trent reznor nine inch nails

After announcing nominess in October, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame officially revealed its 2020 inductees this morning. Pioneering electronic outfits as Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails have been included, alongside rapper Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., classic rock icons T. Rex and the Doobie Brothers, as well as the late pop/R&B diva Whitney Houston.

There will be two recipients of the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which is given to non-performers in ancillary fields including (but not limited to) industry executives, songwriters, producers, journalists and radio disc jockeys. This year’s awards will be bestowed upon executives Irving Azoff (whose management clients include the Eagles, Jon Bon Jovi and Harry Styles) and Jon Landau, whose career began as an esteemed first-gen rock journalist (Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone), and which led to becoming Bruce Springsteen’s manager for the last 45 years.

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Culturally speaking, Generation X is getting its share of real estate in the Rock Hall. British electronic avatars Depeche Mode grew out of their quaint techno-pop roots to create songs that are compelling even if you were to play them on acoustic instruments. These days, chief songwriter/keyboardist Martin Gore will step from behind his synthesizer rig, holding a guitar to join frontman Dave Gahan in creating new emotional vistas for a fandom that has successfully crossed generations.

The induction of Nine Inch Nails–the brutal nom de plume of Trent Reznor–is both a “hometown win” (Reznor moved to Cle from Mercer, Pennsylvania, in the ‘80s) and a tacit acknowledgment of his achievements in electronics-based rock music. It was Reznor who undercut the purported “coldness” of synthesizers and electronics by daring to pit a nuanced human element against machinery, arriving at icon status decades ago.

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At various junctures, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails have graced the cover of AP in our 35-year history (DM once, NIN for nine). 

Music listeners fond of using “OK boomer” to dismiss the culture of other generations on social media, might want to chill out for a bit. Or patiently wait another seven years until I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love turns 25. No shade thrown: We’ll be crowing about it right alongside you.  

The 35th Annual Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Cleveland, Ohio’s Public Auditorium. The event will be broadcast live for the first time on HBO on May 2 at 8 p.m. ET. Other artists and special performances will be announced shortly.

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