By Phill Marder
This is the 29th 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
281. SHEENA EASTON – This Scottish vocalist told everyone her baby takes the morning train. Amtrak’s stock would have soared if Easton, herself, took the train daily. Alas, she didn’t. But her stock soared as “Morning Train,” known as “9 to 5” in the U.K., introduced her to a worldwide audience that instantly fell in love with the single, her first in the U.S. “Morning Train” went to #1 in the States, Canada and the Pan Pacific, and reached the top five in most European countries, making Easton an overnight sensation.
In reality, “Morning Train” was Easton’s second single, “Modern Girl” having been released first in the U.K. where it stopped at #56. Enter the power of television. In 1980, Easton was being filmed for a TV show documenting an unknown’s struggle to attain success, the show including the making of “Modern Girl.” When the show aired, “Modern Girl” returned to the charts, rising to #8 in the U.K. As the follow-up to “Morning Train” in the U.S., the single reached #18. Both hits were featured on Easton’s debut LP, “Take My Time,” which reached the top 25 on both sides of the Atlantic and scaled as high as #4 in Japan.
In 1981, Easton sang the theme to the 12th James Bond flick, “For Your Eyes Only.” Though not the original choice, Easton became the only artist to appear singing the theme during the opening credits, Roger Moore calling her more sexy than any of the Bond girls. Naturally, it was a worldwide smash, topping the charts in Norway, Switzerland and The Netherlands, reaching #4 in the U.S. and #8 in the U.K. In 1982, she had two more top 10 hits in the U.S., a duet with Kenny Rogers on “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair).”
In 1984, Easton’s “Strut” kept her streak alive in North America, reaching top 10 status in the U.S. and Canada and its successor, the Prince penned “Sugar Walls,” also went U.S. top 10. In 1987, Easton returned to the limelight when she was featured on Prince’s hit “U Got The Look,” which went to U.S. #2 and just missed the U.K. top 10. The next year, Easton was back at #2 in the States with “The Lover In Me,” which also hit #15 in the U.K. and proved a major hit in most markets. A few lesser hits finished the ‘80s, and Easton remains somewhat active to this day.
282. THE VENTURES – Instrumentals were a staple of the music business prior to the beginning of Rock & Roll, and served as a foundation of Rock thanks to several notable practitioners. But no one churned out more important records than the top selling instrumental Rock group of all time … Washington’s Ventures.
In the early ‘60s, it was almost impossible to have a record collection that didn’t include at least one Ventures offering. Countless guitarists learned their craft playing along to Ventures’ records, so many that the group eventually released instructional LPs such as “Play Guitar With The Ventures,” which allowed you to do just that. The foursome also pioneered concept LPs, offering many albums with a centralized theme, and exposed the music world to many new practices that became everyday effects used by most players. Their lineup – two guitars, bass and drums – became the template for most Rock bands that followed.
In the early ‘60s, The Ventures bucked the trend of the day, relying on the album to be their main sales focus rather than the single, and many of their LPs were instrumental versions of the day’s hits. In fact, the band only had three major hit singles, “Walk, Don’t Run” (twice a hit), “Perfidia” and “Hawaii Five-O.” But they had 38 albums reach the Billboard top sellers list. In Japan, where instrumentals present no language barrier, The Ventures remain one of the all-time favorite Rock groups as evidenced by 1965’s “The Ventures On Stage,” recorded in Japan and still one of Rock’s best concert LPs.
Skip Moore drummed on the original “Walk, Don’t Run,” but Howie Johnson played on the first four LPs and much of the fifth before leaving the group in 1962, leading to the band’s classic lineup of Mel Taylor on drums, Bob Bogle on bass and Nokie Edwards and Don Wilson on guitar. All but Moore receive “Miners” as inductees to the Goldmine Hall of Fame along with Gerry McGee, who replaced Edwards, eventually serving two lengthy terms with the group with Edwards rejoining on occasion.
283. THE GUESS WHO – The first Rock band inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame was not The Band, not Rush, not Triumph, Loverboy, Bachman-Turner Overdrive or April Wine. No, the first Rock band inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame was The Guess Who, inducted in 1987. Rock royalty in their native country, the Guess Who did everything well, churning out a steady stream of radio hits and albums. Guess Who albums contained classic cuts from almost every genre of music, managing to forge a couple hit singles from each long player while avoiding filler and sameness on the rest of the cuts. And each LP featured at least one track guaranteed to make you smile … if you got the joke.
