This is the 48th set of selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 5 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
466. RAY CONNIFF
The Rock & Roll Era (1955-present) had a lot of music giants who had nothing to do with Rock & Roll. Several – Goldmine Hall of Fame inductees Billy Vaughn, Mantovani and Percy Faith, for instance -led orchestras and choruses that recorded few hit singles, but instead focused on the album format and mostly older listeners who favor their listening on the soft side. Add this Massachusetts trombonist to the list and to Goldmine’s HOF.
Ray Conniff had just one hit single during his career, 1966’s “Somewhere My Love,” which reached #9 on the Hot 100. The music actually was “Lara’s Theme” from the hit movie Dr. Zhivago. When lyrics were added, the composition was offered to Connie Francis, but she rejected it supposedly because the lyrics were “too corny.” She changed her mind later and her version became one of her top international hits, but Conniff held sway in the U.S. The host album of the same name became Conniff’s highest charting on Billboard’s Top 200, reaching #3. Conniff did play a huge role in several other hit singles, however, his orchestra and chorus backing Marty Robbins, Johnnie Ray, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Laine and more on several top sellers.
By that time, Conniff already was one of the best-selling album artists, not just in the U.S., but around the world. His chart run began in 1957 and ended in 1973. When the smoke cleared, Conniff was near the top 10 in album artists via Billboard. By the time “Somewhere My Love” connected, Conniff already had placed 30 albums on the Billboard Top 200, 11 reaching the top 10. And, his first to chart, 1957’s “’S Wonderful!,” just missed, stopping at #11.
Conniff finished with 53 albums that reached the Billboard list. His success stretched overseas, with 12 albums reaching the U.K. top 40, topped by 1969’s “His Orchestra, His Chorus, His Singers, His Sound,” which reached #1. He passed away in 2002 at age 85.
467. PERCY SLEDGE
This Alabama-born vocalist is often derided as a “one-hit wonder,” but that classification is somewhat of a misnomer. While listeners would be hard-pressed to name more than one hit, and his position in the Goldmine Hall of Fame owes more to the praise of critics than record sales, Percy Sledge fired more than one bullet. On the contrary, he had enough ammunition to wind up on the list of worldwide best sellers of singles.
Sledge’s biggest problem was how to follow his first single, the revered classic “When A Man Loves A Woman.” He found a solution in England, where the recording reached #4. In 1987, 21 years after its first chart run, “When A Man Loves A Woman” was released again, this time climbing to #2. Ironically, it was kept from the top spot by another re-release of a ‘60s classic, Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” But it did hit #1 in the U.S. and Canada and Sledge’s album of the same name reached #37 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. He had other charting LPs, but none that came close to cracking the top 100. But after the single became a hit for the second time in England, a hits collection entitled “When A Man Loves A Woman (The Ultimate Collection)” reached #36 there.
While nowhere near the success of his debut, Sledge’s follow-up, “Warm and Tender Love,” still qualifies as a second major hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 in Canada. A third 1966 release, “It Tears Me Up,” also reached major hit status, climbing to #20 U.S. and #12 Canada. All three reached the top 10 of the U.S. Rhythm & Blues chart. After a 1967 filled with minor chart entries, Sledge started 1968 with “Take Time To Know Her,” which returned him to the upper echelon of the charts, coming in at #11 in the U.S. (#6 R&B), while boasting top 10 finishes in Canada and the Netherlands, where Sledge’s 1969 offering, “My Special Prayer” hit #1 while barely registering in the States. It also reached the top 10 in Flanders, Belgium and South Africa.
Sledge returned to the R&B chart in 1974 with “I’ll Be Your Everything” reaching #15 and in 1996 his LP, “Blue Night,” received the Blues Music Award for “Best Soul/Blues Album” of the year.
468. HOT CHOCOLATE
Coming out of London, this aggregation reportedly holds the distinct honor of being the only group to have a hit single in the U.K. every year of the ‘70s. Only two solo artists did it, Goldmine Hall of Fame members Elvis and Diana Ross. But Hot Chocolate’s success didn’t end when the decade did. The band continued with hits through 1984, missing only in 1981. As a result, Hot Chocolate today ranks in the top 40% of all singles sellers worldwide and doesn’t fall behind much on the list of all-time album sellers.
The British streak started with 1970’s “Love Is Life,” which peaked at #6 and also scored in France at #4. The next year, the band connected again with “I Believe (In Love),” which rose to #8 in the U.K. and #10 South Africa. They missed the top 10 in 1972, but reached #23 with “You’ll Always Be A Friend,” but stormed back in 1973 when “Brother Louie” climbed to #1 in France and #7 in the U.K. It also hit #1 in the U.S., but not by Hot Chocolate. Instead, Stories did it as one of their rare covers and it paid off. It also brought attention stateside to Hot Chocolate, whose next effort, 1974’s “Emma,” became their first U.S. hit, reaching #8. It also became the band’s biggest U.K. hit to that point, peaking at #3, and reached the top 10 in Holland, Belgium, South Africa and France.
The next year, Hot Chocolate had three hits, the third being their biggest yet, “You Sexy Thing,” which reached #2 in the U.K., #3 in the U.S and #8 in Canada. A top 10 hit across Europe, “You Sexy Thing” became a top 10 U.K. hit again in 1987 and a third time in 1997! In 1977, the band had its first U.K. #1 with “So You Win Again,” which, again, proved a top 10 smash worldwide. But it fell far short in the U.S., stopping at #31. Ironically, 1978’s “Every 1’s A Winner” returned the group to the North American top 10s, reaching U.S. #6 and Canadian #8, without entering the U.K. top 10. By 1983, Hot Chocolate had connected with four more top 10 singles, not including the remixes of “You Sexy Thing,” but including 1980’s “No Doubt About It,” which reached U.K. #2.
