The Material Girl is about to become a Hall of Famer. The ever-evolving Madonna was announced as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee on Thursday along with John Mellencamp, The Ventures, Leonard Cohen and The Dave Clark Five.
A panel of 600 industry figures selected the five acts to be inducted at the annual ceremony, to be held March 10 in New York.
“The 2008 inductees are trailblazers – all unique and influential in their genres,” Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman said in a statement. “From poetry to pop, these five acts demonstrate the rich diversity of rock and roll itself.”
To be eligible, artists must have issued a first single or album at least 25 years before nomination.
Madonna Louise Ciccone signed with Sire Records in 1982 and became one of MTV’s first stars two years later with “Like A Virgin.” She has constantly altered her image and appearance ever since, showing staying power that few ’80s stars could muster.
From rosaries and bare midriffs to cone-shaped bras, Madonna’s reinvention of herself has been as prolific as her chart dominance, which included seven No. 1 hits and three No. 1 albums in the ’80s alone.
The actress and fashion icon created plenty of controversy along the way, drawing the ire of religious leaders in 2006 for a scene of Madonna on a mirrored cross and wearing a crown of thorns as part of her worldwide “Confessions” tour.
Mellencamp, the Indiana native with the ever-changing name, hit the scene as John Cougar in the early ’80s with “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good.” He later became John Cougar Mellencamp – and the voice of America’s heartland – with hits like “Pink Houses” and “Small Town” before finally settling into his given name, John Mellencamp.
Cohen went from acclaimed poet in Canada to a folk rock icon with “Suzanne” and “Dress Rehearsal Rag” in the late 1960s, making him a big part of the singer-songwriter movement.
The Ventures defined instrumental guitar rock in the ’60s with surfer anthems like “Walk Don’t Run” and “Hawaii Five-O,” and The Dave Clark Five were one of the most successful British invasion bands with the iconic “Glad All Over.”
The Rock Hall will also honor Little Walter in its sideman category for helping establish the modern blues harmonica on recordings with legends like Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley.
Producers Gamble & Huff will be honored in the non-performer category. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International label, which had artists that included the O’Jays, McFadden & Whitehead, and Lou Rawls, featured powerful rhythm sections with a disco beat.
They won a Grammy for best R&B song on Simply Red’s cover of the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.”