The “Voice” is finally getting the greatest honor of all.
Whitney Houston, who has been eligible to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame since 2010, will at long last be enshrined into the pantheon of music immortals 10 years later. The late pop powerhouse, who changed the way every diva wannabe sang after her, got in on what was shockingly her first nomination when the rock hall class of 2020 was announced Wednesday morning.
Also joining music’s exclusive club — for which artists become eligible 25 years after their debut album — are Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, the Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex. They made the cut from a group of 16 nominees that were announced last October.
Those on the ballot who will have to wait at least one more year to learn the secret RRHOF handshake include Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Judas Priest, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motorhead, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy.
In addition to Houston, the Doobie Brothers and the Notorious B.I.G. — eligible since 1996 and 2019, respectively — also made it in on their first nominations. So did T. Rex, although the influential glam-rock band has been eligible since way back in 1993. Meanwhile, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails got the nod on their third nominations.
While it’s great to see Houston take her rightful place in the rock hall this year, it’s a real shame that she’s the only woman to be inducted. Both Benatar and the female-fronted Rufus featuring Chaka Khan would have been worthy while also pumping up the diversity.
But after the Cure made the RRHOF last year, it’s nice to see another ’80s British alt-rock band, Depeche Mode, get the love that the synth-pop pioneers were due. The electronic outfit was ahead of its time, paving the way for artists such as fellow inductees Nine Inch Nails.
What’s really sad, though, about the class of 2020 is that three of the acts won’t be there to perform and soak up their big moment at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland on May 2. Houston died in 2012, while Brooklyn’s own Notorious B.I.G. — only the second solo rapper to ever be inducted, after another slain MC, Tupac Shakur — was murdered in 1997. And T. Rex disbanded after Marc Bolan, the group’s founder and frontman, died at 29 in a 1977 car crash.
Here’s hoping that the ceremony — returning to the rock hall’s hometown after last year’s induction at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — will be powerful enough for those late, great artists to hear and feel it in the hereafter.