By Phill Marder
This is the 43rd 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
421. JIM CROCE (with Maury Muehleisen)
This South Philly singer/songwriter was pushing 30 when he finally broke into the music business big time. By then, he had moved around the United States encountering different characters and starving artist jobs, most of which became fodder for the musical compositions that would make up his resume.
There was Jim, and you know you didn’t mess around with him. Superman? You could compliment him on his cape. Hey, he might even let you iron it. Just don’t tug on it…at least not while he’s wearing it. The Lone Ranger? Even Tonto didn’t fool around with his mask. Leroy Brown? Badder than old King Kong and meaner than a junkyard dog. But not badder than a jealous adversary, especially one in love with a Roller Derby Queen. There was Rapid Roy (the stock yard boy) who always had an extra pack of cigarettes rolled up in his tee shirt sleeve… except when he was working at the car wash. Croce seemed to have an endless supply of characters in his songs and audiences loved them.
While Croce never clicked in the U.K., most of his hits did well in other parts of Europe. But his home country and Canada were the locations of his main support from the time “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” hit U.S. #8 and Canada #4. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” topped the charts in both countries as did “Time In A Bottle.” “I Got A Name” and “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” both reached the top 10 in both countries and “Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)” was top 20 on both sides of the border. In Canada, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” and “Life and Times” topped the LP chart, the former also reaching #1 in the U.S. while the latter climbed to #7. The final LP, “I Got A Name,” reached #2 in both countries. “Photographs & Memories: His Greatest Hits” was released shortly after his untimely death, reaching #1 in Canada and #2 in the U.S.
Virtually unknown before the Spring of 1972, Croce suddenly became one of the biggest stars on the plant. Less than 18 months later, he was taken from us in a Louisiana plane crash.
Much like Cat Stevens rarely did anything musical without his sidekick Alun Davies, Croce seemed joined at the hip with guitarist Maury Muehleisen, who was by Croce’s side from 1970 until he too perished in that 1973 plane wreck. The two recorded and toured the world together for what must have seemed a whirlwind period, leaving us a wealth of musical treasures.
422. LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS
The Doo Wop Era produced great vocal groups galore, some already inducted into the Goldmine Hall of Fame. But many of these groups failed to sustain their success past the ‘50s, though their popularity with aficionados of the genre rarely wavered. One of the early giants of the age of golden vocal groups was this Brooklyn quintet, so talented that until just recently they remained a popular concert attraction across the United States.
Typical of most Doo Wop Era groups, the main outlet for the recordings of Little Anthony & the Imperials was the 45. And while many Doo Wop 45s, including some by Little Anthony & the Imperials, actually were not big sellers, some of the recordings have become classics over the years. But, unlike most Doo Wop groups, Little Anthony & the Imperials also sold LPs, four reaching the Billboard top sellers chart when the group got its second wind in the late ‘60s.
The group struck first in 1958 with one of the greatest all-time 45s which also ranks as one of the greatest two-sided singles. The main side was “Tears On My Pillow,” which rose to #4 on the Hot 100. The flip, “Two People In The World,” also became one of the Era’s best-loved ballads and, for a real treat, you can see the group perform it live, acapella, on YouTube. No instruments, no lip-synching, just four original members, each pushing 70, in one amazing performance. The follow-up, “So Much,” turned into another much-loved gem and equaled the debut’s #2 R&B showing, but failed to sell much as did the next couple efforts. In late 1959, the group switched gears, recording a rare uptempo number, “Shimmy, Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop,” which climbed to #24.
As the ‘50s ended, so did the success of Little Anthony & the Imperials, who appeared destined to live on only in the hearts of Doo Wop lovers. Anthony went his own way for awhile, but returned in 1963 as the group united with popular songwriter/producer Teddy Randazzo, who promptly provided them with a collection of classics. In the summer of 1964, a most unlikely time for a Doo Wop group to return to prominence considering the British Invasion was in full swing, “I’m On The Outside (Looking In)” announced the group’s successful return, rising to #15. As the year concluded, “Goin’ Out Of My Head” appeared, eventually soaring to #6 and its successor, “Hurt So Bad,” made it three straight smashes, landing at #10. “Take Me Back” added to the streak, climbing to #16 and “I Miss You So” finished 1965 as another top 40 hit.
