By Phill Marder
This is the 38th set of 10 selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
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
371. DINAH WASHINGTON
Coming out of Alabama, Ruth Lee Jones, better known as Dinah Washington, became one of the top Rhythm & Blues artists of the pre-Rock & Roll period. Between 1944 and 1954, Washington placed an incredible 28 recordings into the R&B top 10 and just missed with three others. Two, 1948’s “Am I Asking Too Much?” and 1949’s “Baby Get Lost” reached #1.
But when Rock kicked in, Washington’s pace slowed considerably. In 1955 and 1956, she still managed to reach the top 15 of the R&B singles’ chart, but just one entry made it to the top 10. The following year, Washington fairly vanished from the charts and in 1958 she managed just one placement in the R&B top 30.
However, in 1959 she turned the tide as she not only returned to the heights of the R&B chart, but also made her presence felt in the mainstream Hot 100 as well. The driving force was her classic “What A Diff’rence A Day Makes,” which became her first Hot 100 top 10 hit, soaring to #8 and winning Washington a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. In 1998, the single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Her follow-up also was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This was a remarkable achievement as the recording in question was her cover of Nat King Cole’s 1951 classic, “Unforgettable,” which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. Washington’s version, which reached #17, was inducted the very next year.
In 1960, Mercury Records paired Washington with Brook Benton, also a Goldmine Hall Of Fame inductee, and the two turned out back-to-back #1 R&B hits, “Baby (You Got What It Takes)” and “A Rockin’ Good Way (To Mess Around & Fall In Love)” also hitting #5 and #7, respectively, on the Hot 100. Washington made it three straight R&B chart toppers with “This Bitter Earth” and continued a regular on the charts until she passed away in 1963 at age 39.
372. PAUL WELLER (with The Jam & Style Council)
The Jam is one of the most successful groups in the history of United Kingdom music, though that success occurred almost exclusively in its homeland. Those in the United States and elsewhere missed out, for the most part. That pattern continued when The Jam split up and leader Paul Weller went solo after a stint in The Style Council. That band plus Weller’s solo work again proved very successful in England.
The Jam’s phenomenal success in the U.K. alone was enough to gain Weller, the chief songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist, plus Bruce Foxton, bass, and drummer Rick Buckler entrance to the Goldmine Hall Of Fame. Just when The Jam was breaking big, the group split, prompting Weller to say years later, “The Jam’s music still means something to people and a lot of that’s because we stopped at the right time. It didn’t go on and become embarrassing.”
The Jam released six studio albums between 1977 and 1982, the highest charting effort in the United States being the fifth, 1980’s “Sound Affects,” which topped out at #72. But the previous effort had reached #14 in New Zealand and this release climbed to #2, indicating word on the band was starting to spread. In England, The Jam was a phenom right out of the box, its first LP climbing to #20. The second took a slight dip to #22, but the next four hit the top 10, the final effort, “The Gift,” topping the UK chart. The next three releases under The Jam banner reached #2 in the UK, one live effort and two best of compilations. The Style Council took over and its first release, in 1983, climbed to #6 in New Zealand. Of the next three studio releases, two peaked at UK #2, while 1985’s “Our Favourite Shop” hit #1. A 1986 live effort climbed to UK #8.
Weller’s solo work has had even more success in his homeland. He has released 11 solo studio LPs since 1992, of which just two have peaked lower than #2, the lowest, his first, finishing at #8, the other at #4. Four, 1995’s “Stanley Road,” 2002’s “Illumination,” 2008’s “22 Dreams” and 2012’s “Sonic Kicks” hit #1. In the U.K. Weller has had five top 10 solo singles, nine with The Jam, including four that topped the chart, and seven more with The Style Council.
Those receiving Miners along with Weller are the members of The Jam listed above and Mick Talbot (keyboards), Steve White (drums) & D.C. Lee (vocals) from the Style Council.
