This is the 78th 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
616. THE FUNK BROTHERS
Eddie Willis, James Jamerson, Joe Messina, Robert White, Earl Van Dyke, Jack Ashford, Johnny Griffith, Richard Allen, Eddie Brown, Uriel Jones, Bob Babbitt, Benny Benjamin, Joe Hunter and Dennis Coffey
The Funk Brothers were the incredible studio band that provided the soundtrack for Motown’s parade of hits. Joe Hunter, a native of Tennessee, and Earl Van Dyke, a Detroit native, worked keyboards and served as band directors, Hunter during Motown’s formative 1959 to 1964 period, Van Dyke through to the early ’70s.
Jamerson, from South Carolina, & Benjamin, of Alabama, anchored the band on almost all the great recordings released by Motown and its many sister labels. Motown failed to credit its studio musicians, but Jamerson’s playing was so original and exceptional, eventually he became known as one of the world’s greatest bass players before passing away at just 47. Known as “Papa Zita,” Benjamin teamed with Jamerson to give the Motown empire one of music’s most powerful rhythm foundations. So good was Benjamin, Motown chief Berry Gordy Jr. often refused to do a session without him. Unfortunately for Motown and the entire world of music, like Jamerson, Benjamin passed away at a youthful age … 43.
Willis, Messina, White & Coffey served as the group’s guitarists, Ashford and Brown contributed percussion, Griffith keyboards, Allen and Jones, drums, and Babbitt bass.
The Funk Brothers, documented in the outstanding 2002 film “Standing In The Shadows of Motown,” were heard on too many hits to mention here, so the following small sampling must suffice: Please Mr. Postman & Beachwood 4-5789 (Marvelettes); Fingertips Pt. 2, I Was Made To Love Her, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours), My Cherie Amour, Uptight & Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day (Stevie Wonder); My Guy, The One Who Really Loves You, Two Lovers & You Beat Me To The Punch (Mary Wells); Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Come See About Me, Stop! In The Name Of Love, Back In My Arms Again, I Hear A Symphony, You Can’t Hurry Love & You Keep Me Hanging On (Supremes); My Girl, I Can’t Get Next To You, Just My Imagination, Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, The Way You Do The Things You Do, I Wish It Would Rain, Cloud Nine, Get Ready, (I Know) I’m Losing You, Ball Of Confusion & Since I Lost My Baby (Temptations); I Can’t Help Myself, Reach Out I’ll Be There, It’s The Same Old Song, Standing In The Shadows Of Love, Bernadette & Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over) (Four Tops); I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Let’s Get It On, How Sweet It Is, Hitch Hike, Mercy Mercy Me, What’s Going On, Can I Get A Witness, I’ll Be Doggone, Pride & Joy, Stubborn Kind Of Fellow & Ain’t That Peculiar (Marvin Gaye); Shop Around, What’s So Good About Goodbye, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Going To A Go-Go, Tears Of A Clown, I Second That Emotion, Ooo Baby Baby & Mickey’s Monkey (Miracles); Do You Love Me (Contours); Heat Wave, Dancing In The Street, Nowhere To Run & Jimmy Mack (Martha & the Vandellas); If I Were Your Woman (Gladys Knight & The Pips); What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted (Jimmy Ruffin); 25 Miles & War (Edwin Starr); Cool Jerk (Capitols); Whispers & Higher & Higher (Jackie Wilson); Band Of Gold (Freda Payne); Give Me Just A Little More Time (Chairmen Of The Board) & Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker).
617. THE ANDANTES
It’s hard to believe that Motown, with its unmatched roster of sensational vocal groups, including the Four Tops, The Miracles, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Marvellettes and Martha & the Vandellas, etc., would need a group of additional background singers, but it’s true. The Andantes – Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps – bolstered some of those, plus solo artists Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and others, never receiving credit for their valuable additions to one of music’s most impressive collections of recordings.
A few of the hits the Andantes contributed to include: Baby I Need Your Loving, Ask The Lonely, I Can’t Help Myself, It’s The Same Old Song, Something About You, Shake Me, Wake Me, (When It’s Over), Reach Out I’ll Be There, Standing In The Shadows Of Love, Bernadette, 7 Rooms Of Gloom & Still Water (Love) (Four Tops); In & Out Of Love & Love Child (Supremes); Jimmy Mack (Martha & the Vandellas); Don’t Mess With Bill, The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game & My Baby Must Be A Magician (Marvelettes); It’s Growing (Temptations); How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), I’ll Be Doggone, Ain’t That Peculiar & I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye); My Guy (Mary Wells) & (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher (Jackie Wilson).
618. THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS
This female foursome featuring Cissy Houston, Estelle Brown, Sylvia Shemwell and Myrna Smith drew a lot of attention backing Elvis Presley on disc and especially on stage. But that was just a small part of their success, which included their own recording career as well as their backup work.
The group’s 1968 LP, “The Sweet Inspirations,” climbed to #90 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and #12 on that publication’s R&B list, yielding “Sweet Inspiration,” a #18 single on the Hot 100. But while the group’s LPs and singles were consistent sellers if not mega-hits, their background appearances made them vital to the success of many recordings.
Some of the releases featuring the Sweet Inspirations include: Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison); Chain Of Fools, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone, Ain’t No Way, Think, I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin); Son Of A Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield) & Glory Glory (Rascals).
619. CHET ATKINS
Another artist who not only achieved great recording success on his own, but also as a producer and as a session guitarist, Chet Atkins, born in Tennessee, won 14 Grammy awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. Atkins was named the Country Music Association’s top instrumentalist nine times and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973.
Atkins, as head of RCA Victor’s Nashville division, helped make Country music more palatable to a growing Rock & Roll audience, creating what eventually became known as “the Nashville Sound.” So prominent did Atkins become that eventually he became known as “Mr. Guitar” with Gretsch naming a guitar model after him.
As an artist, Atkins placed 22 albums onto the Billboard Top 200 chart and over 30 on the Country chart. He passed away in 2001 at age 77.
Just some of the recordings Atkins left his mark on include: Bye Bye Love, When Will I Be Loved, Wake Up Little Susie & All I Have To Do Is Dream (Everly Brothers); Oh Lonesome Me, Just One Time & Sea Of Heartbreak (Don Gibson); Amos Moses & When You’re Hot, You’re Hot (Jerry Reed); Four Walls, He’ll Have To Go & Distant Drums (Jim Reeves); The End Of The World & I Can’t Stay Mad At You (Skeeter Davis); Heartbreak Hotel, I Was The One, I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, Girl Next Door Went A-Walking, I Need Your Love Tonight, A Fool Such As I, I Got Stung, A Big Hunk O’ Love, She’s Not You & Return To Sender (Elvis Presley); Make The World Go Away & What’s He Doing In My World (Eddy Arnold); On The Rebound (Floyd Cramer); Please Help Me, I’m Falling (Hank Locklin).
620. FLOYD CRAMER
Born in Louisiana and raised in Arkansas, Floyd Cramer had already cut his first single, relocated to Nashville and backed Elvis Presley by age 22. By the time he passed away at age 64, Cramer had become one of music’s most successful pianists with a great deal of solo success in addition to a very busy schedule as a studio musician.
Known for his “slip note” style, which Cramer described as “you hit a note and slide almost simultaneously to another,” Cramer accounted for three straight top 10 singles in 1960 and 1961, “Last Date” beginning the string at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, followed by “On The Rebound,” which hit #4 U.S. and #1 in the U.K. and “San Antonio Rose,” which peaked at U.S. #8. Ironically, “Last Date” was held out of the U.S. #1 spot by Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight” on which Cramer plays. In addition, Cramer released a steady stream of albums, 17 of which became Country best sellers.
Releases featuring Cramer’s piano include: (You’re The) Devil In Disguise, Guitar Man, Big Boss Man, (Such An) Easy Question, Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello, She’s Not You, Stuck On You, Fame & Fortune, A Mess Of Blues, I Need Your Love Tonight, A Fool Such As I, I Got Stung, A Big Hunk O’ Love, Surrender, (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame, It’s Now Or Never, I Gotta Know, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Heartbreak Hotel, I Was The One, Feel So Bad, Good Luck Charm, Anything That’s Part Of You & Little Sister, (Elvis Presley); Crazy, Sweet Dreams & She’s Got You (Patsy Cline); Only The Lonely, Crying & Oh Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison); I’m Sorry & Emotions (Brenda Lee); Oh Lonesome Me (Don Gibson); Cathy’s Clown, When Will I Be Loved, (‘Til) I Kissed You & All I Have To Do Is Dream (Everly Brothers); The End Of The World & I Can’t Stay Mad At You (Skeeter Davis); Please Help Me, I’m Falling (Hank Locklin).