This is the 57th 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
511. JOE SIMON –
When this Louisiana vocalist issued his last charting single, “Are We Breaking Up,” he could have been referring to his music industry career. For, much like Little Richard, Joe Simon gave up a very successful life as a top-selling singer to become a preacher. However, unlike Richard, Simon stayed away from his previous life as a performer.
Simon’s status as hit-maker began in 1964 and continued until that final 1981 charter. During that period, Simon posted 40 top 40 hits on the U.S. R&B charts, including three #1s. While not a major force on the mainstream Billboard Hot 100, Simon still managed to place eight singles in the top 40, spreading them out over a seven-year stretch from 1968 until 1975, guaranteeing Simon’s name (and voice) would remain in the public conscience.
By the time 1968’s “(You Keep Me) Hangin’ On” established him on the Hot 100 with a #25 finish and a #22 peak in Canada, Simon already had placed five previous entries into the R&B top 25. The next year, Simon garnered his first R&B #1 with “The Chokin’ Kind,” which also climbed to #13 on the Hot 100 and #17 in Canada. His next major mainstream success came in 1972 with “Drowning In The Sea Of Love.” It didn’t top the R&B chart, stopping at #3, but gave Simon his highest-charting hit on the Hot 100 to that point, peaking at #11. Later that year, Simon repeated the finish with “Power Of Love,” but that did become his second #1 on the R&B listings.
Simon’s theme for the movie “Cleopatra Jones” provided another major score, reaching #18 mainstream and #3 R&B in 1973. Two years later, Simon posted his biggest hit, “Get Down, Get Down (Get On The Floor),” which became yet another R&B #1 and also finished as his lone entry in the top 10 of the Hot 100, peaking at #8.
512. JOE TEX –
This Texas-born vocalist was the epitome of perseverance. For the first 10 years of his career (from 1955 to 1964), he released single after single only to see miss after miss. Finally, he connected at the most improbable time – smack dab in the heart of the British Invasion beginnings. By that time, two major labels, King and Parrot, had written him off, releasing “best of” collections in spite of a lack of hits.
It took a signing with Atlantic to jump start Tex’s success, and that came with 1964’s “Hold What You Got.” With this release, Joe Tex finally broke through, the single climbing to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 while going all the way to the top of the R&B charts. Four of his next six singles reached the R&B top 20, and at the close of 1965 Tex notched a second #1 on the R&B list with “I Want To (Do Everything For You).” He started the next year with another R&B #1 as “A Sweet Woman Like You” hit the top and just missed making it three straight when “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own).”
While Tex continued to hit the R&B top 10 with regularity, he didn’t have another mainstream smash until 1967 when “Skinny Legs & All” hit #10 while topping off at #2 R&B. But earlier that year, he released “Show Me” which, while not a major chart success, became a popular club favorite. From that year until 1972, Tex’s success on the R&B list was more sporadic and he all but disappeared from the mainstream airways. But in 1972, Tex scored his biggest success with “I Gotcha,” a #2 score on the Hot 100 and a chart-topper on the R&B list.
It took four more years and a “retirement” before Tex hit again with 1976’s “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman,” which returned him to the R&B top 10 (#7) and the Billboard top 20 (#12) as well as becoming his lone British hit (#2). Tex, often cited as an early forerunner of the Rap scene, died after a heart attack in 1982. He was just 47.
513. JR. WALKER & THE ALL STARS
A main ingredient in the success of Motown was the instantly recognizable talents. When Diana Ross’ voice came through your car speakers, there was no mistaking a Supremes’ record was being played. One didn’t need a DJ to identify a Four Tops’ offering. There was no doubting the source as soon as Levi Stubbs began singing. Same thing with the Temptations and their two-gun salvo featuring David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks. If you couldn’t instantly pick out Stevie Wonder’s voice, his harmonica was unmistakable.
Another whose sound could easily be picked out by even the most casual listeners was the wailing sax of Junior Walker, who, with his All Stars, provided a steady stream of hit singles and albums from 1965 until 1972. After a few failed singles, including the excellent instrumental, “Cleo’s Mood,” Walker and his cohorts blasted – literally – into the upper echelon of the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts with a Walker composition, “Shotgun.” The driving single soared to #4 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B listing.
