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Is rock's hall ready for it?

September 29, 2007|Geoff Boucher

Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ready for Madonna and the Beastie Boys?

The Material Girl of pop and the clown princes of New York hip-hop are the biggest names on the final ballot for hall membership, along with Hoosier hero John Mellencamp, who is a more straightforward option for an institution that is increasingly finding that its definition of "rock" is being tested.

The nine nominees on this year's ballot are rounded out by elegiac songwriter Leonard Cohen, disco stars Donna Summer and Chic, hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, the British Invasion's Dave Clark Five and the Seattle surf-rock founding Ventures.

Acts become eligible for induction 25 years after their first recording is released. Nominees are selected by a panel of musicologists and historians; inductees are then selected by about 500 voters who include performers, producers, music-industry executives and journalists.

After much criticism for overlooking rap in recent years, the hall inducted its first hip-hop act, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, earlier this year. The Beastie Boys or Bambaataa may well follow March 10 when five of the nine nominees will be welcomed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

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-- Geoff Boucher

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