Apparently, many did not for, much like The (Young) Rascals, The Guess Who’s success was centered in North America, where they dominated charts and radio play from 1969 until 1975. Yes, the quartet would show up on charts around the world, proving particularly popular in The Netherlands, France and South Africa, but not with the dominance illustrated in the U.S. and their native land. In Canada, four of their first five singles, “Laughing,” “No Time,” “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” reached #1, all four cracking the U.S. top 10, the latter two rising to #1 as a double-sided smash. Their first single, “These Eyes,” went top 10 in both countries, while “Undun,” the flip side of “Laughing” just missed the top 20 in each.
Released in 1970, “American Woman” became the band’s best-selling LP, reaching #9 in the U.S. It also marked the departure of lead guitarist Randy Bachman, who wrote or co-wrote with pianist and lead vocalist Burton Cummings most of the group’s material. The departure of such a key figure as Bachman, who went on to found BTO, often would spell the end for most groups. But with Cummings and new guitarist Kurt Winter penning the material, there was little drop off in quality or success. “Share The Land,” “Hand Me Down World” and “Hang On To Your Life” all reached the Canadian top 10, “Share The Land” doing likewise in the U.S. From 1971’s “Albert Flasher” to 1975’s “Loves Me Like A Brother,” The Guess Who added 14 more hits to the Canadian top 40, “Rain Dance,” a live version of “Runnin’ Back To Saskatoon,” “Star Baby” and “Clap For The Wolfman” all entering the top 10, the last also scoring at U.S. #6. Fifteen times the band hit the Billboard Top 200 LP chart, three times reaching the top 10.
Burton Cummings went solo in 1975 with continued success, effectively ending the band’s run as chart-toppers. Also contributing much on flute, the lead singer/pianist heads the inductees to the Goldmine Hall of Fame joined by Bachman, Garry Peterson on drums and Jim Kale on bass. Winter and Greg Leskiw, who also joined upon Bachman’s exit, also receive “Miners” as inductees.
284. KENNY LOGGINS (with Jim Messina) – Like The Ventures, Kenny Loggins hailed from the state of Washington. Recording with many companions – notably Jim Messina – Loggins fronted one of the hottest bands of the ‘70s, then went solo to have a second successful career, particularly as a composer and performer of movie soundtrack hits.
Messina, who had worked on the final Buffalo Springfield LP, originally was to produce Loggins’ first solo record, but the two collaborated so closely the result turned into the duo Loggins & Messina. The result was nine smash albums between 1971 and 1977, three reaching the Billboard chart’s top 10. The pair also accounted for three top 20 singles in the U.S., “Your Mama Don’t Dance” climbing to #4.
So by the time Loggins’ true first solo record emerged in 1977, he already was an established star. But though the LP, “Celebrate Me Home,” climbed to U.S. #27, it failed to yield a hit. The next release, 1978’s “Nightwatch,” changed that as Loggins teamed up with Melissa Manchester to pen “Whenever I Call You Friend.” But when it came time to record the song, Loggins chose Stevie Nicks as his partner, a good choice as it turned out as the single soared to #1 in Canada and #5 in the U.S., helping “Nightwatch” climb to U.S. #7, Loggins’ best showing on the LP charts. It also established Loggins’ solo career in Europe, charting well in several countries. The LP also contained the first recording of “What A Fool Believes,” written by Loggins and Michael McDonald, who took it to #1 with The Doobie Brothers, the song eventually capturing two Grammy Awards for Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year.
In 1979, Loggins released “This Is It,” which not only became a major hit, but also became a standard anthem at sporting events, particularly boxing matches. The next year “I’m Alright” from the movie “Caddyshack” entered the top 10 in the U.S., Canada and South Africa, opening a new outlet for Loggins. In 1984, his theme for the film “Footloose” became his biggest hit, topping charts in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and two years later “Danger Zone” from the “Top Gun” soundtrack just missed giving Loggins another chart topper, hitting U.S. #2. He also posted hits from the movie soundtracks to “Over The Top” and “Caddyshack II.”
Recent years have seen Loggins & Messina reunite for personal appearances, and Loggins currently is a member of the trio Blue Sky Riders, which released their debut LP in early 2013.
285. BEN E. KING – Only a group as stocked as The Drifters could have survived the loss of a lead singer who was the voice on “There Goes My Baby,” “Save The Last Dance For Me,” “This Magic Moment” and “I Count The Tears,” among others. And only a singer the likes of Benjamin Nelson, known professionally as Ben E. King, could have walked away from the Goldmine Hall Of Fame inductees to earn a “Miner” himself.
King’s first solo singles didn’t do much, and his debut LP in 1961 became one of just three long-players to put a dent on the Billboard top album charts, coming in at #57. But that album contained two big singles, the title song, “Spanish Harlem,” reaching #10 and the leadoff cut, “Amor,” a Bing Crosby hit in 1944, rising to #18. Missing on that disc and the follow-up LP was the flip side of “Spanish Harlem,” “First Taste Of Love,” which also charted but didn’t show up until King’s third album. That side was significant because it hit #27 in the U.K., while “Spanish Harlem” didn’t even chart.
