By Phill Marder
The Goldmine Hall of Fame is, we hope, a more fan-oriented alternative to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is the fourth set of 10 selections.
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.
31. VAN HALEN –
Back on tour in 2012 with original front man David Lee Roth and with a highly acclaimed new album riding the charts to # 2, Van Halen continued recently to make music history 34 years after the release of its first LP.
Led by guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen, Van Halen’s success was immediate, the group’s eponymous effort hitting the top 20 in North America and Australia and just missing in England. It was their only effort to miss the top 10 in the States and their popularity spread to all corners of the globe as they became one of the industry’s biggest touring attractions as well.
All this was accomplished even though the group didn’t have its first hit single until “Jump” reached # 1. It came off their sixth LP, appropriately titled “1984,” which peaked at # 2 in the States.
Success proved too much to handle, though, and Roth left the group. In spite of Roth’s popularity, the band’s fortunes soared even higher with new lead singer Sammy Hagar, their next four studio albums reaching # 1. Hagar split in 1996, Roth rejoining for a couple new tunes on a best-of compilation, but rumors of a reunion were premature and Gary Cherone took over lead vocals for one LP. The 1998 release, “Van Halen III,” reached # 4, but, in a testament to the band’s popularity, was considered a bomb.
After “Van Halen III,” the band remained a constant source of rumor, but a rumor only until the recent release and tour. Of course, that ended prematurely.
The inducted members are Eddie Van Halen (guitar), David Lee Roth (vocals), Sammy Hagar (vocals & guitar), Alex Van Halen (drums) and Mark Anthony (bass).
32. WHITNEY HOUSTON –
The recent passing of Whitney Houston added one more name to the long list of superstars taken from us before their time.
Though she released just eight studio albums (including two film soundtracks) between her 1985 eponymous debut and 2009’s “I Look To You,” Houston ranks fourth on the list of best-selling female artists, trailing just Barbra Streisand, Madonna and Mariah Carey. Half of those releases reached # 1 in the U.S. and many other countries. The 1972 soundtrack for the movie “The Bodyguard,” which included the # 1 single “I Will Always Love You,” reached # 1 in just about every area of the world and her 2009 release almost duplicated that feat, proving her staying power.
Between 1975 and 1988, Houston put seven consecutive singles at the top of the U.S. charts, 1987’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” reaching # 1 in most nations around the globe. The end of the streak did not mean an end to Houston’s chart dominance, though. She followed with 15 more top 10 hits, including a duet with CeCe Winans, and reached # 1 on four more occasions.
With admitted substance abuse interfering at times, Houston’s career as a recording star and accomplished actress suffered on occasion. But her talent was so overwhelming, her peers simply referred to her as “The Voice.”
Houston was just 48 when she passed away.
33. QUEEN –
Fans loved them. Critics loved them. Other musicians loved them.
Queen had it all…and did it all.
From the most bombastic epics – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – to stripped down Rockabilly – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – and everything in between, lead vocalist Freddie Mercury (piano), Brian May (guitar), John Deacon (bass) and Roger Taylor (drums) conquered every genre and every audience around the world.
The United States, however, was a little slow to catch on. Queen had two top 10 singles in their homeland, England, before “Bohemian Rhapsody” became their first in the States in 1975. But even then, it topped off at # 9 while reaching # 1 in England and several other countries. After inclusion in the hit movie “Wayne’s World,” it reached # 1 again in England and just missed in the U.S., stopping at # 2, 17 years after its initial success.
By that time, the quartet had become one of the world’s most popular groups, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” hitting # 1 in the U.S. in 1979 while 1977’s “We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You” and 1980’s # 1 “Another One Bites The Dust” became anthems in sports arenas across North America, a status they still hold to this day. In the U.K., Queen’s album statistics are almost unbelievable. After their debut topped off at # 24, Queen placed 19 straight long-players in the top 10 between 1974 and 1992. Nine reached # 1.
Mercury died in November 1991.
34. THE DRIFTERS –
Many of the great vocal groups of Rock & Roll’s infancy have, unfortunately, been forgotten. But perhaps the greatest of them all, and Goldmine’s top-rated doowop entry, remains familiar to even younger listeners today thanks to their classic evergreen “Under The Boardwalk.”
But what many today don’t know is that “Under The Boardwalk,” scoring in the summer of 1964, was one of the last in a long line of major hits that started 11 years and five great lead singers prior. The first of these memorable voices was Clyde McPhatter, who came from Billy Ward & the Dominoes and left for a noted solo career. But in 1953, McPhatter sang lead on “Money Honey” and “Honey Love,” both # 1 hits on the Rhythm & Blues charts, the latter becoming the group’s first score on the Pop charts as well. Before departing, McPhatter’s voice also graced “Such A Night” and “Whatcha Gonna Do,” each a # 2 R&B smash in 1954.
