By Phill Marder
This is the ninth set of 10 selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
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.
81. OTIS REDDING – Otis Redding was taken from us much too soon, perishing in a plane crash shortly after turning 26.
But his catalog has continued to sell around the world since his death in 1967 when, arguably, he was just beginning to hit his stride. In fact, shortly after his demise, Redding had his first bonafide hit record when “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” climbed into the No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1968. Redding had recorded the self-penned song three days before the fatal crash. It held the No. 1 position four weeks.
Redding had just one other top 10 single, “”Merry Christmas, Baby” hitting No. 9 later that year. He also had just two Top 10 albums in the States, a greatest hits collection “History Of Otis Redding” and “Dock Of The Bay.”
As his career progressed, Redding began developing as a composer, peaking with “Dock Of The Bay.” His third LP, “Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul,” produced the classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now),” written with Jerry Butler. That proved his biggest hit prior to his death, reaching No. 21. On the same LP, he penned “Respect,” which became Aretha Franklin’s signature song after she took it to No. 1 in 1967. He also wrote “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” a top 40 hit for the Chambers Brothers.
He didn’t have the greatest voice, but he was a dynamic live performer and his overall point total, buoyed by tremendous critical praise, lifted Redding into this lofty position on Goldmine’s countdown of Hall of Famers.
82. BLONDIE – Led by former Playboy bunny Debbie Harry, Blondie became one of the most commercially successful bands to emerge from the New Wave/Punk movement of the mid-‘70s. And Punk being a much stronger force in the United Kingdom than the United States, Blondie, like most Punk bands, originally broke big in the U.K. Unlike most Punk bands, Blondie’s commercial success eventually carried over to the States and, eventually, the band became a worldwide attraction.
Actually, the band’s first success came in 1976, when “In The Flesh,” taken from their debut LP “Blondie,” became a #2 success in Australia, carrying the LP to #14 and helping it reach #75 in Britain while it was ignored in the U.S. Two singles from the follow-up LP, “Plastic Letters,” reached the U.K. top 10 as did the LP itself and Blondie was on its way.
The next two LPs, “Parallel Lines” and “Eat To The Beat,” each hit the top of the British charts and “Heart Of Glass” became a #1 in most countries, including the U.S. where it gave Blondie its first hit single and helped the LP reach #6. While the band continued to top the charts in Britain, – “Sunday Girl” reaching #1, “Dreaming” #2 – it wasn’t until two years later when “Call Me” returned Blondie to the top of the U.S. Hot 100. “Atomic,” another British #1, followed by barely reaching the U.S. top 40, but “The Tide Is High” and “Rapture” seemed to signify the ‘80s would be Blondie’s decade.
It wasn’t to be, though, as Blondie never had another major hit in the U.S., though several singles did continue to score well in Britain, “Maria” even reaching #1 in 1995. Even Harry’s solo singles and LPs fared much better overseas.
The Blondie inductees are: Debbie Harry (vocals), Chris Stein (guitar & bass), Clem Burke (drums & vocals), Jimmy Destri (keyboards & vocals), Frank Infante (guitar, bass & vocals) and Nigel Harrison (bass).
83. PAUL SIMON – Already a member of the Goldmine Hall of Fame as half of duo Simon & Garfunkel (#20), Paul Simon is one of music’s most beloved, respected and talented singer-songwriters.
A member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Simon has won 12 Grammy Awards, including the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, and Kennedy Center honors. And the accolades just keep coming, Time, in 2006, listing Simon as among “100 People Who Shaped The World,” and, in 2007, the Library of Congress naming Simon the first recipient of the Gershwin Award for Popular Song. Winners since are no less than Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and the duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Once he embarked on his solo career, Simon missed nary a beat, his first eponymous LP hitting #1 in several European countries, including Britain, and #4 in the U.S. “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” got to #2 in 1973 and two years later “Still Crazy After All These Years” gave Simon his lone solo #1 LP in the U.S.
At that point, Simon slowed his pace, dabbling in other projects. In 1980, his soundtrack “One-Trick Pony” just missed the top 10 and his next effort, “Hearts & Bones,” wasn’t released until 1985, meeting with a disappointing reception. But starting with “Graceland” in 1986, three of Simon’s six LPs have reached the U.S. top 10, only one missing the top 20.
All the while, Simon has continued to make special appearances with Art Garfunkel and as a solo performer.
84. ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS – He used to be Declan MacManus. Then he became Elvis Costello. He used to be the leader of The Attractions, a formidable force in Britain’s punk movement. Eventually, he evolved into a suit-wearing television host married to one of music’s most popular jazz artists, who made albums with Burt Bacharach and taught music classes at UCLA.
After his 1977 debut, “My Aim Is True,” settled in at No. 14 on the British charts, Costello released eight straight LPs that hit the Brit top 10. He narrowly missed twice in 1986, but came back in 1989 and three of his next four reached the U.K. top five. While a steady seller in the rest of Europe and Asia, Costello never came close to the success he has experienced in his homeland, his best charting album in the United States being 1979’s “Armed Forces,” which topped off at No. 10.