As testament to its popularity, Hot Chocolate saw two different “best of” LPs hit U.K. #1, one in 1987, the second in 1993, and several of their tracks have popped up in movie scores.
The inductees are: Errol Brown (vocals); Tony Wilson (bass & vocals); Harvey Hinsley (guitar); Larry Ferguson (keyboards); Patrick Olive (percussion & bass); and Tony Connor (drums).
469. THE OFFSPRING
The similarities between Green Day and The Offspring are striking. Both are/were Punk bands. Both hailed from California. Both released first recordings about the same time. And both became major sellers in the album market, again around the same time. The major differences are that Green Day’s lineup remained stable throughout most of its career, while The Offspring was more typical of Rock bands, the personnel changing rather often. The second biggest difference is that Green Day became a major factor in the mainstream market with several top selling singles, while The Offspring has yet to connect with a top charting single in its homeland.
The eponymous first LP released in 1989 included the group’s first single released in 1986, “I’ll Be Waiting.” Neither had chart impact, and the band’s next long player, “Ignition,” wasn’t released until more than three years later, though the band did put out an EP, “Baghdad,” in 1991. Again, chart impact was minimal, but the band’s following was growing and shortly after Green Day’s “Dookie” became that band’s breakthrough, The Offspring connected with 1994’s “Smash,” which was just that. But while Green Day’s effort was released on major label Reprise, The Offspring remained on Epitaph, the album becoming the biggest selling release by an independent label. “Smash” climbed to #4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, reached #21 in the U.K., topped the Australian list and finished top 10 in most European countries.
But while three “Smash” singles reached top 10 on the U.S. Alternative chart, “Come Out and Play” reaching the top, and “Self Esteem” reached #1 in Sweden and Switzerland, the band remained without a hit single on the U.S. and U.K. mainstream charts. That problem was solved partially in 1999 when “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” topped singles charts in the U.K., Japan, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Norway and Sweden and the follow-up “Why Don’t You Get A Job” finished #1 in Poland and #2 in the U.K. The next year “Original Prankster” added another country to The Offspring’s conquerings, reaching #1 in Spain. It also came in at #2 in Japan and #6 in the U.K. While The Offspring has yet to produce a hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the band currently has placed 16 singles on Billboard’s Alternative Track top 10, including three #1s. Four of the five albums following “Smash” have reached top 10 status, 1998’s “Americana” coming in at #2 while topping charts in Australia, Austria, New Zealand and Sweden. As of this writing, The Offspring ranks in the top 40% of singles sellers and in the top 25% of all album sellers, worldwide.
The inductees are: Dexter Holland (vocals & guitar); Kevin John “Noodles” Wasserman (lead guitar); Gregory Kriesel (bass) and Ron Welty (drums).
470. THE TURTLES
One of the more fascinating aspects of music history is discovering that a song now considered a classic favorite had been recorded without commercial success or rejected outright by numerous artists prior to connecting with the artist who made it famous. Consider how the fortunes of the Vogues, the Happenings or the Tokens would have changed if they had recorded “Happy Together,” a Gary Bonner/Alan Gordon composition reportedly turned down by all three. Today, “Happy Together” has been recorded by countless artists, has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies and has been named one of the most performed songs of the 20th Century.
Naturally, it also became the signature song of the band that gave it a chance and made it famous, The Turtles. Based in Los Angeles, the Turtles released the classic in 1967, knocking the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” out of the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 where it remained three weeks before being unseated by the Sinatra’s duet on “Somethin’ Stupid.” “Happy Together” was a worldwide hit, climbing to #3 in Canada and #12 in the U.K. But the Turtles were far from a one-hit wonder. On the contrary, they rank in the top 75% of all singles sellers worldwide.
The group followed the lead of the Byrds, at first calling themselves the Tyrtles, a spelling they quickly abandoned. Their first hit, “It Ain’t Me Babe,” borrowed from Bob Dylan’s portfolio as the Byrds had done with their first two hits “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “All I Really Want To Do.” It put the Turtles smack dab into the center of the American response to the British Invasion, climbing to #8 in the U.S. “Let Me Be” and “You Baby,” a couple of P.F. Sloan offerings, the second with Steve Barri, kept the Turtles on the air, each making the U.S. top 30. After “Happy Together” the group followed with “She’d Rather Be With Me,” which hit #3 U.S., #2 in Canada and #4 in the U.K., their highest-charting single there. It also lifted the “Happy Together” album to #18 in the U.K. and #25 in the U.S. Later in 1967, the band connected twice more with U.S. #12 “You Know What I Mean” and U.S. #14 “She’s My Girl.”
But the Turtles were far from finished. As 1968 closed, the band wrote and released “Elenore” in response to their record labels’ constant badgering to record another “Happy Together.” Intended only as a joke, it, of course, became a mammoth hit, climbing to #1 in New Zealand and U.S. #6, a finish it matched in Canada and South Africa, #7 U.K. and #8 in Australia. The following year started with another blockbuster, “You Showed Me,” which matched “Elenore’s” #6 peak in the U.S. and hit #5 in France. Ironically, The Byrds’ connection wound up book-ending the Turtles’ run as hit makers, “You Showed Me” being written by Byrds Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark.
The inductees are: Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan (vocals); Al Nichol (guitar); Don Murray & John Barbata (drums) and Jim Pons (bass).