Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. lead field into rock hall

Entertainment

This combination photo shows Notorious B.I.G., who won rap artist and rap single of the year, during the annual Billboard Music Awards in New York on Dec. 6, 1995, left, and singer Whitney Houston at the BET Honors in Washington on Jan. 17, 2009. The pair will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2020 class. (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Posthumous inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. will lead a new class into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, joined by Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex.

The gospel-trained Houston, whose soaring voice transformed the Dolly Parton cover “I Will Always Love You” into a gigantic hit, was one of four artists elected after being on the ballot for the first time. The Doobie Brothers, Biggie and T-Rex were the others.

The annual induction ceremony will take place May 2 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, the city where the rock museum is located. The Saturday night show will be on HBO, televised live for the first time.

The Doobie Brothers weren’t critical favorites, but they had some indelible rock hits in the 1970s, including “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water” and “China Grove.” They’re embarking on a 50th anniversary tour this summer, bringing members Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee together for the first time in 25 years, and a rock hall induction makes for perfect publicity.

The British band T-Rex was know primarily for its 1970s hit “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” and, to a lesser extent, “Jeepster.” The death of leader Marc Bolan in 1977 ended the band.

The two non-performing inductees may be able to bring some star power with them. Music manager Irving Azoff has watched the finances for several bands, but is best-known as the manager of the Eagles since 1974. Jon Landau is a former music journalist, known for an indelible line when he saw a concert by a little-known artist in 1974: “I saw rock ‘n’ roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Shortly thereafter, he became Springsteen’s manager, a job he still holds today.

Tickets for the induction ceremony go on sale Feb. 27. Performers will be announced at a later date.

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