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 sixth 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.
51. KENNY ROGERS –
As the final notes of “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” faded away, who would have thought that Kenny Rogers would become one of the most revered and successful artists in the history of Country music.
After all, this initial hit, which reached # 5 on the Hot 100, was a psychedelic rocker, perfect for its 1968 setting. And its billing didn’t even mention Rogers, but his newly minted group, The First Edition.
Rogers had come out of the successful folk conglomerate, The New Christy Minstrels, which also spawned, among others, Barry McGuire, Jerry Yester, Gene Clark, Larry Ramos, Kim Carnes and, believe it or not, actress Karen Black. After a second hit featuring Rogers, the group became known as Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, continuing its successful run with five more top 40 entries, including the # 6 “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”
When The First Edition split up, Rogers immediately made his mark on the Country scene with “Lucille,” which hit # 1 on charts around the world, including the U.S. Country charts. It also peaked at #5 on the Hot 100, establishing a pattern that would continue through Rogers’ career. He dominated the Country market, but continued to cross over to fans of all genres.
Some of Rogers’ solo classics include “The Gambler,” “Coward Of The Country” and “She Believes In Me,” and his resume includes successful collaborations with Carnes – “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer” – Lionel Richie – “Lady” – “We’ve Got Tonight” – a duet with Sheena Easton written by Bob Seger – and “Islands In The Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton written by the Bee Gees.
52. SAM COOKE –
While other soul singers rank above him on the Goldmine chart, Sam Cooke was the first to break through on the national charts, hitting #1 with his 1957 release “You Send Me.” And many consider him the most important Soul singer of them all, though he was shot to death at the young age of 33. Like Buddy Holly (ranked #46), if Cooke had lived a normal lifespan, there is little doubt his point total would be much larger, thus his ranking much higher.
Strikingly handsome, Cooke instantly became a favorite in television and live appearances and his songwriting abilities kept him supplied with a steady stream of hits, most of which became hits again for other artists long after Cooke’s demise. “Wonderful World,” Cooke’s #12 1960 classic has, like most of Cooke’s songbook, been covered numerous times, Herman’s Hermits having the most successful version, reaching #4 in 1965, while Art Garfunkel took it to #17 in 1978.
“Chain Gang” followed, soaring to #2, and, in 1961, “Cupid” rose to #17. The most successful of many covers was a 1976 release by Tony Orlando & Dawn, which peaked at #22, though The Spinners included it in a medley that hit #4 just three years later. “Twistin’ The Night Away” got to #9, a notable cover by Rod Stewart being a minor hit, and “Bring It On Home To Me” became one of Rock’s most covered classics. Other top 10 entries, “Another Saturday Night” and “Shake,” became hits again for Cat Stevens and Otis Redding, respectively.
Cooke, a Gospel Music devotee, also penned his 1963 Civil Rights anthem, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which has become another all-time classic.
53. ABBA –
“Waterloo” may have been the end of Napolean , but for the Swedish quartet known as ABBA, it was just the beginning of what was to become one of the most spectacular and successful careers in the history of recorded music.
The 1974 entry gave Sweden its first-ever win in the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest and gave ABBA its first of what was to become many worldwide hit records, easily eclipsing the accomplishments of their 1972 entry “Ring Ring.” “Waterloo” topped charts throughout Europe and broke the group in the States, reaching #6.
Until 1982, ABBA released an incredible 20 singles that topped the charts somewhere around the globe, though just one, 1976’s “Dancing Queen,” hit the top in the U.S. In the U.K. it was a different story, with 15 ABBA singles reaching the top three, nine soaring all the way to #1.
The Goldmine Hall of Fame formula incorporates sales from as many countries as possible, thus ABBA’s standing is elevated considerably. The foursome also scored well on the critical front, proving more than just a guilty pleasure.
The inductees are Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.
54. EARTH, WIND & FIRE –
In the 1970s, the music scene was blessed with numerous bands, complete with singers, songwriters, and the usual instrumentation augmented by sizzling horn sections. In addition to sounding great, they put on amazing live shows.
At the forefront of this movement was Chicago’s Earth, Wind & Fire. The original 10-piece band was founded by Maurice White, former drummer with The Ramsey Lewis Trio, and included Wade Flemons, a keyboardist who had had a minor hit in 1958 with “Here I Stand.” Five years later, that tune became the first hit for the Rip Chords, led by Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston.
With a 10-piece group, one can expect frequent changes in personnel, and EWF was no exception. Each year, the lineup varied around White and his younger brother, bass player Verdine White, along with vocalist Philip Bailey, who joined in 1972. But by the time 1975’s “Shining Star” became the band’s breakthrough smash, reaching #1, the lineup had been somewhat stabilized. “Sing A Song” reached #5 later the same year, and, starting with a cover of The Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” in 1978, EWF posted a string of four straight top 10 singles, adding another in 1981 with “Let’s Groove.”
By this time, Earth, Wind & Fire’s success had become worldwide and the band had established itself as one of music’s hottest concert tickets. Still active in recent years, Earth, Wind & Fire has been honored with almost every award possible.
