By Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Afrika Bambaataa, Beastie Boys, Chic, Leonard Cohen, The Dave Clark Five, Madonna, John Mellencamp, Donna Summer and The Ventures have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the hall recently announced. Five of the nine artists will be honored at the annual induction ceremony on March 10, 2008, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

To be eligible for nomination, an act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. This year’s nominees had to release their first single or album no later than 1982.

Madonna and Beastie Boys are the only acts this year to be nominated in their first year of eligibility. The Ventures, Bambaataa, Summer and Cohen were nominated for the first time even though they have been passed over many times; The Ventures have been eligible since 1985, Cohen since 1993, Summer since 1999 and Bambaataa since 2005.

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Chic, Mellencamp and DC5 have all been nominated before. Chic, eligible since 2002, has been nominated three times, in 2003 and again the last two years. DC5, eligible since 1989, has been nominated the last two years, and Mellencamp, eligible since 2002, has had two nominations, 2004 and 2006.

Considering that the nominating committee overlooked first time eligible artists like Metallica, Janet Jackson, Sonic Youth and Sting (The Police were enshrined in 2003), it is never easy to project how the approximately 500 industry voters (down from about 1,000 two years ago) will vote. There used to be 15 nominees as well each year until last year when the Hall of Fame streamlined its voting operations.

However, one thing is almost certain, about 85 percent of those nominated are eventually enshrined. Solomon Burke was installed after nine nominations; Black Sabbath and Gene Pitney after eight years of nominations; and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, Lloyd Price, and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, seven times. So that favors acts that have been on the ballot numerous times.

DC5 probably has the easiest road to the Cleveland, OH-based shrine, because last year there was a controversy that the band had received more votes than Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, who were inducted. The Hall said those votes came late after the polls closed and were not counted.