Goldmine’s Hall of Fame Inductees – Volume 72

This is the 72nd 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

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586. KRAFTWERK

Daily Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick said this German musical force “might be the most influential group in pop history” and the English publication The Observer opined “no other band since the Beatles has given so much to pop culture.” Of course “influence” is merely a matter of opinion, and the above statements may be considered downright ludicrous by some, but Kraftwerk has been called an inspiration by many top recording artists, David Bowie, Blondie and U2 just to name a few, and its impact is such that in 2014 Kraftwerk was gifted with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Started by Florian Schneider (flutes, synthesizer and electro-violin) and Ralf Hutter after one LP release in a quintet called the Organisation, Kraftwerk released three albums, “Kraftwerk” in 1970, “Kraftwerk 2” in 1972 and “Ralf und Florian” in 1973, the first two landing in the German top 40, but having little sales impact elsewhere. However, with the 1974 release of “Autobahn,” which saw the duo reinforced by guitarist Klaus Roder and percussionist Wolfgang Flur, Kraftwerk became an international success. The title song, a 23-minute epic taking up the entire first side of the LP, was edited to just over three minutes and became a hit even in the U.S. where it reached #25 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The album did much better, peaking at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200, a slot equaled in Canada and bettered in the U.K., where it climbed to #4. It also achieved top 10 status in Australia and New Zealand.

Interest in Kraftwerk waned in the U.S. after “Autobahn’s” success, no other Kraftwerk single coming close to hit status and just one album, 1981’s “Computer World,” climbing into the upper half of Billboard’s Top 200 chart. But in Europe, Kraftwerk was just starting its long run as chart-makers. In 1981, “Computer Love” from the “Computer World” LP reached just #36 in the U.K., but its flipside, “The Model,” soon began drawing attention and soared to #1 in the U.K and #4 in Ireland. Other top 10 successes on the single front came in 1976 when “Radioactivity” reached #7 in France, 1981, which saw “Pocket Calculator” climb to #2 in Italy and 1983, when “Tour De France” reached #6 in Sweden. But Kraftwerk’s main strength has been in its albums, placing them among the world’s best sellers.

Schneider’s last performance with Kraftwerk was in 2006, but Hütter remains. Henning Schmitz was the group’s sound engineer starting in 1978, then joined on electronic percussion and live keyboards in 1991, and Fritz Hilpert has been Kraftwerk’s electronic percussionist since 1987. Other long-term members meriting Miners are Flur, percussionist from 1973 to 1987, and Karl Bartos, who contributed electronic percussion and live vibraphone and keyboards from 1975 to 1991.

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587. BUCK OWENS & THE BUCKAROOS

This Texan has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His band, which also had hit LPs on its own, was named the #2 Greatest Country Band of All Time by Country Music Television behind Emmylou Harris & the Hot Band, was named “Band of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music four years running (1965-68) and won Country Music Awards for “Instrumental Group of the Year” in 1967 and 1968. Their recordings were covered by The Beatles, Johnny Rivers and Ray Charles, to name a few. And, they starred on the hit TV show Hee Haw.

It’s no wonder Buck Owens & the Buckaroos are legendary even today. Starting with 1964’s “Together Again,” Owens and his group reeled off four straight #1 LPs on Billboard’s chart of leading Country albums, three also landing on Billboard’s Top 200. Later that year, “I Don’t Care” followed “Together Again” to the top and the next year, two more releases, “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” and “Before You Go,” also reached #1. “The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos,” released simultaneously with “Before You Go” snapped the string, stopping at #4, but the next seven LPs from 1966 to 1968 all topped the Country chart, including two live LPS, “Carnegie Hall Concert” and “In Japan!” Twelve more Owens long-players reached the Country top 10.

Owens and his band recorded many memorable singles, the first hit being “Under Your Spell Again,” which climbed to #4 on the Country chart and was later covered by Rivers. Owens followed with six more top 10 entries, three reaching #2, but didn’t get his first #1 hit until 1963’s “Act Naturally,” famously covered by The Beatles with Ringo on lead vocal. The next 13 Owens singles also hit #1, including “I Don’t Care (Just As Long As You Love Me),” also a #1 in Canada. “It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)” stopped the streak, stalling at U.S. #2, but became Owens’ second #1 north of the border. Owens subsequently added four more #1s in the U.S. and five in Canada, the final being 1972’s “Made In Japan.”

In 1974, the Buckaroos’ guitarist and Owens’ best friend, Don Rich, was killed in a motorcycle accident and, though his recordings had sizeable success the rest of the decade, Owens was so crushed he said, “…I think my music life ended when he did.” Along with Owens and Rich, our inductees are drummer Willie Cantu, Doyle Holly on bass and Tom Brumley on pedal steel. Those five are considered the classic lineup, though recordings were augmented by a host of others.

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588. JOHNNY MAESTRO

It’s difficult enough to be the lead singer of one extremely popular group. To be the lead singer of two is a rarity, especially when the two soar to great success in two different eras. This New York City vocalist managed such an achievement.

Johnny Maestro was the lead voice of The Crests, one of the first interracial vocal groups and a leader of the doo-wop movement so popular at the dawn of the Rock & Roll era. Consisting of two African-Americans, one Puerto Rican and an Italian (Maestro), The Crests reached the #2 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and #4 on the R&B list in February, 1959 with the now-classic “16 Candles.” The ballad held the runner-up slot two weeks, trying in vain to unseat Lloyd Price’s “Stagger Lee,” which held the top slot four weeks. The Crests never equaled that chart success, but Maestro’s stirring voice led the quartet to a steady stream of hits over the next couple years, four reaching Billboard’s top 30 beginning with “Six Nights A Week” which hit #28 on the Hot 100 and #17 on the R&B chart as the follow-up to “16 Candles.”

