By Phill Marder
Last month, Goldmine introduced The Goldmine Hall of Fame as what we hope will be a more fan-oriented alternative to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Now, we bring you the second 10 selections.
Beginning here, Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 10 inductees approximately every two weeks until all 700-plus inductees are announced. Bios of selections 1-10 and criteria for induction can be found on our website by clicking the Goldmine Hall of Fame tab. A running list of all announced inductees will be listed, also.
11. ELTON JOHN – Today’s younger music fans probably would be astonished by the Elton John most grew up with, the Elton John whose stage costumes established the template for the likes of Lady Gaga while he sang of characters as diverse as “Levon” and a “Rocket Man.”
Today, Sir Elton is the rotund, tuxedo-clad elder statesman making the rounds of personal appearances, giving us wonderful soundtrack excerpts, teaming with other old pros in various projects and enjoying family life. In other words, Elton is growing old a lot more gracefully than most Rock stars.
And there have been few Rock stars bigger than Elton John, who burst upon the scene in 1970 with the Top 10 “Your Song.” Before the decade was over, he had piled up 16 top 10 hits in the States, including seven that hit # 1 and three that just missed, stopping in the runner-up slot, and almost as many outlandish stage costumes.
More astonishing was his performance on the Billboard album charts, where 13 of his long-players hit the top 10 in the ’70s, a remarkable string of seven consecutive new releases reaching # 1. His chart domination slowed in the ’80s and ’90s, but he still remained one of the world’s best-selling and most recognizable stars and his tribute to Princess Diana in 1997, a re-write of “Candles In The Wind,” became history’s largest selling single around the world, while his recent collaboration with Leon Russell also was a smash.
12. THE EAGLES
The Eagles album, “Their Greatest Hits (1971-75),” is in a constant battle with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for the top spot on the list of best-selling albums of all time in the United States.
No wonder. Half of the album’s 10 selections made the top 10, with “One Of These Nights” and “Best Of My Love” hitting # 1. The album, “One Of These Nights,” released in 1975, hit # 1 and the hits collection made the top spot early in 1976. Usually, a greatest hits collection signals a career summary, but it turned out The Eagles were just getting started.
Before 1976 concluded, they had released their masterpiece. “Hotel California,” which included two more # 1 singles, the title cut and “New Kid In Town.” “The Long Run,” a 1979 release featuring “Heartache Tonight,” another # 1 single, was the band’s third straight # 1 LP and then they dissolved.
But in 1994, “Hell Freezes Over,” a live reunion recording, brought The Eagles back to the top of the charts and then, remarkably, a 2007 studio double album, reached # 1 in most countries around the globe.
The inductees include founding members Don Henley (drums), Glenn Frey (guitars and keyboards), Randy Meisner (bass), Bernie Leadon (various string instruments) and Don Felder (lead guitar), plus Joe Walsh (lead guitar) and Timothy B. Schmidt (bass). All seven are excellent lead vocalists, which accounts for the group’s outstanding harmonies.
13. MICHAEL JACKSON
“The gloved one” surely would have made Goldmine’s first class of inductees save for the fact that many of his points were acquired as a member of The Jackson 5, who are sure to come later.
Still, Jackson piled up a big enough total to easily gain entry in the second 10. And really, it doesn’t matter where you come in as long as you come in.
Jackson turned music video into an art form and his domination of the record charts from 1971 until 2010, a year after his unfortunate demise, is almost unprecedented. Starting with 1971′s “Got To Be There,” Jackson placed 27 singles in the U.S. top 10 as a solo artist plus four more in collaboration with others. Fourteen topped the charts!
His success around the globe almost equaled his popularity in the States, his singles topping charts in at least a dozen countries. And there wasn’t much difference on the album charts. Beginning with 1982′s “Thriller,” the best-selling album of all time worldwide, followed by 1987′s “Bad,” 1991′s “Dangerous,” 1995′s “History: Past, Present and Future, Book 1″ and 2001′s “Invincible,” Jackson couldn’t miss the # 1 spot almost everywhere.
“Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” the soundtrack for the documentary of his preparation for the tour that never came to pass, was # 1 in eight countries, including the States.
14. BILLY JOEL
And continuing our string of chart giants, for an amazing 20-year stretch, from 1974 until 1994, “The Piano Man” dominated singles and album charts like few others in recording history.
