By Phill Marder
This is the 28th 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
271. TEARS FOR FEARS – By the time Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith grabbed the brass ring in the United States, they already were an established success in their Great Britain home. The 1982 single, “Mad World,” had reached #3 in the U.K., paving the way for the duos studio album debut, “The Hurting.” By the time “The Hurting” was finished its run, it had produced two more top five singles in the U.K., the #4 “Change” and the #5 “Pale Shelter.” The album reached #1 and the pair’s group, Tears For Fears, was on its way to becoming one of the most successful acts of the last 60 years.
None of the three singles drew any attention in the U.S., but the LP did reach a respectable #73. However, the next release would top the U.S. chart while stopping at #2 in the U.K. “Songs From The Big Chair,” released in 1985, also topped the LP charts in Germany and The Netherlands and reached #2 in New Zealand and the top 10 in Italy and Switzerland. Remarkably, the LP consisted of just eight tracks, but four became major smashes. The first, “Mothers Talk,” reached #14 U.K. and drew minor notice in a few other areas, offering no warning for what followed. What followed was “Shout,” which eventually reached the top 10 in 25 countries and topped the charts in the U.S., Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium and Canada, while reaching the top five in the U.K., Ireland and Italy. Oft covered, “Shout” encourages those who see injustice to speak out.
In the U.S., “Shout” was their second #1, following “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” the LP’s lead single. It also topped the charts in Canada and New Zealand and just missed in the U.K., Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands. “Head Over Heels” rounded out the LP’s amazing success, reaching #3. “Mothers Talk” eventually saw U.S. release, hitting #27, and a fifth single, “I Believe,” reached #23 in the U.K. It took four years for the follow-up, “The Seeds Of Love,” but that was another smash, hitting #1 U.K. and top 10 most places. It yielded just one major hit, though, but it was a big one, “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” going #1 in Canada and #2 U.S.
After another four-year wait, Orzabal was the only member left of the original group, which included Smith on bass, Ian Stanley on keyboards and Manny Elias on drums. In recent years, Orzabal and Smith have reunited for recordings and appearances. All four are inducted.
272. JOE COCKER – Woodstock was home to many memorable performances. But perhaps none was as stunning at the time as that of English vocalist Joe Cocker, whose remarkable voice coupled with his amazingly original stage presence had those present questioning what they had just seen and heard. From that point, Cocker became one of the best known names in the music business.
The highlight was his cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends.” To say Cocker was a showstopper would be a huge understatement. After he finished, a thunderstorm stopped the music for several hours. “With A Little Help From My Friends” was Cocker’s third single, appearing on his debut LP of the same name four months prior to Woodstock. Though not a hit in the U.S., it swept across Europe, hitting #1 in the U.K., Switzerland and The Netherlands. But Cocker’s output since has been somewhat sporadic, though, when all tabulations are completed, he ranks as one of the all-time LP sellers.
A couple months after Woodstock, Cocker’s second album took off in the U.S., “Joe Cocker” reaching #11, and at the close of 1970, a concert recording from the Fillmore East – “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” – came in at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 LP chart. Two years later, Cocker’s “I Can Stand A Little Rain” peaked at #11. From that point on, Cocker’s major successes were spread out over time and distance. He hit the U.K. LP top 10 in 1992, 1994 and 2007. His hit singles also were spread out, “Delta Lady” hitting #10 in the U.K. in 1969, “The Letter” getting to #7 U.S. in 1970, “Cry Me A River” duplicating that peak in France later that year with “High Time We Went” climbing to #8 in Belgium the next year. In 1973, Cocker again hit the French top 10 with “Pardon Me Sir,” which hit #9.
In 1975, “You Are So Beautiful” became a massive success in the States, peaking at #5, but it took Cocker seven years to hit those heights again, doing so when his duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong,” became his first U.S. chart topper and went top 10 almost everywhere. Cocker and Warnes took home a Grammy as the song, from the movie “Officer and a Gentleman,” won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song.
273. MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS – Martha Reeves, Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard and eventually Betty Kelly, who replaced Beard, were responsible for some of Motown’s most memorable singles. Quite an accomplishment, considering the company’s track record.
Recording for the Gordy label, Martha & the Vandellas were teamed with the songwriting/production team of Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier, a pairing that eventually became one of Motown’s most successful unions. “Come and Get These Memories” became Holland-Dozier-Holland’s first hit and also introduced Martha and company to the youth of America, reaching #29 U.S. as the trio’s first hit. That occurred in 1963 and before the year was over the team had connected for their first all-time classic, “Heat Wave,” which came in at #4 on the Hot 100. Holland-Dozier-Holland fed the group another masterpiece before the year ended, “Quicksand” reaching #8.
