By Phill Marder
This is the 37th set of 10 selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame, bringing us to the approximate halfway mark of our Hall of Fame inductions.
Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 10 inductees approximately every three 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. 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
If you’ve been following the Goldmine Hall of Fame two facts should be perfectly
clear by now. One, this Hall of Fame encompasses all genres of music and, two, it is not necessary to be a major success in the United States to gain induction. One perfect example of the second point is a-ha, considered by many in the States a one-hit relic of the ‘80s when, in fact, the group is the top musical export of Norway, racking up sales figures that place it in the top 25% of the all-time worldwide sellers of both albums and singles.
From the very first single until its retirement in 2010, a-ha has been a dominant force almost everywhere but the U.S. In the States, the initial single, “Take On Me,” featuring the remarkable, soaring vocal of Morten Harket, was embraced, becoming #1 as it did almost everywhere. A second U.S. hit, “The Sun Always Shines On T.V.,” reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the U.K., where the first single had stopped at #2. It also topped the charts in Sweden, France, Poland and Ireland. The two hits lifted the trio’s debut LP, “Hunting High & Low,” to #2 U.K. and #1 in Norway and Sweden. It also rose to a more-than-respectable #15 in the U.S., but, for whatever reason, the U.S. then turned its back on the Norwegian phenom even as the LP’s title song became a top 10 hit across Europe, including a #1 finish in Poland.
A-ha was never to have another U.S. success, not even with the theme song from the James Bond movie, “The Living Daylights.” But elsewhere the trio was near unstoppable. In its homeland, a-ha had seven more #1 singles and one that just missed at #2 and every one of its nine albums hit Norway’s top spot, except for the final, 2009’s “Foot Of The Mountain,” which stopped at #2. However, that LP hit #1 in Germany, the group’s third chart-topper there. In the U.K., a-ha posted nine top 10 singles and five top 10 albums, its first three releases reaching #2. The band’s final LP, 2011’s “Ending On A High Note: The Final Concert,” a recording of the band’s December, 2010 farewell in Oslo, reached #3 in Norway and Germany.
362. RANDY NEWMAN
For our next inductee, we refer you to criteria #3. This Californian with a voice only a critic could love has had just one hit record, 1977’s “Short People,” which climbed all the way to #2, and its parent LP, “Little Criminals,” is his only top 10 album release. But Randy Newman’s catalog earned him a slot on the list of top selling album artists worldwide and a slew of awards are on his mantel, assuming he has one.
Working primarily on film scores since his flirtation with chart success, Newman has earned 20 Academy Award nominations. That he has won just twice, taking Best Original Song for 2002’s “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc., and in 2011 for Toy Story 3’s “We Belong Together,” doesn’t diminish the achievements. In addition, he has captured six Grammy awards and three Emmy awards.
In 2002, Newman was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame, and this is where his greatest strength lies. In the U.S., his lone major success was Three Dog Night’s version of “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” but he has written many cherished LP cuts, Harry Nilsson recording an entire LP of Newman-penned gems. In the U.K., Gene Pitney took two of Newman’s compositions, “Nobody Needs Your Love” and “Just One Smile” into the top 10, the Alan Price Set carried “Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear” to #4 and UB40 reached #6 with “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today.”
Randy Newman joins a select group as proof that sales may be the main criteria determining entries into the Goldmine Hall of Fame, but it is certainly not the only criteria.
Brooklyn-born Harry Nilsson was an accomplished and revered songwriter, yet his biggest hits were penned by others. When asked to name his favorite singer, John Lennon replied “Nilsson.” When asked to name his favorite group, Paul McCartney replied “Nilsson.” In an industry relying on exposure to create a listening audience, Nilsson rarely appeared in public and didn’t engage in concert tours. His albums could segue from a magnificent torch ballad such as “Without You” to a light-hearted calypso called “Coconut” to a full-out blaster known as “Jump Into The Fire.”
Clearly, this was one hard-to-pigeonhole talent.
In 1971, Nilsson found himself atop the recording industry. His cover of Badfinger’s “Without You” was a vocal tour de force, the result being a worldwide #1 smash, topping charts in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S. McCartney would later describe “Without You” as “the killer song of all time,” and it was covered by numerous artists, notably Mariah Carey, whose version became her biggest European hit and reached #3 in the U.S. in 1994. But no one came close to matching Nilsson’s performance, for which he won the Grammy for best male pop vocal.