The inductees include Maurice White (vocals, kalimba & percussion), Verdine White (bass, vocals & percussion), Philip Bailey (vocals & percussion), Johnny Graham (guitar, trumpet & percussion), Larry Dunn (keyboards, synthesizers & “mini-moog”), Ralph Johnson (drums, percussion & vocals), Al McKay (guitar, percussion & vocals), Andrew Woolfolk (flute, sax & percussion), Fred White (drums & percussion), Roland Bautista (guitar & vocals) and The Phenix Horns – Don Myrick (sax), Louis Satterfield (trombone) and Michael Harris and Rahmlee Michael Davis (trumpet).
55. FRANK SINATRA –
To many, Frank Sinatra was the greatest singer of all time.
Certainly, Sinatra stands with Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley as the outstanding male vocalist of his time period. But Sinatra’s popularity spanned two time periods, which accounts for his placement on Goldmine’s listings. Much of his success occurred in the 1940s, before the start of the Rock Era. Therefore, those accomplishments are not factored into Sinatra’s standing for our purposes. If they had been, Sinatra would have been a sure bet for the Top 10. However, it is a testament to his popularity and longevity that at least half his accomplishments are discounted and still he finishes in this position, ahead of many superstar artists whose entire careers took place during the Rock Era.
From 1955 on, Sinatra, in the midst of the Rock & Roll explosion, kept releasing major hits, hitting #1 in 1955 with “Learnin’ The Blues” and again 11 years later with “Strangers In The Night.” The following year, his duet with daughter Nancy, “Somethin’ Stupid,” also topped the singles charts. Other top 10 entries during the Rock Era were “Love And Marriage” and “(Love Is) The Tender Trap” in 1955, “Hey! Jealous Lover” in 1956, “All The Way” in 1957, “Witchcraft” in 1958 and “Whatever Happened To Christmas?” 10 years later.
But Sinatra’s main forte came with LP releases, and he dominated album charts in the United States and the United Kingdom, even being named “Greatest Voice of the 20th Century” by BBC Radio. It is impossible to document the rest of Sinatra’s awards as he dominated the film industry nearly as much as he did the music industry.
Until his death in 1988, Frank Sinatra remained a major concert attraction. He left behind a catalog of recordings that are sure to be treasured for generations to come.
56. JOHN LENNON
The Beatles ranked #1 by a great margin, but each had a significant solo career after the group broke up. The highest ranking Beatle in our standings is John Lennon, who had a good number of hit singles and albums and a great share of critical acclaim.
Naturally, when the Beatles split there was massive interest in the first few solo efforts by each. What would each sound like on their own? In Lennon’s case, we already knew…at least somewhat, before he released his first official solo album. He had quickly put together the Plastic Ono Band, which included Eric Clapton, Yes drummer Alan White and Klaus Voorman to back he and Yoko Ono to play a 1969 Toronto festival and their performance was released as the album “Live Peace In Toronto 1969,” which yielded the single “Give Peace A Chance,” a top 10 hit in Britain, Germany, Canada and Australia. Then came the magnificent single, “Instant Karma (We All Shine On),” which, propelled by the spectacular drumming of White, hit the top 10 in Canada, France, England, the U.S, Germany and Australia.
So by the time Lennon’s first official solo release, “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,” hit stores, his solo career was well on its way. The album didn’t contain any hits, but it didn’t matter, becoming a massive worldwide hit. The next LP did even better, “Imagine” hitting #1 in almost every country that charted music, with the title song emerging as perhaps Lennon’s moment, though it never reached #1 in the U.S.
In 1974, “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” did hit the top in the States. But that release, and every other release after “Imagine,” strangely didn’t chart well anywhere. Even Lennon’s two long-players after “Imagine” didn’t get much support. “Walls and Bridges,” the LP containing the hit, did carry Lennon back to the heights on the LP chart and he followed with a good selling LP of oldies appropriately entitled “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and then it was over.
Or was it? Not quite. Five years of silence and caring for the newborn son, Sean, recharged Lennon’s batteries and he returned in 1980, with the album “Double Fantasy,” producing two number one hits as it topped worldwide charts. It was just like starting over for Lennon, but he was taken from us senselessly. His music, however, will always remain.
57. TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS –
Few artists have delivered a consistency comparable to Tom Petty. From his mid-1970’s breakthrough with The Heartbreakers, Petty has delivered 35 years of top-notch, straight-ahead, no frills attached Rock & Roll, never wavering to accommodate the latest fad. As a result, it is almost impossible to find anyone with anything negative to say about Petty and his band mates.
And, his band – the original quintet Mike Campbell (guitar, bass, keyboards, mandolin), Benmont Tench (keyboards & vocals), Ron Blair (bass & vocals), Scott Thurston (guitar, harmonica & vocals) and Stan Lynch (drums & vocals) plus Steve Ferrone (drums) and the late Howie Epstein (bass, mandolin & vocals) – has one of the great monikers of all time.
