Madge & Mellencamp: Hall of Fame

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It’s hard to define rock and roll these days. Punk pissiness, hard-hitting blues, disco fever? It’s all got an attitude that suits the music’s essence. This year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is all over the place with its inductees list ? and that’s good. Pop’s agent provocateur Madonna, the punchy denim rocker John Mellencamp, the sophisticated poet Leonard Cohen; each will be on board at the Hall’s annual ceremony at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. This time around it’s scheduled for March 10, 2008. VH1 Classic will show the event live. Here’s the entire list.

MadonnaMadonna
She’s been blowing minds ever since she wore underwear as outerwear, back in the early ’80s. The Material Girl is the ultimate changeling, moving from dance pop to trance pop, reinvigorating the art of spectacle along the way.

John MellencampJohn Mellencamp
His began as a chart-topping tough guy, fighting authority and singing ditties about Jack and Diane. He became a dedicated man of the people, rocking political moves with Farm Aid and his recent Jena Six track.

Leonard CohenLeonard Cohen
A soft-spoken lyricist who worked in Dylan’s shadow and created cinematic tracks about the anxiety of love, the Canadian bard has always worked the philosophical angle. His miniatures ask big questions.

The Dave Clark FiveThe Dave Clark Five
They rode the coat tails of the Beatles, but give it up: the Brit-Pop wonders dropped a string of great, frenzied songs between ’64 ? ’66. From “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” to “Catch Us If You Can,” they were a blast.

The VenturesThe Ventures
Car tunes, surf tunes, riff tunes ? the instrumental combo cornered the market on cool, oddball ditties in the early ’60s with classics such as “Walk, Don?t Run,” “Telstar,” and “Apache.” Every garage band has played one of their tunes at least once.

Little WalterLittle Walter
A master of the blues harp, the rough and tumble band leader helped Muddy Waters build his fierce and sexy Chicago blues before breaking off on his own to cut an array of gnarled little gems such as “Juke” and “Off the Wall.”

Gamble & HuffGamble & Huff
Writers and producers both, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff hooked up to concoct one of R&B most durable sounds: Philly Soul. They’re responsible for the perfection that is Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes‘ “Back Stabbers” and The O’Jays‘ “Love Train.”

Which artist are you most hot to see at the Hall of Fame show?

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