Goldmine’s Hall of Fame Inductees – Volume 52

This is the 52nd 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

Nine Inch Nails - Demos & Remixes - Front

486. NINE INCH NAILS

Cleveland, Ohio’s Trent Reznor just recently became eligible for the Goldmine Hall of Fame. His selection is a no-brainer as Reznor, under his flagship Nine Inch Nails, has become one of the most successful artists of the last 25 years. And Reznor is one of those rare talents acquiring popularity and critical acclaim in virtually equal proportions.

While Nine Inch Nails has placed just one single – 1999’s #17 “The Day The World Went Away” – inside Billboard’s top 20, Reznor singles have dominated Billboard’s Alternative chart, nine reaching the top 20 with 2005’s “The Hand That Feeds” and “Only,” 2006’s “Every Day Is Exactly The Same” and 2007’s “Survivalism” all hitting #1. All but “Only” also topped the Canadian chart as did 1999’s “The Day The World Went Away” as Nine Inch Nails pushed into the list of top worldwide singles sellers.

On the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, Reznor has seen all eight of his studio releases score well, 1989’s debut, “Pretty Hate Machine” starting his run with a #75 peak. The next effort, “The Downward Spiral” was not released until 1994, but soared to U.S. #2 and became his first U.K. top 10 success, topping off at #9. Another five-year wait came before “Fragile” became Nine Inch Nail’s first U.S. #1. It also just missed, finishing #2 in Australia and Canada and also reached the top 10 in Finland, Norway and the U.K. “With Teeth” didn’t appear until 2005, but again Reznor topped the U.S. chart and just missed in Canada, again stopping at #2. This release also became Nine Inch Nail’s highest charting effort in the U.K. to that point, peaking at #3, and went top 10 around the globe. Since, he has placed “Year Zero” at U.S. #2 in 2007 and “Hesitation Marks” at U.S. #3 in 2013.

Nine Inch Nails has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning twice. Reznor has used different studio musicians in recordings and in live performances, while playing most instruments himself when recording.

487. TRAVIS TRITT

Another newly eligible inductee is this Georgia vocalist whose recordings have topped Country charts for the last 25 years. But like many of today’s Country stars, Travis Tritt’s catalog also has had more than a subtle hint of Rock & Roll mixed in.

Tritt’s first contract, signed with Warner Brothers, reportedly gave him the opportunity to record six numbers, with three being released as singles. If he had a hit, only then would he get the opportunity to record a full album. No problem there as his first three singles reached the U.S. Country top 10, the second, “Help Me Hold On,” reaching #1 in the States and Canada. The third, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody,” also topped the Canadian list, while falling just short at #2 in the U.S. The resulting album, 1990’s “Country Club,” became the first of five straight Tritt long-players (discounting a Christmas LP in 1992) to reach the top 10 on the U.S. Country chart, peaking at #3. It also reached #70 on the Billboard Top 200 LP list and the industry trade Bible named him Top New Male Artist.

After the first LP, the next four also hit the Canadian top 10 and three reached the top 30 on Billboard’s mainstream chart. It was a tough act to follow, but Tritt was up to the task. To date, he has notched 19 top 10 Country records, with five topping the U.S. Country chart. Ten of his albums have graced the U.S. Country top 10. He also has established a regular residency in the Canadian top 10 with six #1 singles.

Tritt has won many awards, including two Grammy Awards, the first for his collaboration with Marty Stuart on “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’,” the second for “Same Old Train,” which featured several artists. Both awards were for “Best Country Collaboration With Vocals.” Other collaborations have seen him join forces with rockers George Thorogood, John Mellencamp and Little Feat. He also has regularly appeared on TV and in movies.

488. LES PAUL & MARY FORD

One artist truly deserving of the description “influential” is this Wisconsin guitarist whose many recording innovations led to his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He wasn’t the first to build a solid-body electric guitar, but his name was used to endorse Gibson’s Les Paul which became and remains one of the world’s most revered models. His work in multi-tracking enabled him to record his playing and the vocals of his then wife, Mary Ford, leading to the duo becoming one of the top recording acts of the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, some efforts being Paul instrumentals, some with Ford vocals. The guitarist was featured on the 1945 #1, “It’s Been A Long, Long Time,” billed as Bing Crosby with Les Paul & His Trio. The next year, “Rumors Are Flying” by Paul and the Andrews Sisters climbed to #4, Paul’s work with the trio providing the impetus for triple-tracking Ford’s vocals to emulate the sound of the sisters.

Paul’s guitar virtuosity and his unique recording techniques made the pair permanent residents on the nation’s hit parade and they began the Rock & Roll Era with “Hummingbird,” which climbed to #7 in 1955, the first year of our survey. The LP, “Les & Mary,” which featured 10 vocals by Ford and six instrumentals by Paul, also climbed to #10 that year. While the onslaught of Rock slowed the pair’s success rate, they still managed four more top 40 entries from 1955 until 1961.

Ford and Paul divorced in 1963, effectively ending their recording career, but Paul continued making live appearances until his death in August 2009 at age 94. The same month, Time Magazine named him one of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time.

489. FRANKIE VALLI

Many great falsetto voices have graced the radio waves since 1955. Perhaps none have been as recognizable or as successful as Frankie Valli. Previously inducted into the Goldmine Hall of Fame as a member of The Four Seasons, Valli joins a select group of Miners with multiple inductions, his solo career being of Hall of Fame caliber as well.

Valli took a route not often traveled when it came time to establish his solo career in 1965. While most group artists to that point “went solo” by leaving the group behind – Dion, Jerry Butler and Len Barry for example – Valli remained the lead voice of the still highly successful Four Seasons, at the same time having hits on his own. In fact, in 1965 he also had a hit as a member of the thinly veiled Seasons using the moniker The Wonder Who?.

Ironically, 1965 began with Valli’s version of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” garnering little interest, while a carbon copy by The Walker Brothers became a major hit. The next year saw several Valli offerings picking up minor chart action while the Seasons continued to notch hit after hit in the face of the British Invasion. But 1967 saw Valli connect with the now-classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” which soared to U.S. #2 and became a worldwide smash. While both his group efforts and Valli’s solo releases continued to chart, he was unable to match that success…until 1974, that is.

That year saw “My Eyes Adored You” hit #1 in the U.S., #2 in Canada and #5 in the U.K. The next year, his disco offering “Swearin’ To God” rose to U.S. #6 and #8 in both Canada and France and his remake of Ruby & the Romantics’ “Our Day Will Come” just missed the U.S. top 10. In 1978, Valli returned to U.S. #1, hit #1 in Canada and posted a worldwide top 10 effort with his treatment of the title song from “Grease.”

Now 80, Valli, showing no signs of slowing down, remains a popular concert attraction.

490. JOAN BAEZ

The Folk Era produced many famous groups – The Kingston Trio, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, The New Christy Minstrels, Ian & Sylvia, The Limeliters and more – and a comparable number of male solo stars – Bob Dylan, Tom Rush, Phil Ochs, etc.

The females held their own, too, led by Joan Baez, who was dubbed “The Queen of Folk.” Baez was so prominent she finished the opening round of performances at Woodstock, following another folk star, Arlo Guthrie, and the unique Melanie. Known primarily as an interpreter of others’ material, Baez introduced Dylan to the masses, bringing him along on a concert tour. Baez would bring the virtually unknown troubadour out to sing a few originals and the rest, of course, was history.

Born in New York City of a Mexican father and Scottish mother, Baez saw her initial album, simply titled “Joan Baez,” follow her 1959 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. It served as a fine introduction, but was not a best seller…at least, not originally. After her second LP, “Joan Baez, Vol. 2” hit the charts at the close of 1961 and eventually climbed to U.S. #13, the debut became a best seller, too, rising to U.S. #15. Two concert efforts followed, each reaching the U.S. top 10, establishing Baez as the premier female on the Folk scene. By the close of 1966, she had added three more best-sellers, “Joan Baez/5,” “Farewell, Angelina” and the Christmas collection, “Noel.” She also became a major seller in the U.K., many of her LPs and EPs entering the top 10, including the 1966 EP “With God On Our Side,” which reached #1.

In addition, Baez notched two top 10 singles in the U.K., “There But For Fortune” reaching #8 in 1965 and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” climbing to #6 in 1971 while it hit #3 in the U.S. She continued as a best-selling album artist through the ‘70s, her “Diamonds & Rust” reaching #11 in 1975.

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