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 fifth 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.
41. CHUCK BERRY (with JOHNNIE JOHNSON) –
How he did it was anyone’s guess. But Chuck Berry, some 30 years old, was able to write lyrics that directly spoke to teenagers at the dawn of Rock & Roll. Because of that talent, his inventive guitar work and his knack for penning catchy melodies, Berry became one of the early giants of the new musical form sweeping the nation, then the world.
“Ring ring goes the bell, cook in the lunchroom’s ready to sell,” ran through every kid’s mind every day as he waited in school for lunch to begin. Perhaps they were learning how to spell Berryisms such as “motivatin'” as they were daydreaming about the hunk or the fox “standing over there by the record machine.”
In his heyday, Berry never had a # 1 record, the 1972 novelty “My-Ding-A-Ling” being his only chart-topper, and albums were few and far between in the ’50s. But almost every hit he had became an all-time classic. Run down his list of singles and you’d be hard-pressed to find a band that couldn’t play them…”Maybelline,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “School Day,” “Rock & Roll Music,” “Sweet Little 16,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Carol,” “Almost Grown,” “Little Queenie,” “Back In The USA,” “Nadine,” “No Particular Place To Go,” “You Never Can Tell,” “Promised Land” and “Reelin’ & Rockin’.” Bands and solo artists covered them, bands were named after them…”Jo Jo Gunne” anyone?
And they included perhaps the best line ever in a Rock & Roll record –
“Workin’ in the fillin’ station, too many tasks
Wipe the windows, check the tires, check the oil – a dollar gas”
Aaaaaagh…Chuck Berry – incredible.
Also receiving a “Miner” is pianist Johnnie Johnson. While Berry became synonymous with great guitar riffs, many of his records actually were propelled by piano. More often than not, that incredible piano was manned by Johnson.
42. JANET JACKSON –
The baby of the Jackson family, Janet Jackson always has worked in the shadow of brother Michael. It is only when compiling statistics of her successes does it become clear just how spectacular a career she has had.
From 1986 until 2001, she had five straight # 1 albums in the United States. Her next two “only” climbed to #2, but her 2008 release, “Discipline,” brought her back to the top. Her fifth studio LP, “Janet,” also topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Canada, and 2001’s “All For You” was top five in almost every country. In addition, she has notched 10 #1 singles.
Billboard named Jackson the second most successful act of the ‘90s, behind only Mariah Carey, and one of the top 10 artists on their all-time Hot 100 list. While her recordings became dance floor favorites, her lyrics were much deeper than most, touching on personal freedom and political issues.
Jackson also has appeared on TV from childhood and has made a mark in movies as well. On tour, she remains one of the world’s most popular attractions and her fashion statements often become the norm for teenage girls around the globe.
43. THE DOORS –
Like the Police, The Doors also were critical favorites who managed to conquer the charts with both huge selling singles and albums.
They broke big on both sides of the Atlantic with “Light My Fire,” which shot to #2 on the American singles chart. Although Electra Records released a truncated 45 version of the cut, the seven-minute plus album version was so popular it often was played by top 40 outlets despite its length. The single pulled The Doors debut LP to #2 in the States, but unlike The Police, The Doors never dominated European markets, their sales being concentrated in the U.S. and Canada with France holding its own. In England, Doors LPs only twice just barely reached the top 10, and both of those were best-of collections.
But every one of the six studio albums released by the group, which consisted of vocalist Jim Morrison, guitarist Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, who dazzled by playing keyboards with one hand and keyboard bass with the other, and drummer John Densmore, hit the U.S. top 10, “Waiting For The Sun” going to #1 in 1968.
Though they were known as an album group and Morrison was one of Rock’s most enigmatic and admired figures, The Doors still managed to dominate the singles’ charts, releasing a steady stream of hits following “Light My Fire,” including the #1 smash “Hello, I Love You.”
44. THE TEMPTATIONS –
The second highest ranking vocal group on our list, vocal group being a group that just sang without playing instruments, The Temptations also lacked one other important ingredient, that of songwriting.
