By Phill Marder
This is the 42nd 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
411. BAD COMPANY
By 1973, there had been several “supergroups” formed, members of different previously successful groups uniting their already well-recognized talents to form a new, hopefully more potent congregation. In England, Cream was an early example, while the U.S. put forth the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash. So by the time this English foursome broke out of the gate, the term “supergroup” was lightly employed.
But Bad Company certainly qualified as a “supergroup,” lead vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke fresh off success with Free of “All Right Now” fame, joining forces with Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and Boz Burrell, former bass player in King Crimson. And while many of the previous “supergroups” were short-lived, this foursome lived up to advance billing, putting together one of the strongest resumes on the hard-rock circuit. The original lineup placed all six of its studio albums into the U.K. top 20 over an eight-year period, the first five also entering the U.S. and Canadian top 20. In addition, Bad Company was one of the top drawing concert attractions around the globe.
The first two LPs, “Bad Company” and “Straight Shooter” shot to U.K. #3 while the third long-player, “Run With The Pack,” reached #4. But immediate success was even better in the U.S., where the debut LP hit #1. “Straight Shooter” equaled the U.K. peak of #3, while “Run With The Pack” settled at #5. The first two albums also reached the Canadian top 10 as did the group’s fifth LP, 1979’s “Desolation Angels,” which peaked at #3 U.S. and #10 U.K. The singles “Can’t Get Enough” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love” each hit the top 10 in the States and Canada, with “Young Blood” also reaching the Canadian top 10.
In 1984, Brian Howe replaced Rodgers as lead vocalist, a post he held for 10 years. During that period, Bad Company maintained a strong position on the U.S. album chart, four entries hitting the Billboard Top 200, the last two finishing in the top 40. Also during Howe’s tenure, five singles ranked high on the U.S. Mainstream chart, two climbing to the top. With that success, Howe earns induction with the original four into Goldmine’s Hall of Fame.
412. JACK JONES
The Billboard Easy Listening chart came to be just about the same time this Los Angeles singer/actor came into prominence. Jack Jones would have been right at home in the pre-Rock era when good looking male vocalists were the rave. Some – Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, for example – were able to carry their popularity with them from era to era, but Jones’ career didn’t even get started in earnest until 1962.
In that year, Jones had his first hit when “Lollipops and Roses” landed at #66 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. More significantly, it climbed to #12 on the newly created Easy Listening list, a chart that has undergone numerous name changes, Adult Contemporary being the designation since 1983. This is not to say that Jones had no success on the big chart. On the contrary, he placed 20 entries on the Hot 100, five times reaching the top 40 and twice the top 20. However, these accomplishments were dwarfed by Jones’ totals on the Adult Contemporary chart where, from his debut until 1980, he boasted 32 chart entries, all but one reaching the top 40. Twelve times his releases entered the top 10, three climbing all the way to the top.
Jones’ three chart-toppers were 1965’s “The Race Is On,” 1966’s “The Impossible Dream” and 1967’s “Lady.” In 1980, Jones recorded one of his best-known efforts, “The Love Boat Theme,” which brought Jones into households on a weekly basis the first eight years it was televised. The show’s ninth and final season had Dionne Warwick singing the theme.
Jones turned 76 January 14, 2014, but continues active, having released his latest LP, “Love Ballads,” in 2011. His resume includes 18 albums to reach the Billboard Top 200, six reaching the top 30 with 1965’s “The Impossible Dream” climbing to #9. From 1972 to 1977, Jones had five albums reach the U.K. top 10, 1972’s “Bread Winners,” a collection of Bread compositions, being most successful at #7. He has won two Grammys for Best Vocal Performance Male, “Lollipops and Roses” in 1962 and “Wives and Lovers” two years later.
This entry may have most readers in the U.S. scratching their heads while asking, “Who?” Most readers across Europe will be scratching their heads while asking “Why?” as in “Why don’t listeners in the States know this band, which ranks as one of the world’s best sellers in singles and LPs?” Such is the enigma of Smokie, whose only venture into U.S. charts came way back in 1976 when “Living Next Door To Alice” climbed to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
That single became Smokie’s biggest worldwide hit, reaching #1 in Holland, Austria, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Ireland. It just missed in South Africa, stopping at #2, went to #3 in Sweden and climbed to #5 in the U.K. and Australia. By that time, the British quartet was well established in Europe, as 1975’s “If You Think You Know How To Love Me” hit #1 in France and #3 U.K. and later that year “Don’t Play Your Rock ‘n’ Roll To Me” was top 10 in South Africa, France and England.