The inductees are: Anthony Gourdine, Clarence Collins, Tracy Lord, Nathaniel Rogers, Ernest Wright and Sammy Strain, also previously inducted as a member of the O’Jays.
You need a scorecard to track down the many members of this British quartet. In fact, you need one just to keep track of the number of groups using some version of the name Sweet. Numerous formations came and went before what turned into the so-called “classic” lineup in 1970. Lead vocalist Brian Connolly, Steve Priest on bass and drummer Mick Tucker had been there since The Sweet’s actual forming in 1968, but the band didn’t take off until guitarist Andy Scott arrived two years later.
This lineup accounted for enough hit singles over the next eight years that Sweet stands in the top 20% of all singles sellers worldwide. Not that their albums were chopped liver. In that area, Sweet also ranks among world leaders as five studio LPs and one live LP finished in the top five somewhere around the globe. And while their albums often did not chart in their homeland, Sweet dominated the U.K. singles’ chart between 1971 and 1978 with 12 top 10 singles and another two that just missed at #11.
They had just one U.K. #1 with 1973’s “Blockbuster,” but five others peaked at #2, 1971’s “Co-Co,” 1973’s “Hell Raiser” and “The Ballroom Blitz,” 1974’s “Teenage Rampage” and 1975’s “Fox On The Run.” In Denmark, the band posted 10 straight #1 singles, the streak finally ending when 1974’s “Turn It Down” stopped at #2. The next year, “Fox On The Run” returned the group to the #1 slot.
“Little Willy” became the group’s first North American hit, climbing to #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 in Canada, Denmark and Germany. But the band’s U.S. success was sporadic and two following releases, “Wig Wam Bam” and “Block Buster!” didn’t even register stateside, though the two were part of a six-release streak of German #1s, “Block Buster!” also topping the U.K. chart. But Sweet was far from a one-hit wonder in the U.S., “The Ballroom Blitz” and “Fox On The Run” each reaching #5 and 1978’s “Love Is Like Oxygen” rising to #8.
424. ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK
This English quartet has been acclaimed by critics and fellow musicians and has posted #1 singles in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain. Their worldwide standing among singles and album sellers places them near the top 40 percent. But a cumbersome moniker and a somewhat intentional avoiding of the limelight has made Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, known by fans as simply OMD, one of Rock’s most underrated and under appreciated bands.
From their initial 1980 eponymous release, OMD drew praise and established itself as a leader in the synthpop movement that proved so popular during that decade. Still active, OMD also became noted as New Wave, electronic, post-punk, experimental and dance giants as they slid from one genre to another seamlessly. The first LP produced two singles that failed to make much of an imprint, but the third, “Messages,” rose to U.K. #13 and lifted the album to U.K. #27. Later that year, the group issued “Organisation,” which climbed to U.K. #6 and yielded the #8 U.K. single “Enola Gay.” Not issued in the U.S., “Organisation” nevertheless became a triumph across Europe and in New Zealand. It also began a string of nine straight OMD LPs to reach the U.K. top 15.
Now firmly established, OMD released “Architecture & Morality,” which delivered three top five U.K. singles, “Souvenir,” “Joan Of Ark” and its most successful single, “Maid Of Orleans (The Waltz Joan Of Arc),” which topped charts in Holland, Belgium and Germany. The LP climbed to U.K. #3 and today is often included on various lists of all-time great albums although the first receptions were often negative. Meanwhile, the band remained virtual unknowns in the U.S., save a couple minor dance hits. But in 1985 that began to change as “So In Love” climbed to #26 on the U.S. Hot 100. The next year, “If You Leave” was the opening track of the soundtrack for the popular film “Pretty In Pink,” peaking at U.S. #4. Twice more, with 1986’s “(Forever) Live & Die” and 1988’s “Dreaming,” OMD reached the U.S. top 20 while in 1991 “Pandora’ Box (It’s A Long, Long Way)” and “Sailing On The Seven Seas” were major dance hits in the U.S., each cracking the U.K. top 10 as well.