In 1964, Martha & the Vandellas notched their career-best single, even though the British Invasion was in full swing and Holland-Dozier-Holland weren’t involved. “Dancing In The Street,” partially written by Marvin Gaye, reached #2 on the Hot 100, blocked from the top position for two weeks by Manfred Mann’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.” Each following year, the trio posted a top 10 recording, all in collaboration with Holland-Dozier-Holland, 1965’s “Nowhere To Run” reaching #8, 1966’s “I’m Ready For Love” peaking at #9 and 1967’s “Jimmy Mack” making #10. In 1967, two major changes occurred, the group’s name being changed to Martha Reeves & the Vandellas and Holland-Dozier-Holland becoming embroiled in a major dispute with Motown, leading to their exit. While the newly named trio scored a #11 hit with “Honey Chile” as the year began, they never had another major success.
Martha & the Vandellas never had a #1 single and barely were noticed on the top LP charts. They also had little success outside of North America. But their singles’ sales and critical acclaim were so strong, they had little difficulty qualifying for the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
274. THE OSMONDS – Being turned down by Lawrence Welk may have been a blessing in disguise for these brothers from Salt Lake City, who later hooked up with Disney, Andy Williams and Jerry Lewis before growing old enough to head out on their own as a Rock & Roll band. The move was an instant success as their sixth LP simply titled “Osmonds” became a hit, reaching #14 U.S. and #34 Canada. More importantly, it spawned the single “One Bad Apple,” which topped the charts in both countries.
“Double Lovin’” was the lone hit from the next LP, 1971’s “Homemade,” but later that year the brothers released “Phase III,” which reached the top 10 in both countries, producing two #1 singles in Canada, “Yo-Yo,” (#3 U.S.) and “Down By The Lazy River” (#4 U.S.). The latter also became a minor hit in the U.K., providing the foundation for what would become a major success there. It began with the next LP, “Crazy Horses,” which saw the Osmonds grabbing complete control of their output, writing all the songs and playing all the instruments. “Hold Her Tight” was the first hit off the LP, but the title cut was the real attention grabber, reaching #2 U.K., and #1 in Belgium, The Netherlands and France, where it held the top spot five weeks.
The Osmonds never relinquished their hold on the U.K., placing nine LPs in the top 20 between 1972 and 2008, four making the top 10. They notched 11 top 40 singles, four reaching the top 10 with “Love Me For A Reason” topping the chart in 1974. With their last hit single coming in 1976 in the States, they reappeared as a successful Country seller in 1982. Never a critics’ favorite, The Osmonds, nevertheless, were a talented conglomeration that dominated record charts through much of two decades.
The inductees are: Merrill (lead vocals & bass); Jay (drums & vocals); Donny (keyboards & vocals); Wayne and Alan (guitars & vocals).
275. BOBBY VEE – After starting his career in the worst way possible, filling in for Buddy Holly after the plane crash that claimed Holly’s life, Bobby Vee cut many great sides, beginning with his 1959 chart debut, “Suzie Baby.” And Vee turned out to be much more than a Holly clone. He became a major star, posting six top 10 records in a long and fruitful career.
The first breakthrough came with his 1960 remake of the Clovers’ 1956 hit, “Devil Or Angel,” which Vee carried to #6. He followed with another #6, the bubblegum classic “Rubber Ball.” The follow-up, “Stayin’ In,” which describes Vee sitting in detention for punching his friend in the nose, didn’t do much to dispel Vee’s sugary reputation, but the flip, “More Than I Can Say,” later remade by Leo Sayer, was a gem, reaching #4 in the United Kingdom, and the follow, the solid rocker “How Many Tears,” also hit the UK top 10. Vee’s records sparkled with pristine production that helped carry “Take Good Care Of My Baby” to #1 in 1961 and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” to #3 in 1963. Meanwhile, “Run To Him,” a wall of sound ballad, reached #2 backed by a solid rocker, “Walkin’ With My Angel,” and two more ballads, “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara” and “Sharing You” each peaked at #15.
Vee was just as popular in England, notching 10 hit singles, including six that reached the Top 10. Five Vee EPs made the UK top 20 between 1961 and 1963, “Just For Fun” by Vee & the Crickets going all the way to #1. His albums also sold well there, “Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets” reaching #2 in 1962, while seven others climbed into the top 20. For proof of his staying power, “The Very Best Of Bobby Vee” peaked at #18 in 2008, 47 years after his UK debut. But the British Invasion appeared to end Vee’s hit-making run after “Charms” in 1963, though he surprised everyone with a monster smash in 1967, “Come Back When You Grow Up” climbing to #3 in the U.S. The follow, “Beautiful People,” also cracked the U.S. top 40, just edging the original version by its composer Kenny O’Dell. Vee’s sales were strong worldwide, also, as he posted #1 singles in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
With sons Jeff & Tom members of his band, Vee remained active on the concert circuit until health problems recently forced him to retire. He most deservedly was inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and now he joins the Goldmine Hall of Fame as well.