“Lay Back In The Arms of Someone” was a major 1977 smash, topping charts in Holland, Austria, Belgium and Germany. Other major successes were “I’ll Meet You At Midnight,” #1 in Ireland in 1977, and a 1976 remake of The Searchers’ “Needles & Pins” that reached #1 in Austria. Another #1, this time in Germany, was “Mexican Girl” in 1978. The success continued through 1980 and in 1995 the band returned, joining comedian Roy Chubby Brown on “Living Next Door To Alice (Who the F#*k is Alice?),” which rose to #1 in the Netherlands and #3 in England. On the LP front, the band continued a strong sales presence in Denmark, Norway and Sweden throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s with many of their releases making it to the top 10.
Chris Norman (lead vocals & guitar), Terry Uttley (bass), Pete Spencer (drums) and Alan Silson (guitar) formed the lineup from 1973 to 1986 when Norman and Spencer left to be replaced by vocalist Alan Barton and drummer Steve Pinnell. Keyboardist Martin Bullard also joined, expanding the group to a quintet. This lineup remained stable until 1995 when Barton perished in a tour bus accident in Germany. Mike Craft replaced Barton and Mick McConnell took over for Silson and this lineup continues, the most recent release being the 2010 LP “Take a Minute,” which rose to #3 in Denmark and #6 in Norway.
414. JOHNNIE TAYLOR
This Arkansas vocalist was known as “The Philosopher Of Soul.” He also was referred to as “The Wailer, Johnnie Taylor.” He sounded like Sam Cooke when he started out, even replacing Cooke in the gospel favorites The Soul Stirrers. Almost 30 years later, he was a star of the Disco scene sounding like … “The Wailer, Johnnie Taylor.”
Over that 30-year-period, Taylor put together a steadily successful recording career that saw him become a stalwart of the U.S. R&B chart, placing 39 singles on that list between 1963 and 1990. Fifteen of those reached the top 10 with four topping the chart. Though his stats on the Billboard Hot 100 pale by comparison, Taylor still put four entries into the top 20, including his 1976 dance floor giant, “Disco Lady,” which topped the chart four weeks. That led to Taylor’s biggest LP, “Eargasm,” which reached #5 that same year. Overall, Taylor charted 12 albums between 1969 and 2000, the year he died of a heart attack at age 62.
Taylor had five R&B hits before his 1968 breakthrough, “Who’s Making Love,” which topped the R&B chart and rose to #5 on the Hot 100. The follow-up, “Take Care Of Your Homework,” stopped at #2 on the R&B chart and #20 on the Hot 100. The success of “Who’s Making Love” started a string of eight straight Taylor-made top 10 hits on the R&B list, culminating with another #1, 1971’s “Jody Got Your Girl and Gone.”
In 1973, Taylor hit with another R&B #1, “I Believe In You (You Believe In Me),” which also reached #11 in the mainstream, and its successor, “Cheaper To Keep Her,” hit #2 R&B and #15 overall. In 1976, after three more R&B hits, Taylor unleashed “Disco Lady,” his fourth release to top the R&B chart.
415. THE FOUR LADS
The number of “Miners” from Canada continues to grow as this Toronto quartet joins an already elite group of Canadians firmly ensconced in the Goldmine Hall of Fame. And, as fate would have it, two of the original Four Lads had backgrounds entangled with two of the original still-to-be-heard-from Crew-Cuts.
Like many of our inductees, the Four Lads – Corrado Codarini, John Bernard Toorish, James Arnold and Frank Busseri – were well-established stars prior to our starting point of 1955. But unlike many, the Lads peaked in our starting year. They first drew notice in 1951, when they backed Columbia label mate Johnnie Ray on his biggest release, “Cry,” which topped charts in the U.S. and Australia. The flip side, “The Little White Cloud That Cried,” almost matched “Cry” in chart success. Over the next two years, the foursome had six hits of their own, including their first top 10 entry, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” In 1954, they scored a #7 hit with “Skokiaan,” which topped the Australian charts.
So when 1955 started, the Four Lads were well-positioned even if they were not a part of the new music, Rock & Roll. As the year unfolded, The Four Lads had “Moments To Remember” and “No, Not Much” climb all the way to #2 and the year concluded with “Standing On The Corner” rising to #3. Three more top 25 entries were notched in 1956 as the group continued to battle the growing popularity of the “new” music and 1957 saw its popularity even expanding with two more top 10 hits, “Who Needs You?” and “Put A Light In The Window.” However, in 1958 the Four Lads hit the top 10 the final time with #10 “There’s Only One Of You.” Its successor, “Enchanted Island,” came close at #12, but the Four Lads run of recording success was over, though they did return in the late ‘60s with a couple Adult Contemporary successes.
Inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame in 1984 along with The Diamonds and The Crew-Cuts, the original four now earn “Miners” as members of the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
416. JERMAINE JACKSON
Talk about being in someone’s shadow, this Gary, Indiana native came from the same family as Goldmine Hall of Famers Michael and Janet Jackson and was a member of The Jackson Five. It’s amazing he had a solo career, let alone one strong enough to rate induction into the Hall of Fame in his own right. Early in 2013, he may have finally made his final statement on the famous Jackson family, changing his name to Jacksun, though he did so when touring Europe with his Jackson brothers.
With all that has transpired since, it’s easy to forget that Jermaine was the lead singer of the Jackson 5 before Michael became old enough to challenge him for that honor. Still, when the hit records were recorded, Jermaine and Michael often shared lead chores, Jermaine contributing to “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” and many others.
In 1972, Jermaine released his first solo record, a minor success, but in 1973 struck it rich with a remake of the Shep & the Limelites hit “Daddy’s Home,” which rose to #9 U.S. and #3 R&B. Jackson didn’t return to the Hot 100’s top 10 again until 1979, when “Let’s Get Serious” matched “Daddy’s Home” by climbing to #9. But that hit also topped the R&B chart and scored across Europe, climbing to #8 in the U.K. Jackson also was partisan to some unusual pairings, teaming with Devo on the 1982 hit “Let Me Tickle Your Fancy” and Pia Zadora on 1984’s “When The Rain Begins To Fall,” which didn’t make much noise in the States but soared to #1 in five European nations, including Germany where co-writer Little Peggy March of “I Will Follow Him” fame was a regular hit maker from 1965 to 1980.
Jackson also teamed with Whitney Houston and his brother, Michael, “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Too Good To Be True)” becoming a 1984 #1 dance hit for the brothers, who, the same year, also helped Berry Gordy Jr.’s son Rockwell on his massive hit, “Somebody’s Watching Me.” Jackson has notched 12 albums in the R&B top 40, his 1972 debut, “Jermaine,” and 1980’s “Let’s Get Serious” topping that list, the latter also reaching #6 on the Billboard Top 200 LP chart.
417. GEORGIA GIBBS
This Worcester Massachusetts vocalist has received somewhat of a bad rap over the years. Remembered as an artist who made her reputation covering Rhythm & Blues material when Rock & Roll began, Frieda Lipschitz, better known as Georgia Gibbs, was one of the top female vocalists in the U.S. long before Rock & Roll took over the market. That she had success covering some R&B numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise as Gibbs was noted for versatility. She could sing almost anything … well.
Gibbs’ career as a hit maker started in 1950, long before Rock and our tabulations. Her opener, “If I Knew You Were Comin’ (I’d’ve Baked a Cake),” was a smash, climbing to U.S. #5. Her next four efforts reached the U.S. top 25 and before the next year was over, she was back in the U.S. top 10 with the #6 “While You Danced, Danced, Danced.” In 1952, “Kiss Of Fire” was #1 and the next year, “Seven Lonely Days” hit #5. All told, Gibbs posted 17 top 30 singles from 1950 through 1954.
In the starting year of our calculations Gibbs, known colorfully as “Her nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs,” was even better, opening with an almost identical cover of LaVern Baker’s “Tweedle Dee,” which climbed to #2. Baker’s version also was a major success, climbing to #14 U.S. and #4 on the R&B chart. The next effort did even better as Gibbs cleaned up Etta James’ “The Wallflower,” also known as “Roll With Me Henry,” and turned “Dance With Me Henry (Wallflower)” into a #1 smash. James’ original also did well, topping the R&B chart. Through 1958, Gibbs continued a hit producer, landing seven more singles in the U.S. top 40.
Gibbs was the guest on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand December 18, 1957. That is believed to be the oldest surviving complete telecast of Bandstand from Philadelphia’s WFIL.
Married to noted author Frank Gervasi, who died in 1990. Gibbs passed away in 2006 at age 87.
418. MERLE HAGGARD
Where does one begin the journey of this California-born Country giant? Released from San Quentin prison in 1960, he graced the cover of Time Magazine just 14 years later. The life of Merle Haggard is one for biographies and documentaries, not brief summaries of Hall of Fame careers. In short, Haggard survived a tough growing up that saw him constantly in trouble and often incarcerated to become inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and now the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Before Haggard was born his family resided in Oklahoma, and one of Haggard’s most memorable hits, 1969’s “Okie From Muskogee,” account for the Oklahoma hall designation. But by the time “Okie” had hit #1 on the U.S. Country chart and #3 on the Canadian Country chart, Haggard had notched 15 hits, though he didn’t get his first until 1963 at age 26. “Okie” actually was Haggard’s eighth #1 and he also could boast of four other singles that reached the top five in the U.S. In Canada, he didn’t get started until 1967, but “Okie” was his seventh straight top 10 hit, three reaching #1.
In the ‘70s, Haggard’s success rate even increased. Haggard placed 31 singles into the U.S. Country top 10, 16 reaching #1 with another five climbing to #2. In one stretch between 1971 and 1976, Haggard had 14 of 15 singles hit #1. Canada wasn’t far behind, Haggard hitting 27 top 10 singles, including 11 chart toppers. The ‘80s started much the same, Haggard scoring 21 top 10 U.S. Country hits, including 12 #1s, and he nearly duplicated that success North of the border. He also shared #1s with duet partners George Jones on 1982’s “Yesterday’s Wine” and Willie Nelson on 1983’s “Pancho and Lefty.” But in 1987, he scored his last #1 in both countries with “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star,” 1989’s “A Better Love Next Time” being his last top 10 effort.
Haggard’s #1 LPs number 15, including his work with Nelson on the “Pancho and Lefty” album. His album “Okie From Muskogee” was named Album of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, the latter also awarding that designation to “Let Me Tell You About A Song.” The Academy also named Haggard Top New Male Vocalist in 1965 and he was named its Top Male Vocalist five times.
419. THE NEW EDITION
This Boston quintet became the template for the “Boy Band Movement” that proved so successful in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Actually, these groups differed little from the great vocal groups of the doo wop era. For the most part, they didn’t play instruments, the emphasis resting mainly on singing with choreographed dance moves highlighting personal appearances. And much as today’s older listeners look back fondly on groups such as The Orioles, Harptones, Moonglows, Five Satins and many others, listeners who were teens in the ‘80s and ‘90s most likely will look back with reverence on such groups as Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, the New Kids On The Block and … The New Edition.
Certainly, the immediate success of the so-called “boy bands” was much greater than their doo wop ancestors, most of whom never found mass sales success during the ‘50s. Indeed, groups such as the New Edition hit sales milestones never dreamed of by groups in the ‘50s. And New Edition has done it with a lineup remarkably stable since 1983 when Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ralph Tresvant first broke through with “Candy Girl” which became a #1 R&B hit in the U.S. and a chart-topper in the U.K. The single also broke the group across Europe and the Pan Pacific region.
After Brown, already a Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee, went solo, Tresvant indicated a similar desire and the group recruited Johnny Gill to replace him. But Tresvant and Gill clicked together, prompting Tresvant to remain and, on occasion, Brown has returned to the fold, also.
Over the years, New Edition has accounted for 16 top 10 hits on the U.S. R&B chart with four of those crossing over to the Hot 100 chart, “Cool It Now” reaching #4 in 1984, “If It Isn’t Love” rising to #7 four years later, and “Hit Me Off” and “I’m Still In Love With You” hitting #3 and #7, respectively, in 1996. While not reaching the mainstream top 10, 1984’s “Mr. Telephone Man” and 1989’s “Can You Stand The Rain” sat on top of the U.S. R&B chart. The group also boasts a #1 album, 1996’s “Home Again,” the group’s only release as a sextet.
If someone told you there was a band that had one top 10 record in the United States, but 17 in the United Kingdom, you’d probably harbor some doubt this could be so. If someone told you there was a band that had the same number of top 40 LPs in the U.K., but never had one best-selling long-player in the U.S., you’d probably start looking for the people in grey to come and take him/her away.
And if that someone hung around long enough, they’d probably tell you this same London band ranked in the top 40 worldwide all-time best sellers in both categories. By then, you probably would throw up your hands and bellow, “Enough already. This is Madness!”
And you’d be right.
Still going strong, Madness, formed in 1976 as The North London Invaders, have done all of the above and more, though probably only remembered stateside as the group that rekindled memories of John Newland beckoning us “One Step Beyond.” Instrumental for most part, “One Step Beyond” became a major hit across Europe in 1979, introducing Madness to the U.K. top 10 at #7. And while the single proved a Stiff in the U.S., that was appropriate since its record label was Stiff. However, the accompanying video proved popular enough to make the “One Step Beyond” album one of just three Madness release to reach the Billboard Top 200. In the U.K., the disc’s #2 showing started Madness on its way.
The successor, “Absolutely,” also reached #2 in the U.K. and the group’s first five albums reached the U.K. top 10 through 1984. None of the band’s studio LPs missed the Brit top 20 and the two most recent, 2009’s “The Liberty of Norton Folgate” and 2012’s “Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da,” hit #5 and #10, respectively. The group also saw two compilations, 1982’s “Complete Madness” and 1992’s “Divine Madness” hit #1. “Our House,” released at the close of 1982, became the band’s lone major hit in the States, climbing to #7.
The inductees are: Chris Foreman (guitar); Mike Barson (keyboards); Lee Thompson (sax); Chas Smash (trumpet); Graham McPherson (lead vocals); Daniel Woodgate (drums) and Mike Bedford (bass).