This is the 83rd set of selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
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. These also can be found under “Great Blogs Of Fire” at the bottom of the page or by following this link – http://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/goldmine-hall-of-fame-inductees
This group concludes the initial segment of The Goldmine Hall of Fame. After a short pause to update statistics to present day, inductions will continue with the songwriter’s section.
Radio announcers, or deejays as they’re commonly referred to, abound. Television announcers on music shows as well. But in 1955, the starting point of our Hall of Fame, the picture was much different as Rock & Roll became the dominant fare of popular radio shows and started making its presence felt on the tube.
Two figures – Alan Freed and Dick Clark – spearheaded this change and gain induction into the Goldmine Hall of Fame. This is not meant to disparage the thousands of great announcers who followed around the globe as each city and smaller municipalities were blessed with many talented jocks, both on radio and TV. Some are certain to join Freed and Clark in the future.
That managers should be recognized is a debatable topic. Some are good, some are bad. And some are both, depending on the client and other variables. However, three men particularly stand out, Colonel Tom Parker, who guided Elvis’ career for better or worse, Brian Epstein, the much beloved force behind The Beatles until his premature death at age 32, and Andrew Loog Oldham, who put The Rolling Stones on the path to great success.
Other managers are sure to follow, but, for now, these three top that particular category.
644. ALAN FREED
This native of Pennsylvania today remains one of the best known disc jockeys in radio history, sometimes referred to as “The Father of Rock & Roll.” Freed is credited with popularizing the term “Rock & Roll” and launching concerts aimed at the teenage market.
While cover records by white artists were receiving major airplay throughout the country, Freed earned a huge following by playing the originals on his late night Cleveland radio show called “the Moondog Rock & Roll Party.” Consequently, artists such as Little Richard, Fats Domino and many R&B vocal groups achieved widespread popularity.
In 1954, Freed took his show to New York City and its subsequent syndication enabled listeners across the country to hear him and his taste in music. His live shows at Brooklyn’s Paramount Theater showcased many acts before huge crowds and Freed also appeared in major movies in 1956. “Rock Around The Clock,” featured Bill Haley & His Comets, The Platters and Ernie Freeman, while “Don’t Knock The Rock” again featured Haley’s group, but added Little Richard and Dave Appell & the Applejacks. But “Rock, Rock, Rock” eclipsed both with The Moonglows, Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, Johnny Burnette, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and LaVern Baker on screen and Connie Francis on the soundtrack.
The downfall of Freed is a well-known tale. A victim of the Rock & Roll backlash, Freed took center stage in the Payola scandal, which accused DJs of taking money to play certain records. He denied being paid to play certain discs, insisting he never played a record he didn’t like. But he never recovered, dying at the age of 43.
645. DICK CLARK
If Alan Freed was the primary impetus for Rock over the radio waves, this New Yorker possibly did even more for the success of that “new” form with arguably the most popular music show on television.
Bandstand didn’t start with Clark, instead beginning in Philadelphia under Bob Horn. But when Horn was bounced in 1956, Clark took over to become one of the nation’s iconic figures until his death in 2012. Renamed American Bandstand, the show was picked up in 1957 by ABC, which gambled on the future of a teen-oriented show on a national basis. It proved a great success and the next year The Dick Clark Show was added to ABC’s prime time Saturday night lineup.
Clark’s appearance and personality helped make the show, and Rock, a success as he proved popular with adults as well as teens. He was young, well dressed, nice looking and well spoken. In addition, his show, coming out of Philadelphia, made household names of many of the regular teens, the young men dressed in suit and tie, the ladies attired with impeccable taste. And they could dance, often bringing new steps such as The Stroll and the Bristol Stomp to the rest of the nation. It was no coincidence that The Twist became such a sensation as Chubby Checker was a Philadelphian who appeared often on Bandstand, teaching the nation the new dance. The song’s composer, Hank Ballard, said of Clark, “He was bigger than the President.”
Clark, nicknamed “America’s oldest teenager,” summed up his talent modestly, stating, “I played the records, the kids danced, and America watched.” But the show introduced a lot more. Each day, a popular artist of the day would appear, lip syncing to their latest hit, and new releases were judged by a panel of teens in the Rate the Record segment, leading to such catch phrases as “It’s got a good beat & you can dance to it…I’ll give it a 95.” Also, each day Clark ran down the Top 10 board, counting off the top 10 records of the day from bottom to top.
Clark’s Saturday night show was a brief version of his traveling concert show, “Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars,” being entirely focused on artists performing in a concert setting.
646-648. COLONEL TOM PARKER, BRIAN EPSTEIN & ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM
Almost every artist has a manager, some helping, some not. And, of course, there are those who don’t believe a manager should be in a music Hall of Fame. After all, they’re just doing a job they’re paid to do. And many others could do it just as good.
Or could they? Would Elvis have become Elvis without the guidance of Colonel Tom Parker? Would The Beatles have achieved their level of success without the help of Brian Epstein? Would The Rolling Stones have been the same without Andrew Loog Oldham?
Of course, we’ll never know. But one thing is for sure. Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones became arguably the three most successful acts in music between 1955 and present day and their managers were heavily involved in that success – for better or worse.
The story of each can be told many ways, depending on who’s telling it. But all three need much more space than we have here. Parker was the most controversial of the three, but Presley made his bottom line clear when he said, “I don’t think I’d have ever been very big if it wasn’t for him.” Epstein was acknowledged by Paul McCartney as “the fifth Beatle,” and it was his persistence that got the group signed to their recording contract and on their way. And they loved him until his premature death at age 32. Oldham had the most music industry experience of the three, promoted The Stones’ “bad boy” image to contrast with The Beatles and greatly encouraged Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to write. Oldham also produced the band’s first five LPs.