This is the 70th set of selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Goldmine 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
576. BILL BLACK’S COMBO
It didn’t take long for standup bass player Bill Black to join Goldmine’s Hall of Fame. He was inducted in the very first group as part of Elvis Presley’s backing band. But after leaving Elvis, Black joined a combo, and this group, eventually named Bill Black’s Combo, merits induction as well.
The group included Black, pianist Joe Lewis Hall, guitarist Reggie Young, Martin Wills on saxophone and drummer Jerry Arnold. Named Billboard’s top instrumental group three years running (1960-62), the quintet eventually opened for the Beatles on their initial tour of the United States in 1964. Unfortunately, Black, suffering with a brain tumor, was too ill to tour, eventually passing away the following year weeks short of his 40th birthday.
However, during its peak years, 1959-61, the Combo was a hit-making machine, placing eight singles into the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40 in addition to two top 40 albums on the Billboard Top 200. All told, the Combo, which continued after Black’s passing, accounted for eight charting LPs from 1960 to 1969 and 19 singles that reached the Hot 100 from 1958 until 1968. Leading the way was “Smokie,” a Black composition that was split into two sides of the 45. Side Two reached #17 and topped the R&B chart. After that, the group concentrated on instrumental remakes of former hits, following “Smokie” with 1960’s “White Silver Sands,” which had reached #7 just three years before with Don Rondo on vocal. It became the Combo’s biggest success, reaching #9 and proved another #1 on the R&B list. Three more top 20 hits, all covers, followed that year, “Josephine,” known by Fats Domino as “My Girl Josephine,” Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel,” (Black also had played bass on the original), and “Blue Tango,” which had been a hit on several different versions in 1952. “Hearts of Stone,” a #1 success for the Fontane Sisters in 1955, continued the run as 1961 opened and “Ole Buttermilk Sky” and “Twist Her” also connected before the year concluded.
The band also backed up labelmate Ace Cannon, who sometimes played sax in the group, on his 1961 hit “Tuff,” which hit #17 on the Hot 100 and climbed to #3 on the R&B list.
577. THE FLEETWOODS
In 1959, three teenagers from Washington state introduced a recording style so minimalistic it ventured into uncharted waters with astounding success. The sound of the Fleetwoods never has been duplicated, remaining today totally unique.
Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis put together “Come Softly To Me,” eventually doing over 100 takes before the result was transported to Hollywood where acoustic guitar, bass and a simple percussion was added. The result topped Billboard’s Hot 100 four weeks, landed at #5 on the Rhythm & Blues chart and peaked at #6 in the U.K. It started a four-year stretch of hits that included a second #1 in 1959, “Mr. Blue,” which also reached #5 on the R&B chart. Both also topped the Canadian charts.
In 1960, the trio scored two more top 40 successes, “Outside My Window” climbing to #28 before “Runaround,” a remake of a 1954 hit for the Three Chuckles, reached #23. The next year, the Fleetwoods returned to the top 10 with a remake of the 1959 #5 hit “Tragedy” by Thomas Wayne Perkins, brother of Luther Perkins. Before the year ended, “(He’s) The Great Imposter,” co-written by Jackie DeShannon, climbed to #30. The next year, “Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day” reached #36 and in 1963 the group scored again with a redo of Jesse Belvin’s “Goodnight My Love,” which climbed to #32. “Tragedy” and “(He’s) The Great Imposter” both reached Canada’s top 10. An album of the Fleetwoods’ greatest hits, released in 1962, climbed to #71 on the Billboard Top 200.
Howard A. DeWitt, a college professor who promoted dances in the Seattle area in 1958, wrote, “No one captured teen angst better than Gary Troxel. The Fleetwoods’ lead singer had a voice which emitted the frustration of teenagers during the 1950s. With two beautiful young blondes standing beside him, Troxel’s soft vocals and the young women’s lush harmonies created a soft rock ‘n roll revolution.” The Fleetwoods were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and now take their place in the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
The Goldmine Hall of Fame includes several who have been inducted as a group member and as a solo artist. However, few, even the four Beatles, have put together solo careers that eclipsed the accomplishments of their former bands. Steven Patrick Morrissey may be considered one.
The Smiths, inducted at #176, are favored by many as being one of Britain’s greatest bands. But that group had a relatively brief existence, issuing only four studio albums during a four-year chart run, the last coming in 1987. The lead singer, Morrissey, has blown right past his former group, all 12 of his studio LPs, including two compilations, reaching the U.K. top 10, starting with the #1 “Viva Hate” in 1988. He also hit the #1 slot in 1994 with “Vauxhall and I” and again in 2006 with “Ringleader of the Tormentors.” In 2004, he just missed when “You Are The Quarry” stopped at #2 as did 2014’s “World Peace Is None Of Your Business.” And, like The Smiths, Morrissey’s success has not been restricted to just his homeland, his worldwide album sales ranking in the top 40% of all artists.