The inductees are: Paul Humphreys (keyboards); Andy McCluskey (bass); Malcolm Holmes (drums) and Martin Cooper (sax). Humphreys and McCluskey were the vocalists, while Cooper and McCluskey also contributed keyboard work on occasion.
425. 38 SPECIAL
There have been quite a few great bands falling under the Southern Rock category. But few hit singles have emerged from that group, the bands’ resumes being dotted with best-selling albums and concert sell-outs. But this Jacksonville, Florida aggregation, numbering anywhere from six to nine members at a time, was the exception, selling not only LPs and concert tickets, but a great amount of singles as well.
It took awhile, though, as the band’s first two albums, 1977’s “38 Special” and 1978’s “Special Delivery” had little chart impact. The third, however, upped the spotlight on the group as the title track, “Rockin’ Into The Night,” just missed the top 40, helping to lift the LP to #57 in 1980. The band then displayed its versatility, unleashing a series of hook-laden singles while still retaining the sound and feel of Southern Rock. “Hold On Loosely” signaled the change in 1981, becoming the band’s first bonafide hit reaching #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as #3 on the U.S. Mainstream chart, which measures the most airplay on Mainstream Rock stations, those being stations that play a mix of new and classic Rock. The parent LP, “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys,” rose to U.S. #18.
The next year, “Special Forces” became the band’s first and only top 10 album, with the lead track, “Caught Up In You,” matching the LPs #10 peak while also topping the Mainstream chart. Two subsequent releases also entered the Mainstream top 10. In 1984, “Tour de Force” peaked at #22 on the LP chart, but produced two top 20 singles, “If I’d Been The One” reaching #19 in addition to topping the Mainstream list. “Back Where You Belong” followed, peaking at #20 on the Hot 100. The 1984 hit movie, “Teachers,” featured a star-laden soundtrack album, and 38 Special had the honor of the leadoff track, “Teacher, Teacher” climbing to #25. In 1986, “Like No Other Night” rose to #14, helping the parent LP, “Strength In Numbers,” peak at #17.
While remaining a Mainstream Radio favorite, 38 Special started to fade as a hit maker until 1989, when the aptly named “Second Chance” became the band’s highest-charting single at #6.
The inductees are: Donnie Van Zant (lead vocals); Don Barnes (guitar & lead vocals); Jeff Carlisi & Danny Chauncey (guitars); Larry Junstrom (bass); Jack Grondin & Steve Brookins (drums); Terry Emery (percussion); Max Carl (keyboards & lead vocals) and Carol Bristow & Lu Moss (background vocals).
Jim Peterik is a name not spoken often, if at all, in most households. Yet he has been largely responsible for the existence of two bands of note as well as a slew of hit songs recorded by those groups and others, the above 38 Special, for instance. Peterik was the composer and voice on the Terry Kath Chicago soundalike, “Vehicle,” which propelled another Chicago group, The Ides of March, to a #2 finish on the Billboard Hot 100.
But Peterik’s band was unable to duplicate anything resembling that success, and the keyboard/guitarist set about founding the group that eventually evolved into Survivor, one of the most heard bands in history thanks to “The Eye Of The Tiger,” the theme for the hit movie Rocky III. That single, penned by Peterik and guitarist Frankie Sullivan, topped the charts in the U.S. and U.K., Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Norway and South Africa, plus just missing in many other countries.
Though remembered largely for that mammoth hit, Survivor was far from a one-hit wonder, notching four more top 10 hits over the next four years, all composed by Peterik and Sullivan. The biggest, “Burning Heart,” pulled from the Rocky IV soundtrack, topped off at U.S. #2 in 1985 and was Europe’s biggest single for a spell, topping charts in Switzerland and Belgium. Earlier that year, “High On You” climbed to U.S. #8 and “The Search Is Over” reached U.S. #4, and in 1986 “Is This Love” rose to U.S. #9.