Thirty-three top 40 hits in the United States, 26 in the United Kingdom. Thirteen top 10 hits in the States, five more in the U.K. And almost every song he recorded was self-penned.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Joel is the sixth highest ranking record seller of all time and third in the solo ranks behind only Elvis Presley and Garth Brooks. The Beatles, # 1 on the Goldmine Hall of Fame list, are # 1, Led Zeppelin, 10th on our list, is fourth and The Eagles, # 12 here, rank fifth.
Of course, Joel’s success is not confined to just the U.S. and U.K. He has been a superstar worldwide since “The Stranger” broke through in 1977, becoming a top 3 LP in the U.S., Australia, Japan and New Zealand. The next year’s “52nd Street” hit # 1 in all those countries except for Japan, where it still hit the top 10 as it did in seven nations all told. The trend continued through the next six releases until Joel decided to do some Classical recordings. “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me,” “Tell Her About It” and “We Didn’t Start The Fire” topped the U.S. singles chart, while “Uptown Girl” hit # 1 in the U.K. and “Honesty,” “Goodnight Saigon” and “The River Of Dreams” hit the top spot in various nations.
His catalog continues to sell today and he remains a top concert attraction, big enough to close Shea Stadium.
15. STEVIE WONDER
He started out Little Stevie Wonder, but he became a giant in no time.
His breakthrough came with the LP “Little Stevie Wonder/The 12 Year Old Genius,” which became a chart-topper in 1963 after the single “Fingertips-Pt 2″ hit # 1. Strangely, in spite of a parade of hits that included some considered classics today – “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” “I Was Made To Love Her,” “For Once In My Life,” “My Cherie Amour” – Wonder was unable to produce another big smash album for nine years. During that stretch, 12 Stevie Wonder albums hit the charts, but none even cracked the top 20.
All that changed when 1972′s “Talking Book” reached # 3, powered by back-to-back # 1 hits, “Superstition” and “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” For the next 13 years, nothing stopped him, not even a near fatal automobile accident. Every new album Wonder released, and there were seven, hit the top five, including back-to-back chart toppers, 1974′s “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” and 1976′s “Songs In The Key Of Life,” a double LP with a bonus EP included. He also had seven # 1 singles, including “Ebony & Ivory” with Paul McCartney and “That’s What Friends Are For” with Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Gladys Knight.
Blind from infancy, Wonder nevertheless mastered many instruments, keyboards and harmonica being his mainstays. His success around the globe and his critical acclaim has rarely been equaled.
Once thought of as a “poor man’s Rolling Stones,” Aerosmith has established its own credentials as one of the biggest selling bands in Rock & Roll history and one that has established a legacy of longevity in spite of severe setbacks.
Led by lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry, the remarkably stable lineup, which also features original members Tom Hamilton on bass and Joey Kramer on drums, plus rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, who joined in 1971, a year after the group began, has built a catalog that consists of eight top 10 albums and an equal number of Top 10 singles in the United States.
The run began with the group’s very first album, 1973′s “Aerosmith,” which rose to # 21 in the charts and contained the single, “Dream On.” But it wasn’t until 1976 that Aerosmith broke through when “Dream On,” just a minor hit its first time around, rose to #6. They finished the year with “Walk This Way,” which hadn’t even charted on its initial release, climbing into the Top 10 also.
Drug abuse problems and internal battles dragged Aerosmith down, though, and the group appeared pretty much finished as a major power when Perry and Whitford left at the dawn of the ’80s. However, the original five pulled off one of the greatest comebacks of the Rock era with 1987′s “Permanent Vacation” LP, which yielded three hit singles and climbed to # 11. More importantly, perhaps, it became their first hit album In England, opening a floodgate all over Europe. From that point, almost every Aerosmith release was a worldwide smash, including 1993′s “Get A Grip” and 1997′s “Nine Lives,” both of which hit # 1 in the States.
Ray Tabano, Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay, all guitarist in the group at various stages, receive “Miners” as well.
Despite his eccentricities, or perhaps because of them, Prince has proved outstanding in every rated category, whether he was using one name or a group name or a name no one could pronounce. And his success has been and continues to be worldwide.
His 1984 “Purple Rain ” album was # 1 in the U.S. for 24 weeks. “Sign ‘O’ The Times,” which came out in 1987, topped the Switzerland charts. “Lovesexy” was # 1 in Britain, “Diamonds & Pearls” hit the top spot in Australia and the list goes on and on. “Batman” and “Around The World In A Day” also hit # 1 in the States, while “Batman,” “Graffiti Bridge,” the LP with just the symbol, and “Come” all topped the British charts.