373. HANK BALLARD & THE MIDNIGHTERS
Starting with 1953’s “Get It,” Hank Ballard & the Midnighters became a dominant force on the Rhythm & Blues charts of the United States. That hit, which reached #6 on the R&B chart, was under the name The Royals. From the release of 1954’s “Work With Me, Annie,” a No. 1 R&B hit, the group churned out a steady stream of rhythm and blues hits under its more familiar moniker, The Midnighters.
But most of those early recordings were too sex-oriented to be played on mainstream radio and The Midnighters seemed destined to remain just an R&B force. Even in 1955, the beginning of our calculations and the start of the Rock & Roll charge, The Midnighters two smashes, “Henry’s Got Flat Feet (Can’t Dance No More)” and “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)” failed to cross over though each was an R&B hit. At that stage, even the R&B hits stopped flowing and it wasn’t until a label and name change took place that the Midnighters took off. Even then, though, it took Rock’s greatest cover to bring them back.
Beginning in 1959, lead singer Hank Ballard drew top billing, as the record labels, switching from Federal to King, now read Hank Ballard and The Midnighters. The group’s biggest hits followed, including the original version of “The Twist,” written by Ballard, though its source has been debated. But even that 1959 release had a shaky start, coming out as a B-side to “Teardrops On Your Letter,” which soared to #4 R&B while barely putting a dent in the Hot 100. “The Twist” peaked at #16 R&B and didn’t hit the mainstream at all. At least not that year. Philly’s Chubby Checker, who had had a minor hit with “The Class” in 1959, covered “The Twist” with backing by the local vocal group, The Dreamlovers, and the song rocketed to #1 in 1960. The Midnighters’ version bounced back onto the chart, this time reaching #28 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart.
By that time, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters had broken through big time with another hit, “Finger Poppin’ Time.” In a strange “twist” of fate, “Finger Poppin’ Time” entered the Billboard top 10 August 15, 1960, at #7, the same week Checker’s version of “The Twist” made its first top 10 appearance at #8. After the resurgence of Ballard’s version of “The Twist,” the group released another smash, “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go,” which topped the R&B chart and peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. After the success of “The Twist,” Ballard tried in vain to come up with another dance craze, his group releasing “The Hoochi Coochi Coo,” “The Continental Walk,” “The Switch-A-Roo” and “The Float” all in 1961. Though they kept the Midnighters on the charts and airwaves, none approached the success of “The Twist,” which did something no other 45 has done, becoming #1 a second time in 1962. When Ballard tried to capitalize by releasing “Do You Know How To Twist” only to see it flop, The Midnighters’ run as hit makers was over.
The inductees are Ballard, Alonzo Tucker, Henry Booth, Cal Green, Arthur Porter, Lawson Smith, Charles Sutton, Norman Thrasher and Sonny Woods.
374. KATE BUSH
As in the case of Paul Weller and several others, this English singer/songwriter has been a superstar in her native land and across the world’s musical landscape without having much of an impact in the United States. In fact, she was a star of super magnitude at the age of 19 when her debut single “Wuthering Heights” reached #1 in the U.K. and Australia, becoming the first single penned and performed by a female artist to hit U.K. #1. It also hit #1 in France, Italy, Ireland and New Zealand and became a top 10 smash most everywhere else. But not the States.
Still, Kate Bush has sustained her international success to the point that today she ranks in the top 20 percent of all worldwide album sellers and in the top 30 percent of worldwide singles sellers, even without much help stateside. She has released 10 studio LPs in her homeland, all of which reached the top 10. Two hit the top, three stopped at #2 and three more reached #3. In addition, a 1986 retrospective also hit the top. She never repeated her #1 single, but has since placed five more in the top 10, not including a #10 EP.
Bush’s albums have been top 10 entries around the globe, continuing into 2011 when “Director’s Cut” hit #2 in England and “50 Words For Snow” reached #5. But her best charting LP in the U.S. was 1993’s “The Red Shoes,” which, featuring Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Gary Brooker, topped out at #28.
