By Phill Marder
This is the 23rd set of 10 selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 10 inductees approximately every two 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
221. THE RAMONES – From the opening lines of their eponymous 1976 debut album, The Ramones made it clear that listeners better hold on because one helluva ride was ahead. “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” the group chants over a lightning fast rhythm, and the pattern was set – not just for the Ramones but for much of the punk movement as well.
Blasting through a song list as quick as the Dave Clark Five, The Ramones debut album contained 14 tracks, six under two minutes, the longest clocking in at 2:35. If you didn’t like one track, you didn’t have to wait long for the next. Critics loved them but, unfortunately for the New York City band, not many radio programmers liked any of the tracks, the LP peaking at #111 in the U.S. The lead single, “Blitzkrieg Bop,” didn’t chart at all, though it remains popular today, especially at U.S. ball games. The pattern of miniscule sales continued as the band released almost an album a year over a 22-year career. They also put together a breakneck concert schedule.
The second LP, 1977’s “Leave Home,” did signify a breakthrough in Britain, rising to #45 on the U.K. album chart, and over the years The Ramones remained constant sellers in the U.K., where punk reigned supreme, even placing 1980’s “End Of A Century” album as high as #14. The album, produced by Phil Spector, gave the Ramones their only major seller on the worldwide market and also yielded their lone British top 10 single, a remake of the Ronettes’ “Baby I Love You,” which reached #8. It also became their highest charting LP in the States, reaching #44.
The inductees are: Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee) and Christopher Joseph Ward (CJ) on bass; John Cummings (Johnny) on guitar; Jeffry Hyman (Joey), vocals; Thomas Erdelyi (Tommy), Marc Bell (Marky) and Richard Reinhardt (Richie) on drums.
222. THE BAND – This quintet, like the Ramones, was a critical favorite, though their music couldn’t have been more different from the New York-based punk giants. The Band was acclaimed for its home grown, back to the roots Rock, rather remarkable considering four members, including principal songwriter Robbie Robertson, were from Canada.
But originally formed as a backing band for Ronnie Hawkins, who had scored two major hits in 1959 with “Forty Days” and “Mary Lou,” The Band had plenty of experience sharpening their early Rock chops. Later, the education continued as the group backed a variety of artists, particularly Bob Dylan. In 1968, The Band’s first LP, “Music From Big Pink,” was released, including the classic single, “The Weight.” The single reached #21 in Britain and #13 in the Netherlands, but just creeped into the Canadian top 40 and only made it to #63 in the U.S. Conversely, the album did well in Canada (#18) and the U.S. (#30), but failed to connect in the U.K. or the Netherlands.
The second release, simply titled “The Band,” did much better, coming in at #2 in Canada, #9 in the U.S. and #25 in the U.K. The disc was powered by “Up On Cripple Creek,” “Rag Mama Rag” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” The third LP, “Stage Fright,” rode the momentum, hitting the Canadian and U.S. top 10, but The Band couldn’t maintain its edge and 1971’s “Cahoots” showed a slight dip in sales from previous efforts. The live double LP “Rock Of Ages” put the group back in the top 10 in North America in 1972 and two years later “Planet Waves,” on which The Band reunited with Dylan, hit #1 in Canada and the U.S. A follow-up concert LP, “Before The Flood,” did almost as well later that year.
The band retired for all intents and purposes with the concert documentary film “The Last Waltz” in 1978, then reappeared in 1983, but without Robertson. Thus, their next LP, “Jericho,” did not appear until 1993.
In 1989, The Band became the second “band” to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame, The Guess Who having preceded them by two years.
The Goldmine Hall of Fame inductees are: Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass, fiddle, trombone & vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar & vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards, sax & trumpet) and Richard Manuel (piano, drums, sax & vocals).
223. MITCH MILLER – Goldmine’s Hall of Fame begins its tabulations in 1955 when Rock & Roll took over the musical landscape. But Rock has not been the only popular musical form the last 58 years, and when Rock first came to be, many refused to be converted. Nothing wrong with that. As you’ve seen already, our Hall of Fame has room for all musical greats. This includes Mitch Miller, who didn’t much fancy the new music, but found a huge market with old fashioned sing-a-long records that appealed to the “older” generation.
