1 JANET JACKSON
Yes, she's been acting, doing some scaled-down shows and, most recently, pitching Nutrisystem. But her career has skidded since that Super Bowl mess. With Michael gone, we need someone to carry on the Jackson legacy-and it's not LaToya.
FOR NOW I'LL PLAY: 1993's
janet., her sexual discovery.
2 DAVID BOWIE
Having celebrated his 65th birthday earlier this year, he's basically retired from music, releasing his last album in '03. But wouldn't it be great if Ziggy Stardust-or we'll take any of Bowie's guises-could rise once again?
FOR NOW I'LL PLAY: 1990's
Changesbowie, a compilation of his golden years.
It's been 12 years since his last release, Voodoo, but I'm still waiting for him to recapture that neo-soul magic. Hope is alive: He's performed in Europe this year; a new album is finally expected this fall (we think).
FOR NOW I'LL PLAY: 1995's
Brown Sugar, his gritty, groundbreaking debut.
4 LAURYN HILL
As she demonstrated so brilliantly on 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, her Grammy-winning solo debut, there's simply too much talent there for it to be wasted. Now with a rep for erratic gigs, this "Lost One" needs to find herself again.
FOR NOW I'LL PLAY: Miseducation. What else?
5 GEORGE MICHAEL
Whitney Houston's death-on the heels of his own health crisis-should inspire this other oft-troubled '80s icon to greater use of his gifts.
FOR NOW I'LL PLAY: 1990's
Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1, his anti-Faith opus.
NEW ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
WHY I LOVE ...
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Early in their career it seemed like the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be most famous for only wearing socks over their private parts. A gang of crude, cocky California boys crashing the scene as if rap and rock, punk and funk were all one big party, they hardly appeared to have the makings of a band that would stand the test of time. But 28 years after their debut, the Chili Peppers were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I, for one, couldn't be more psyched for them. They survived drug problems (leading to the death of original guitarist Hillel Slovak), numerous lineup changes (Dave Navarro, anyone?) and shifting musical trends (from grunge to nu-metal), while surprisingly growing artistically. And with founding members Anthony Kiedis and Flea at the core, they've never lost their spirit.
RICKY IN EVITA!
It takes until the second act of the new Broadway revival of Evita for you to really see Ricky Martin cut loose and shake his bon-bon in the number "And the Money Kept Rolling In." Though his role as the narrator Che doesn't always make the most of Martin's showmanship, he oozes natural charisma and stage presence, while his impressive pipes prove he's an underrated singer. And no 'stache can hide that sex appeal.
Whether it's the mariachi horns on "50 Ways to Say Goodbye," the ukulele on "Sing Together" or the line about Johnny Depp in "Mermaid," Train can't resist their cheesier instincts. But that probably won't matter to the soul sisters who love them.
Love Is a Four Letter Word
After the success of "I'm Yours," Mraz makes you his again with more breezy, folk-inflected ditties. But he's at his best on sophisto-pop songs-like "Who's Thinking About You Now?" and "5/6"-that reveal his jazzy, soulful side.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
An old New York City synagogue and a 10-person gospel choir provide a divine backdrop for the glorious vocals of Florence Welch. Two covers produce mixed results, though: "Try a Little Tenderness"? Yes. "Jackson"? No.
On their second album, these alt-rockers branch more into pop while maintaining their retro-'80s roots. Among the synth-infused standouts: the Depeche-esque "Trust" and "Mad Love," which you can just imagine in a John Hughes movie.
CHUCK'S TAKE 5 COMEBACKS I'M WISHING FOR!