In 1985, she notched her top single in the States when “Running Up That Hill” placed at #30. Even her 1986 duet with Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee Peter Gabriel, “Don’t Give Up,” didn’t register with U.S. audiences. With her lone tour occurring in 1979 and long delays between recordings, Bush has not exactly enhanced her chances for mass acceptance in the U.S. Obviously, many stateside music fans are missing out on someone special.
375. PATSY CLINE
Another of music’s early tragedies, Patsy Cline died in a plane crash when she was just 30. One of the most distinct and memorable voices ever recorded, Cline is considered one of the most important vocalists in Country Music and also was making frequent crossover visits into the mainstream.
And while her hit-making career only lasted a couple years, Cline left us at least three of music’s most enduring hits, the #12 “I Fall To Pieces,” which topped the Country chart, #9 “Crazy,” written by Willie Nelson that just missed giving Cline back-to-back #1 Country hits, stopping at #2, and Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams (Of You),” which hit only #44 after being released the month after her passing, but since has grown mightily in stature.
Cline also had major hits with 1957’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which climbed to #2 on the Country chart and #12 on the Billboard top singles chart, the flip side, “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or A Rich Man’s Gold),” also a major Country hit at #14, and 1962’s “She’s Got You,” which topped the Country chart and rose to #14 on the Hot 100. It also became her first single to make an impact on the U.K. chart and later that year “Heartaches” became her biggest U.K. single, climbing to #31.
Two months before the plane crash that ended her life, Cline released “Leavin’ On Your Mind,” another Country smash at #8. She released just three albums during her lifetime, but the success of those plus numerous compilations over the years has kept her on the list of worldwide best-selling album artists of all time.
376. BOBBY RYDELL
The early ‘60s are often looked upon as a barren period in the history of Rock & Roll and it is true that many of Rock’s superstars were operating at diminished capacities and the scandal of payola was casting a shadow over the entire scene. But those who lived through the time period had plenty of great music to listen to in spite of how revisionists portray events. Two who suffered the most from this historical distortion were members of Philadelphia’s so-called “Golden Boys,” the trio of Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell.
Fabian may have been plucked off the streets due to his good looks, but Rydell, a drummer, and Avalon, who played trumpet, were members of the same band as young teenagers, and had long musical backgrounds and plenty of talent before becoming superstars. When they did reach the top, they had little difficulty sustaining long and productive careers. In fact, Rydell has been one of the country’s most desired nightclub and concert attractions to this day, appearing in recent years side by side with Avalon and Fabian in the popular “Golden Boys” revue.
Rydell recorded his first smash in 1959 just after turning 17. “Kissin’ Time” just missed the U.S. top 10, stopping at #11, and also scored well at #29 on the R&B chart. It did even better in Canada, climbing to #5. Later that year, he scored with “We Got Love,” which, with a very familiar refrain of “yeah, yeah, yeah,” powered its way to U.S. #6. Later, Paul McCartney, recalling the composing of “She Loves You,” referred to a Bobby Rydell song, saying, “…as often happens, you think of one song when you write another.” As 1960 began, Rydell unloaded his biggest success, “Wild One,” which rose to #2 in the U.S. and Canada and #7 in the U.K. The flip side, “Little Bitty Girl,” also scored, reaching U.S. #19.
The next effort also was a double-sided hit, “Swingin’ School” reaching #5 with “Ding-a-Ling” climbing to #18. Rydell toured Australia with The Everly Brothers and several other stars and recorded a special version of “Swingin’ School” for the Australian market. It proved a smart move, hitting #1. Before 1960 ended, he had two more hits with covers, “Volare,” a remake of Domenico Modugno’s 1958 hit, reaching U.S. #4, and “Sway,” a cover of Dean Martin’s 1954 best-seller, climbing to #14. Both also scored well in the U.K. and “Volare” reached #3 in Canada. Rydell hit the U.S. top 30 10 more times by the close of 1964, the final time with “Forget Him,” which climbed to #4 U.S. and #3 Canada. But prior to that single, he recorded what is most likely his most endearing hit to those in the Philadelphia area. His “Wildwood Days,” a tribute to the South Jersey shore town where “every night is Saturday night” reached #17 in the U.S. and remains today a Summer favorite on local radio.
