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Madonna, John Mellencamp, Dave Clark Five Inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of inductees just got a little longer. VOA's Doug Levine fills us in on this year's honorees, who were officially inducted in New York City Monday evening, March 10.

There's no doubt Madonna is one of the most successful rock acts of the past 25 years. With more than 200 million albums sold, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the very first year of her eligibility. The former dancer made her recording debut in 1982, opening the door to a career that has included acting, writing, producing and directing.

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after their first recording. It's been more than 40 years since fans heard the first song by 1960s British band The Dave Clark Five.

The Dave Clark Five, featuring Dave Clark, Lenny Davidson, Rick Huxley, Denis Payton and lead singer Mike Smith, was at the forefront of the "British Invasion" with one of its biggest hits "Can't You See That She's Mine." The group's induction came less than two weeks after losing Smith to pneumonia at age 64.

According to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation president Joe Peresman, the 23rd annual induction ceremony paid tribute to those who offered a unique contribution to the rock era.

"The 2008 inductees are trailblazers, each influential in their genres," he said.

Also inducted in the performers category were so-called "heartland rocker" John Mellencamp, folk singer and poet Leonard Cohen, and the 1960s instrumental band The Ventures.

In the non-performer category, architects of the soul-laced "Philly Sound," Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, were presented the first-ever Ahmet Ertegun Award. The late blues great Little Walter was inducted in the sidemen category.

The ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel featured performances by John Fogerty, Patti LaBelle, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett and Damien Rice.

New inductee John Mellencamp, took the stage to sing his 1984 single "Authority Song."