First time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G. topped this year’s short-list of potential inductees, the institution announced Tuesday.
The late music icons are among 16 acts vying for a coveted spot, joined by performers and groups including Soundgarden, Depeche Mode, Dave Matthews Band, Motorhead, Pat Benatar and The Doobie Brothers.
This year’s field is marked by three legendary artists who died young.
The Notorious B.I.G. — a pride of New York, widely considered one of the greatest rappers of all time — was nominated in his first year of eligibility, which comes 25 years after the release of an act’s first commercial recording.
The artist born Christopher Wallace and colloquially known as Biggie was murdered in 1997 in Los Angeles at age 24, in a still-murky shooting that some speculated was part of a feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers.
Houston, the most awarded female artist of all time, died at 48 years old in 2012 after a public struggle with drugs, following a decade that saw her go from America’s sweetheart to tabloid drama queen.
And the first nomination after several years of eligibility of seminal grunge act Soundgarden includes former frontman Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in 2017 at the age of 52.
The new class of inductees will be announced in January 2020, with the annual star-powered ceremony set for May 2 in the hall of fame’s home city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Germany’s electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are also up for the honor, with Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, MC5, Todd Rundgren, T.Rex and Thin Lizzy rounding out the pack.
Inductees are chosen following a survey of more than 1,000 musicians, historians and industry members, who consider an act’s career work, innovation, skill and influence in voting in new members.