In addition to his success on 45, Rydell notched seven top-selling LPs, including a live effort at The Copa and a combo work with Chubby Checker that rose to #7 in the U.S.
377. JOAN JETT (with The Blackhearts)
Also originally from the Philadelphia area is this female vocalist who has been a key member of two famous bands, The Runaways and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. The Runaways, the subject of a recent film starring Kristen Stewart as Jett, also included guitarist Lita Ford and future Bangle Michael Steele, who, like Jett, went on to considerable success after the dissolution of their band.
The Runaways never were able to gain much commercial success in the U.S., but they did place three LPs in the Swedish top 40, including “Live In Japan,” where they built a considerable following. After the band’s breakup, Jett achieved much greater success as a solo performer and leader of The Blackhearts. When her first album was reportedly rejected by 23 labels, Jett and producer Kenny Laguna released it themselves. Later, Boardwalk Records picked it up, changed its title from “Joan Jett” to “Bad Reputation” and, in 1981, it broke into the U.S. and Australian charts.
Later that year, Jett released her first LP with The Blackhearts, “I Love Rock & Roll.” The kickoff track a cover of a 1975 effort by the English band, Arrows, actually was a cover of a 1979 effort by Jett, who did a version as the B-side of her single “You Don’t Own Me.” In 1982 the single exploded, holding down the #1 spot in the U.S. for seven weeks and topping the charts in Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Holland and South Africa. The album reached #1 in New Zealand, #2 in the U.S. and #4 in Sweden.
Before 1982 ended, Jett and company pushed “Crimson & Clover” to U.S. #7 and also had a major success with “Do You Wanna Touch Me.” In 1988, she also had two top 20 hits, “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” which climbed to U.S. #8 and “Little Liar.”
The inductees are: Jett & Ricky Byrd (guitar); Gary Ryan & Kasim Sulton (bass) & Lee Crystal & Thommy Price (drums).
378. GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS
Gene Vincent is considered by some to be one of Rock’s first pioneers. He wrote and recorded one of Rock & Roll’s first true classics, “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” and established a “look” that defined that of many future “rockers,” resplendent in black leather topped with a head of slicked-back hair.
His band, usually referred to as “His Blue Caps,” though on some albums the listing is “the Blue Caps,” was one of Rock’s hottest. Cliff Gallup is considered one of Rock’s best early guitarists. Dickie Harrell, a top-notch drummer, stayed with Vincent from the beginning until 1958, but that was just a couple of years. Gallup’s stay was even shorter, as he and rhythm guitarist Willie Williams left after the first album, although Gallup did return for studio work on the second album. Jack Neal was the bassist. By the time 1958 was over, most of Vincent’s Blue Caps — including Buck Owens (yes, that Buck Owens) — had been and gone.
With Russell Williford replacing Gallup, Vincent had two major hits, “Lotta Lovin’” and “Dance To The Bop,” in 1957. While all three of his hits were great records, Vincent was unable to follow them up and virtually disappeared from the recording scene. In Britain, where he nearly was killed in the same car accident that took Eddie Cochran’s life, his legend grew, but he never had a Top 10 record in the U.K., and only one of his albums even charted. Strangely, both 1957 U.S. smashes never got a chart nod in Britain.
