Who will hit the right note with voters to join the Vocal Group Hall of Fame?

By  Greg Loescher

VGHOFWebLogo.jpgWhat do groups as diverse musically as The Monotones, The Teddy Bears, Sam & Dave, Chad Mitchell Trio, Sly & The Family Stone, Foreigner, Sawyer Brown and Hall & Oates all have in common?
They all have been nominated for placement on the Official 2007 Vocal Group Hall Of Fame ballot.

Currently, 110 vocal groups from the 1950s to the 1980s are nominated and eligible to be inducted into The Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Criteria for eligibility includes having a charting hit, having the hit at least 20 years ago, and including vocal harmony in an act’s songs. The Hall’s induction committee nominates vocal groups from the Qualifiers List to the ballot to replace those inducted in the previous year.

Goldmine readers can help usher in the new inductees by casting their votes on the ballot on pages 45 and 46 of Issue 715 (Cover Date Dec. 21, 2007) and mailing the ballots to the VGHOF as directed. Voting deadline is Jan. 15, 2008.

Goldmine readers’ magazine-ballot votes count toward 30 percent of the weight of the final balloting. The Induction Committee, made up of musicologists, comprises 35 percent of the ballot’s weight, inducted artists’ votes are 30 percent, and the general public’s vote (via the Hall’s Web site at http://www.VocalGroup.org) is worth 5 percent.

This voting process differs from The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s in several ways. The Vocal Group Hall of Fame allows the general public to vote in new inductees. And, once a group is placed on the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame’s ballot, it remains on the ballot until it is voted in. The Vocal Group Hall views this honor as a lifetime achievement award.

The VGHOF’s focus also is broader based, as it covers and inducts acts from all genres, including blues, jazz, folk, pop, rock, country, R&B and gospel.

“We’re pleased to have Goldmine’s knowledgeable readers help us induct vocal groups each year,” said Bob Crosby, president and CEO of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. “We value the input the readers have given us over the past decade and also their support of our efforts to preserve the memories of vocal groups, many of whom are not known as individuals, but as collective groups.
“Our aim is to bring to light the individuals involved and honor the groups, songs and efforts of these talented people who helped create the soundtracks of our lives,” Crosby said. “We also seek to preserve the memorabilia and recordings that these groups have left as their legacy so future generations can see how vocal group history unfolded through the decades.”

A gala 10th anniversary induction ceremony and three nights of concerts featuring the music of the Classes of 2005, 2006 and 2007 inductees is slated for the spring of 2008 where they will be welcomed into the “family” of inductees by previously inducted groups. The event will be hosted and presented by the Classes of 1998-2004. Exact dates and location will be announced in early 2008, along with the results of this year’s voting. Previous years’ inductions and concerts have been in Sharon, Pa.; Pittsburgh; Niles, Ohio; and Wildwood, N.J.

Previous years’ inductions and concerts have been in Sharon; Pittsburgh; Niles, Ohio; and Wildwood, N.J. In some cases, original members of the groups haven’t gotten together to sing for decades, so the concerts and inductions also act as a reunion for vocal groups.

Inductees receive the Hall’s coveted “Harmy” award. Since 1998, the VGHOF has inducted 128 acts. For a complete list of all inductees, along with information on the Hall, visit http://www.VocalGroup.org.

DVDs and CDs of previous induction concerts are also available, and six hours of available concert footage and audio is available as part of the Hall’s $100 Gold Membership package, which also includes a membership card for free admission to the Hall’s museum, currently under construction, good for one year from the museum’s reopening. The 2004 Induction Concert also can be viewed on Public Television. 

Located in Sharon, Pa., the hometown of founder and original Lettermen member Tony Butala, the VGHOF will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2008.

A few years ago, the Hall purchased the historic Columbia Theater in downtown Sharon, located just east of Youngstown, Ohio. The theater is undergoing renovation; it eventually will host the Hall’s induction ceremonies and concerts. The Hall also recently purchased adjacent buildings, which are being remodeled to house the Hall’s office and massive vocal group memorabilia collection in a new museum, complemented with a restaurant, banquet center and piano bar.

In addition, the Hall’s active Truth In Music Committee, chaired by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, formerly of Sha Na Na,  promotes legislation nationwide to help stop bogus acts from “stealing” the good names and legacy of original groups. Goldmine readers are well aware of the many fake Drifters, Coasters, Platters and other acts there are out there, as reports of these bogus groups have surfaced in Goldmine’s Please Mr. Postman letters column over the past two decades.

The Hall’s Truth In Music legislation has so far passed in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, South Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Nevada, New York and California. Legislation also has been introduced in Delaware, Ohio and Vermont.

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