NEW YORK — Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday and paid tribute to people who encouraged her and even critics who panned her for helping drive her career.
Heartland hitmaker John Mellencamp, with his son Speck playing guitar and his parents watching from a balcony above the Waldorf Astoria Hotel ballroom, joined the rock-kicking with a rumbling version of “Authority Song.”
“I wrote this song, and I still feel the same way today as I did when I wrote it 25 years ago,” Mellencamp said.
Philly soul producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, literate songwriter Leonard Cohen, British rockers the Dave Clark Five, and surf instrumentalists the Ventures were among the other inductees.
Madonna recalled a teacher who encouraged her to follow her dreams when she was 14.
“Thirty-five years later, people are still encouraging me to believe in my dreams,” she said at the induction ceremony. “What more could I ask for?”
Even the people who “said I was talentless, that I was chubby, that I couldn’t sing, that I was a one-hit wonder, they helped me, too,” she said. “They inspired me because they made me question myself repeatedly and pushed me to be better.”
Madonna didn’t perform but asked punk rockers Iggy Pop and the Stooges to sing “Burning Up” and “Ray of Light.”
At the end, a shirtless Pop said “you make me feel shiny and new, like a virgin touched for the very first time,” and tossed his microphone to the floor.
Mellencamp talked of having surgery for spina bifida when he was 6 weeks old, saying doctors were worried he would be paralyzed. The rocker, 56, said he never knew of the surgery until his teen years, when a classmate asked him about the scar behind his neck.
His grandmother always whispered in his ear, “Buddy, you’re the luckiest boy alive.”
“I’m lucky to be standing here for any number of reasons,” said Mellencamp, a heart patient who snuffed out a cigarette as he took the stage.