This, however, was not Nilsson’s introduction to success as a recording artist. In 1969, his version of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” topped the Canadian charts and climbed to #6 in the States. For this effort, Nilsson also won a Grammy for best male contemporary vocal. Nilsson had penned “I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City” for the film, but his version of Neil’s song was the choice of director John Schlesinger. And “Without You” wasn’t Nilsson’s last success, either, the aforementioned “Coconut” climbing to #5 in Canada and #8 in the U.S.
Long after his recording peak, Nilsson discovered he had been the victim of embezzlement, finding himself virtually penniless. He was just 52 when he died of heart failure. He was married three times and left behind seven children, six from his marriage to third wife, Una.
364. BELINDA CARLISLE (with the Go-Go’s)
From the outset of her recording career, this Hollywood vocalist was on top. A capable drummer, Belinda Carlisle made her mark as front woman of the Go-Go’s, the first all-female band to write its own material, play its own instruments and have a #1 album. “Beauty & The Beat” held the top spot in the U.S. six weeks and became a cornerstone of the New Wave movement.
Though Carlisle founded the group, guitarists Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin provided most of the material, Wiedlin being the main force behind “Our Lips Are Sealed,” which broke out of the box in 1981 to reach #2 in Australia, #4 in Canada and #20 in the U.S., while Caffey inked the 1982 follow-up, “We Got The Beat,” which reached #2 U.S. and #3 in Canada. Everyone but Carlisle chipped in on the third hit, “Vacation,” which climbed to U.S. #8, a peak matched by its parent LP and the final Go-Go’s recordings to reach the top 10, though 1984’s “Head Over Heels” came close, topping out at U.S. #11.
The Go-Go’s regroup every so often, but Carlisle’s solo career, which began in 1985, actually has been just as successful, if not more successful, than that of her band. Her first single, 1986’s “Mad About You,” climbed to the top of the Canadian charts and reached #3 in the U.S. The next year, “Heaven Is A Place on Earth,” hit the top 10 in 14 countries, reaching #1 in seven, including the U.S. and U.K. Her next two singles, “I Get Weak” and “Circle In The Sand,” also were global hits, the former reaching #2 in the States. In 1989, Carlisle added another smash, “Leave A Light On,” and she added three more top 10 hits in the U.K., where she placed five straight LPs in the top 10 from 1988 to 1993, including a “best of” collection that reached #1 in 1992.
The inductees are: Carlisle (vocals), Caffey (lead guitar), Wiedlin, who had her own solo #9 single “Rush Hour” in 1988 (rhythm guitar), Kathy Valentine (bass) and Gina Schock (drums).
365. ROSEMARY CLOONEY
Mention the name Clooney today and the immediate response, no doubt, would be “George.” But in the ‘50s, any mention of the name Clooney would have drawn a different answer – “Rosemary.”
George’s aunt, Rosemary, was one of the major vocal stars of the ‘50s, securing four #1 singles and one #2 in the U.S. just prior to the dawning of the Rock & Roll Era. In the U.K., she had four top 10 singles, including two that reached #1 in 1954. That included “Mambo Italiano,” strange since Clooney was of Irish, German and English descent. While these accomplishments are not factored for our purposes, “Hey There” did become a major contributor to Clooney’s total when it climbed to #4 in the U.K. in 1955 and #1 in Australia in 1957 after topping the U.S. chart in 1954. “Hey There” was the second U.K. top 10 effort for Clooney in 1955, the first year of our tabulations, following “Where Will The Dimple Be?”, which landed in the #6 slot.
Clooney remained a force in 1956, teaming with Big Band legend Benny Goodman to record “Memories Of You,” which climbed to #20. The following year, she had her last top 10 entry with “Mangos,” which also hit #17 in the U.K.
Sidelined by addictions and a nervous breakdown, Clooney never regained her status as a top of the chart steady, but after overcoming her obstacles she remained a consistent seller of LPs, releasing a steady stream of long-players from 1976 until “The Last Concert,” recorded approximately six months prior to Clooney’s passing in 1992. She was 74.
366. THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT
Londoner Alan Parsons had worked behind the scenes on albums such as The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon,” so by the time he was ready for his own “project,” he had plenty of experience in creating discs that would sound spectacular and appeal to the masses. Which is exactly what recordings bearing his own name did.