So no one played and no one wrote. And they still are the second highest ranking vocal group on our list. That should give you some indication of the greatness of the Temptations, particularly the initial lineup. That group featured one of our best lead singers in David Ruffin, a second lead singer in Eddie Kendricks, one of our top falsettos, perhaps the best bass man of all in Melvin Franklin, tenor Otis Williams and baritone Paul Williams.
The group switched leads, Ruffin and Kendricks carrying the lion’s share, but the others contributing also, and with Smokey Robinson along with other members of The Miracles producing and writing most of their material, The Temptations released one major hit after another. “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “(I Know) I’m Losing You” and many more became all-time classics.
Ruffin left in 1968, but the group just reached higher heights after Dennis Edwards took over. Edwards, from The Contours, did not sing on their big hit, “Do You Love Me,” which, ironically, had been meant for the Temptations. With that lineup in tow, the group gave us their first three #1 hits, “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” Paul Williams and Kendricks left before the last recording, replaced by Richard Street and Damon Harris, who also are featured on the follow-up #7 “Masterpiece” and are included as “Miner” recipients.
There have been many Temptations since keeping the group’s music alive, but the Hall of Fame achievements belong to those listed above.
45. ROD STEWART –
From the time Rod Stewart’s third LP, “Every Picture Tells A Story,” hit #1 in Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom until his 2010 release “Fly Me to the Moon… The Great American Songbook Volume V” almost duplicated the feat, the unmistakable voice of “Rod the Mod” rarely has been absent from the public ear around the world.
Stewart’s career has been a remarkable example of consistency, engaging critics as well as the record-buying public with an unwavering standard of high quality, whether a member of The Faces, The Jeff Beck Group or solo. And it hasn’t mattered what genre Stewart has dabbled in. From garage rock to disco to standards, Stewart has conquered them all without ever losing his edge.
Though not a prolific composer, Stewart has accounted for several classics, writing or co-writing “Maggie May,” “You Wear It Well,” “Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright), “The Killing Of Georgie (Parts 1 & 2),” “You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim),” “Young Turks” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” among others.
One of the top selling artists of all time, Stewart has received almost every possible award and ranks high on every notable list of great vocalists.
46. BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETS –
Some consider Buddy Holly the most important figure to emerge during Rock & Roll’s period of inception. While he may not have eclipsed the significance of Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry, certainly it would be most difficult to argue his role in Rock’s formation was much less vital.
Holly & the Crickets – Jerry Allison, Joe Mauldin and Niki Sullivan – established the template of two guitars, bass and drums for future rock bands and gave hope for success to everyone who didn’t look like Elvis – which was everyone but Elvis. But, perhaps more importantly, the group, with Holly the main force, produced an incredible catalog of original material still being mined by artists around the world today. And they did it in just two years.
“That’ll Be The Day” gave Holly & the Crickets a #1 U.S. debut and #3 “Peggy Sue” followed. Their third release in just three months at the close of 1957, “Oh, Boy!” also reached the U.S. top 10. In England, where Holly’s albums were still nearing top 10 status as most recent as 2009, the early hit singles included #5 “Rave On” and #1 “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.”
Holly’s ranking here was diminished somewhat due to the brevity of his career and the fact that album sales were minimal in the ’50s, but his catalog’s continued sales around the globe and the reverance in which he is held lifted him into the #46 position. The music didn’t die the day Holly perished in that terrible plane crash, but one of its leading voices was forever silenced.
47. THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE –
Rock & Roll’s greatest guitarist?
Certainly, one would be hard pressed to name a guitarist more revered or more respected than the ill-fated Hendrix, who died at the age of 27 after releasing just three studio albums. But those three, recorded with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, were enough to cement the legend of Hendrix.
His guitar playing simply sounded like no other to that day or to the present.
Obviously, his short-lived career and his failure to produce hit singles (the closest he came was the #20 “All Along The Watchtower”) knocked down his point total and his position on our list. But a seemingly limitless stream of backlogged recordings that continues to be released to this day has kept him relevant on the charts and critics are almost unanimous in their praise, compensating for that brevity.
While each album by the Experience did better than the previous, “Are You Experienced?” hitting #5, “Axis: Bold As Love” #3 and the two-record set “Electric Ladyland” #1, Hendrix abandoned Mitchell and Redding and released the live “Band Of Gypsys” a couple months before he passed away. Billy Cox played bass with Buddy Miles on drums.