That King’s third LP didn’t become a blockbuster is somewhat of a mystery. That it didn’t even chart is hard to believe. The title song, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” reached #11 in 1962, the year the LP was released. The year before, the terrific two-sided 45 “Young Boy Blues” and “Here Comes The Night” had failed to make much of an impact, but they were both included as well as the aforementioned “First Taste Of Love.”
But the lead cut on Side Two was King’s biggest smash, “Stand By Me,” which he wrote with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It reached #4 early in 1961, then climbed to #9 in 1986 when included in the movie of the same name. Other major smashes for King included 1963’s “I (Who Have Nothing)” and 1975’s “Supernatural Thing – Part 1.
286. MARTY ROBBINS – A Country Music giant, Marty Robbins also played a major role in the formation of Rock & Roll as several of his first hits could be classified “Rockabilly.” His first, “Singing The Blues,” was a #1 Country hit, but also a #17 Hot 100 hit. That in spite of Guy Mitchell’s almost identical version hitting #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K., holding the U.S. #1 position for a jaw-dropping 10 weeks. Robbins’ follow-up, “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation),” became a U.S. teen anthem, hitting #2.
In 1959, Robbins’ eventual call to fame came from the movies when he did the title song to “The Hanging Tree,” a Western starring Gary Cooper. It wasn’t a giant hit, barely squeaking into the top 40, but it opened the door for Robbins’ signature hit, “El Paso,” which topped the charts later in 1959. While a truncated version was released, many jocks opted for the record’s full version, which ran almost five minutes, thus breaking traditional time constraints for the old 45.
Grady Martin, whose Spanish guitar so enhanced “El Paso,’ also contributed a trendsetting moment in 1961 when his bass on “Don’t Worry” unintentionally distorted, creating a fuzztone effect. Robbins liked it and opted to leave it, the record becoming a major, #3, hit. Robbins had many other crossover hits, 1962’s top 20 “Devil Woman” and “Ruby Ann,” for instance.
With 47 top 10 Country records, including 16 that reached #1, Robbins was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982 and named “Artist of the Decade” for the ‘60s by the Academy Of Country Music. He has been the subject of several recordings, including The Who’s “God Speaks Of Marty Robbins.” Robbins, also a successful NASCAR driver, died of heart failure in 1982 at the age of 57.
287. DR. HOOK & THE MEDICINE SHOW – One of the most unusual bands to be inducted into the Goldmine Hall Of Fame, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show churned out hits for 10 years without much fanfare. Today, when all tabulations are completed, the group’s accomplishments probably would surprise most observers. Maybe even some of the band members, themselves. For Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – later shortened to just Dr. Hook – today rank as one of the 500 biggest sellers of albums and singles worldwide.
Fifteen members passed through the band, including six drummers. Most thought it was named after vocalist/guitarist Ray Sawyer because of the eye patch he wore after a devastating car wreck. But Sawyer wasn’t even the featured vocalist, that duty usually falling on Dennis Locorriere, who went on to become a noted songwriter, also. This brings up another oddity for the group, because its early material was, in large part, penned by poet Shel Silverstein, including the band’s first two hits, “Sylvia’s Mother” and “The Cover Of The Rolling Stone.” Both were somewhat odd, but massive successes, “Sylvia’s Mother” reaching U.S. #5, #1 in Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, #2 in Canada & the U.K. and top 10 almost everywhere else, while the latter hit #6 in the U.S. and Canada.
The group also had worldwide hit singles with “A Little Bit More,” covers of Sam Cooke’s “Only 16” and The Rooftop Singers’ “Walk Right In” and disco-era “Sharing The Night Together,” “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman,” “Sexy Eyes” and “Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk.” Almost every LP was a huge success in Norway and Sweden.
Joining Locorriere and Sawyer as inductees are: Billy Francis (keyboards); George Cummings and Rik Elswit (guitar); Bobby Dominguez, Jay David and John Wolters (drums) and Jance Garfat (bass).
288. FRANKIE LYMON & THE TEENAGERS – The similarities between Frankie Lymon and Michael Jackson are heavily documented. Both had their first hits fronting famous groups, Lymon with the Teenagers, Jackson with The Jackson Five. Both were extremely young, Lymon 13, Jackson 11. Largely due to their age, both sang soprano. Both were great dancers. Both had controversial lives and both died young, Lymon at 25, Jackson at 50.