The inductees are: Frankie Sullivan (guitar); Jim Peterik (keyboards, guitar & vocals); Stephan Ellis (bass); Marc Droubay (drums) and Dave Bickler & Jimi Jamison (lead vocals).
427. TAYLOR DAYNE
When your first single lands in the top 10 of every nation keeping track of such matters and earns a Grammy nomination, too, you’ve set the bar pretty high. This New York singer/songwriter/actress did just that, but has managed to equal or eclipse her debut in a career that continues full-steam ahead as of this induction.
That 1987 single, “Tell It To My Heart,” took Taylor Dayne to #1 in Holland, Switzerland and Germany and proved a top 10 smash across Europe as well as North America, going to U.S. #7 and #9 in Canada. While Dayne’s debut made her a dance floor favorite, its successor, “Prove Your Love,” did even better, soaring to #1 on the U.S. Dance Chart. It equaled Dayne’s peak on the U.S. Hot 100, reaching #7, and proved another European smash. After two big dance floor hits, Dayne switched direction with her third single, the ballad “I’ll Always Love You.” While falling short of its predecessors’ success in Europe, the single climbed to #3 in the U.S. and one notch higher on the Adult Contemporary (Easy Listening) chart. It also proved a sizeable hit in Japan. The fourth single issued from Dayne’s debut LP “Tell It To My Heart” returned her to the dance floor, “Don’t Rush Me” reaching #2 on the Hot 100. The four hits helped Dayne’s first album reach U.S. #21.
Her second album, 1989’s “Can’t Fight Fate,” also produced four hit singles in the States, the #5 “Every Beat Of My Heart,” #4 “I’ll Be Your Shelter,” #12 “Heart Of Stone” and Dayne’s lone U.S. #1, “Love Will Lead You Back,” which just missed the Canadian top spot as well, stalling at #2. It also climbed to #3 in Japan and #9 in France. The LP rose to #7 in Australia and #25 in the U.S.
There was a long pause before Dayne’s third long-player, 1993’s “Soul Dancing,” but her Australian popularity didn’t wane a bit as the album peaked at #2 as did its lead single, “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love.” The single also peaked at #2 on the U.S. dance chart and #20 on the Hot 100. Dayne’s mainstream success was at an end, but her dominance of the dance chart went unabated as she scored 10 more top 10 singles through 2011, including two chart-toppers, 2000’s “Planet Love” and 2007’s “Beautiful.”
428. HARRY CONNICK JR.
At last count, this New Orleans man of many talents has had more #1 albums on the Billboard Jazz Charts than any other artist. And his latest release, “Every Man Should Know,” is showing every sign of increasing Harry Connick Jr.’s total, which stood at a dozen as 2013 drew to a close.
While Jazz records sell much less than mainstream hits and rarely produce hit singles, this keyboard/vocalist has become one of the top selling male artists of all-time, many of his long-players going platinum. In addition, Connick’s sales figures have extended to Europe, where he also enjoys a frequent residency in the best-sellers charts. Enhancing his market, Connick also has starred in movies and on Broadway and currently sits as a judge on the popular TV show American Idol.
Connick was starting to make a splash when his first largely vocal LP, “20,” began making inroads in 1988, leading to his big break. When director Rob Reiner gave him the task of working on the soundtrack for the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” Connick didn’t disappoint. The movie became a smash as did Connick’s soundtrack, which became his first #1 on the Jazz chart, peaking at #42 on the Billboard Top 200 LP chart. The next three years saw Connick rack up a #1 Jazz LP each year, with all three climbing into the top 25 on the big chart. In 1993, “When My Heart Finds Christmas” missed the Jazz list but came in as Connick’s highest-charting release to that date at #13. The next year, his New Orleans funk release “She” also missed the Jazz chart, but came in at #16 overall. Another funk release, 1996’s “Star Turtle,” also went top 40, but in 1997 Connick returned to the Jazz market.