But regardless of where his albums finish on the charts, Costello’s releases are always of the highest quality, the variety in his musical selections just adding to his appeal. His love of music comes through in every note he sings, every song he writes.
Also receiving “Miners” are Costello’s supporting musicians, Steve Nason on keyboards, Bruce Thomas and Davey Faragher on bass and Pete Thomas (no relation to Bruce) on drums. All but Faragher made up The Attractions, the group playing behind Costello from 1977 until 1986 and reconvening to back him again in the mid ’90s. But strained relations between Bruce Thomas and Costello resulted in the formation of Costello’s recent backing band, The Imposters, Faragher taking over on bass.
85. THE FOUR TOPS – Yet another of the great Motown vocal groups to rate induction into the Goldmine Hall of Fame, the Four Tops set an incredible standard for camaraderie, apparently operating under the motto “’Til death do us part.” From 1953 until 1997, Levi Stubbs, Abdul Fakir, Renaldo Benson and Lawrence Payton were the Four Tops, the union ending only when Payton passed away.
Like most Motown groups, The Four Tops achieved global success, the Tops scoring particularly high marks in the United Kingdom, where their recordings routinely charted higher than in the States. In fact, the Four Tops had just one top 10 LP stateside, and that was a greatest hits collection. In England, the group posted four top 10 albums and two top five EPs in 1967 and 1968.
But Motown was primarily about hit singles, and on this front The Four Tops dominated both sides of the Atlantic between 1965 and 1968, scoring five top 10 hits in the States, including two chart-toppers destined to become classics, “I Can’t Help Myself,” often referred to as “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” which also topped the U.K. charts. The British stayed with the group, the Tops notching seven more top 10 singles after 1967’s “Bernadette,” while the Tops managed just two in the States, though two more just missed, stopping at #11.
The gravely voiced Stubbs was the focal point of the Tops on record, becoming one of the Era’s most beloved soul singers. But Fakir, Benson and Payton also were talented vocalists as their ensemble work on some album cuts demonstrated.
86. BRYAN ADAMS – One of the most decorated singer/songwriters of the last several decades, Bryan Adams continued a long line of musical giants to emanate from Canada since the Rock Era began.
Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2006, Adams has proven one of the best selling artists of all time with the Recording Industry of America certifying 17 million-plus in sales.
His debut album, released in 1980, did ok in his native land, his second LP out the next year did a little better and also dented the U.S. and U.K. charts. But 1983’s “Cuts Like A Knife” broke through for Adams, reaching top 10 status in the U.S. and Canada on the strength of three hit singles, “Straight From The Heart,” the LP’s title song, and “This Time.” The floodgates now open, Adams followed with 1984’s “Reckless,” a No. 1 LP in Canada and the U.S. and a top 10 smash around the world. This long-player yielded an amazing six hit singles, “Run To You,” “Somebody,” “Heaven,” “Summer Of ’69,” “One Night Love Affair,” and a duet with Tina Turner, “It’s Only Love.”
It was an impossible act to follow even though Adams waited three years for his next output, “Into The Fire.” It fell short of his previous success, but still made top 10 in most countries. But 1991’s “Waking Up The Neighbours” eclipsed even “Reckless,” producing seven hit singles and going No. 1 almost everywhere except, ironically, the U.S., where it stopped at No. 6. It included “(Everything I Do), I Do It For You,” the theme from the movie “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves” which garnered Adams a Grammy.
Adams continued to have success through the ‘90s, with two more across-the-board No. 1 singles, “All For Love,” with Rod Stewart and Sting, and “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” His LP, “11,” released in 2008, topped the Canadian charts.
87. FOREIGNER – Led by former Spooky Tooth guitarist Englishman Mick Jones and American lead vocalist Lou Gramm, Foreigner dominated radio airwaves in the late 1970s with their hard-rocking, pull-no-punches approach to recording.
As a result, they unleashed a steady stream of quality efforts that topped the American singles and albums best-seller charts while maintaining their status as one of Rock & Roll’s premier bands. While acceptance around the globe was lukewarm, surprisingly so in the U.K., the singles “Feels Like The First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded” and “Double Vision” all plowed into the U.S. top 10, carrying the band’s first two LPs with them. The third LP, “Head Games,” followed the initial pair into the U.S. top five without support of a top 10 hit, though the driving title song and the raunchy “Dirty White Boy” came close.
With the 1981 release, “4,” Foreigner began to show signs of getting through to the worldwide market, the album hitting No. 1 in Norway as well as the U.S. and top five in England and Germany. But the impetus wasn’t provided by the first two salvos, “Urgent,” a brilliant top five single featuring the distinctive sound of Motown sax star Jr. Walker, or “Juke Box Hero,” three minutes of blast your face off guitar and screaming vocal so raw it couldn’t even dent the U.S. top 30. And it wasn’t provided by two Rockabilly raves, “Luanne” and “Break It Up,” issued as singles later. Instead, it was a power ballad, “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” that just missed the top spot in the U.S. and became the band’s first top five in the U.K.
“I Want To Know What Love Is” hit No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic and “I Don’t Want To Live Without You” was another blockbuster, but by the ‘90s Foreigner was splintering and the long run was over, at least for Jones and Gramm. Jones has kept the group going, though, and as recently as 2009 Foreigner had a best-selling LP with new lead singer Kelly Hansen.