Miller, an oboe soloist for the CBS Symphony from 1936 until 1947, made his mark as producer, arranger and conductor of what became known as Mitch Miller & His Orchestra & Chorus. In 1950 his “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena” was a #3 hit, but his chart domination really coincided with the birth of Rock as “The Yellow Rose Of Texas” held the #1 spot for six weeks during the summer of ’55. The next year, he churned out two major hits, the #19 “Lisbon Antigua (In Old Lisbon)” and “Theme Song From ‘Song For A Summer Night (Parts I & II),” which reached #8. In 1958, “March From The River Kwai and Colonel Bogey” peaked at #20 and the next year “The Children’s Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack)” peaked at #16.
But Miller’s hit single success paled in comparison to his album chart portfolio, which was nothing short of remarkable. From 1958’s “Sing Along With Mitch,” which hit #1 to 1962’s “Christmas Sing-Along With Mitch,” he placed 23 consecutive albums into the Billboard top 40, 17 reaching the top 10, including three chart-toppers, all following the same sing along with Mitch theme.
Miller’s popularity with the public resulted in his own television show from 1961 until 1964. The recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Miller passed away in 2010 at the age of 99.
224. BREAD – One of the most popular groups through the 1970s, this Los Angeles-based quartet specialized in soft-rock hit singles written by co-lead singer David Gates, who came to the group after some previous success as a writer and session man. Gates was responsible for each of Bread’s 12 hit singles between 1970 and 1976, starting with “Make It With You,” which became the band’s only #1 hit.
“It Don’t Matter To Me,” like the first hit a melodic ballad, also reached the U.S. top 10, establishing a pattern the group was unable to shake. When the third single, the hard rocking “Let Your Love Go,” stalled at #28, and its successor, the acoustic ballad “If” soared to #4, the dye was cast. The fate of the follow-up to “If,” another heavy rocker, “Mother Freedom,” which barely crept into the top 40, sealed Bread’s fate. A string of seven consecutive easy listening singles followed, all becoming hits. “Baby I’m-A Want You” hit #3, “Everything I Own” #5, and “Lost Without Your Love” #9.
Meanwhile, the group’s other songwriters, the team of Jimmy Griffin and Robb Royer, were churning out top quality material as well, making Bread’s albums great listening, seven straight reaching the top 40, including the U.S. #3 “Baby I’m-A Want You,” the U.S. #2 “The Best Of Bread” and the U.K. #1 “The Sound Of Bread.” The failure of the band’s label, Elektra, to release A-sides by Griffin and Royer led to animosity that eventually split the group, but Royer had left after the first three albums, though he remained Griffin’s writing partner. He was replaced by top session man Larry Knechtel, the man responsible for the great piano work on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
The inductees are: David Gates, Jimmy Griffin, Robb Royer, Larry Knechtel and Mike Botts. All but drummer Botts, whose resume included Bill Medley, Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg and others, played multiple instruments, with Gates and Griffin sharing lead vocals. Gates and Royer are Bread’s only surviving members to date.
225. TOTO – Like Bread, Toto consisted of outstanding session musicians from the Los Angeles area. Ironically, Toto’s rise began in 1978, just about the exact time Bread’s hit-making career came to an end. Musically, the groups had little in common. Toto’s music touched just about every base possible. That led to the band’s name which, in Latin, means all-encompassing. In time, it also may have applied to the group’s lineup, which went through numerous changes.
The band’s first LP, “Toto,” quickly established the sextet as a major force on the worldwide music scene, going top 10 in the U.S., Sweden and Germany, and selling well in parts of Europe, the Orient and the Pan Pacific. The band’s first single, “Hold The Line,” went top 10 in the States and Australia. However, the successor, “Hydra,” and the album’s lead single, “99,” failed to sustain the momentum, though the LP did top the Norwegian charts. When the third effort, “Turn Back,” failed to dent the top 40 in the U.S. and couldn’t produce a hit single, the band’s future started to look bleak.
Then came “Toto IV.” The lead single “Rosanna” rocketed up charts worldwide, peaking at #2 in the U.S., and “Africa” followed suit, becoming the band’s first and only U.S. #1. “I Won’t Hold You Back” reached the U.S. top 10, becoming the album’s third single to do so. The album hit #1 in the Netherlands and climbed into the top five in the U.S., the U.K., Japan and Norway. When the Grammy Awards were announced, Toto took home six, including “Album of the Year,” “Record of the Year” for “Rosanna” and the group won “Producer of the Year.”
Toto has continued to release best-selling albums over the last three decades and a 2013 world tour is expected to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
The inductees are: Bobby Kimball & Joseph Williams (vocals), Steve Lukather (guitar), David Paich (keyboards), David Hungate & Mike Porcaro (bass), Jeff Porcaro & Simon Phillips (drums) & Steve Porcaro (synthesizers).
