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 seventh 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.
61. DEF LEPPARD –
It doesn’t matter what you consider Def Leppard – heavy metal, hard rock, pop – one thing is certain – they must be considered popular. Make that extremely popular. And they continue to maintain that popularity, still selling albums, still selling out concerts, 35 years after their formation.
Their first two LPs, “On Through The Night” and “High ‘n’ Dry” both were successful in their U.K. homeland and in the United States, even without the benefit of a hit single. That remained so in England until 1987, but in 1983 the band broke through big in the States with “Pyromania” yielding two top 20 singles, “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages,” the LP reaching #2.
The next release, “Hysteria,” didn’t appear until 1987 as the band patiently waited for the recovery of drummer Rick Allen, who lost his left arm in a 1984 car crash. Miraculously, Allen was able to resume drum duties with a specially constructed electronic kit and when the band did reappear, the reception was bigger than ever. “Hysteria” became the band’s first worldwide smash, reaching #1 in the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Canada, Norway and New Zealand and just missing in several other nations. Seven “Hysteria” singles hit the U.S. charts, including the #2 “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the #1 “Love Bites.”
Five years later, “Adrenalize” repeated the success of “Hysteria” on the LP charts around the globe and the band has continued to release best-selling albums since. In 2011, Def Leppard’s first live album, “Mirrorball,” reached #15 in Canada and #16 in the U.S.
The inducted members are Joe Elliott (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Steve Clark (guitars, vocals), Phil Collen (guitars, vocals), Vivian Campbell (guitars, vocals), Rick Savage (bass, vocals, guitars, keyboards), Rick Allen (drums) and Pete Willis (guitars & vocals).
62. GEORGE MICHAEL –
Until he ran into personal difficulties, George Michael was one of the hottest properties in the music industry. He has been voted best British vocalist on two occasions and was the most played artist on British radio between 1984 and 2004. He has won two Grammy Awards and is one of the all-time highest ranked singles artist on the Billboard Hot 100.
For our purposes, Michael’s point total includes his work with Wham! because, after all, wasn’t Michael Wham!? Formed as a duo with schoolboy chum Andrew Ridgeley, Wham! was an instant success, its 1983 debut LP, “Fantastic,” reaching top 10 status in numerous countries. In their British homeland, the LP hit #1 and yielded four top 10 singles. The second LP, “Make It Big,” did even better, reaching No. 1 around the world, including the United States. But by the time the album’s “Everything She Wants” reached #1 on the Hot 100, Michael already had his first solo #1 with “Careless Whisper.”
In 1986, “Music From The Edge Of Heaven” was released as the duo’s third and last LP, but only in North America and Japan. Most of the rest of the world got “The Final.”
In 1987, Michael teamed with Aretha Franklin on the #1 single “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” When “Faith,” topped the British & U.S. album charts, Michael became a stateside phenomenon as four singles – “Faith,” Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey” – hit #1. In 1990, his album “Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1” topped the Brit charts, and the single, “Praying For Time,” became another U.S. #1.
In 1991, he teamed with Elton John for the #1 “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and in 1993 he started a new British streak with his #1 duet with Queen, “Somebody To Love,” turning out nine more top five singles by 2004.
63. CLIFF RICHARD & THE SHADOWS –
Cliff Richard is the “British Elvis Presley.” The Shadows are the “British Ventures.” Together, they are British Rock & Roll. Or, as John Lennon put it, “before Cliff and the Shadows, there had been nothing worth listening to in British music.”
His first release, 1958’s “Move It,” often is considered Britain’s first Rock & Roll record. It hit #2 and since its release, Richard, sometimes with the Shadows, sometimes without, has captured almost every honor possible in British music. From his initial success until present day, Richard has amassed an astronomical 14 British #1 singles and 69 top 10 entries. His success worldwide was almost as huge, though he never became a superstar in the United States. He did, however, achieve a good measure of success in the States, beginning with 1959’s “Living Doll,” which reached #30 on the Hot 100. Ironically, in the ‘60s, while the British Invasion was at full strength in the U.S., Richard was dominating British music while unknown in the Colonies.
He did, however, break through in 1976 with the #6 “Devil Woman” and in 1979 with the #7 “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” As the ‘80s began, he hit the U.S. top 10 again with “Dreamin’.”
Meanwhile, in addition to 34 charted British singles with Cliff Richard, the Shadows, who changed their name from the Drifters for obvious reasons, notched 35 under their name. They had their first #1 in 1960 when “Apache” hit #1 in the U.K., a year before Denmark’s Jorgen Ingmann had a worldwide hit with it. In total, The Shadows had 16 British top 10 hits and five #1s.
