This is the 61st 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
When this New York City band released its first album, “Cardiac Arrest,” in 1977, eight members were pictured on the front cover. By the time their biggest record charted, just three remained. In between, the group grew in size, then shrunk in size. But in all its formations, Cameo was successful.
Nine of their studio albums reached the U.S. Rhythm & Blues top 10, with 1980’s “Cameosis,” which pictured nine members, 1984’s “She’s Strange,” with 10 musicians listed and 1986’s “Word Up!,” with just three pictured, all reaching the R&B #1 position. In between the latter two, 1985’s “Single Life” just missed at #2 as did 1981’s “Knights Of The Sound Table.” “Word Up!,” was one of seven Cameo hits on the U.K. singles chart, climbing to #7, one position better than its U.S. peak. Its worldwide success helped the LP became a smash around the globe, and helped lift Cameo into the list of top all-time album sellers.
The group’s success continued into the new millennium when Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy” borrowed heavily from Cameo’s #1 R&B follow-up to “Word Up!,” “Candy.” The group also was featured prominently on Carey’s hit, which reached R&B #1 and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It marked Cameo’s 16th top 10 single on the R&B top 10.
While Cameo peppered its recordings with many studio players and the band lineup fluctuated regularly, the core trio of leader Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins and Nathan Leftenant led the way, with Gregory Johnson, Arnett Leftenant, Anthony Lockett and Eric Durham all contributing mightily to the band’s rise to the top.
532. SPANDAU BALLET
It started as a Punk band, evolved into a British Invasion group, then to an electronic assembly, finally to what is termed a New Wave band, albeit with sprinkles of all previous formations with some Funk, Soul and Dance flavorings mixed in. In short, this London quintet meshed just about every style of music into one, one which became extremely impressive and popular.
The name Spandau Ballet certainly gave no inkling of the music that would evolve, its source coming from the movement soldiers used to dodge bullets from the German Spandau machine gun or, according to the Urban Dictionary, “Spandau Prison in Europe housed many prisoners including World War II Nazi prisoners. When these prisoners were hanged the swinging of the dead body was called the Spandau Ballet.” Either way, one would expect Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath or Rod Zombie instead of the romantic, polished efforts that emerged from this band. Of course, members Martin and Gary Kemp did go on to star as infamous gangsters in The Krays so perhaps the connection isn’t so implausible.
No matter, Spandau Ballet turned out to be a fabulous band that today ranks on the list of best sellers in worldwide singles and albums. The group’s very first single, “To Cut A Long Story Short,” reached #1 in France and #5 in the U.K. and their recent LPs, 2009’s “Once More” and 2014’s “The Story – The Very Best Of Spandau Ballet” each entered the U.K. top 10. Of course, their biggest single, 1983’s “True,” topped charts in the U.K. (the album of the same name did, too), Canada, Ireland and Spain and climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its successors, “Gold” and “Only When You Leave” hit U.K. #2 and #3, respectively. Overall, Spandau Ballet notched 10 top 10 singles and seven top 10 LPs in the U.K.
Remarkably the same from beginning to today, the inductees are: Tony Hadley (lead vocals); Martin Kemp (bass); Gary Kemp (guitar); Steve Norman (guitar) and John Keeble (drums) with Hadley and Gary Kemp contributing keyboards.
533. ROGER MILLER
With Sheb Wooley of “Purple People Eater” notoriety his cousin’s husband, an army sergeant the brother of Jethro of Homer & Jethro fame stationed with him in South Carolina, and Minnie Pearl hiring him as her band’s fiddle player, it’s easy to understand how this Texas-born, Oklahoma-raised talent wound up writing and singing some of the zaniest hits of the ‘60s. Working with the likes of Ray Price, George Jones and Johnny Paycheck, he also penned and sang some of the ‘60s most memorable tunes as well.
In total, it is impossible to classify Roger Miller, except to say he truly was one of the ‘60s most versatile and best-loved singer songwriters. Miller himself admitted that no matter what he attempted, it “always came out different.” Miller was one of Country music’s biggest stars, but he crossed over into the mainstream with so much regularity and success, he ended up with his own television show.
Eight of his albums reached the Country top 10, his first three finishing #3, #2 and #1 in that order. The first, 1964’s “Roger & Out,” was powered by two hit singles, “Dang Me,” which topped Country charts and rose to #7 on the Hot 100 followed by “Chug-A-Lug,” which climbed to #3 Country and #9 on the Hot 100. Both were on the novelty side, but they weren’t Miller’s first successes. In 1960, he hit the Country chart with “You Don’t Want My Love,” which peaked at Country #14 and the following year his “When Two Worlds Collide” hit #6 Country. Following “Dang Me” and “Chug-A-Lug,” both also major successes in Canada, Miller pulled another offbeat hit off the Country #2 LP “The Return Of Roger Miller as “Do-Wacka-Do” climbed to #15.
But buried on Side 2 of that album was the single that rocketed Miller onto another level of stardom, “King Of The Road” topping the Country chart while soaring to #4 on the Hot 100 and also reaching #1 in the U.K. and Norway. The follow-up, “Engine Engine #9” was almost as big, reaching U.S. Country #2 and Hot 100 #7. That hit came off “The Third Time Around,” the #1 Country LP that also generated the downright somber “One Dyin’ and A Buryin’,” #10 Country, and the lighter “Kansas City Star,” which hit Country #7. By the close of 1965, Miller had enough hits to release a “Golden Hits” record, which also included a new recording, the soon to be classic “England Swings,” which reached Country #3 and Hot 100 #8.
Miller continued a giant in the Country market, scoring a #5 hit in 1966 with “Husbands and Wives,” a #7 success the next year with “Walkin’ In The Sunshine,” and a #6 finish with 1968’s “Little Green Apples.” All three also reached the top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100. In 1969, he was the first to record the oft-covered “Me and Bobby McGee,” which rose to #12 Country. He added 20 more Country hits through 1986 before cancer took him in 1992 at the age of 56.
534. EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER
This English trio did not find praise from most who write about music, but found love from those whose opinion actually means something – the record-buying public. Virtuosos on their instruments, Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass) and Carl Palmer (percussion) served up a mixture of extended pieces and shorter commercial singles to become one of the best-selling bands of all-time, ranking in the top 20% of worldwide album sellers.
Emerson came from The Nice, Lake from King Crimson and Palmer from Atomic Rooster to form a trio whose second live appearance (the 1970 Isle of Wight festival) drew so much favor the band’s eponymous debut album, issued later that year, became a massive seller, reaching #4 in the trio’s homeland, and top 10 in Holland and Australia. Even in the United States, where those involved were not as instantly recognizable, the album climbed to #18 on the Billboard Top 200 LP chart. The impetus largely was supplied by the last of the releases’ six tracks, “Lucky Man,” which Lake claims to have written when he was 12. It became a rare Progressive Rock hit single.
The threesome’s next release, “Tarkus” reached the top of the U.K. album chart, and the group’s next two studio releases, “Trilogy” and “Brain Salad Surgery,” each peaked at #2. In the midst of all this success came the 1971 release, the live “Pictures At An Exhibition,” which rose to #3 in the U.K. and reached the U.S. top 10 as did the #9 “Tarkus” and #5 “Trilogy.”
“Brain Salad Surgery” just missed giving EL&P another top 10 finish in the States, stopping at #11 in 1973, but the next year the live “Welcome Back, My Friends, To The Show That Never Ends…Ladies & Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer” peaked at U.S. #4 and U.K. #5. In 1977, “Works Volume 1” continued the success, rising to #9 U.K. and #12 U.S. This release yielded EL&P’s lone hit single in the U.K., “Fanfare For The Common Man,” which climbed to #2. “Trilogy” produced the group’s biggest single in the U.S., “From The Beginning” just squeezing into the top 40 at #39.
535. TOMMY EDWARDS
This Richmond, Virginia vocalist was one of the most unusual success stories of the music industry in that most of his hits were remakes of previous hits. Nothing unusual about that, except for the fact that the remakes were of his own previous hits!?
In 1951, long before the starting year of our survey (1955), Tommy Edwards had his second hit, a ballad entitled “It’s All In The Game,” which climbed to U.S. #18. In 1958, after a four-year absence from the hit list, Edwards issued a version slightly more tuned to that day’s teenager and it became one of the true giant, oft-covered classics of the early Rock Era, climbing to #1 on the Hot 100 and the U.S. Rhythm & Blues list as well as the U.K. best-sellers list, Canada’s hit list and that of Australia and other nations as well. To add even more irony, the music had been penned in the early 1900s by Charles Dawes, later to become Vice-President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. Dawes also was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
Edwards struck next with “Love Is All We Need,” which reached #15 on the U.S. chart and #5 in Canada, then connected again with another remake of one of his previous hits, “Please, Mr. Sun.” In 1952, Edwards’ version lost a battle with that cut by Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee Johnnie Ray, whose version reached #6 compared to Edwards’ #22 peak. But in 1959, Edwards’ remake had the chart all to itself, finishing at U.S. #11 and Canada #6. Its successor, “The Morning Side Of The Mountain,” which, in its original form, was Edwards’ first success, hitting #24 in 1951, reached #27 in the U.S. and also hit #6 in Canada when redone. The standard “My Melancholy Baby” followed, reaching the top 30 in both the U.S. and U.K., while climbing to #13 in Canada, and in 1960 Edwards reached #18 U.S. and #11 Canada with a remake of “I Really Don’t Want To Know,” originally a hit for Les Paul & Mary Ford, also members of the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Edwards also had hits with numbers later successful for other artists, “The Morning Side Of The Mountain” reaching #8 on the Hot 100 in 1974 for Donny & Marie Osmond, Hank Williams’ “You Win Again” classic being covered by too many artists to mention and Hank Snow’s “Now & Then, There’s A Fool Such As I” later taken to #1 U.K. and #2 U.S. by Elvis Presley.
Edwards died at just 47 from a brain aneurysm.