Bad news, Seattle music fans: Soundgarden and Dave Matthews Band won’t be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Both were left off the list when the 2020 inductees were announced Wednesday morning.
The two acts were first-time nominees, having released their first recorded music at least 25 years ago. Both went on to become huge acts, with Soundgarden helping define the Seattle grunge sound and Dave Matthews Band doing something entirely different out of Charlottesville, Virginia, before Matthews settled here in Seattle.
The 2020 inductees will be synth-rock titans Depeche Mode, classic-rock legends The Doobie Brothers, pop superstar Whitney Houston, industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails, rap icon The Notorious B.I.G. and glam rockers T. Rex. Producer Jon Landau and former Live Nation executive chairman Irving Azoff will be honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for nonperforming members of the industry.
Sixteen acts were nominated this year, including nine for the first time. Four of those first-timers will be inducted: The Doobies, Houston, Biggie and T. Rex.
The induction ceremony, to be held at 5 p.m. PST on May 2 at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, will be broadcast live for the first time on HBO.
Though neither Seattle nominee made the Rock Hall’s Class of 2020, Dave Matthews Band did win the fan vote, which was worth exactly one of the roughly 1,000 ballots cast (by artists including all living inductees, historians and industry professionals) that determined this year’s inductees. The extremely popular group pulled down more than 1 million fan votes to beat Pat Benatar by more than 120,000 votes. Soundgarden was fourth.
Matthews is the king of the jam-band scene, putting together one of the most successful and lucrative touring runs in music history with more than 100 million tickets sold and counting. DMB’s debut album, 1994’s “Under the Table and Dreaming,” was six-times platinum and the group’s last seven albums have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums list.
Soundgarden is one of Seattle’s most important bands, playing a key role in the formation of Sub Pop Records and showing the way to major-label success for the many bands that would follow in its footsteps.
The group helped define the rock ‘n’ roll sound of the early ’90s with Seattle contemporaries Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. It released its most popular album, “Superunknown,” in 1994, winning Grammy Awards for the songs “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman.” The group broke up in 1997, but reformed in 2010 to release its sixth album. Guitarist Kim Thayil said the band would not continue on after lead singer Chris Cornell’s death in 2017.