Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Ryan Gorneault, Staff Writer

On November 7th, 2020, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held a virtual ceremony, inducting six new acts into the legendary institution while paying tribute to musical icons who had died this year. Hosted by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame, the ceremony took a different route than previous induction ceremonies. Instead of being formatted like the typical television award show featuring musical guests and tributes, the virtual ceremony was essentially reduced to a series of mini-documentaries, chronicling the inductees’ impacts on the music industry. Thanks to COVID-19, the actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was shut down for the time being, necessitating the change in format. As it turned out, the curators at the Hall of Fame believed that at-home performances by the inductees and others would be too dull.

Despite not making music within the rock and roll genre, rapper The Notorious B.I.G. and Pop and R&B icon Whitney Houston were inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously for being two of the biggest artists and musicians in their respective genres. Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother, accepted the honor on her daughter’s behalf and told an emotional story about how Whitney had wanted to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. According to Cissy, Whitney saw an entry into the Hall of Fame as one of her biggest goals and one of the most meaningful accomplishments of her career.

Within the rock realm of inductees, new-wave outfit Depeche Mode, industrial metal band Nine Inch Nails, glam rock group T. Rex, and classic rock artists The Doobie Brothers were also added, rounded out the performers’ category. Meanwhile, the Ahmet Ertegun Award, given to industry professionals, was awarded to Full Stop Management chairman and MSG Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff, and Bruce Springsteen’s manager and producer Jon Landau.

One of the most significant moments of the ceremony came from a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen, founding member and guitarist of Van Halen. Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Tom Morello of Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine (both of whom are considered part of the upper echelon of guitarists) praised Van Halen’s abilities and impacts on the genre. Eddie Van Halen and the rest of his band were inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2007.

Ultimately, the Van Halen tribute was the highlight of the show. The plan to have no musical performances backfired, as most of the show ended up being boring. Even members of inducted bands agreed that they would have loved to perform. While a sense of melancholy was overwhelmed throughout most of the show, it still had a few fun and exciting moments. Depeche Mode, represented by Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan, and Martin Gore, gave a humorous acceptance speech in which they joked around about stealing cars. Iggy Pop made a digital appearance to induct Nine Inch Nails into the Hall of Fame, the only way he knew how (nearly shirtless). Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to The Notorious B.I.G., which was seen as questionable to many, as there were seemingly many more people who have had a heavier impact on the rap genre than Miranda.