This is the 76th set of selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
The next sections will focus on sidemen & others who made their mark on the industry. The last section will feature the great songwriters who have written the most top 10 songs with their first coming between 1955 and 1991. 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
606. BILL PITMAN
Son of a very popular bassman, this New Jersey native came out of World War II, landed in California and became a guitarist in high demand. His first break came backing Peggy Lee, but soon another twist of fate turned his career upside down when he became Phil Spector’s guitar teacher, eventually helping Spector get “To Know Him Is To Love Him” recorded by the Teddy Bears. It became a huge hit, propelling Spector and Pitman up and onward, Spector as a producer, Pitman as one of the main cogs in his studio band.
Spector held Pitman in such high regard, the flip side of the Ronettes’ classic “Be My Baby” was named “Tedesco and Pitman” after the two great studio guitarists. Though he favored Jazz over Rock, Pitman played on numerous hit records, including a stint on ukulele on “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”
A small sample of Pitman’s work includes: To Know Him Is To Love Him (Teddy Bears); Be My Baby (Ronettes); Let’s Go (Routers); Strangers In The Night (Frank Sinatra); Then He Kissed Me & Da Doo Ron Ron (Crystals); These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra) A Taste of Honey & The Lonely Bull (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass); Out Of Limits (Marketts); Help Me Rhonda & Good Vibrations (Beach Boys); Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds); Everybody Loves Somebody (Dean Martin); Surf City & The Little Old Lady From Pasadena (Jan & Dean); Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (BJ Thomas); The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (Bobby Vee); Deep Purple (Nino Tempo & April Stevens).
607. BILLY STRANGE
Another guitarist and a member of the Wrecking Crew, this native Californian made his mark not only with his playing, but also with his production and songwriting. Teaming with Goldmine Hall of Famer Mac Davis, Strange wrote “A Little Less Conversation” and “Memories” and also combined with Jon Sheldon to pen Chubby Checker’s hit, “Limbo Rock.”
Some of Strange’s studio work included: Surf City & The Little Old Lady From Pasadena (Jan & Dean); Good Vibrations, California Girls, Help Me Rhonda & Sloop John B (Beach Boys); A Little Less Conversation (Elvis); Something Stupid (Nancy & Frank Sinatra); These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Sugar Town, You Only Live Twice & Bang Bang (Nancy Sinatra).
608. JIM GORDON
Beginning his career as a teenage drummer backing The Everly Brothers and a protege of Hal Blaine, this Californian was one of the most recorded studio musicians working until tragedy ended his career at age 38. A member of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen and Eric Clapton’s Derek & the Dominos, Gordon backed an all-star list of recording stars ranging from Andy Williams to Frank Zappa.
But in 1983, Gordon, suffering from schizophrenia, murdered his mother and was sentenced to prison, where he remains.
Just a handful of the recordings Gordon graced include: Mary Mary (Monkees); The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher); These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra); God Only Knows (Beach Boys); River Deep, Mountain High (Ike & Tina Turner); By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman & Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell); Grazing In The Grass (Friends of Distinction); Everybody’s Talkin’ & Jump Into The Fire (Nilsson); Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez); Goin’ Back (Byrds); Rockin’ Pneumonia (Johnny Rivers); Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash); Love Is Strange (Everly Brothers); My Sweet Lord (George Harrison); Sundown & Carefree Highway (Gordon Lightfoot); Classical Gas (Mason Williams); Midnight At The Oasis (Maria Muldaur); Shambala (B.W. Stevenson); Sara Smile (Hall & Oates); Hummingbird (Seals & Crofts); You’re So Vain (Carly Simon); Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Steely Dan); Classical Gas (Mason Williams); Carefree Highway (Gordon Lightfoot).
609. JOE OSBORN
A group with Roy Buchanan doesn’t need two guitarists, so it was suggested that this Louisianan switch to bass. It was a move with an incredible impact on recorded music as Joe Osborn joined James Burton in Ricky Nelson’s band, then backed Johnny Rivers on all those great Whisky a Go Go tracks before settling in as a member of The Wrecking Crew’s “Hollywood’s Golden Trio” with drummer Hal Blaine and multi-instrumentalist Larry Knechtel. Later, Osborn relocated in Tennessee, where he became one of Nashville’s most sought-after studio musicians, playing on over 50 No.1 Country hits.
Just a few of the hits featuring Osborn are: Up, Up & Away, Stoned Soul Picnic, Aquarius, Wedding Bell Blues & One Less Bell to Answer ( 5th Dimension); Creeque Alley, Words of Love, Dedicated To The One I Love, Monday Monday & California Dreamin’ (Mamas & Papas); Dizzy (Tommy Roe); Windy & Never My Love (Association); Young World, Teenage Idol, Travelin’ Man, Fools Rush In (Rick Nelson); Bang Bang (Cher); I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight (Boyce & Hart); Galveston, By The Time I Get To Phoenix & Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell); McArthur Park (Richard Harris); Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel); This Diamond Ring, Count Me In, Save Your Heart For Me, Everybody Loves a Clown, (Gary Lewis & the Playboys); You Baby (Turtles); Eve Of Destruction (Barry McGuire); Poor Side of Town, Memphis, Secret Agent Man, Baby I Need Your Lovin’ (Johnny Rivers); Close To You, Top of the World, Please Mr. Postman, Superstar, We’ve Only Just Begun, Rainy Days & Mondays, Hurting Each Other, Yesterday Once More, For All We Know, Only Yesterday & Sing (Carpenters); Cracklin’ Rose, Longfellow Serenade & Holly Holy (Neil Diamond); I Think I Love You (Partridge Family); I Am Woman, Delta Dawn & Leave Me Alone (Helen Reddy); I’d Really Love to See You (England Dan & John Ford Coley ); Valleri (Monkees) Little Women & Julie Do You Love Me? (Bobby Sherman); San Francisco (Scott Mackenzie); Tin Man & Lonely People (America); Just Dropped In (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition); Lucille (Kenny Rogers).
610. LEON RUSSELL
There are few more versatile musicians than this Oklahoman, who seemingly has done it all during an amazing career. You can catch him as the short-haired, clean-shaven regular pianist on episodes of TV’s Shindig or view him as the extremely long-haired, full-bearded maestro behind Joe Cocker or as a solo artist.
Russell not only became one of pop music’s most prolific studio musicians, he also wrote or co-wrote several hit songs – “She’s Just My Style,” “Everybody Loves A Clown,” “Delta Lady,” “This Masquerade,” “Superstar” and “A Song For You” being just a sample – had his own big hits – “Tight Rope” and “Lady Blue” reaching the Hot 100’s top 15 – and his own best-selling LPs – “Carney” climbing to #2 in 1972 and “Leon Live” hitting #9 the following year.
Russell’s studio work included: The Little Old Lady From Pasadena (Jan & Dean); This Diamond Ring, Sure Gonna Miss Her & Everybody Loves A Clown (Gary Lewis & the Playboys); Be My Baby (Ronettes); Danke Shoen (Wayne Newton); California Girls & Fun, Fun, Fun (Beach Boys); Then He Kissed Me & Da Doo Ron Ron(Crystals); Out Of Limits (Marketts); Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds); Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell).