By Phill Marder
This is the 41st 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
401. CURTIS MAYFIELD
As leader of The Impressions, already Goldmine Hall of Fame inductees, Chicago-born Curtis Mayfield was responsible for some of the most memorable songs of the last 60 years. “People Get Ready,” “We’re A Winner,” “Choice Of Colors,” “Check Out Your Mind,” “Mighty Mighty (Spade & Whitey),” “This Is My Country” and “Keep On Pushing,” all inspirational records, interspersed with pure love songs such as “I’m So Proud,” “Woman’s Got Soul,” “Ten To One” and many others made the trio one of the most popular and most relevant of all Soul groups.
When Mayfield opted to go solo the pattern continued, and his 1970 debut, “Curtis,” went #1 on the R&B charts, the first single, “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go,” leading the way. That clicked in the U.S., rising to #3 R&B, but missed in the U.K. The second single, “Move On Up,” missed in the States, but climbed to #12 in England. Mayfield’s second solo LP, 1971’s “Roots,” barely scratched the U.S. top 40 and failed to yield any major hit singles.
Finally in 1972, Mayfield found the perfect vehicle for his social commentary, the hit film “Super Fly.” It’s debatable what became more popular, the movie or Mayfield’s soundtrack, which topped the Billboard Top 200 album chart and also the R&B listing. With the title cut and “Freddie’s Dead” both becoming top 10 singles in the U.S., Mayfield’s soundtrack became one of the landmarks of the ‘70s.
Mayfield, also an outstanding guitarist, never had another hit single, but 1973’s “Back To The World” and the 1976 soundtrack, “Sparkle,” each topped the R&B album chart, 1974’s “Sweet Exorcist” stopped at #2 and four more efforts hit the R&B top 20 before Mayfield, paralyzed in a 1990 concert tragedy, passed away in 1999 at age 57.
402. EDDIE COCHRAN
Of all the early heroes of Rock & Roll, no one, with the exception of Chuck Berry, spoke more directly to the teenager than this Minnesota singer/songwriter, who also was one of Rock’s greatest early guitarists. And his tragic death at the age of 21 made followers wonder constantly, “What if?”
Cochran had just three top 40 singles in the United States and none of his albums made the Billboard Top 200. But in England, where Cochran died in a car accident in 1960, he already had achieved four top 20 singles. And after Cochran’s demise, the United Kingdom kept him on the best-seller charts through the decade. As late as 2008, a collection of his “best” hit #31 on the U.K. album chart.
His short career produced two bonafide classics of Rock, the much-covered “Summertime Blues” and the powerful “Somethin’ Else.” “C’mon Everybody” also was a major hit and is a much-played oldie. In “Summertime Blues” Cochran lamented the fate of many teens. He diagnosed the hopes of the same in “Somethin’ Else.” “C’mon Everybody” was just the ‘50s version of tweeting my folks are gone and there’s a party goin’ on. “Summertime Blues,” now a no-brainer when compiling a list of the ‘50s greatest recordings, reached #8 U.S., #10 in Canada and #18 U.K., where it reappeared at #34 in 1968. “C’mon Everybody” reached just #35 in the U.S., while climbing to #6 in the U.K. In 1988, it once again graced the U.K. chart, climbing to #18. Amazingly, “Somethin’ Else” peaked at just #58 in the U.S., but climbed to #22 across the ocean, an EP of the same name climbing to #6. “Somethin’ Else” begins with Earl
Palmer duplicating Charles Connor’s drum intro used on Little Richard’s “Keep A Knockin’.” Many years later, John Bonham revived it on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll.” Cochran’s first U.S. hit came in 1957 when “Sittin’ In The Balcony” climbed to #18.
In a twist of fate worthy of Rod Serling, a month before his passing Cochran released “Cut Across Shorty,” later covered by Rod Stewart. It failed to chart as did the flip side, “Three Steps To Heaven,” which featured guitarist Sonny Curtis and drummer Jerry Allison of Buddy Holly’s Crickets. A month after Cochran’s passing, “Three Steps To Heaven” was #1 in the U.K. and over the next three years four Cochran singles – none re-issues – reached the Brit top 40.
403. SEALS & CROFTS
These two Texans fit perfectly into the “Singer/Songwriter” decade of the ‘70s, their success bookending the era. Their first hit album scored in 1970, their last chart appearance coming midway through 1978. In between, Jim Seals and Dash Crofts were regular residents of both the top album and top single charts.
The duo bounced around quite a bit before achieving renown, even having been part of the last incarnation of The Champs, whose smash recording of “Tequila” had been done long before the pair joined. They played with Glen Campbell, also, but didn’t strike out on their own until 1969 when they released their eponymous debut. It failed to find an audience, but the next year “Down Home” climbed to #122 in the States and “Year Of Sunday” made it to #133 the next year.
As usual, it was a hit single that proved a career-changer. That 45, “Summer Breeze,” appeared in 1972 and became one of the decade’s signature tunes, climbing to #6 on the Hot 100. The host LP, also named “Summer Breeze,” rose to U.S. #7, yielding another single, the leadoff cut “Hummingbird,” which peaked at #20. The next year’s release, “Diamond Girl,” did even better, making it to #4 on the LP chart while the title song matched the peak of “Summer Breeze,” reaching #6. A second single from the album, “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” also clicked, hitting #21. But the next year’s controversial “Unborn Child” didn’t have much chart impact and its parent LP saw the pair slip from the top 10, the long-player stopping at #14.
Seals & Crofts rebounded in 1975 when “I’ll Play For You,” rose to #18 on the Hot 100 and, though the LP of the same name stopped at #30, a “Greatest Hits” release soared to #11 and “Get Closer” made it to #6 the following year. A #18 “You’re The Love” wrapped up their run in 1978, though infrequent releases continued, the LP “Traces” in 2004 being the most recent.
This foursome, originally from Boston, is one of those bands whose success in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, soundly outshines its accomplishments in its homeland. Not that the Pixies were totally ignored in the States. They did achieve recognition at home, too. It just doesn’t compare to their status overseas.
In fact, their debut album, “Santa Rosa,” first was released on a British indy label in 1988. It wasn’t until four years later that the recording was picked up by Elektra Records. Eventually, it went gold and drew heavy praise from Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan, among others, Nirvana even using “Santa Rosa” producer Steve Albini for Nirvana’s “In Utero” LP. Written almost entirely by singer/guitarist Black Francis the LP failed to chart on either side of the Atlantic, but it created a buzz that carried over to the next year’s release, European publications Melody Maker and Sounds even naming it Album Of The Year.
With such praise garnering the band notice, it was no surprise when 1989’s “Doolittle” broke into the U.K. top 10, peaking at #8, and even succeeded in the U.S., topping off at #98. Though failing to produce a hit single, “Doolittle” did yield two cuts that ranked high on the U.S. Modern Rock Chart, which Billboard started at the end of 1988. Factoring just airplay on Alternative Rock stations, the new chart had “Doolittle” tracks “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man” climb to #3 and #5, respectively.
Two more LPs, 1990’s “Bossanova” and the following year’s “Trompe La Monde,” finished #3 and #7, respectively, in the U.K. and reached the upper half of Billboard’sTop 200 in the States and, overall, the still-active band ranks in the top 40 percent of all LP sellers worldwide.
The inductees are: Black Francis (lead vocals & guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), David Lovering (drums) and Kim Deal (bass & vocals).
405. CHARLIE RICH
“The Silver Fox” from Arkansas had a career of ups and downs worthy of an Ohio rollercoaster. A jazz pianist at heart, he first gained recognition with a Rockabilly hit, disappeared for awhile, returned with a novelty smash, vanished for an even longer spell, then reappeared to become a Country superstar. Finally, after a self-imposed semi-exile, he wrapped up his career with an album that encompassed just about everything.
Charlie Rich worked as a session musician for Sun Records when he waxed “Lonely Weekends,” a Rockabilly standout with an Elvis-like vocal. The 1960 single established Rich as a hit-maker on his own, climbing to #22 on the U.S. Hot 100. It also put him in danger of becoming a one-hit wonder as he was unable to capitalize on its success. Not until five years later, that is, when Rich switched to the Smash label where his first single, the novelty-flavored “Mohair Sam,” did “Lonely Weekends” one better, climbing to U.S. #21. But again, a successful follow-up eluded Rich, who then turned his attention to the Country market where several of his singles started to attract attention over the next six years, “Raggedy Ann” even climbing to #18 on the Canadian Country chart in 1968.
Finally, in 1972, Charlie struck it Rich with “I Take It On Home,” which rose to #6 on the U.S. Country chart and #3 on the Canadian Country listing. The closed door now was open, and 1973 saw “Behind Closed Doors” top the Country chart in both nations, also scoring on the mainstream lists at #15 U.S. and #5 Canada. “Behind Closed Doors” swept honors for 1973’s Country single of the year, added a 1974 Grammy for best male Country vocal performance and the LP of the same name also swept Country honors in 1973, topping the Country chart in the U.S., going to #4 in Canada and #8 on the U.S. Billboard Top 200.
This time, Rich had no trouble following up as “The Most Beautiful Girl,” also in the “Behind Closed Doors” LP, went to #1 in the U.S. and Canada and #2 in the U.K., causing the “Behind Closed Doors” single to hit the top 20 there when it hadn’t charted at all previously. Over the next two years, Rich had six more #1 Country singles and, all told, he took five LPs to the top of the Country lists.
