NEW YORK – Heartland rocker John Mellencamp (search) is among the nominees for a new class of inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (search), joined by jazz legend Miles Davis, rap pioneers Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Blondie.
Mellencamp quickly ditched the cheesy nickname Johnny Cougar and banged out a series of rock hits in the 1980s, including "Pink Houses," "Jack & Diane" and "R.O.C.K. in the USA."
Grandmaster Flash (search), whose "The Message" and "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" were among rap's early hits, will test whether the rock hall is willing to open its doors to one of today's top styles of music.
The late Davis was one of jazz's most iconoclastic musicians. Blondie, led by pinup model Debbie Harry, fused pop with the aggression of punk and mixed in rap and disco.
Cat Stevens (search), who had folk hits in the 1970s before converting to Islam and largely retiring from music, was also nominated, along with punk rock pioneers The Patti Smith Group, the Sex Pistols and the Stooges.
"Free Bird" singers Lynyrd Skynyrd (search), heavy metal band Black Sabbath, the '60s beat group Dave Clark Five, Boston-area blues-rockers J. Geils Band, dance masters Chic and Texans Joe Tex, and the Sir Douglas Quintet were also on the ballot.
Musicians, industry professionals and journalists vote, and results of the 21st annual election will likely be announced in December.
Artists are eligible to be inducted into the Rock Hall after at least 25 years have passed since their first record was released.