Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Cancels Live 2020 Induction Ceremony, Honorees Will Be Saluted on HBO Special

Notorious B.I.G. photographed in New York City.
Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Notorious B.I.G. photographed in New York City.

Another one bites the dust.

Rock and roll is fierce, but so, unfortunately, is COVID-19. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced on Wednesday (July 8) that, due to the ongoing pandemic, it will cancel its live induction ceremony for this year and replace it with a TV special honoring this year’s inductees.

The program will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max on Nov. 7—nearly 10 months after this year’s inductees were announced on Jan. 15.

This year’s class, in case you’ve forgotten, consists of Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T-Rex, as well as journalist-turned-manager Jon Landau and manager-turned-mogul Irving Azoff, who were named as Ahmet Ertegun Award honorees.

The 35th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was originally scheduled for May 2, but on March 24, as the pandemic spread, was pushed back to Nov. 7. Most assumed at the time that the health crisis would surely have blown over by then. Unfortunately, that no longer seems likely.

“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,” said John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. “Together with HBO and executive producer Joel Gallen, we will still create an exciting program honoring our 2020 inductees, by telling the stories of their incredible contributions to music and impact on a generation of artists that followed them.”

Ticketmaster purchasers will automatically be issued a refund to their account.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is now open. It plans to debut its 2020 inductee exhibit on Aug. 14.

The 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will move to the fall with the 36th induction ceremony--which means there will have been a 2-1/2 year gap between live ceremonies. It will also return to Cleveland. The most recent induction ceremony, in March 2019, was held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Honorees were The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music and The Zombies.