By Phill Marder
This is the 11th set of 10 selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 10 inductees approximately every two weeks until all 700-plus inductees are announced. Bios of all selections 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.
101. LIONEL RICHIE – It’s “truly” a testament to the popularity of Richie and his seemingly timeless compositions that 30 years after his debut album was released, a new release featuring new recordings of his previous hits reached #1 in the United States and Australia and attained top 10 status in Canada (#2), The Netherlands, England and Sweden.
To make this accomplishment even more unlikely, Richie is teamed on “Tuskegee” with the top Country stars of the day in a series of duets.
But topping the American LP charts is nothing new for the Alabama vocalist. After his debut, simply titled “Lionel Richie,” hit #3, his next two releases, “Can’t Slow Down” and “Dancing On The Ceiling,” reached #1 or #2 in most countries around the globe. Richie was no stranger to these lofty heights, his group, The Commodores, having reached the #3 position on the U.S. LP charts four times with two Richie-penned ballads, “Three Times A Lady” and “Still,” hitting #1 before Richie went solo.
Also, before his initial solo release, another ballad written by Richie and performed as a duet with Diana Ross, “Endless Love,” climbed to the top spot. That began an amazing five-year stretch (1981-86) that saw Richie post 13 straight top 10 singles in the U.S., “Truly,” “All Night Long (All Night),” “Hello” and “Say You, Say Me” all climbing to #1.
In 1994, he was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
102. LITTLE RICHARD – It’s not easy to get people to agree on much when it comes to music. But usually when the discussion turns to the foundation of Rock & Roll and those considered building blocks, the same names are repeated – Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly and – Little Richard.
Which was the most vital is often debated, and there are solid arguments for each. But one truth that remains is that all six belong in any Hall of Fame covering the Rock Era.
Richard’s hit-making career was brief due to his inner conflict between Rock & Roll and religion, but it was incredibly productive. His first album, “Here’s Little Richard,” today looks like a greatest hits package, while the second eponymous release plays like “Little Richard’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2.” Like the other Founding Fathers, Richard suffers somewhat on the album chart section of our survey due to the 45 being the main vehicle for musical expression in the late ’50s. So while the debut performed well, reaching #13 on the charts in the States, the successor didn’t even hit the top 200. The slack is recovered by later hits compilations, critical acclaim and a bundle of top-charting singles.
And hits were abundant, beginning with 1955’s “Tutti Frutti.” That was followed by “Long Tall Sally,” “Slippin’ & Slidin,'” “Rip It Up,” and “Ready Teddy.” Incredibly, all those were hits in 1955 and all came from the debut LP, which also included “She’s Got It,” a top 20 hit in Britain in 1956, and “Jenny Jenny” a U.S. top 10 hit in 1957. The second LP yielded “Keep A Knockin'” and “Good Golly Miss Molly,” both top 10 in the States. The latter also hit top 10 in Britain, along with “Lucille,” “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “Baby Face.”
Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2003, in just two years, Richard released what for most artists would be a lifetime’s worth of classics. His sound is instantly identifiable and he remains today one of the true icons of Rock & Roll history.
103. JACKSON BROWNE – Before the Summer of 1972 concluded, Browne, virtually unknown to the majority of record purchasers when the year started, had become a major cog in the singer-songwriter movement that dominated the 1970s.
He started the year with the release of his debut album, “Jackson Browne,” which contained the single “Doctor My Eyes,” a surprise #8 hit in the States. A couple months later, The Eagles had their first hit, “Take It Easy,” which Browne co-wrote with Eagle Glen Frey, and suddenly Browne’s name was all over the musical map.
Ironically, Browne had few hits after the initial burst, reaching the U.S. Top 10 just once more, “Somebody’s Baby” climbing to #7 10 years after “Doctor My Eyes.” In fact, except for Canada, Browne rarely has been a force in the 45 market. Albums, however, have been a different story, Browne’s long-players selling steadily throughout the States and Europe. In fact, beginning with 1976’s #5 “The Pretender,” Browne connected on the Billboard charts with four consecutive top 10 albums, 1977’s “Running On Empty” hitting #3, 1980’s “Hold Out” going all the way to #1 and 1983’s “Lawyers In Love” making it to #8.
Combining Browne’s chart successes with massive critical acclaim pushes him into this lofty position in Goldmine’s Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
104. CAROLE KING – And speaking of great singer-songwriters of the 1970s.
When Carole King’s first album, “Writer,” was released in 1970, it helped kick start the singer-songwriter movement, but many didn’t realize that King already was one of the world’s most successful songwriters and a one-hit wonder. After all, if you were 18 years old in 1970, you would have been just seven when Neil Sedaka released his top 10 hit “Oh Carol,” written for his then-girlfriend King, and just eight when King, a teenager herself, teamed up with husband Gerry Goffin and wrote her first hit, the Shirelles #1 classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” And you would have been only 10 when King released “It Might As Well Rain Until September,” which climbed all the way to #3 in the U.K. and #22 in the U.S.
So when 1971’s “Tapestry” suddenly became the biggest selling album of all time to that point, you could have been forgiven if you thought she was an overnight sensation. Of course, by that time King had co-written with Goffin three more #1’s, Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care Of My Baby,” Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion,” which also reached #1 for Grand Funk in 1974, and “Go Away Little Girl,” versions by Steve Lawrence (1962) and Donny Osmond (1974) both topping the charts. In addition, she, along with Goffin, also wrote such classics as “Up On The Roof,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Hi-Dee-Ho,” and “I’m Into Something Good,” a U.K. #1 for Herman’s Hermits, and many others, as they became one of the most successful songwriting pairs of all time, being inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1987.
From 1971 through 1976, King followed “Tapestry” with five more monster albums, “Music” (1971) and “Wrap Around Joy” (1974) each topping the U.S. charts, “Rhymes & Reasons” (1972) reaching #2, “Fantasy” (#6 in 1973) and “Thoroughbred,” (#3 in 1976). Her longevity was on display in 2010 when she teamed with James Taylor for “Live At The Troubador,” which soared to #4.
105. DEPECHE MODE – While Depeche Mode can be interpreted as “hurried fashion,” this British band certainly was in no hurry to make an impact in the United States, taking almost nine years and seven albums to achieve their first top 10 long player, “Violator” in 1990.
Once they did break through, though, there has been no stopping them, the next album, 1993’s “Songs Of Faith & Devotion,” topping the American charts and the next four LPs all cracking the top 10 all the way up to 2009’s “Sounds Of The Universe.” Depeche Mode also became one of the most popular concert attractions, breaking records worldwide as their chart success in the States has been duplicated or even exceeded throughout Europe.
While their impact in the U.S. took years to develop, Depeche Mode was a smash right off the bat in their native land, their first single, “New Life,” just missing the top 10 in 1981. Since that time, they have pushed 14 singles into the U.K. top 10, though, strangely, they have never topped the charts. They have hit #1 on the English album charts, however, 1993’s “Songs Of Faith & Devotion” and 1997’s “Ultra” both reaching the top. Worldwide, they rank in the top 75 of all artists in the charting of both singles and albums.
Critical acclaim also has mounted over the years for the quartet turned trio, other musicians consistently expressing admiration for their recordings and many well regarded publications praising their accomplishments and their impact.
The inductees are: Andy Fletcher (keyboards), Martin Gore (keyboards and guitar), Dave Gahan (vocals) and Alan Wilder (keyboards & drums).
106. THE MIRACLES – Before 2012, The Miracles were one of the biggest mistakes made by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, lead singer Smokey Robinson being inducted in 1987 without his mates. That error was corrected in 2012 when the rest of the members received their belated induction.
Not that Robinson doesn’t deserve special recognition. His solo career and work as a songwriter and Motown executive certainly qualifies him. But The Miracles were a group, and their accomplishments place them high on the Goldmine Hall of Fame list, even without Smokey’s solo work.
The Miracles initial 45 releases, the ballads “Bad Girl” and “Depend On Me” were local hits in areas that favored doowop, but both failed to make a dent nationally, and the third, the uptempo “Way Over There,” didn’t fare much better. Though 1960’s “Shop Around” proved the group’s breakthrough, reaching #2, the success was short-lived, The Miracles taking two years to again reach the top 10, this time with the classic “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me,” which reached #8 and inspired many cover versions, particularly by British Invasion bands.
This time, the group took less than a year to again conquer the U.S. top 10, “Mickey’s Monkey” getting to #8. Strangely, the group could not reach those lofty heights again until 1967’s “I Second That Emotion,” which reached #4. That in spite of 1965’s “Ooo Baby Baby” and “The Tracks Of My Tears,” two singles destined to join the most covered compositions of the last 50 years. “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” gave the group another top 10 smash in 1969, but the Miracles didn’t achieve their first #1 until 1970’s “Tears Of A Clown.” After Smokey left, The Miracles once again topped the charts in 1975 with their last hit single, “Love Machine (Part 1).”
Albums by The Miracles did not become major sellers until the British Invasion helped change record-buying habits, and the group never did become a major force on the long-player charts except for 1965’s “Going To A Go-Go,” which climbed to #8 in 1965. However, The Miracles’ LPs have sold steadily over the years, particularly some greatest hits compilations.
The inductees are: Smokey Robinson, Claudette Rogers, Ronald White, Warren Moore, Bobby Rogers, Marvin Tarplin and Billy Griffin.
107. THE CURE – A Goth Rock giant, The Cure has shown the ability to appeal to the masses, producing a series of recordings that have made the group one of the world’s most beloved.
As a result, The Cure ranks as one of the best selling album and singles artists in the world, showing particular strength across Europe, where their LPs were strong sellers right from the start in 1979. But The Cure was far from an overnight sensation, especially in the U.S. They were more an acquired taste, and more acquired a taste for them with each release. “Disintegration” did reach the top 10 in seven different countries, the 1989 release marking the first Cure LP to conquer the US (#12), most of Europe and the Pan Pacific.
In spite of a three-year break after “Disintegration,” the follow-up, “Wish,” did even better, topping the charts in the UK and Australia and reaching No. 2 in the States. It hit the top 10 in five other countries, including Germany, where it established the band as a top seller. Never a band to produce hit singles, The Cure, nonetheless, broke Spain in 2008 with three #1s and a #2, all pulled from the group’s LP “4:13 Dream.”
The Cure has had an ever-changing lineup, but one constant has been lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and romantic favorite – Robert Smith.
Who else should be inducted? Bass player Simon Gallup certainly. He’s been there almost as long as Smith. Porl Thompson, keyboardist and guitarist in the original lineup and still present today. Lol Tolhurst held down the drums from 1978 to 1984, when he moved to keyboards for close to another five years. In 1984,Boris Williams settled in for a 10-year stay on drums, his replacement, Jason Cooper, lasting since. Perry Bamonte started on keyboards, then switched to guitar, totaling almost 15 years of service. And Keyboardist Roger O’Donnell was on hand for two stays, first in the late ‘80s, then again in the mid ‘90s.
108. JACKIE WILSON – One of the truly great voices of our day, Jackie Wilson was capable of belting out the best Rock & Roll (“Reet Petite” and “Baby Workout”), the best Rhythm & Blues (“To Be Loved” and “Lonely Teardrops”) and even stretched into opera (“All My Love” and “My Empty Arms”).
Of course, there were many others in each category, for Wilson had amassed one of music’s great catalogs when his career was cut far too short by a massive heart attack at age 41. For an example of Wilson’s vocal prowess, all one needs to do is listen to the conclusion of his second hit, “To Be Loved,” in which he bends, twists and stretches the word “be” into every shape imaginable over a seven-second span. But Wilson was not an over-singer, saving those excursions for special moments, which helped make them just that … special moments.
Coming out of Billy Ward & the Dominoes, where he had the intimidating task of replacing Clyde McPhatter, Wilson became an instant smash in England, where his debut, “Reet Petite,” co-written by Berry Gordy Jr., climbed to #6. A regional hit in the States, it made barely a ripple on the U.S. Hot 100. “To Be Loved” did much better, though, reaching #22 in the States.
