years, as they have a combined 12 nominations among them and have yet to be inducted.
The nomination process begins with a committee who selects a number of candidates to be nominated, which then leads to a ballot that more than 1,000 music “experts” will vote on. According to the Rock Hall website, these individuals are looking for bands that “have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of Rock and Roll.” The influence on future acts and originality of an act also plays a large role in their nomination. There is also a fan vote, in which anyone who visits the Hall can participate. While those in the committee do not have to honor the fan vote, until this year the top nominee in the fan vote has been inducted into the hall that same year.
Two of the top three in the fan vote, Motley Crüe and Iron Maiden, have yet to receive a nomination from the committee. The aversion that the Rock Hall has had to heavy metal bands has been notable, as Black Sabbath and Metallica are the only bands of that genre to have ever been inducted. Judas Priest and Mötörhead are both in the class of 2020, and their induction would double the representation of their genre in the Hall.
The German band Kraftwerk is also looking to make history, as they hope to join a small list of bands in the Hall that come from a country where English is not as a main language. ABBA is among the few bands that they would join should they be inducted.
The fate of these acts are in part up to the fans, who are eligible to submit an online ballot until January of 2020. All that is required is to type in the phrase “rock hall fan vote” into a Google search engine and people will be able to submit their top five choices for induction. Voting can be done once a day.