276. ALABAMA – Over the last 60 years, there have been many Country bands. There has been just one Alabama. The popularity of this group is almost unrivaled. On the Country music charts, this group registered more than 30 #1 singles and 11 #1 albums.
From 1981 to 1989, Alabama released eight studio albums – one per year – and each hit #1. They also produced a live album and a greatest hits album that hit #1 during that span. Everything started in 1980 with the release of “My Home’s In Alabama,” which went #3 U.S. Country and #1 on the country chart of Canada. It also reached #71 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, a pattern continued throughout their career as Alabama put 26 albums on the Billboard LP chart, 25 reaching the upper half.
“My Home’s In Alabama” was home to Alabama’s first #1 single, “Tennessee River,” which topped the chart in Canada as well as the U.S. That started an amazing streak of 21 consecutive #1 Country hits, all but three also topping the Canadian charts. After the run ended in 1987, Alabama ran off six more singles that reached #1 in both countries. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ranks Alabama as one of the top selling artists, crediting the group with 22 Gold, 20 Platinum and 10 Multi-Platinum LPs.
The Academy of Country Music named Alabama its “Artist of the Decade” as the ‘80s concluded, and they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Country Music Hall of Fame the next year. Now they are welcomed into the Goldmine Hall of Fame. The inductees are Jeff Cook (guitar, fiddle & keyboards), Mark Herndon (drums), Randy Owen (guitar) & Teddy Gentry (bass).
277. THE J. GEILS BAND – This Boston-based sextet began as the J. Geils Blues Band, dropped the “Blues” but invaded the U.S. singles and albums charts with R&B flavored releases in the ‘70s, then had their greatest success as the ‘80s began with some releases that bordered on Bubblegum. Add it all up, and you have a band located in the top sellers lists of both categories (albums and singles), not only in the U.S., but worldwide as well.
Their initial LP barely made a dent on the top albums chart, featuring a mix of original material with covers of John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Otis Rush and Big Walter Price. It also included a cover of the Contours’ “First I Look At The Purse,” written by Miracles Bobby Rogers & Smokey Robinson. The next release, “The Morning After,” took the band completely into R&B territory with covers of Don Covay, Arlester Christian (Dyke of Dyke & the Blazers) and The Valentinos’ “Looking For A Love,” which crawled into the U.S. top 40, helping the host LP to a respectable #64 U.S. The next release, a live effort including both singles, did 10 notches better.
In 1973, “Bloodshot” was issued on red vinyl, becoming the group’s first major success, reaching #10 U.S. The #30 single, “Give It To Me,” written by keyboardist Seth Justman and lead singer Peter Wolf, had the future looking bright, but the band could not produce a major hit for another eight years. A stream of albums sold well, and some singles graced the lower level of the top 40, but nothing really hit home until 1980’s “Love Stinks,” a heavy single that propped its parent LP up to #18 U.S. The next release, “Freeze-Frame,” saw the group make its bid for commercial success, and it paid off, hitting #1 in the U.S. and Canada and becoming the band’s biggest success across Europe. Spurred by MTV video exposure, the initial single, “Centerfold,” hit #1 in the U.S., Canada and Australia and swept over Europe and South America. The follow, the LP’s title tune, did almost as good, rising to #1 in Canada, #4 in the U.S. and gracing the top 10 of several other nations.
The inductees are J. Geils (guitar), Magic Dick Salwitz (harmonica), Danny Klein (bass), Stephen Jo Bladd (drums), Justman & Wolf.
278. SMOKEY ROBINSON – With The Miracles already enshrined at #106, the group’s leader now takes his place in the Goldmine Hall of Fame as a solo artist. In July, 1972, Robinson made his last appearance as a Miracle, and a year later his debut solo LP, “Smokey,” reached #70 on the Billboard LP chart. Not a bad showing for a debut LP, but not what Robinson was accustomed to with The Miracles.
It took until 1979 for Robinson to regain those heights, but between 1973 and 1979, the great songwriter had placed six LPs into the upper half of the U.S. best-seller chart. But the breakthrough single, so plentiful with The Miracles, didn’t show up until 1979, when he teamed with Miracles’ guitarist Marvin Tarplin to pen “Cruisin’,” which climbed to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, became a hit in Brasil and topped the charts in New Zealand. That carried the parent album, “Where There’s Smoke…,” to #17 U.S. and paved the way for 1980’s follow-up “Warm Thoughts” to climb to #14 even without a major hit single.