The inductees, all of whom contribute vocal work, are: Lou Gramm (vocals), Mick Jones (lead guitar), Dennis Elliott (drums), Ed Gagliardi and Rick Wills (bass), Al Greenwood (keyboards & synthesizers) and Ian McDonald (assorted instruments).
88. ANDY WILLIAMS – Though he began his professional career at age 11 with The Williams Brothers and appeared with them on a Bing Crosby hit record and in several movies by the time he was 17, this crooner did not have his first hit record until the Rock Era began.
The uptempo “Canadian Sunset” brought Williams into the top 10 for the first time, reaching #7 in 1956. Shortly after, he had his first and only #1 in the U.S. and U.K. with “Butterfly,” though he had to share sales with Charlie Gracie’s version, which battled him tooth and nail.
Though the follow-up, “I Like Your Kind Of Love,” was a bouncy number that reached #8, Williams was not a Rocker and soon reverted back to his real strength, ballad singing. Who sang with Williams on that hit has remained somewhat of a puzzle. The 45 label reads “Andy’s girlfriend played by Peggy Powers,” but Powers never was heard from except on this forgotten and neglected gem.
Though Williams turned almost exclusively to ballads, the younger generation continued to embrace his recordings making “Are You Sincere?” (#3), “The Hawaiian Wedding Song” (#11), “Lonely Street” (#5) and “The Village Of St. Bernadette” (#7) U.S. hits in 1958 and 1959. A lull followed until 1962’s “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” reached #2 on both sides of the Atlantic, even hitting the top 10 on the R&B charts. “Almost There” just missed #1 in the U.K. in 1964, but as the British Invasion powered into full swing, Williams became less a factor on the singles charts, though he did place more in the U.K. top 10, including “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story,” which also went top 10 in the States. “Solitaire” hit #4 in England in 1973 and 26 years later a reissue of “Music To Watch Girls By” got to #9.
His LPs continue to be major sellers to this day, Williams hitting the top 10 14 times in the U.S. and 12 in the U.K., with three chart-toppers in each.
Williams was battling bladder cancer at the age of 84 and, unfortunately, passed away Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
89. R.E.M. - The quartet from Georgia becomes the second act born in the ’80s to grace the Goldmine Hall of Fame, following No. 8 U2. Having started in 1980, R.E.M. remained constant through its retirement in September, 2011, with the exception of the 1997 departure of drummer Bill Berry, who never was permanently replaced.
During their 31-year run, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck and, for a large part, Berry, became one of the album charts’ steadiest visitors, critical darlings and even sold their share of singles. But success did not come quickly outside the United States. Even in the States, it took five albums for them to sneak into the Top 10 in 1987, that spurred by their first hit single, “The One I Love.”
Their next release, “Green,” failed to reach the Top 10 in the U.S. but broke through in Austria, New Zealand and Canada, serving notice that the band was beginning to reach a wide audience. In 1991, “Out Of Time,” driven by the group’s biggest hit, “Losing My Religion,” made R.E.M. a supergroup, reaching No. 1 in the U.S., the U.K., Austria, Canada and France.
From 1992 until 2001, every R.E.M. studio release became a smash across the board, 1994’s “Monster” being just that, going to No. 1 in eight countries, while the follow-up, 1996’s “New Adventures In Hi-Fi” topped the charts in 10 countries in spite of stalling at No. 2 in the States. The pace slowed, but not much, as the group’s last five albums all maintained a steady Top 10 presence worldwide up until 2011’s “Collapse Into Now.”
Though sometimes referred to as a throwback to groups of the ’60s, particularly the Byrds, thanks to the jangly guitar of Buck and the melodic nature of their first-class original material sung by the immediately identifiable voice of Stipe, R.E.M. was a band that would have had great success in any era.
90. THE MONKEES – That this lovable foursome has been ignored by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of the main reasons why that organization has suffered in gaining credibility for few bands have had more impact on the music industry than the one consisting of Micky Dolenz, the late Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith.
They didn’t play their own instruments? Plenty of groups in the Rock Hall of Fame didn’t. And The Monkees did, beginning early on. They didn’t write their own material? Plenty of groups in the Rock Hall of Fame didn’t. And The Monkees did write, beginning with their debut LP. They were manufactured for TV? So what? That they went far beyond the TV series that lasted just two years speaks for their dedication and talent.
From October 1966 to November 1967, The Monkees first four albums reached #1 in the U.S. and top five in Britain and Norway. The fifth long-player, “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees,” reached #3. Their #1 hits included “Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m A Believer,” “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Daydream Believer,” and “Valleri.” And all this was accomplished during the British Invasion, perhaps the most fertile era ever seen for great bands.
The numerous followers of The Monkees have remained loyal since, and periodically a reunion has produced hits – “That Was Then, This Is Now” reaching #20 as late as 1984 – and popular tours. The most recent public appearances in 2011, shortly before the passing of Jones, were met with huge crowds and great critical acclaim, testament to the enduring popularity of one of the most successful bands of the Rock Era.