Madonna, Cohen Top '08 Rock Hall Picks

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Madonna's never made a rock song. She's a worthy pick anyway.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2008 inductees this morning, and the winners are about as predictable as can be. There’s an oldies group (the Dave Clark Five), a heartland hitmaker with some rock-and-roll cred (John Mellencamp), and the annual WTF? pick (’60s surf instrumentalists the Ventures, who had one minor hit, “Walk – Don’t Run”). Plus, per the Rock Hall’s yearly average, it got two of them right (more on that later). Dead bluesman Little Walter is being inducted in the sideman category, while Philly soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (responsible for most of the O’Jays greatest hits) snagged non-performer honors. The top inductees of 2008 -- singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and boy-toy-turned-pop-icon-with-a-fake-British-accent Madonna – represent the HOF at its quirkiest. For one thing, neither artist recorded what’s officially classified as “rock and roll.” Still, they’re both adventurous choices and worthy picks. Poet and songwriter Cohen doesn’t sing so much as sigh his way through his songs. Cohen takes years (like five or more sometimes) to finish a single composition. “So Long, Marianne,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” and “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” (in which he recounts the night he got head from Janis Joplin) are all classics. Recommended listening: Songs of Leonard Cohen, and The Essential Leonard Cohen. Madonna’s been lauded over the years for her shrewd business sense (she started her own record company before it became fashionable and transformed minimal talent into global superstardom), but she’s actually one of pop music’s most reliable and daring chart-toppers. Her list of classic tunes is endless. Recommended listening: The Immaculate Collection. The induction ceremony takes place on March 10. In New York, of course. -- Michael Gallucci

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