Rock Hall of Fame to replace 2020 ceremony with broadcast special

New York (AFP) –


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said Wednesday it will replace its annual live performance induction ceremony for this year's nominees with a broadcast special in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program -- whose honorees include rapper The Notorious B.I.G. and pop icon Whitney Houston -- will air on HBO on November 7, replacing the ceremony originally scheduled for May 2, which was postponed over the fast-spreading virus.

The late legends are joined in 2020's class by the synth-pop act Depeche Mode and the industrial experimental group Nine Inch Nails, along with the 1970s rockers The Doobie Brothers and English glam rock band T-Rex.

"To protect the health and safety of our inductees, their families, crews and our attendees, we've made the decision that the scheduled live event is not possible," John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said in a statement.

The 2021 induction ceremony is currently planned for the fall of that year in the Hall's home city, Cleveland.

The Notorious B.I.G. -- widely considered one of the greatest rappers of all time -- was inducted 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 age 48 in 2012 after a public struggle with drugs, following a decade that saw her go from America's sweetheart to tabloid drama queen.

The induction of Houston and Biggie mark a continuation of the institution's broadening acceptance of a variety of genres into its ranks.

Recent classes have included the rapper Tupac Shakur, Radiohead and Janet Jackson.

The organization founded in the early 1980s has faced criticism over the years, however, for its lack of diversity and limited recognition of women.