Starting with that year’s #1 “To See You,” Connick ran off 10 straight top three Jazz recordings, eight hitting #1. Two, 2004’s “Only You” and 2009’s “Your Songs,” became his first top 10 entries on the top 200 as well, “Only You” also reaching #6 in the U.K. Between 1990 and 2007, he added four all-instrumental LPs that hit the Jazz top five.
429. THE CHORDETTES
As 1955, the beginning year of our survey, opened, this group of four females sat atop the three main record charts in existence. Those surveys ranked most airplay, most jukebox play and sales in stores. Their hit, “Mr. Sandman,” went on to become an all-time classic still popular today. And it got The Chordettes off and running on a career that eventually led to this spot in the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Hailing from Wisconsin is not the quickest path to music fame, the state being more noted for dairy products and, with apologies to fans of the Brewers and Bucks, the Green Bay Packers. But a few stars have emerged, Liberace, Les Paul, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller and, of course, Goldmine Magazine, for example. The Chordettes, centered in Shaboygan, stand right in the middle of that state’s top musical exports. Coming from Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts radio program, The Chordettes used that experience and exposure and a background in barbershop quartet harmonizing to produce an instantly recognizable sound that proved popular long after “Mr. Sandman’s” chart run ended. When the present tabulations are totaled, The Chordettes rank in the top 75% of the all-time worldwide singles sellers.
They even had a second classic to rival “Mr. Sandman,” which also hit #1 in Australia and just missed the top 10 in the U.K. That came about in 1958 when “Lollipop” hit #1 in Canada, #6 in the U.K. (behind a version by the Mudlarks, which hit #2), and #2 on the U.S. list, blocked from the top spot by The Champs’ “Tequila.” The group also had top 10 hits with “Born To Be With You,” which hit #5 U.S. and #8 U.K. in 1956, and “Just Between You & Me,” which climbed to U.S. #8 the next year. Other hits included “Eddie My Love,” which battled The Teen Queens’ original in 1956, each version peaking at #14, “Lay Down Your Arms,” #16 the same year, “Zorro,” #17 in 1958 and “Never On Sunday,” #13 in 1961.
The inductees are: Janet Ertel, Lynn Evans, Margie Needham and Carol Buschmann.
430. THE DELLS
The careers of above inductee Little Anthony & the Imperials and this Illinois vocal group were remarkably similar. Both turned out doo wop classics in the ‘50s, vanished for a spell, then returned stronger than ever when least expected, smack dab in the peak of the British Invasion.
The Dells were somewhat different, though, in that their ‘50’s tour de force never made the national charts, while Little Anthony & the Imperials had several tracks score well on the Hot 100. The Dells’ “Oh What A Nite” did, however, climb to #4 on the U.S. Rhythm & Blues list. Working steadily, sometimes as Dinah Washington’s backup group, the Dells evolved into a Soul powerhouse by the mid ‘60s. However, they still required multiple efforts to achieve success with most of their hits, “Oh What A Nite” included. For instance, 1965 saw the group’s resurgence when their release of “Stay In My Corner” rose to #23 R&B, their first success in seven years. Four years later, a re-recorded version became The Dells’ biggest success, topping the R&B chart while climbing to #10 on the Hot 100.
“Oh, What A Night” also was redone, even changing the title. A comma was inserted after “Oh” and the final word was spelled “Night” instead of “Nite,” the spelling present on the original Vee-Jay 45s & 78s. The 1969 version matched the chart finishes of “Stay In My Corner.” “There Is” vaulted The Dells into the mainstream, the initial single from the LP of the same name rising to #20 on the Hot 100, while the LP peaked at #29. “Wear It On Our Face,” which followed “There Is” and “Stay In My Corner” in the LPs running order, also was a moderate hit. The group finished with 10 singles in the R&B top 10 and proved steady visitors to the best-selling LP charts.
With a remarkably stable lineup, The Dells remained a popular concert attraction until 2012. The inductees are: Johnny Funches; Marvin Junior; Johnny Carter; Verne Allison; Mickey McGill and Chuck Barksdale.