Born Prince Roger Nelson, the Minneapolis native also scored five #1 singles in the States, “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss,” “Batdance” and “Cream,” and just missed several more when “Purple Rain,” “Raspberry Beret” and “U Got The Look” each stopped at #2.
An outstanding songwriter who penned hits for other artists as well as himself – The Bangles’ “Manic Monday,” for example – and a grossly underrated guitarist as well as an outstanding vocalist, Prince’s performance in the studio and on stage is rarely equaled.
When Madonna was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, the ensuing uproar was almost deafening. Most of the complaints centered around the supposition that Madonna was not Rock & Roll.
The Goldmine Hall of Fame doesn’t have to deal with those types of complaints, recognizing all artists who have made significant impact in sales and critical acclaim since the Rock Era began in 1955.
Certainly, Madonna qualifies in sales, and her acclaim ranks surprisingly high mainly due to her penchant for pushing the envelope, on record, in video, in books, in interviews, in basically every outlet available to her.
Her breakthrough came in Britain, where her 1983 “Holiday” single climbed near the top spot. She followed with approximately 25 singles that hit the top two British chart positions and that success was equaled around the globe. Fifteen of her albums reached # 1 or # 2 in Britain. As in the rest of the world, almost every one of Madonna’s studio albums reached # 1 in the U.S.
In total, she ranks in the top 10 in album and singles sales around the globe, the only female artist to rank in the top 10 in either category. Billboard ranks her second only to the Beatles as the most successful singles artists since 1955. It’s no wonder Madonna comes in as the highest ranking female solo artist in the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
19. FLEETWOOD MAC
It is rare for a band to remain intact through its history. Usually, members come and go rather frequently. But rarely does an entire band change with success not only continuing but increasing under the same name.
There have been several Fleetwood Macs, all successful to some extent. Actually, drummer Mick Fleetwood is the only constant member from start to present. But when you factor in everything issued as Fleetwood Mac, one incredible career results.
The first Mac, heavily Blues oriented, was started in 1967 by guitar legend Peter Green, Fleetwood, bassist Bob Brunning and Jeremy Spencer on vocals and guitar. The second version, more pop oriented, featured the recently deceased Bob Welch and Christine and John McVie. Then, in 1975, the superstar Mac evolved as Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined with Fleetwood and the two McVies. Billy Burnette, son of Dorsey of “Tall Oak Tree” and “Hey Little One” fame and member of the original Rock & Roll Trio with his brother, Johnny, led the next incarnation. That lineup was greatly successful compared to most bands, but when compared to the Buckingham/Nicks version of Mac, there was a marked falloff. Buckingham since has returned, but Christine McVie has departed, leaving the current group, when functional, a foursome.
Green’s group had tremendous success in its native U.K., its first three albums reaching the top 10 boosted by four top 10 singles, “Albatross” topping the charts in 1968 and reaching # 2 in 1973. Even more success greeted the Buckingham/Nicks version when the album “Fleetwood Mac” topped the U.S. charts in 1975, setting the stage for 1977′s “Rumours,” which topped worldwide charts and became one of the biggest selling albums of all time.
In addition to those already mentioned, “Miners” go to other notable members, Danny Kirwan, guitarist from 1968 until 1972, and guitarist Rick Vito, who joined with Burnette.
20. SIMON & GARFUNKEL
After several false starts, Paul Simon hit his stride as a songwriter and soon he & Art Garfunkel became the industry’s biggest duo since Don & Phil Everly.
Their career at the top lasted just four years, 1966 to 1970, but they left a legacy that will live for generations to come. The occasional reunion hasn’t hurt, either, though no new Simon & Garfunkel albums have resulted.
“The Sounds of Silence” soaring to # 1 at the close of 1965 propelled the duo’s first two albums into the charts, “Wednesday Morning, 3AM” eventually peaking at # 30 while the singles’ namesake LP reached # 21 and remained on the top 200 almost three years.
“Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” climbed to # 4, followed by three straight chart-toppers, the soundtrack to “The Graduate,” “Bookends” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
“Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” topped the singles chart and “The Boxer,” “Cecilia” and the one-off 1975 comeback “My Little Town” all hit the top 10, but the singles that didn ‘t score all became classics as Simon & Garfunkel albums rarely contained a weak cut.
Their success was duplicated around the globe and they became one of the best-selling album artists worldwide. As with almost all our early entries into the Goldmine Hall of Fame, their critical acclaim has equaled their sales figures.