226. LOUIS ARMSTRONG – The year was 1964 and the Beatles had a stranglehold on the Billboard Hot 100’s #1 slot. They grabbed it with “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” followed it with “She Loves You” and capped off 14 straight weeks at the top with “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Who would have guessed it would take a 63-year-old Jazz trumpeter with a voice only the mother of Tom Waits could love to dislodge them?
Such was the power of Louis Armstrong whose demo of “Hello, Dolly!” became #1, making the 63-year-old the oldest to hit the top spot on the singles chart. Armstrong’s LP of the same name also reached #1, holding that position for six weeks. It was Armstrong’s first #1 during the period beginning with 1955, but not his last as “What A Wonderful World,” now used in many television commercials, topped the U.K. singles chart in 1968, becoming the biggest selling 45 of the year in the United Kingdom. Armstrong passed away just three years later at age 69.
But the New Orleans native affectionately known as “Satchmo” had become a living legend long before 1964, starting as a cornet player at the age of 11. Including his two successes in the 1960s, Armstrong recordings garnered 12 Grammy Hall of Fame designations, four in the 1920s. The year after he passed away he received The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and, in 1952, he became the first inductee in the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, the selections at that time based on a poll of the readership of that classic magazine.
Armstrong participated in almost every age of recorded music and became a popular attraction on television as well. His chart successes since 1955 are substantial, but when his total output is considered he ranks in the top 10 for hit singles and the top 150 for album sellers. How many saw him perform in person is anyone’s guess. But it’s a certainty those who did were well entertained by a true musical giant.
227. BOBBY VINTON – While Louis knocked The Beatles off the #1 spot – albeit just briefly – in 1964, Bobby Vinton’s “There I’ve Said It Again” had the dubious distinction of being the last song to hold the top spot before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” started the British onslaught. Vinton’s recording, his third #1 single, held the top spot the first four weeks of 1964, but it was not to be Vinton’s last chart-topper as “The Polish Prince” saw his “Mr. Lonely,” co-written with Gene Allan, climb to the top spot as the year neared a close.
Vinton was born in Canonsburg, Pa., giving that small town the unique distinction of being the birthplace of two Goldmine Hall of Fame vocalists in spite of a population usually maxing out around 10,000. Perry Como was the first. The Four Coins, who had many chart hits in the ‘50s, also hailed from Canonsburg. Vinton, who plays clarinet, oboe, sax, piano, trumpet and drums, followed in his father’s tracks, becoming a bandleader, but his group’s early efforts were flops commercially. But in 1962, he recorded “Roses Are Red (My Love),” which held the U.S. #1 spot four weeks and also reached #1 in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
The following year, capped by the release of “There I’ve Said It Again,” was perhaps Vinton’s most successful on the Hot 100 as “Blue On Blue” returned him to the top, reaching #3, and “Blue Velvet” followed, topping the chart for three weeks, also reaching #1 in Canada and New Zealand.
At the same time “Mr. Lonely” was scoring, Vinton connected with a Christmas favorite, “Dearest Santa,” and he continued to be a force on the charts right through the ‘70s. In 1967, his cover of Cathy Jean & The Roomates “Please Love Me Forever” reached #6, and in 1968 his take on the Paris Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me” peaked at U.S. #9. In 1974, he took a German song written by Henry Mayer, “My Melody Of Love,” reworked it, singing parts in Polish, and turned it into a #3 hit.
228. WAR – As the turbulent 1960s ended with the “hippie dream” of peace, love and understanding still a factor, one would have been hard pressed to have figured one of the biggest bands of the 1970s would be named War? But there they were, led by former Animals’ front man Eric Burdon.
Technically, the eight-man band’s name was Eric Burdon & War, and the title of the 1970 debut LP was “Eric Burdon Declares ‘War.’” Burdon’s name and a very unusual lead single, “Spill The Wine,” which became a major hit worldwide, helped the LP reach #18 U.S. The follow-up, “The Black Man’s Burdon,” failed to duplicate the debut’s success, ending the partnership.
War soldiered on, however, releasing an eponymous LP in 1971 which pretty much stiffed. However, they opened 1972 with a powerhouse single, “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” which climbed to U.S. #16 and Canada #4, helping the LP “All Day Music” also hit U.S. #16. With notice now served that War was a major musical force without Burdon, the group released its tour de force, “The World Is A Ghetto,” which topped the U.S. album chart and was named 1973’s “Album of the Year” by Billboard. The title cut, edited from the 10-minute LP version, hit #7 and the lead cut, “The Cisco Kid,” soared to #2 and started the band’s popular run in France.