The posthumous “Cry Of Love,” coming out in 1971, peaked at #3 with Cox handling all the bass. Mitchell, however, did play on most cuts and was involved in the final production of the project.
48. PINK FLOYD –
When you record an album that remains on the Billboard top 200 chart for 15 years, you know you’re something special. Pink Floyd always has been something special.
From original member Syd Barrett’s psychedelic vision, David Gilmour (guitar), Roger Waters (bass), the late Rick Wright (keyboards) and Nick Mason (drums) took Rock into places unchartered previously and millions of fans around the world followed more than willingly.
With Barrett leading the way, Pink Floyd placed a couple of singles onto the British charts, but it was the LPs that established the band at home and elsewhere. From the first, “The Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn,” the Brits were behind the band, sending the debut to #6 with the successor, “Saucerful Of Secrets,” hitting #9. Both albums also were hits in France as was “Ummagumma,” which reached #5 in the U.K. By this time, Barrett had self destructed and Gilmour now was the group’s instrumental focal point.
In 1970, “Atom Heart Mother” topped the British charts, continued their success in France and broke the band in The Netherlands. The next two albums, “Meddle” and “Obscured By Clouds” hit the top 10 in all three countries. But it wasn’t until 1973’s “The Dark Side Of The Moon” that Floyd became an international phenom. That LP established the group in the United States, becoming its first top 10 effort by topping the charts. It also hit #1 in several other countries, but, ironically, stopped at # 2 in Britain.
Since, the band has hit the top spot on the U.S. and U.K. album charts four times, 1979’s “The Wall” remaining on top in the U.S. for 15 weeks though, again ironically, it stopped at #3 in the band’s homeland. Almost every release by the group since “Dark Side” has topped the charts or nearly done so in almost every country that keeps track of such matters.
49. THE EVERLY BROTHERS –
No combination of voices better describes the word harmony that that of brothers Don & Phil Everly.
The Everly Brothers established a vocal standard that has never been matched, joining Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly as one of the true building blocks in the history of Rock & Roll.
As with many of Rock’s early giants, the Everly Brothers were rooted in Country music, and their first major success, “Bye Bye Love,” was pure country, those close-knit voices soaring over their acoustic guitars. The single finished #2 in the States and Canada, #6 in the U.K. and #1 on the U.S. Country charts. Amazingly, it also hit #5 on the U.S. R&B charts.
The Everlys followed with a string of singles, “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Devoted To You,” “(‘Til) I Kissed You,” “Let It Be Me,” “Cathy’s Clown,” “When Will I Be Loved,” “Walk Right Back,” “Ebony Eyes” and “Crying In The Rain” just a few among the steady stream of chartbusters that lasted from 1957 until 1962.
A dispute with management which cut off their main source of material, enlistment in the Marines, drug problems and the British Invasion all contributed to the Everlys falling on hard times, and personal disagreements led to well-documented spats and long periods where the two didn’t even speak. Re-uniting in the ‘80s, the Everlys recorded some excellent albums which returned them to the charts. They remain loved and respected today, musicians of all ages still striving – with little success – to duplicate those remarkable harmonies.
50. BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS –
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame butchered this one, according to many. For those who scream Bob Marley is not Rock & Roll, remember this is not a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but a Hall of Fame for all the greatest artists from 1955 on. And during the Rock Era (1955-present), few artists made a mark as huge as Bob Marley. For those who scream about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s omission of The Wailers, the Goldmine Hall of Fame gets it right.
The induction is Bob Marley & The Wailers. That includes Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Aston and Carlton Barrett, Junior Marvin, Al Anderson, Marvin Patterson, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt and Tyrone Downie.
Though Marley and company couldn’t buy a hit single in the States, they maintained a steady presence on the album charts, though claiming just one top 10 entry. The rest of the globe was a different story as the group made regular appearances on both the singles’ and LP charts, recordings such as “No Woman, No Cry” and “I Shot The Sheriff” becoming all-time classics.
Critical acclaim was almost unanimous and helped Marley & the Wailers’ point total, which lifted them high on Goldmine’s list.
Cancer took Marley’s life in 1981. He was just 36.