From their third release, “Damn The Torpedoes” in 1979, until “Mojo” in 2010, Petty and his cohorts placed 10 straight studio LPs into the U.S. top 10 and Petty added three solo albums to the string.
Never a singles band, The Heartbreakers nonetheless had their share of hits and classic album cuts, including “Breakdown,” Listen To Her Heart, “ “American Girl,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Refugee,” “The Waiting,” “You Got Lucky,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Fallin’,” “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” “Learning To Fly” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” And no matter who reads this, they’re bound to say, “Hey, you forgot ……”
58. PAUL McCARTNEY
(with Denny Laine and Linda McCartney of Wings) –
Paul McCartney’s solo output actually is released under two names – Paul McCartney and Wings.
While Wings was a hugely successful endeavor, there is no question the band’s catalog belongs with McCartney, the leader, lead singer, lead composer and multi-instrumentalist. Only two members of Wings – the multi-talented Denny Laine, who also sang lead on The Moody Blues’ debut LP and their first hit, the incomparable “Go Now,” – and Paul’s wife, Linda, were with Wings for its entire 10-year history, and they will receive “Miners” for their contributions.
For our tabulations, if charts listed McCartney and Wings separate, McCartney was credited with the highest total of the two. On opinion listings concerning “Greatest Singles” or “Greatest LPs,” McCartney was given credit for entries listed either way.
Putting together McCartney’s accomplishments with The Beatles, Wings and his solo performances results in one of the all-time great musical entities and one of the few truly deserving of a multiple induction into the Goldmine Hall of Fame
In 2012, at 70, he still is going strong, releasing new albums and rocking concert halls. And he shows no sign of slowing down.
59. JOURNEY –
Since the “hippie era,” San Francisco has been a hotbed for bands, but arguably none has had the acclaim of the Bay Area populace as much as Journey during its peak from 1978 until 1986.
Regularly named the city’s most popular band, Journey could do little wrong as far as its fans were concerned, and little right in the eyes of some critics, who constantly panned the five-piece group. But the Goldmine Hall of Fame tabulation formula is set up to acknowledge the fans’ opinions more than any others by counting record and concert tickets most important, while the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has no real method for induction other than relying entirely on the opinions of a few.
Thus, Journey gains induction easily, despite a lack of critical support,with organist Gregg Rolie, already a Goldmine inductee as a member of Santana, gaining a second induction as the founder of Journey along with guitarist Neal Schon, briefly with Santana. Rolie was the group’s original lead singer, but the band experienced just minor success until the addition of Steve Perry pushed Journey over the top in 1977.
With Perry now also the group’s chief songwriter, Journey became a hit-making machine, starting with 1979’s “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin,” though its predecessor, “Lights,” though just a minor hit, now has become a Journey classic. After 1980’s “Departure” became the group’s first top 10 LP, a live recording, “Captured,” was released, also reaching the top 10 as the band worked on what was to become its biggest album.
In the summer of 1981, Journey released the #1 LP, “Escape,” which spawned three top 10 singles, “Who’s Crying Now,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Open Arms.” A steady stream of hit albums and singles followed until Perry left in 1987. The original lineup, which had not recorded together since 1983, reformed in 1996, the result being the album “Trial By Fire.” In a tribute to their popularity, the LP reached # 3 in the States.
The inducted members are Rolie (keyboards & vocals), Schon (guitar & vocals), Perry (vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, guitar & vocals), Ross Valory (bass & vocals) and Steve Smith (drums & percussion).
60. GEORGE HARRISON –
The third Beatle in this group of 10 inductees, Harrison’s high perch is testament to the fact that when the Beatles disbanded and he was on his own, he had plenty in his personal tank – enough, in fact, to rank up there with the Rock Era’s all-time greats.
Relegated to just a song or two on Beatles’ albums, Harrison stockpiled originals and became the first Beatle to release a solo album, “Wonderwall Music,” a 1968 mostly instrumental movie soundtrack that reached #49 in the U.S., but didn’t even chart in the U.K. His second try, “Electronic Sound,” which featured just two pieces performed on the Moog fared even worse. Of course, these were done while the Beatles still existed and Harrison’s efforts largely could be classified as experimental dabbling.
When the Beatles finally split, Harrison came out of the box with all guns blazing, though, the result being the first triple-record set by one artist or group, “All Things Must Pass.” The soundtrack to “Woodstock,” the first three-record set, had beaten it by six months, but contained entries by various artists. The third record of “All Things Must Pass” was merely instrumental jams, but the first two discs were packed with gems and the album hit #1 in the U.S. and U.K. & #4 in Japan.
It was a tough act to follow, even for a Beatle, but the live follow-up, “The Concert For Bangladesh,” also hit #1 in the U.K. and reached #2 in the States. In 1973, “Living In The Material World,” reversed those finishes. 1974’s “Dark Horse” kept Harrison’s stateside run going, getting to #4, but the album bombed in Britain and Harrison was not to reach the British top 10 again until 1987’s “Cloud Nine.”
The next year, he was back on top again as a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys.