NEW YORK – In a normal year, the newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class would have hit the stage and perform the well-known songs that made them famous and helped them enter the prestigious organization.
Not in 2020.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s all-star group was inducted Saturday night in a taped HBO special that told the stories of Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. and the Doobie Brothers’ rise to fame and how acts like Nine Inch Nails, T. Rex and Depeche Mode heavily impacted the music industry and generations after them.
As she inducted Houston into the Rock Hall, Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys gave a beautiful, heartfelt speech about one of the best singers in pop history.
“We all know what a miraculous singer Whitney was, perhaps the greatest voice of our all-time. We all know how her unprecedented success brought Black women into the absolute highest reaches of the music industry’s pantheon,” said Keys, who wrote a song for Houston’s last album. “We all know that her music will live forever — that music, that everlasting voice is her final generous gift to us. And she will now be one of the brightest lights ever to shine in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Houston, one of the best-selling acts in music history who died in 2012 at age 48, released her debut album in 1985 and recently became the first Black artist to have three diamond-certified albums.
Her mother and aunt, Cissy and Pat Houston, accepted the award on her behalf.
“This is something that Whitney always wanted,” Pat Houston said. “I remember in 2009 we were in London and Whitney looked at me and said, ‘This is really special but there’s only one thing missing — I got to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’”