In 1981, Robinson turned out his greatest success when “Being With You” became his biggest solo single and his only solo U.K. smash as it reached #1 for two weeks. It also reached #1 in New Zealand, holding the top slot four weeks. In Canada, it stopped at #3 and did one better in France & the U.S., holding the runner-up spot in the States three weeks. The “Being With You” LP became Robinson’s only top 10 success in the U.S. It took six years for him to return to the top of the singles’ chart when his LP “One Heartbeat” produced two top 10 hits, the #8 “Just To See Her” and the #10 title song.
A career that saw him serve as Motown’s vice-president during its heyday, while also fronting The Miracles and becoming one of the great composers and producers of the last 60 years, has resulted in Robinson receiving almost every honor possible.
279. B.J. THOMAS – At the height of the original British Invasion, B.J. Thomas stormed out of Texas singing a Hank Williams classic and soon his distinctive voice was all over the airwaves. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” soared to #2 in Canada and reached #8 in the U.S. Thomas’ next two singles, “Mama” and “Billy & Sue” also scored well north of the border, reaching #12 & #22, respectively. “Mama” also scored well in the U.S., climbing to #22.
The first album, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and the first batch of hits was recorded as B.J. Thomas & The Triumphs, but after the initial success Thomas was on his own. “The Eyes Of A New York Woman” brought Thomas back into the limelight in 1968, reaching #5 Canada, and the follow-up, “Hooked On A Feeling,” became one of his biggest hits, reaching #5 U.S. and #2 Canada. Both were pulled from “On My Way,” Thomas’ fourth LP but the first to chart.
In 1969, Thomas turned in a performance for the ages with “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” the Burt Bacharach-Hal David number from the popular movie “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.” The song won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” and became one of the biggest 45s of all time. It held the #1 spot in the U.S. four weeks and also topped the charts in Canada, Norway and South Africa. It was almost impossible for Thomas to repeat that showing, but he gave it a good shot with 1975’s “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” which became the longest-titled 45 to hit #1 in the U.S. It also was a smash in Canada and broke Thomas in the Country markets of both nations. He also stands as one of Gospel’s strongest sellers.
Thomas continues to please crowds at live performances and his latest release (April 2013), “The Living Room Sessions,” was another popular Country seller, pairing Thomas with Vince Gill, Richard Marx, Keb Mo and others.
280. MÖTLEY CRÜE – Over the years, there have been many motley crews in the music business. But there has been just one Mötley Crüe. And perhaps the business and the rest of the world’s population should be thankful for that. This has been one band that has embraced controversy rather than shy away from it, working hard to live up to its image as “the world’s most notorious Rock band.” Yet in spite of arrests, drug and alcohol addictions and overall decadence galore, Mötley Crüe has been responsible for over 30 years of outstanding music, and robust record and concert ticket sales have been the reward.
Unlike most metal bands, Mötley Crüe has accounted for several hit singles, beginning with 1985’s “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room,” initially a hit by Brownsville Station, home base for the late, lamented Goldmine contributor Cub Coda. Crüe’s version came in at #16, much less than Cub’s #3 finish in 1974, but a hit, nonetheless. By this time, Mötley Crüe had released two hit albums, and the first hit single propelled the third long-player, “Theatre Of Pain,” to #6 in the U.S. It also established the group as solid sellers in several other nations as well and opened the door for the follow-up, “Girls, Girls, Girls” to soar to #2 on the U.S. album chart, #4 in Canada and top 20 across Europe, the title cut being the band’s second major single.
In 1989, Mötley Crüe peaked as the single, “Dr. Feelgood,” rose to U.S. #6 and the home LP of the same name topped the Billboard Top 200 LP Chart. Featuring guest appearances from Jack Blades, Bryan Adams, Steven Tyler, Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and others, “Dr. Feelgood” also yielded three other hits, including the U.S. #8 “Without You.” It took almost five years to release a successor as the band had to replace lead singer Vince Neil with John Corabi. In spite of the long wait, no more hit singles and the new vocalist, “Mötley Crüe” still climbed to #7 U.S. Three years later, Neil was back and “Generation Swine” rose to #4 as did their most recent release, 2008’s “Saints Of Los Angeles.”
Mötley Crüe remains a popular concert attraction with the original four still intact. Those inductees are Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitar), Nikki Sixx (bass) and Tommy Lee (drums).