The inductees are Cliff Richard (vocals and guitar), Hank Marvin (vocals & lead guitar), Bruce Welch (vocals & guitar), Tony Meehan (drums), Jet Harris (bass), Brian Bennett (drums) and John Rostill (bass).
64. ROY ORBISON -
The greatest voice in the history of Rock & Roll? The greatest voice ever recorded?
Roy Orbison’s voice went places only dreamed of by other singers, and, no matter how powerful the note, he did it effortlessly. At least it appeared that way as Orbison, expressionless behind his trademark black sunglasses, pitch black hair and dressed in black, rarely budged in front of his microphone, moving only his hands as he strummed his guitar.
Orbison’s breakthrough came in 1960 when “Only The Lonely” reached No. 2, blocked from No. 1 by Brenda Lee’s classic, “I’m Sorry.” It did, however, go No. 1 in the United Kingdom. The follow, a similar but slightly more complex “Blue Angel,” reached the U.S. top 10 and just missed in Britain, but “I’m Hurtin'” fell off in both countries, though featuring some of Orbison’s best vocal gymnastics.
The next single, “Running Scared,” set a new standard. The legend goes that he tried hitting the last note in falsetto twice, but was dissatisfied. The third effort, he did it with his natural voice, reportedly so stunning the orchestra members that some stopped playing. It soared to No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada and returned Orbison to the British top 10. “Love Hurts” was the flip and Orbison followed with “Crying,” “Candy Man,” “Dream Baby,” “In Dreams,” “Leah,” “Blue Bayou,” “It’s Over,” “Oh, Pretty Woman” and other hits.
When he left Monument Records for MGM, his career stalled, though he continued to record fine albums. In 1988, he returned in a big way, though, thanks to his participation in the supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys. “You Got It” was a worldwide smash. But this “comeback” was cut short when Orbison died of a heart attack as the year closed. He was just 52.
It is reported that Orbison was Elvis Presley’s favorite singer and Barry Gibb referred to him as “…the voice of God.” Bob Dylan commented, “[H]is voice could jar a corpse, always leave you muttering to yourself something like, ‘Man, I don’t believe it’.” And, of course, there is Bruce Springsteen’s famous quote, “…everyone knows that nobody sings like Roy Orbison” and the Wilburys’ attitude that they could write anything knowing no matter what notes they wrote, Orbison could hit them.
65. THE SUPREMES –
There have been many female vocal groups during the Rock Era. But none has come close to equaling the success of Motown’s Supremes. In fact, only The Temptations, who recorded several albums with The Supremes, rank higher on the Goldmine Hall of Fame list when it comes to Motown groups.
But the trio of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were far from an overnight success as Motown struggled for three years, trying to find the girls a hit. Finally, in 1963, “When The Lovelight Starts Shining In His Eyes” climbed to #23, giving The Supremes much needed radio exposure. After another flop, “Where Did Our Love Go” opened the floodgates, becoming the first of an amazing 12 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Supremes also had seven albums reach the U.S. top 10, two hitting the top spot, and the United Kingdom gave the girls eight top 10 long players, three hitting #1.
The inductees are Ross, Wilson, Ballard, Cindy Birdsong, who replaced Ballard in 1967, and Jean Terrell, who replaced Ross in 1970.
66. BON JOVI –
Hailing from northern New Jersey, Bon Jovi also was not an overnight success. In fact, when the “group’s” first hit, “Runaway,” crept into the top 40, the band Bon Jovi didn’t even exist, lead singer Jon Bon Jovi having recorded the song with a backup group that included E-Street keyboardist Roy Bittan.
After his initial success, Bon Jovi put together an experienced group that was to become one of the most successful bands in the Rock Era, winning numerous awards and gaining induction to the United Kingdom Hall of Fame. But even after the band was formed, success in the U.S. came slowly, the group breaking big in Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland before the 1986 LP “Slippery When Wet” lifted it to superstar status.
That LP started a streak that saw the band place nine consecutive studio albums into the top 10 on both the American and British charts, including 2009’s “The Circle,” which reached No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 in Britain. The band notched four No. 1 albums on each side of the Atlantic.
The inductees include Jon Bon Jovi (lead vocals & guitar), Richie Sambora (guitar & vocals), Alec Such and Hugh McDonald (bass & vocals), Tico Torres (drums), and David Bryan (keyboards & vocals).
67. NEIL YOUNG (with Crazy Horse) -
Yet another of Rock’s finest guitarists, Neil Young has had one of the era’s most prolific careers.