McPhatter was followed by Johnny Moore, who led on the # 1 R&B hit “Adorable” and the stomping “Ruby Baby,” later a big hit for Dion, and several others before passing the torch to the incomparable Ben E. King. King led the Drifters through their biggest stage with “There Goes My Baby,” “This Magic Moment,” “Save The Last Dance For Me” and others before going solo. Rudy Lewis sang lead on “Please Stay,” “Up On The Roof” and “On Broadway,” while Charlie Thomas took the lead for “Sweets For My Sweet” and “When My Little Girl Is Smiling.”
That brought us all the way back to Moore, lead on “Under The Boardwalk” and subsequent hits “Saturday Night At The Movies” and “I’ll Take You Where The Music’s Playing” among others.
“Miners” go to the five lead vocalists, plus longtime members Bill Pinkney, Dock Green, Elsbeary Hobbs, Johnny Lee Williams, Tommy Evans, Eugene Pearson, Johnny Terry and Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher.
35. MARVIN GAYE –
He started as a drummer who wanted to be a crooner. With Motown Records billing itself as “The Sound of Young America,” crooners weren’t exactly in great demand.
So Marvin Gaye switched his focus to soul, becoming one of the world’s best-selling and most respected artists. From 1962 until 1970, his presence on the singles charts was uninterrupted as he cranked out top 10 classics, “Pride & Joy,” “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You,” “I’ll Be Doggone,” “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “Your Precious Love” and duets with Tammi Terrell, “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You,” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need To Get By.” The # 1 “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” and “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” and “That’s The Way Love Is” continued the run as Gaye headed into the ’70s.
At that point, Gaye unleashed something totally different – the album eventually regarded as his masterpiece – “What’s Going On.” Including three top 10 hits, the title song, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” the album – a brilliant piece of social commentary – became Gaye’s first top 10 long player and cemented his position in recording history.
Gaye never again reached the artistic heights of “What’s Going On,” but his chart successes continued. His “Let’s Get It On” LP reached # 2 in 1973, becoming his highest charting LP, and the title song became his second # 1 single. By the end of 1982, Gaye had cranked out another # 1 single, the live “Got To Give It Up (Part 1)” in 1977 and a close call with the # 3 “Sexual Healing” in 1982. Four of his LPs reached the top 10.
In 1984, Gaye’s life came to a sudden end when he was shot to death by his father. He was one day shy of his 45th birthday.
36. CHICAGO –
When Chicago’s initial album was released in 1969, one of the more potent and controversial careers of the Rock Era officially started.
A string of successful singles followed, many Rock standards today, and the next 10 albums reached the top 10, including a run of five consecutive # 1s, putting the band well on the path of becoming one of the Rock Era’s best sellers. That two of those 10 were double-record sets and one was a four-disc live set made Chicago’s accomplishments all the more amazing.
Early on, the lengthy selections made the band a critics’ favorite and earned them the respect of fellow musicians as well, Jimi Hendrix citing Terry Kath as his favorite guitarist. With Kath’s death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1978, Chicago’s chart success began to wane, and the band even was dropped by Columbia Records. But Peter Cetera, who had become the band’s chief songwriter and vocalist, continued to provide top-notch material, Chicago hitting # 1 in 1982 with “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” and # 3 in 1984 with “Hard Habit To Break” and “You’re The Inspiration.”
Though Cetera left for a successful solo career in 1985, the band continued to produce hits, most – including 1988’s # 1 “Look Away” – written by keyboardist Bill Champlin, who joined in 1981.
The controversy stems from Chicago, still touring today, getting not even a nomination from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. No problem here, the band gaining deserving induction into the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
The inductees, most of whom play/played multiple instruments, include: Robert Lamm (keyboards); James Pankow (trombone); Lee Loughnane (trumpet); Walter Parazaider (woodwinds); Danny Seraphine (drums); Peter Cetera (bass); Terry Kath (guitar); Laudir de Oliveira (percussion) and Bill Champlin (keyboards).
37. ERIC CLAPTON –
By the time Eric Clapton had embarked on a solo career, he already had participated in five major bands, The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek & the Dominoes.
With the Yardbirds and Cream inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Clapton is a three-time inductee. It is a tribute to his phenomenal success that, with his points divided between his group work and his solo efforts, he still has enough to rank this high on the Goldmine list. Whether or not Clapton should have been inducted as a Yardbird is up for debate. He played on their initial hit, “For Your Love,” and eight of 11 tracks on their first album, but left for two brief stays in the Bluesbreakers before the formation of Cream. Jeff Beck played on the other three tracks.
