2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

John Mellencamp is a Grammy award-winning rock artist, famous for his Americana rock ‘n’ roll sound. Mellencamp has released a total of 19 albums, his latest being Freedom’s Road. Some of Mellencamp’s biggest hits include “Jack and Diane,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” “Hurts So Good” and “Authority Song.” Mellencamp is just as well known for his politics as a staunch Democrat. He recently requested that Sen. John McCain stop using his songs on the campaign trail.

Leonard Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, most known for his song “Hallelujah,” which has become one of the most covered songs in music history. The most well-known versions are those of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. Cohen began his music career with the release of Songs of Leonard Cohen in 1967. He has since released ten other studio albums. Cohen is also featured in the 2006 concert film Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, which includes performances of Cohen’s songs by artists such as Nick Cave and Rufus Wainwright.

The Dave Clark Five was a legendary British Invasion beat band. The band, with members Dave Clark (drummer), Mike Smith (lead vocalist), Lenny Davidson (lead guitarist), Rick Huxley (bass guitar) and Denis Payton (sax, harmonica, and guitar), were one of the biggest threats to The Beatles’ prevailing popularity as the main British beat group before the rise of The Rolling Stones. Some of the band’s biggest hits include “Glad All Over,” “Bits and Pieces,” “Can’t You See That She’s Mine,” “Catch Us If You Can” and “Over and Over.” Smith died last week; Payton died in December of 2006.

Madonna stormed her way onto the music scene in 1982 with her hit “Everybody” and has seldom left the radar of public interest since. As her career moved on, her controversial videos, lyrics, clothes and book earned her scrutiny from concerned parents, Evangelicals and the Catholic Church, including the Pope himself. But no amount of public criticism stopped music critics from recognizing her as a legitimately talented artist.

The Ventures are probably best known for their 1960 instrumental single “Walk, Don’t Run,” one of the most successful and recognizable surf-rock hits, making it to No.2 on Billboard’s Top 100. However, The Ventures are not just one-hit wonders. They experimented and broadened the horizons of guitar sound on Ventures in Space (1963), which had a huge impact on guitarists who would become part of the psychedelic movement of the late ’60s. The group has sold over 110 million albums, making them the best-selling instrumental rock group of all time. The band will be inducted at the ceremony by former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty.

Katie Young, Chris Kallio and Allan Lamb contributed to this story. Contact all editor Allan Lamb at [email protected].