When Wilson’s signature hit, “Lonely Teardrops,” reached #7 in the U.S., he was on his way. Strangely, this great record didn’t even chart in Britain, where the rest of his smashes flopped. But in the States, he became legendary, “Night” (#4), “Alone At Last” (#8), “My Empty Arms” (#9), “Baby Workout” (#5) and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” (#6) providing Wilson a steady stream of blockbusters from 1959 to 1967. His sales figures also were high in neighboring Canada. In another puzzling turn, Wilson’s career took off again in Britain in 1969, many of his former hits now scoring overseas when he couldn’t get a hit in the U.S.
Wilson was not an album seller, though, his only major success being a 1963 Christmas album. However, hit compilations have been steady sellers over the years. In addition to his remarkable voice, Wilson also became known for his dynamic stage presence and dancing prowess.
109. BOBBY DARIN – He could do it all. And he did over a career that was much too short. He sang Rock, he sang Pop, he sang Standards, he sang Jazz, he sang Folk. He wrote in all genres too, and became a movie star. All before passing away from heart failure at 37.
Darin was far from a Rocker, but he was a major player in the beginning of Rock & Roll, penning and performing some of the young music’s lasting classics. His first success, 1957’s “Splish Splash,” was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic, getting to #2 on the U.S. Hot 100 and topping the Rhythm & Blues charts. Before the year ended, he connected with another worldwide hit, “Queen Of The Hop,” which also scored top 10 on the R&B charts. Darin started 1959 with the oft-covered “Dream Lover,” which topped the British chart, reached #2 in the U.S. and #4 R&B before switching gears for the megahit that became his calling card, covering the 1928 gem “Mack The Knife,” which hit #1. “Beyond The Sea,” a 1945 beauty from France, followed “Mack” into the top 10.
Darin continued to move away from Rock with subsequent recordings, but continued to have major hits with tunes decades old, 1884’s “Clementine,” 1902’s “Won’t You Come Bill Bailey,” 1932’s “Lazy River,” “Nature Boy” from 1948, “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby,” a Bing Crosby hit in 1938 and others all receiving the Darin treatment.
He also penned 1958’s “Early In The Morning,” which became a hit for himself as well as Buddy Holly, “I’ll Be There,” the flip of “Bill Bailey,” that gave Gerry & The Pacemakers one of their biggest chartbusters and 1962’s “Things” and 1963’s “You’re The Reason I’m Living” each reaching #3 and “18 Yellow Roses” also notching top 10 status in 1963. As a result, Darin was inducted into The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
110. STEELY DAN – There have been many, many participants involved in the making of records by Steely Dan. But the duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker is, essentially, responsible for the “band’s” output, an output that has placed them in the upper echelon of Goldmine’s Hall of Fame.
Fanatical about the recordings they make, Fagen and Becker have spent hours in recording studios putting the best session musicians available through take after take in an attempt to come up with the perfect final product. And in most cases, they have succeeded, though it has taken 40 years to finish nine studio albums.
For the first album, 1972’s “Can’t Buy A Thrill,” there actually was a Steely Dan group. The result was two hit singles, “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ In The Years,” and a fairly successful showing on LP charts in the U.S., England and Australia. The successor, “Countdown To Ecstasy,” though filled with gems failed to duplicate that success and by the third LP Steely Dan had become Fagen and Becker and a cast of seemingly hundreds. Spurred by their highest charting single, the #4 “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Pretzel Logic” went top 10 in the States and scored well in other markets, though it officially signaled the end of any remaining pretense of Steely Dan being an actual band.
“Katy Lied” and “The Royal Scam” kept the duo high on the best-seller charts, leading to 1977’s “Aja,” which became their biggest seller, soaring to #3 in the States and top 10 in most countries. Two hit singles, “Peg” and “Deacon Blues,” helped account for the sales spike, and “FM (No Static At All),” the lead track from 1978’s movie soundtrack, “FM,” also was a hit.
“Hey Nineteen” and “Time Out Of Mind” pushed 1980’s “Gaucho” up the charts, but by this time Fagen and Becker needed no hit singles and their next two releases, 2000’s “Two Against Nature” and 2003’s “Everything Must Go” reached top 10 status around the globe without benefit of a hit single.