Cream may have been the first super group, featuring Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums along with Clapton, who already had achieved almost legendary status in the U.K. As the lead in a power trio, Clapton could rely on over-dubbing in the studio, but live he had to carry the double load of playing lead and rhythm and he was up to the task as Cream became one of the world’s most popular groups.
Clapton played on all Cream albums, then announced he was tired of being in the spotlight and just wanted to be part of a group. He joined Delaney, Bonnie & Friends and eventually formed Derek & The Dominoes, which resulted in their classic album “Layla (and Other Assorted Love Songs).”
His solo work has resulted in a steady stream of best-selling albums sprinkled with the occasional hit single. He has been one of the world’s most showcased musicians, appearing in numerous festivals and benefits.
38. THE BEE GEES –
Take away John Lennon & Paul McCartney and Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and you would be hard pressed to find a writing team that has given us more unforgettable melodies than the brothers Gibb.
Barry, Robin and Maurice composed hit after hit, not only for themselves as the Bee Gees, but for others as well. In the disco era, it seemed everything they wrote turned to gold. Indeed, each of their nine # 1 singles reached the top in the ‘70s, including a remarkable six straight as the decade concluded. Many were disco oriented, which pigeon-holed the trio into the genre, the result being somewhat of an uproar when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, detractors arguing that disco is not Rock & Roll.
That, of course, is a matter of opinion. But what most of these detractors forgot – or just plain ignored – was the fact that The Bee Gees already had established Hall of Fame credentials as a Rock & Roll band before the disco era even started. In fact, the Bee Gees, then a five-man group, had been one of the leaders of the second wave of The British Invasion, first breaking through in 1967 with “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” about the farthest thing from disco you could name.
That unusual debut was followed by the soul classic, “To Love Somebody,” and then another weird single, “Holiday.” “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts” gave them four top 20 singles for the year, and 1968 started with one of their most beautiful ballads, “Words,” which also went top 20. That year also featured two top 10 entries, “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” and “I Started A Joke.” Each of these singles and most of their album cuts displayed a band capable of almost any musical style and one certainly not following the usual commercial path.
The inductees include Barry Gibb (guitar and vocals), the late Maurice Gibb (bass and vocals), the recently deceased Robin Gibb (vocals), Vince Melouney (guitar), Colin Peterson (drums), Geoff Bridgford (drums), Alan Kendall (guitar), Dennis Bryon (drums) and Blue Weaver (keyboards).
39. NEIL DIAMOND –
And speaking of songwriters with a catalog stocked with memorable melodies.
After several unsuccessful singles, Diamond became a Brill Building staple, scoring his first hit with Jay & the Americans’ “Sunday & Me.” That drew attention to his recordings and other artists started sampling his catalog, often with great success. The Monkees, Mark Lindsay and Deep Purple all had hits with Diamond material, which also was covered by none less than Elvis.
“Solitary Man” became the first of his own recordings to become a hit, albeit a minor one, but the follow-up, “Cherry Cherry” reached # 6 and his next five releases all scored well. Switching labels, from Bang to Uni, Diamond began releasing very introspective albums, resulting in his being at the forefront of the ‘70s singer-songwriter movement.
As the years passed, Diamond continued to score hit after hit, reaching # 1 with “Crackling Rosie,” “Song Sung Blue” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” a duet with Barbra Streisand. His albums rarely failed to hit the top 10 and, in 2008, he had his first # 1 long-player, “Home Before Dark,” 42 years after his first album charted. He has been – and remains – one of music’s most popular concert attractions, also.
40. SANTANA –
This slot is held down not by Carlos Santana, the guitarist, but Santana, the group.
Carlos Santana, the guitarist, is still recording chart-topping efforts today, usually joined by the best of present-day talent. As the founder and leader of Santana, the group, he, of course, is inducted into our Hall of Fame. But not without his cohorts, the core group of Gregg Rolie (vocals & keyboards), Michael Shrieve (drums), David Brown (bass), Jose Areas and Michael Carabello, that pushed Santana to the top of the charts and turned in a sensational, show-stopping performance at Woodstock, making Santana a household name. This band was responsible for Santana’s first three albums, the eponymous debut, which reached # 4, “Abraxas” and “Santana 3,” each of which topped the charts with a groundbreaking Latin-tinged Rock that proved popular with an audience of wide variety.
Those LPs spawned the classic singles, “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Como Va” and “Everybody’s Everything” plus “Jingo,” “Soul Sacrifice” and “No One To Depend On,” album cuts that became FM radio staples.
By the fourth LP, the # 8 “Caravanserai,” the cast of characters making up Santana had expanded considerably, but success continued, each of the band’s first 13 albums proving best sellers. During that period, Graham Lear (drums), Armando Peraza & Raul Rekow (percussion), Tom Coster (keyboards), Douglas Rauch & David Margen (bass) and Greg Walker (vocals) were the major contributors and deserve induction as well.