But, Vincent did have several U.K. hits that didn’t register in the U.S. After “Be-Bop-A-Lula” hit #16 in the U.K., Vincent was well established. While the follow-up, “Race With The Devil,” barely charted in the U.S., it rose to #28 in the U.K. The next effort, “Blue Jean Bop,” didn’t chart at all in the U.S., but equaled Vincent’s debut single by climbing to #16. Vincent was then blanked until he came back in 1960 and 1961, with five hit singles, one #12 LP, and a hit EP in the U.K.
379. JIMMY BUFFETT
Jimmy Buffett is one of the Rock Era’s biggest superstars and has been for what seems to be ages. His lyrics, often biting, humorous or both, speak for themselves. His concerts, resemble large, very large, parties. And what could be more Rock & Roll than his band’s name – The Coral Reefers? His fans – the Parrotheads – outnumber the population of many countries.
Buffett is a best-selling author and a successful businessman, but the foundation of his financial empire is and always has been his music. His success, mainly centered in North America, seems even more remarkable as he has done it all with just one major hit record, the classic “Margaritaville.” Buffett’s only top 10 hit in both the United States and Canada brought his “beach bum” persona to the mainstream in 1976 and he’s built on it ever since.
Prior to that, his recording career, which began in 1969, had been highlighted by the single “Come Monday,” which reached #30 in the U.S. and #23 in Canada. It came off the “Living and Dying in 3/4 Time” LP, which languished at the lower end of the album charts. But the next long-player – “A1A” – established a pattern for Buffett that continues to this day. Hit albums without hit singles. “Margaritaville” proved the exception, helping “Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes” reach U.S. #12 while giving Buffett his first platinum LP. The follow-up “Son Of A Son Of A Sailor” also achieved platinum status and became Buffett’s first top 10 LP. It served up the single, “Manana,” an excellent 45 that provided the memorable lyric, “And I hope Anita Bryant never ever does one of my songs.” Somehow, like practically all Buffett’s singles, it bombed.
But Buffett’s 12-inchers and CDs kept selling steadily and, as proof of his popularity and longevity, he didn’t even peak until 1994, 25 years after his chart debut. In that year, his “Fruitcakes” reached U.S. #5 and went platinum. The following year, “Barometer Soup” topped out at #6, going gold, and in 1996 “Banana Wind” climbed to #4 and went platinum. In 1998 “Don’t Stop The Carnival,” a musical that makes an excellent listen, stopped at #15, but in 1999 “Beach House On The Moon” returned Buffett to the top 10, hitting #8. In 2003, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” a duet with Country superstar Alan Jackson topped the Country charts and the next year Buffett had his first #1 album, “License To Chill.” In 2006, he narrowly missed duplicating that feat when “Take The Weather With You” stopped at #4.
This three-piece band just became eligible for induction and its immediate inclusion was a foregone conclusion as Nirvana’s portfolio was and continues to be a top seller. Noted Billboard, the bible of the music industry, “Nirvana is that rare band that has everything: critical acclaim, industry respect, pop radio appeal, and a rock-solid college/alternative base.”
Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was writing songs that earned him the moniker, “the voice of a generation.” Unfortunately, that voice was silenced when Cobain committed suicide less than five years after the release of their debut LP. But still, Nirvana ranks among the top 10 percent of all album sellers worldwide and in the top 33 percent of all singles sellers. That first LP, “Bleach,” was a mild success when released in 1989, reaching #33 in the U.K. and #30 in New Zealand, while topping off at #89 U.S.
The second LP, “Nevermind,” took off as 1991 drew to a close after the lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit #1 in Belgium, France and New Zealand and rocketed into the to 10 almost everywhere else. “Nevermind” topped LP charts in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Finland and Sweden. Two years later, the final studio release, “In Utero,” topped the charts of the U.S., the U.K. and Sweden. Since then, 1994’s “MTV Unplugged in New York,” 1996’s “From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah,” and 2002’s “Nirvana” all reached #1 in various countries.
Krist Novoselic was with Cobain from the start, contributing bass and vocals. When drummer Dave Grohl, now the leader of Foo Fighters, was added, Nirvana soared.