Morrissey also has accomplished considerable success with singles, too, 10 reaching the U.K. top 10. He has not notched a U.K. #1, but 2004’s “Irish Blood English Heart” and 2006’s “You Have Killed Me” both climbed to #3 and 2004’s “First Of The Gang To Die” topped Swedish charts. Again, Morrissey’s single success has been worldwide, so much so that he stands in the top 60% of worldwide singles sellers without having a major hit in the U.S.
Controversial in his recordings, writings and public statements – he detests British royalty, is a devout vegetarian and ambiguous when it comes to sexual preference – Morrissey still is considered one of the top vocalists of the Rock Era and one of the most important figures to emerge from the U.K. In The Guardian a British national daily newspaper founded in 1821, Mark Simpson opined, “After Morrissey there could be no more Pop stars. He was an impossible act to follow…”
579. URIAH HEEP
Highly revered by fans of heavy metal, hard rock and progressive rock, this London group – with many variations in lineup – has been one of the world’s top album sellers since 1970 without ever having a hit single in either its homeland or the United States. So popular that its album sales rank near the top 20% of all artists.
The first album, “…Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble,” but simply title “Uriah Heep” in the U.S., featured David Byron on lead vocals, Ken Hensley on keyboards and slide guitar, Mick Box on guitar, Paul Newton on bass and three different drummers, depending on the track. Today, just Box remains. But the band has maintained a strong presence, especially in Norway, where nine albums reached the top 10, Finland, which had eight, including four at #1 and one at #2, Austria, with five such entries and Germany, where four went top 10.
The lineup on the second LP, “Salisbury,” which hit #1 in Finland and #6 in Italy, was basically the same with the group apparently settling on Keith Baker as the drummer. Apparently being the key word as Iain Clark took over drums on the third LP and Lee Kerslake drummed on the fourth. By then, Mark Clarke and Gary Thain were on bass. Thain and Kerslake remained for the next four LPs, but stability disappeared again as John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music and later Asia) replaced Thain on bass. “High and Mighty,” released in 1976, became the last LP with Byron, and the switch to John Lawton as lead singer and Wetton being replaced by Trevor Bolder slowed the Heep in their homeland, where the next three LPs failed to chart. By that time, Hensley, the band’s chief songwriter also was gone. Amazingly, Box has kept the band active, the lineup of Box, Bolder, Kerslake, Bernie Shaw on lead vocals and Phil Lanzon on keyboards remaining stable from 1986 until 2007 when Kerslake’s ill health forced him into retirement. Thain passed away in 1975, Byron 10 years later and Bolder died in 2013.
The inductees are Box, Byron, Shaw, Thain, Bolder, Hensley, Peter Goalby, John Sinclair, Lanzon, Lawton and Kerslake.
580. JIMMY DEAN
Time was when you could find this Texan in record stores. Well, at least his recordings. Today, it’s hard enough to find a local record store, but you still can find him in most grocery stores. Well, at least his sausage and assorted frozen food items.
Many may be surprised while munching that Jimmy Dean once was one of the top Country singers in the U.S., several times crossing over to have mainstream hits as well. His most memorable outing was “Big Bad John,” which topped the U.S. Country chart for two weeks and the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks in 1961. It also just missed duplicating that success in the U.K., stopping at #2. It received a 1962 Grammy nomination for Record of the Year and Dean was nominated for Best Male Solo Vocal Performance. He came up short in both categories, losing the former to Henry Mancini’s “Moon River,” the latter to Jack Jones and “Lollipops and Roses.” However, Dean did take home a Grammy for Best Country & Western Performance.
It wasn’t Dean’s only hit, but it did rejuvenate his career, which began on a most promising note when “Bumming Around” rose to #5 on the U.S. Country chart in 1952. But between that and “Big Bad John,” the best Dean could do was a 1957 Christmas novelty, “Little Sandy Sleighfoot.” But after his #1 success, Dean charted with regularity, posting nine more singles on the Country top 20, including another #1, 1965’s “The First Thing Ev’ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev’ry Night).” He placed six more entries into the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40, led by 1962’s “PT-109” which told of President John F. Kennedy and his crew on that ill-fated vessel.
Dean placed seven albums onto the U.S. Country chart, including 1965’s “The First Thing Ev’ry Morning” which climbed to #1. He hosted variety shows on two major networks and was Johnny Carson’s first guest host on The Tonight Show. He played a supporting role in the 1971 James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” and took roles in many TV shows. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, shortly after passing away at the age of 81.