Hall pass for Madonna, Ventures

Mellencamp, Cohen and Dave Clark Five make list

Madonna, John Mellencamp, Leonard Cohen, the Ventures and the Dave Clark Five will be enshrined next year in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, organizers said Thursday.

The 2008 induction will be held March 10 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Since signing with Sire Records in 1982, Madonna has been one of the biggest pop stars in the world. 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 artist's new album, her last for Warner Bros. before she transitions to Live Nation's new Artist Nation company, is set to bow in the spring.

Mellencamp emerged from Bloomington, Ind., in the early '80s with enduring, heartland rock tracks including "Pink Houses," "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Jack & Diane."

"I'm very honored and pleased to be recognized this way, especially among people whom I greatly admire," Mellencamp said.

Cohen has been a leading purveyor of folk-tinged rock since the late 1960s, with tracks like "Suzanne" oft-covered by contemporaries and a new generation of singer-songwriters alike.

The Ventures are known for such instrumental rock evergreens as the theme from "Hawaii Five-O," "Walk Don't Run" and "Perfidia."

Thanks to eight top 10 U.S. hits — including "Glad All Over," "Bits and Pieces," "Catch Us if You Can" and the chart-topping "Over and Over" — the Dave Clark Five were one of the earliest and most successful of the British Invasion bands.

"The 2008 inductees are trailblazers — all unique and influential in their genres," said Joel Peresman, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "From poetry to pop, these five acts demonstrate the rich diversity of rock 'n' roll itself."

The Rock Hall also will honor Little Walter in its sideman category for helping establish the modern blues harmonica on recordings with such legends as Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley.

Producers Gamble & Huff will be honored in the nonperformer 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."

Artists are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their debut single or album.

Jonathan Cohen is senior editor at Billboard. The Associated Press contributed to this report.