The next two studio long-players also hit the U.S. top 10, 1973’s “Deliver The Word” reaching #6, 1975’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” #8, the latter’s title cut and “Low Rider” adding to War’s top 10 singles. A live release also scored, rising to #13. In 1976, War’s relationship with United Artist was ending, but a greatest hits release along with a double album, “Platinum Jazz,” each peaked at #6. The hits collection also included War’s last major single, “Summer,” which reached #7. War continued to record and perform with an ever-changing lineup.
The inductees, intact until 1979, are: Harold Brown (drums); Dee Allen (conga, percussion); Morris “B.B.” Dickerson (bass & vocals); Howard Scott (guitar & vocals); Lee Oskar (harmonica); Charles Miller (tenor sax & flute); Lonnie Jordan (organ & piano).
229. ROBERT PALMER – Suave and debonair, this English-born vocalist came across as the ultimate in cool, whether he was fronting a collection of black-dress clad models showcasing guitars or some members of Duran Duran and Chic actually playing them.
But it took quite a while for Palmer to connect, going 12 years from the release of his first album to his first top 10 single in his homeland or the U.S. There were sporadic signs of what was to come, 1978’s “Every Kinda People” getting to #6 in France and top 20 in Canada and the U.S and “What’s It Take” reaching #9 in France and top 20 in Germany. Both came from the album “Double Fun,” Palmer’s fourth but first to hit a #10, doing so in The Netherlands. The next year’s “Secrets” gave Palmer somewhat of a breakthrough, reaching #19 in the U.S., largely due to the #14 single “Bad Case Of Loving You,” which topped the Canadian chart and rose to #9 in France. But 1980’s “Clues” failed to continue the drive up, though it did get to #1 in Sweden and #3 in France.
It took what turned out to be a one-off with Power Station, which included Duran Duran’s Andy and John Taylor and Chic’s Tony Thompson, to push Palmer to the next level as “Some Like It Hot” rocketed to U.S. #6 and the follow-up, a remake of T-Rex’s “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” hit U.S. #9. Much to the group’s chagrin, Palmer went back to his solo career and they didn’t record together again until 1996. Later that year (1986), Palmer released his next LP, “Riptide,” and while the LP’s first two single offerings went nowhere, the third, one of just two LP cuts solely penned by Palmer, became his biggest hit. “Addicted To Love” hit #1 in the U.S. and Australia and went top five in the U.K., New Zealand, Ireland and Canada. Also from the LP, Palmer’s lone top 10 LP in the U.S., “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On,” came close to giving Palmer another U.S. chart-topper, stalling at #2.
When 1988’s “Heavy Nova” gave Palmer another Australian #1 with “Simply Irresistible” and settled at #2 in the U.S. and Canada, Palmer’s position as one of Rock’s leading vocalists was secure. Unfortunately, he was felled by a heart attack in France in 2003 just months after his final album, “Drive,” was released. He was just 54.
230. STATUS QUO – American readers may be excused for going “huh?” when viewing this entry. After all, this London band is the perfect example of a “one-hit wonder” in the United States, their 1968 single “Pictures Of Matchstick Men” scoring at #12. Their next single stiffed and they never charted again, except for a brief appearance on the album chart eight years later. But in their homeland, it’s a much different story. Between 1968 and 1990, Status Quo had 22 top 10 singles in the U.K. and 21 top 10 albums between 1973 and 2011. That’s no misprint – 22 top 10 singles, 21 top 10 albums, the most recent album, “Quid Pro Quo,” sneaking in at #10.
Worldwide, Status Quo ranks in the top 100 on the top selling album chart and in the top 300 of the top selling singles chart. All told, they have had 67 chart hits in the U.K., and their success has spread to Australia, Norway, France, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and almost everywhere else folks like to Rock…except for North America. Three of their LPs have topped the U.K. chart while four stopped at #2.
The group’s “classic” lineup of Francis Rossi (guitar & vocals), Rick Parfitt (guitar & vocals), Alan Lancaster (bass & vocals) and John Coghlan (drums) is currently (March 2013) touring the U.K., with Andy Bown (keyboards, harmonica & vocals) and John “Rhino” Edwards (bass & vocals) taking over at the close of the month as the band tours Australia and Europe through the year.
Those six plus drummers Matt Letley, Pete Kircher and Jeff Rich and original keyboard player Roy Lynes receive “Miners” as inductees into the Goldmine Hall of Fame.