Later in 1959, “The Angels Listened In” climbed to #22 on the Hot 100 and #14 on the R&B list and the next year the group connected with the #14 “Step By Step” and the #20 “Trouble In Paradise.” “Step By Step” received an added boost from its flip side, “Gee (But I’d Give The World),” which became a hit in some local markets. When Maestro left to go solo, the success of The Crests ended. But Maestro had success in 1961 with the #20 “Model Girl” and the #33 “What A Surprise.” Then, he drew a blank.

That ended suddenly seven years later when Maestro re-emerged as the lead singer of The Brooklyn Bridge, so named because their talent agency felt it would be easier to sell the Brooklyn Bridge than book this new 11-piece aggregation. That became a moot point when the band’s initial single, “Worst That Could Happen,” a carbon copy of an album cut by the Fifth Dimension, climbed to #3. A double-sided successor, “Blessed Is The Rain” and “Welcome Me Love,” and “Your Husband, My Wife” kept the new group in the spotlight and The Brooklyn Bridge became a steady concert favorite over the years, the focal point being, of course, Maestro, whose voice remained stirring until silenced with his passing in 2010 at age 70.

The Very Best Of Acker Bilk - Acker Bilk cover

589. ACKER BILK

This Englishman had just one hit record in the United States. But what a hit it was! Charting in 1962, “Stranger On The Shore” hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, but in no way did it foreshadow what was to come in the very near future.

A unique artist who went by the moniker of Mr. Acker Bilk, he was in his mid-30s, featured a goatee, a bowler hat and a striped vest and played the clarinet, putting him about as far from the Beatles and Stones as Taylor Swift is to Aretha Franklin. But while his U.S. success was limited to his big hit and the #3 album of the same name, plus a follow-up LP that edged into the U.S. top 50, Bilk was a steady force on the U.K. charts for an 18-year span that began in 1960 with “Summer Set,” a #5 single. Bilk had two more hit singles that year, “The White Cliffs Of Dover” stopping at #30, but its successor, “Bueno Sera,” bringing Bilk back to the top 10 at #7. The next year, he matched that showing with “That’s My Home” and followed with “Stars and Stripes Forever/Creole Jazz” reaching #22.

Though the U.K.’s biggest selling single of 1962, “Stranger On The Shore” stopped at the #2 slot, the LP of the same name reaching #6. Following three more top 25 singles, Bilk vanished from the charts during The British Invasion, not reappearing until 1976 when “Aria” peaked at #5.

On the album front, Bilk’s success in his homeland was so great he still today ranks in the top 50% of all album sellers worldwide. Eight of his LPs reached the U.K. top 20 from 1960 until 1978, three reaching the top 10. He added 12 EPs to the top 20, five climbing into the top 10.

Acker Bilk was born Bernard Stanley Bilk, the tag “Acker” meaning friend or, more likely in Britain, mate. He passed away in 2014 at age 85.

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590. TEDDY PENDERGRASS

This Philadelphian was one of several vocalists who fronted a best-selling group, then went out on his own to become a major star. One huge difference, though, was the fact that his name did not appear in the group’s moniker. Instead, group founder and leader Harold Melvin was the name featured, similar to Billy Ward & the Dominoes or Paul Revere & the Raiders, for instance.

But as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes rose to stardom, it was on the back of Teddy Pendergrass, who was working as a drummer for The Cadillacs of “Speedo” fame when Melvin asked him to perform similar duties for his group. To Melvin’s credit, he soon recognized the vocal talents of his new drummer and moved him to the forefront. The result was “overnight success” for a group that had struggled for 16 years, producing just a couple of minor R&B hits. But in 1972, the group – now featuring the vocals of Pendergrass – recorded its first album and the first cut on Side 2, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” made them instant stars, topping the R&B chart and climbing to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. With Pendergrass out front, the group churned out several more blockbusters, 1973’s “The Love I Lost” reaching #7 while topping the R&B list. “Bad Luck,” and “Wake Up Everybody,” another #1 R&B hit, reached the Hot 100’s top 15 in 1975 and “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” later turned into a massive Disco hit by Thelma Houston, became the group’s biggest U.K. success, reaching #5 in 1977.

The first two LPs recorded with Pendergrass reached top five on the R&B chart, the next two each topping the list. But in 1976, he left the group to go solo and the hit run of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes ended, though several releases were minor R&B hits. Meanwhile, Pendergrass had 14 chart albums on the Top 200 without having a hit single, the first five reaching the top 20 with 1979’s “Teddy” peaking at #5. However, Pendergrass remained a force on the R&B singles chart, notching 12 top 10 singles, including three #1’s, 1978’s “Close The Door,” 1988’s “Joy” and 1991’s “It Should’ve Been You.”

In 1982, he was paralyzed in a car accident, but returned to recording in 1984, reeling off four consecutive R&B top 10 albums, all of which also climbed into the upper half of the Top 100. The first, “Love Language,” featured a duet – “Hold Me” – with newcomer Whitney Houston, that climbed to R&B #5 and also appeared on Houston’s debut LP. In 1990, he passed away from respiratory failure at age 59.

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