His 1992 LP, his final release before his passing in 1995 at age 62, “Pictures & Paintings,” failed to return Rich to the charts, but the All-Music Guide gave it five stars, Thom Jurek opining, “On ‘Pictures and Paintings,’ Charlie Rich saved the very best, his magnum opus, for last, and we are all the richer for it.”
406. BOBBY BLAND
On June 23, 2013, one of the great voices of modern music was forever silenced. For on that day, Tennessee’s Bobby “Blue” Bland passed away at age 83. Fortunately, he left behind a vast collection of recordings that will be cherished by countless generations to come.
Bland had just minor mainstream success, three of his singles reaching the top 30 on Billboard’s Hot 100. But all told, Bland placed 37 singles on the Billboard chart between 1957 and 1974 and 11 of his albums charted, “Call On Me/That’s The Way Love Is” reaching #11 in 1963. “Call On Me” was the name of one of his biggest crossover hits, reaching #22 on the Hot 100. Prior to that, Bland had reached #28 in 1961 with the classic “Turn On Your Love Light,” powered by the amazing drumming of John “Jabo” Starks. Starks is quoted as calling Bland’s orchestra, “musically, the best band I ever played with.” Pretty strong endorsement, considering Starks left Bland for James Brown’s fabulous band. But a powerful band was needed to keep up with Bland’s vocals.
Bland’s highest charting mainstream single came in 1964 when “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” reached #20. But Bland’s biggest successes came on the R&B charts where he notched an incredible 56 top 40 hits starting with 1957’s “Farther Up The Road,” his first of three #1 R&B hits he fashioned. In 1961, “I Pity The Fool” reached #1 as did 1963’s “That’s The Way Love Is. The latter was the flip of “Call On Me,” which hit #6, one of 27 Bland entries into the R&B top 10.
Three times Bland narrowly missed adding to his list of #1 R&B smashes as 1959’s “I’ll Take Care Of You,” written by Goldmine Hall of Fame member Brook Benton, and 1961’s “Don’t Cry No More” and “Turn On Your Love Light” all peaked at #2. Bland also partnered with Goldmine Hall of Fame member B.B. King on several efforts, including a 1976 recording of “Let The Good Times Roll,” which reached #20 on the R&B chart.
407. THE MCGUIRE SISTERS
As 1955 began and the dawn of the Rock & Roll Era was upon us, this Ohio trio was sitting on top of the charts with its version of “Sincerely,” which also was putting a dent in the charts via the original done by The Moonglows. Written by The Moonglows’ Harvey Fuqua, “Sincerely” became one of the biggest hits and most-covered songs of the Rock Era. And the McGuire Sisters had the most successful of all versions.
At the time, Billboard ran three distinct lists charting a record’s popularity – biggest sellers, most played on jukeboxes and most played on radio. The McGuire Sisters version of “Sincerely” topped at least one of those lists for 10 consecutive weeks, more often than not sitting atop at least two and on several occasions all three of the charts. Meanwhile, the Moonglows’ treatment sat on top of the R&B charts.
This was not unusual for Phyllis, Christine and Dorothy, who first made their mark the year prior with five top 30 singles, two of which reached the top 10. The biggest was “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite,” the much revered Spaniels’ classic which the McGuires took to #7. “Sincerely” also became a major U.K. hit, climbing to #14, and the follow-up, “No More,” made the top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic. By the time 1955 ended, the trio had two more top 10 hits, “Something’s Gotta Give” and “He,” later covered by the Righteous Brothers, and “No More,” which fell just short at #11. The “Sincerely” album also connected, climbing to U.S. #2.
Though their recordings were far from Rock & Roll, the sisters continued to star in 1956, charting eight singles in the States, and they opened 1957 with a blockbuster #1, “Sugartime,” which also scored in the U.K. and made the top 10 in Canada. The McGuires continued to score in 1959 when “May You Always” hit #11 U.S. and #15 U.K. and two years later when “Just For Old Times Sake” climbed to U.S. #20.
They remained a popular TV and concert attraction into the early 2000s and were featured in the 1995 HBO movie “Sugartime.”
408. THE ASSOCIATION
This six-man band from California released two of the most played songs in the history of recorded music. That both were slow love songs paints a distorted picture of what The Association was capable of. And while some discredit them because session musicians participated in some of their output, those who had the good fortune to hear them live in their prime will attest to their proficiency, both instrumentally and vocally.