And while those LPs issued as The Alan Parsons Project may not have equaled the sales of the two aforementioned classics, the entire catalog under that moniker ranks close to the top 10% of all worldwide LP sales. Surprisingly, with little support from his home country’s record purchasers, where the “Project” had just three long-players squeak into the top 30. And surprisingly, with, much like Nilsson, an absence of live performances.
Parsons, who contributed guitar and keyboards, and session pianist Eric Woolfson, gathered together a group of the finest musicians and a variety of vocalists to record material almost entirely composed by the duo and the resulting Alan Parsons Project became a music industry force from 1977 to 1987. France and Germany took to the Project first, two singles from the initial release, “Tales Of Mystery and Imagination” just missing the top spot in France, while the LP just fell short of the top 10 in Germany. Both countries remained solid supporters of almost every recording by the conglomerate, eight of the following nine LPs reaching the German top 10, four going to #1 with two stopping at #2.
The U.S. jumped on board with LP #2, “I Robot,” which hit the top 10. But it wasn’t until 1982 that Parsons and company had their lone top 10 U.S. hit, “Eye In The Sky,” which peaked at #3 and topped the Canadian charts.
The inductees other than Parsons and Woolfson include David Paton (bass), Stuart Elliot (drums) and Ian Bairnson (guitar), all of whom appeared on most of the group’s recordings. Though Woolfson sang many of the group’s best-known songs, numerous other vocalists took center stage on the recordings and deserve “Miners” as well. They are Lenny Zakatek, John Miles, Chris Rainbow and Colin Blunstone, who initially gained fame as lead singer for The Zombies.
367. TOM WAITS
If Randy Newman has a voice only a critic could love, this fellow California has a voice perhaps only Newman could love. These two are perfect examples of how one can become very popular without great vocal attributes. The key is the most important ingredient: strong material. And both Newman and Tom Waits provide themselves with compositions the public loves.
Waits never has had a hit single, but his albums have sold increasingly well since his 1973 debut “Closing Time.” In fact, 2011’s “Bad As Me” finally gave Waits his first top 10 success in the U.S., rising to #6. He did, however, have top 10 efforts in other countries, “Rain Dogs” being the first when it climbed to #5 in Sweden in 1985. Norway gave Waits his first #1 LP when 1999’s “Mule Variations” hit the top, also reaching the top 10 in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the U.K. Three years later, two efforts, “Blood Money” and “Alice” both appeared in the top 10 of several European nations, including Austria. By this time, Waits had assembled a steadily growing following and 2004’s “Real Gone” became his first top 30 LP in the U.S., followed by “Bad As Me,” which went top 10 almost everywhere, including #1 in Norway.
All told, Waits, like the Alan Parsons Project, ranks just outside the top 10% of album sellers worldwide.
An accomplished actor as well, many know Waits from his film work and from cover versions of his material. Tim Buckley was the first, taking “Martha” from Waits’ debut LP, but The Eagles provided the best-known cover from that album, “Ol’ ’55.” The 1980 album, “Heartattack and Vine” provided Bruce Springsteen, who rarely does covers, with one of his most loved concert favorites, “Jersey Girl,” and “Rain Dogs” yielded “Downtown Train,” which became one of Rod Stewart’s biggest hits.
368. THE OHIO PLAYERS
With a “yeowww” in their vocals, an abundance of funk in their playing, and album covers straight out of your local adult book store, this band strutted out of Dayton, Ohio to dominate record charts and radio waves from 1973 to 1976.
Starting in 1959, the Ohio Players, then known as The Ohio Untouchables, learned their trade backing The Falcons of Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd and Joe Stubbs fame. After breaking up and regrouping several times over the years, the group released its first LP in 1968, only to watch it go nowhere. Four years later, a second try, entitled “Pain,” did better, rising to #21 on the U.S. Rhythm & Blues chart, and the successor, “Pleasure,” broke through, making it to #4 R&B and #63 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.
After 1973’s “Ecstacy” slipped a bit, peaking at #19 R&B and #70 overall, The Players proceeded to place their next four LPs at #1 on the R&B chart, 1974’s “Fire” topping the Top 200 chart and the next year’s “Honey” just missing a repeat, stopping at #2. The catalysts were two #1 singles, “Fire” and “Love Rollercoaster,” the former also a #5 hit in Canada while the latter went to #2 north of the border. In 1976, the Ohio Players added another R&B #1 with “Who’d She Coo?” and in 1977 “O-H-I-O” climbed to R&B #9. Eleven years later, the band was still scoring on the R&B chart, “Let’s Play (From Now On)” climbing to #33.