It took the band three years to get its next top 10 hit, but the Hot 100 saw a steady stream of Jr. Walker & the All Stars hits, many of which climbed into the R&B top 10. “Do The Boomerang,” “Shake & Fingerpop,” “Cleo’s Back,’ “(I’m A) Road Runner,” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” all reached the R&B top 10 and a re-issued “Cleo’s Mood” came close. The band also broke the European market, several singles reaching the U.K. top 20. In 1967, “Shoot Your Shot” slowed the band’s momentum, probably because most fans already owned it as the B-side of “Road Runner.”
But the next effort, a remake of the Supremes’ “Come See About Me,” returned Walker and band to the R&B top 10 and, following another R&B top 10 entry, “Hip City,” the group equaled its success with “Shotgun”, by topping the R&B list and reaching #4 on the Hot 100 with 1969’s “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love).” A cover of the Guess Who’s “These Eyes,” “Gotta Hold On To This Feeling” and “Do You See My Love (For You Growing) followed, all reaching the R&B top three and “Walk In The Night” reached that chart’s top 10 in 1972.
Joining Walker as inductees are guitarist Willie Woods, organist Vic Thomas and drummers James Graves, killed in a 1967 car crash, and Billy Nicks.
514. LOBO –
Florida’s Roland Kent LaVoie became famous under his alias, Lobo, which is Spanish for wolf. But Lobo did anything but howl on his recordings, instead becoming a mainstay on Easy Listening radio and a major force on the record charts, not just in the United States, but worldwide.
With his early musical experience including associations with the likes of Graham Parsons and Jim Stafford, Lobo was off to a good start. Still, he had to travel through the almost obligatory array of local bands before striking out on his own with his new moniker. His first solo record had no impact, but in 1971 his “Me and You and A Dog Named Boo” made Lobo a best seller. On Billboard’s Hot 100, Lobo’s effort climbed to #5, but it did even better overseas, reaching #1 in New Zealand and France, where the flip side, “She Didn’t Do Magic,” hit #2, and #4 in the U.K. Norway, Belgium, Canada, South Africa and Holland also all reported top 10 peaks.
Three subsequent releases had much less impact, though all were big on U.S. Easy Listening outposts. But late in 1972, Lobo served notice he was no “one-hit wonder” with two top 10 entries, the #2 “I’d Love You To Want Me” and the #8 “Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend,” both efforts topping Adult Contemporary charts. “I’d Love You To Want Me” proved Lobo’s biggest hit worldwide, hitting #1 in Canada, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. “I’d Love You To Want Me” reached #2 in France and went top 10 in Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Over the next seven years, Lobo’s success continued with four top 30 entries in the U.S., all of which became top 10 Easy Listening entries topped by 1979’s #1 “Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love.” In the 2000s, Lobo concentrated his efforts in Asia, where he experienced belated popularity.
515. VINCE GILL –
By the time this Oklahoma multi-instrumentalist joined Pure Prairie League, the Country flavored band already had delivered a signature tune with “Amie” along with five albums that had reached the top 100 on Billboard’s Top 200 list, three of which entered the top 40. However, with Vince Gill singing lead, the group notched its lone top 10 single in 1980 with “Let Me Love You Tonight.”
Gill’s tenure with PPL lasted three LPs, a good run considering the constant flux of the band’s lineup. And by the time he released his first solo effort in 1984, he was well seasoned and pretty well known as three singles from that debut reached the Country top 40. But beginning with 1985’s “If It Weren’t For Him,” a duet with Roseanne Cash that reached Country #10, Gill became one of Country music’s top stars, eventually posting 25 Top 10 singles in the U.S., a number he equaled in Canada. Four – “I Still Believe In You,” “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” “One More Last Chance” and “Tryin’ To Get Over You” hit #1 in the U.S., with another seven reaching #2. In Canada, Gill topped the charts seven times, “What The Cowgirls Do,” “High Lonesome Sound” and “If You Ever Have Forever In Mind” joining the four U.S. chart-toppers.
As would be expected, Gill’s success on the Country album chart mirrored his success on the singles’ list, 14 long-players climbing into the top 10 led by 1998’s “The Key,” which reached the top rung. Gill also posted considerable crossover success, 13 of his albums reaching the top 40 on Billboard’s Top 200 mainstream chart, paced by 1994’s “When Love Finds You,” which climbed to #6.
Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, Gill has received 14 Country Music Association awards, 20 Grammy Awards from 40 nominations and four Academy of Country Music awards. Gill is married to Amy Grant, who was previously inducted into the Goldmine Hall of Fame.