But to suggest Lymon’s career achievements were anywhere near those of Jackson’s is greatly over-stating Lymon’s accomplishments. For the facts are Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers had just a few hit singles and no hit LPs. That doesn’t quite tell the entire story, though, and today’s critical acclaim, largely responsible for Lymon’s group earning this spot in the Goldmine Hall of Fame, is well deserved. The notoriety gained largely due to Lymon’s age and the group’s appearance in two early Rock movies, Alan Freed’s concert shows and London performances made him a true superstar at the dawn of Rock & Roll, and the group’s first hit, “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” has become one of Rock’s most treasured classics. That debut reached #6 in the U.S. (#1 R&B) and went all the way to #1 in the U.K.
The follow-up, “I Want You To Be My Girl,” reached U.S. #13 later the same year (1956), while “I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent” reached U.K. #12 and “Baby Baby” hit U.K. #4 the following year, while “Goody Goody” (really a Lymon solo effort) landed at U.S. #20 and U.K. #24. However, radio stations deep in doo-wop also constantly programmed two of the group’s ballads, “Out In The Cold Again” and “Paper Castles,” each becoming a teen favorite though neither had much chart impact. Lymon’s split to go solo failed, his changing voice and drug problems the main contributing factors, and The Teenagers without Lymon also were unable to regain the heights achieved in their meteoric rise to the top.
The inductees are: Frankie Lymon, Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant, Joe Negroni and Sherman Garnes.
289. HELEN REDDY – “…She makes everything possible,” said this Australian vocalist, thanking God in her acceptance speech for her 1973 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song earning her that award was to become Helen Reddy’s signature hit, “I Am Woman,” co-written by Reddy when she couldn’t find anything that expressed exactly what she wanted to say. It wasn’t Reddy’s first hit, but it was her first of three #1’s in the U.S., becoming an anthem for the feminist movement.
Though born to a family steeped in entertainment, Reddy virtually was destitute when she finally achieved success, having moved to the U.S. in 1966 with little money, an infant daughter and divorce papers fresh in hand. Two years later, she managed a minor hit in her native land, but it was five years before she connected with “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” originally done by Yvonne Elliman on the “Jesus Christ Superstar” LP. Reddy’s version reached U.S. #13, outlegging Elliman’s, which hit #28. It also scored in Canada and sections of Europe, and rose to #2 in her homeland. The next year, “I Am Woman” hit, also reaching #2 in Australia and #1 in Canada. “Peaceful,” pulled from the “I Am Woman” LP, finished 1972 as a more-than-respectable U.S. #12, and 1973 started with Reddy scoring her most successful 45, “Delta Dawn,” an across-the-board #1.
That recording started a string of six consecutive Reddy singles to reach #1 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, including “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress),” which topped the Australian charts for four weeks and climbed to #3 U.S., and “You and Me Against The World,” which also reached the U.S. top 10. That was followed by “Angie Baby,” Reddy’s third U.S. #1 which also reached the top five in Canada, Australia and the U.K. She continued to release hit singles until the late ‘70s, “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” climbing to #8 in 1975. Reddy also notched seven top 20 LPs in the U.S., three of which reached the top 10.
Reddy “retired” for some time, but has been making personal appearances as of this writing, one review noting “Reddy’s voice, at 71, remains a magnificent instrument…”
290. MANTOVANI – Music superstars known by just one name are common, Fabian, Cher, Prince, Morrissey being just a few examples. But few have reached the heights achieved by Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, who, for recording purposes, went by simply Mantovani.
Rock & Roll has its “Bo Diddley Beat,” Easy Listening has the “Mantovani Sound,” featuring his 40-piece orchestra with “cascading strings.” Born in Italy but raised in England, the conductor ranks near the top 10 on the all-time album artist list of Billboard even though he was well known long before our starting year of 1955. Between that year and 1972, Mantovani placed 50 LPs on the Billboard chart, 13 reaching the top 10. In 1957, his LP, “Film Encores,” topped the U.S. chart and remained on the best-seller list for well over four years, being just one of six Mantovani LPs to sit in the U.S. top 30 simultaneously in 1959. That same year, he even had his own TV show in the U.S. At the close of 1960, his LP “Mantovani Plays Music From Exodus and Other Great Themes” held the U.S. #2 position five weeks.
Prior to 1955, Mantovani had six hit singles in the U.K. The start of the Rock Era didn’t diminish his popularity and he is ranked as the best-selling LP artist in the U.K. pre-Beatles. Between 1959 and 1979, the orchestra leader scored 11 top 40 albums on the United Kingdom charts, six reaching top 10 status. Many of his recordings were used as stereo samplers to promote the “superior” sound of the new stereo recordings.
Mantovani has been referenced in several recordings by Rock bands, and now deservedly holds a slot in the Goldmine Hall of Fame. He died in 1980 at the age of 74.