The two gems constantly heard on radio over the last 45 years or so were “Cherish,” which hit #1 in 1966 and “Never My Love,” which peaked at #2 the following year, held off from the top spot for two weeks by the Box Tops’ classic, “The Letter.” “Never My Love” just missed becoming the group’s third #1 and second straight as its previous release, “Windy,” had held the #1 position for four weeks. It also was the band’s first single to have both sides reach the Billboard Hot 100 as “Requiem For The Masses,” a clear sample of The Association’s non-commercial side, also made the chart.
The band’s first hit single, “Along Comes Mary,” reached #7. That, “Enter The Young,” from the group’s debut LP, and “Windy” all were part of the Association’s set when the group opened the Monterey Pop Festival, the first day’s festivities also including sets by Goldmine Hall of Fame inductees Johnny Rivers, The Animals and Simon & Garfunkel. The Association also claimed a spot in the top 10 with “Everything That Touches You.” Three of the group’s albums earned top 10 status in the U.S., the 1966 debut “And Then…Along Comes The Association” climbing to #5, 1967’s “Insight Out” reaching #8 and 1968’s “Greatest Hits” rising to #4. Three others reached the top 40.
The inductees, all contributing to the group’s intricate vocal harmonies, are: Jules (Gary) Alexander (guitar); Terry Kirkman (wind & brass instruments); Brian Cole (bass & woodwinds); Russ Giguere (guitar); Ted Bluechel (drums); Jim Yester (guitar & keyboards) and Larry Ramos (guitar).
409. RONNIE MILSAP
George Strait is in the Goldmine Hall of Fame. Conway Twitty is in the Goldmine Hall of Fame. That pair sits one-two atop the list of male vocalists with the most #1 hits on the U.S. Country charts. This North Carolina piano virtuoso who stands #3 on that list now joins them.
Ronnie Milsap has recorded in virtually every genre from Blues to Gospel, with some Rock and Jazz thrown in for good measure. But his biggest success has come in the Country music field, where he dominated the charts for a 20-year period starting in the early ‘70s. Beginning with 1973’s “I Hate You” Milsap was hardly ever missing from the U.S. Country top 10 and after “Pure Love hit U.S. #1 and Canadian #2 in 1974, he was a fixture at or near the top of the charts in both countries, so much so that his list of #1 and #2 hits is too numerous to mention here. In 1977 he had his first major mainstream success when “It Was Almost Like A Song” climbed to #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the Canadian chart. From 1980 to 1983, he placed five singles in the U.S. top 25, 1981’s “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” soaring to #5.
Eighteen of Milsap’s albums reached the Country top 10, four – 1981’s “There’s No Getting’ Over Me,” 1985’s “Lost In The Fifties Tonight” and two volumes of greatest hits – topped the list, another seven climbing to either #2 or #3.
Milsap has received six Grammy Awards, five for “Best Male Country Vocal Performance” and another for a collaboration with Goldmine Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers. Three times he was named “Male Vocalist Of The Year” by the Country Music Association, which also designated four of his LPs “Album Of The Year” and named him “Entertainer of the Year” in 1977. The Academy of Country Music named him “Top Male Vocalist” in 1982, “Instrumentalist of the Year” in 1988, called “Lost In The Fifties Tonight” 1985’s “Song Of The Year” and presented him with its “Pioneer Award” in 2002.
410. BILLY PRESTON
From Mahalia Jackson to The Beatles and from Little Richard to The Stones, this virtuoso keyboard player from Houston played with so many superstars over a 40-year period, it’s a wonder he had time for his own recordings. But he did, putting together a resume full of top selling singles and albums to go along with his numerous high-profile references.
A child prodigy, Preston backed Jackson and appeared as the young W.C. Handy in the film “St. Louis Blues” before even reaching his teen years. While still a teen, he joined Little Richard’s band, played organ on Sam Cooke’s 1963 “Night Beat” album and recorded his own LP, “16 Year Old Soul.” And he was just warming up. He then joined Ray Charles’ band and helped The Beatles’ on their final two albums, “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road,” later working extensively with The Stones. He also worked with solo George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, Luther Vandross, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and more. With help from Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, Preston penned one of Joe Cocker’s biggest hits, “You Are So Beautiful.”
Somehow, Preston found time to place 10 albums of his own onto the Billboard Top 200 list, six reaching the upper half of the chart. In 1972, his instrumental single “Outa-Space” just missed the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, stopping at #2 as Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” held sway on top, but the next year his vocal “Will It Go Round In Circles” topped the list for two weeks and in 1974 another vocal effort “Nothing From Nothing” reached the top. In between the two, an instrumental, “Space Race,” climbed to #4. The hits dried up for awhile, but after switching to Motown Preston was paired with Syreeta Wright on “With You I’m Born Again” and the 1979 single climbed to #4.
Preston continued as a popular utility man until passing away in 2006. He was 59.