Iggy Pop an institution? Institutionalized, maybe (he did check himself into an L.A. mental hospital back in the mid-'70s), but never an institution. That's just the sort of thing he and his mates railed against while delivering their potent, primal, proto-punk music all those years ago.

Nonetheless, the erstwhile Stooge finds himself among the 15 finalists on the ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside such sanitized elder statesmen of pop as the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Santana, the Mamas and the Papas and, get this, Dusty Springfield, according to Rolling Stone, which obtained an unoffical copy of the ballot. (The offical slate isn't announced until October.)

Select company to be sure, but not the sort you'd expect the Igg-ster to keep.

(At least Pop would add some excitement to the induction ceremony snoozefest. Imagine how the requisite jam would go--a shirtless Iggy writhing over Dusty or Stevie while wailing "Hotel California" with Messrs. Henley, Frey and Joel.)

The other contenders represent the breadth of rock music and include Del "Runaway" Shannon, rockabilly rogue Gene Vincent, R&B belter Joe Tex, pop crooner Gene Pitney, doo-woppers the Moonglows, the soulful Solomon Burke, N'Orleans rocker Lloyd Price and Earth, Wind and Fire.

Performers become eligible for the Hall 25 years after their first release. The inductees are chosen by 800 rock critics, music historians and Industry types--candidates are in if they receive 50 percent or more of the votes. Several acts on this year's ballot, Fleetwood Mac, Shannon, Vincent, Pitney and Pop's Stooges among them, have been passed over in previous years.

If elected, the artists will be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in lovely Cleveland. Earlier this year, Bee Gees, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Jackson 5, Joni Mitchell, Parliament-Funkadelic, the (Young) Rascals, bluegrass granddaddy Bill Monroe, gospel queen Mahalia Jackson and former James Brown manager and impresario, Syd Nathan were inducted.

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