The Ohio Players had numerous members, but the inductees are the seven responsible for the band’s main success, including original members Marshall Jones (bass), Clarence Satchell (horns & flute) and Ralph Middlebrooks (horns) plus Leroy Bonner (guitar), James Williams (drums), William Beck (keyboards) and Marvin Pierce (horns).
369. LONNIE DONEGAN
Whenever a British artist recalls his early interest in music, the name of this Scot usually comes up. “He was the man,” said Paul McCartney. Indeed, such luminaries as Brian May – “He really was at the very cornerstone of English blues and rock” – praised Donegan, who worked with the cream of European talent during the latter stages of his career, which continued until his passing in 2002. By then, Donegan could name drop the likes of Chris Barber, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, Albert Lee, Elton John and more as collaborators.
“The King Of Skiffle” earned this respect by recording 17 singles that reached the U.K. top 10 from 1956 until 1962, two more just missing by stopping at #11. Three times he topped the singles chart, twice in 1957 with “Cumberland Gap” and “Gambling Man/Putting On The Style,” and again in 1960 with “My Old Man’s A Dustman (Ballad Of A Refuse Disposal Officer).” In 1956, “Lost John/Stewball” stopped at #2 and two years later “Battle Of New Orleans” did the same. All told, Donegan placed a remarkable 34 hits into the Brit top 30 during that six-year stretch, which started with 1956’s cover of Leadbelly’s “Rock Island Line.” Recorded with just an acoustic guitar, stand-up bass and a washboard, “Rock Island Line” entered the U.K. top 20 three separate times and is commonly mentioned as the “it” point for many British stars who followed.
Though The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums states Donegan was “Britain‘s most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles,” sadly Donegan is rarely remembered in the United States, and when he is recalled it’s usually because of a novelty recording, his one big Stateside success. In 1961, “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight?)” climbed to #5. Along with “Rock Island Line,” which hit #8 U.S., Donegan became the first British male artist to score two top 10 singles in the States.
Donegan, a friend of Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee Tom Jones, also scored as a writer, once telling Jones of a song he co-wrote, saying “I’ve recorded it, but I can’t really sing it.” Jones sang it, taking “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” to #2 U.K. and #6 U.S.
Most of the bands of the last 55-plus years have had unstable lineups, even those at the top of the charts and our list of inductees. However, one would be hard-pressed to find a band whose history is as convoluted as this entry. Not even Deep Purple can compete with this group when it comes to member numbers. And, ironically, Deep Purple and Whitesnake’s histories are intertwined.
David Coverdale, already a Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee as a member of Deep Purple, founded Whitesnake, originally as a backup band for his solo career, then as a full-fledged group. That group has seen almost 40 members come and go since “Trouble” became its initial LP release in 1978. The LP featured Deep Purple’s Jon Lord on keyboards and later Purple drummer Ian Paice would join for a spell. Unlike Deep Purple, which found initial success in the U.S. before breaking through in the U.K., Whitesnake traveled the more conventional route, first gaining notice in its home land England.
It took until the band’s seventh album, “Slide It In,” to gain an entry into the U.S. top 10 in 1984, the album climbing to #9. By then, Whitesnake had placed four LPs into the U.K. top 10, 1981’s “Come An’ Get It” rising all the way to #2. Three years later, “Whitesnake” broke the band around the world, climbing to #2 in the States and New Zealand. As usual, a monster single provided the boost, “Here I Go Again” hitting the top of the U.S. Hot 100 and the Canadian charts. “Is This Love?” followed, stopping at U.S. #2, but this marked the last of Whitesnake’s dominance of the single charts. However, the group’s status as an LP seller proved strong, 1989’s “Slip Of The Tongue” reaching top 10 status on both sides of the Atlantic. After Coverdale took a lengthy hiatus, he regrouped Whitesnake in 1997 and the band, in various incarnations, has continued to do well on the LP charts.
The inductees are: Coverdale (vocals); Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Adrian Vandenberg, Doug Aldrich & Reb Beach (guitar); Neil Murray (bass); Lord & Timothy Drury (keyboards); & Dave Dowle, Paice & Tommy Aldridge (drums).