His solo success and work with Crazy Horse alone is rated here, and his sales and critical acclaim have lifted him to this lofty position. It doesn’t even include his work with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
If his career has had a weak spot, it has been his lack of success on the singles’ charts. He has had just one major single, “Heart of Gold,” which hit No. 1 in the U.S. and just eked in to the British top 10 in 1972. A 1995 collaboration with Pearl Jam on “I Got id” also reached the U.S. Top 10. On the album charts, however, Young has been one of the strongest sellers since his debut album 44 years ago. His most recent release, 2010’s “Le Noise,” reached the top 20 in the States and Britain and climbed to No. 2 in his homeland of Canada and Sweden.
During his remarkable run, Young has visited almost every branch of Rock & Roll possible. His early work was largely acoustic, but he has experimented with rockabilly, electronics, country, grunge and straight ahead Rock. You name it, and Young has done it.
Crazy Horse has been Young’s backing band on many of his signature recordings and many live appearances, including his most recent album and tour. The group’s sound has contributed mightily to Young’s standing as “Father of Grunge.” The inducted members, all contributing vocals, are: Danny Whitten (guitar), Billy Talbot (bass), Ralph Molina (drums) and Frank Sampedro (guitar, organ).
68. LINDA RONSTADT –
Linda Ronstadt may be the most decorated female vocalist of the Rock Era.
She has earned 11 Grammys, two Academy Of Country Music awards, an Emmy, an American Latino Media Arts award and she has received Tony and Golden Globe nominations. In sales, she dominated record charts in the ‘70s and ‘80s for all artists, not just females, placing 10 LPs in the Billboard Top 10 between 1974 and 1989, three topping the charts.
When the Goldmine blog “Great Blogs of Fire” championed Ronstadt as one of the many deserving acts not recognized by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the howls of displeasure poured in from readers to such an extent that Ronstadt’s profile has been the most commented on almost since it first appeared well over a year ago. The overwhelming consensus is that Ronstadt is “simply the best.”
Detractors note most of Ronstadt’s recordings were cover versions. So were the recordings of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and many other great vocalists. Not only did Ronstadt introduce new generations of listeners to great music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, she equaled or improved on many of the originals. Later in her career, she took her musical journey back even further in time, covering many of pop music’s standards in her usual impeccable fashion, proving she can sing anything and do it better than almost anyone.
69. NAT KING COLE –
Once called, “the best friend a song ever had,” Nat King Cole topped record charts for four decades starting in 1941 and continuing to his passing in 1965.
Because much of his success took place before our cutoff year of 1955, Cole’s standing on our charts takes a slight beating, but his popularity during the Rock Era was so great he still ranks as one of our top inductees despite having little or nothing to do with the Era’s dominant music.
His first successes came in the early ‘40s with the King Cole Trio, a jazz group centered around Cole’s gifted piano work and occasional vocals. His first vocal success came in 1943 with “Straighten Up & Fly Right.” By the time 1955 rolled around, Cole already had cut “The Christmas Song,” “Nature Boy,” “Too Young,” “Mona Lisa” and the unforgettable “Unforgettable.”
In 1956, “The Nat King Cole Show” became the first televised variety show hosted by an African-American. Failure to attain a national sponsor led to Cole pulling the plug after about a year.
But his presence on the best-selling charts remained constant through the ‘50s and he placed five singles in the Top 10. In 1962, he just missed the top with “Ramblin’ Rose” which was unable to dislodge The Four Seasons’ debut “Sherry” from the top spot, and the next year he reached #6 with “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer.” He also maintained a steady stream of best-selling albums, establishing an almost permanent residence in the Top 10.
70. PHIL COLLINS –
In the 1980s, Phil Collins was everywhere, to the extent that he was the only performer to appear in both Live Aid concerts, catching a flight to the U.S. immediately after gracing the London stage.
On the radio, there was Phil Collins solo or Phil Collins leading Genesis or Phil Collins in duets with other stars. Even at the movies, there was Phil Collins. He has won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, two Golden Globes and five Brit Awards. Adding everything together, Collins is one of just three artists in history – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson being the others – to have sold over 100 million records as a member of a group and over another 100 million on his own.
And he did it as a vocalist and songwriter, though he’s regarded as one of music’s finest drummers, having served in that capacity five years with Genesis before taking over lead vocal duties when Peter Gabriel departed. He remained the group’s lead singer even though his solo career took off with his first album, “Face Value,” topping the British charts and hitting the top 10 in almost every country around the world.
It was no fluke. The second almost repeated the success and the third and fourth, “No Jacket Required” and “…But Seriously” reached #1 on almost every record chart available for study. On the singles charts, Collins topped the U.S. Hot 100 seven times and the Brit list three. His first solo hit, “In The Air Tonight,” climbed to #2 in Britain and missed the top 10 in the U.S., but was #1 in several other nations.