By Phill Marder
This is the 30th 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
291. PAULA ABDUL – Just making the cut for the opening round of selections in the Goldmine Hall of Fame, Paula Abdul released her first single in May, 1988, almost exactly 25 years ago. By that time, however, she already was well known as a choreographer, having been spotted by The Jacksons when serving as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers. Since, she has added actress and television personality to her resume.
When her debut LP, “Forever Your Girl,” was released, it simmered rather than sizzled, taking 64 weeks to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, reportedly a record. It took five months for the disc to yield its first mammoth hit single, “Straight Up,” the first two releases accounting for just minor success. “Straight Up” topped the U.S. Hot 100, did likewise in Japan, Sweden and Norway and reached the top five in almost every other European nation and Brasil. When the album’s title song and “Cold Hearted” followed, each reaching #1 in the U.S., the LP finally hit #1 in the U.S., staying there 10 weeks and remaining on the best-seller chart for over three years. In addition, “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me,” the second single from the LP that topped off at U.S. #88 the first time around, was re-released, this time climbing to U.S. #3. Finally, “Opposites Attract” became the sixth single from the LP and that also hit #1 in the U.S. in addition to Australia and Canada.
It took Abdul three years to produce a follow-up. In the meantime, an LP re-mixing the hits on her debut was released in 1990, and that also became a worldwide success, peaking at #7 in the States.
When Abdul’s “true” second album, “Spellbound,” was released in 1991, its success didn’t match the debut, but it still hit #1 in the U.S., #4 in the U.K., #3 in Australia and #6 in Canada and Sweden. The first two singles, “Rush Rush” and “The Promise Of A New Day” each hit U.S. #1. “Rush Rush” was particularly gratifying for Abdul, being a ballad after her previous dance hits. It turned out to be her biggest single worldwide, topping the charts in Japan, Poland and Canada as well as the States.
Another long wait – four years – concluded with Abdul’s third studio release, “Head Over Heels.” It reached a more-than-respectable #18 in the U.S., but its showing worldwide fell short of the first two outings and there were no hits, though the first single, “My Love Is For Real,” did top the dance chart.
In 2002, Abdul was one of three judges on “American Idol,” which became one of U.S. television’s most watched programs. In 2008, she teamed with fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson to release her first single in 12 years, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow,” which reached #2 on the U.S. dance chart.
292. LEO SAYER – This English-born singer/songwriter has demonstrated two of the prime requisites of superior talent – versatility and staying power. His recordings have traveled the unlikely path of progressive or alternate rock to disco to rhythm & blues to pure pop to cabaret and back again. And no matter what route Leo Sayer has chosen, he’s been successful. As for staying power, his second single release, “The Show Must Go On,” climbed to #2 in the United Kingdom in 1973. A mere 33 years later, his “Thunder In My Heart Again” topped the U.K. charts.
Prior to the release of his debut LP, “Silverbird,” which reached #2 U.K., Sayer had co-penned 10 of the tracks on the debut solo album of none other than Roger Daltrey. Released in April 1973, it included Daltrey’s first solo hit, “Giving It All Away,” which hit #5 U.K. Sayer’s debut was released in January, 1974. It didn’t do much in the States, but the sequel, a remarkable collection entitled “Just A Boy,” climbed to #16 U.S. and #4 U.K. It included Sayer’s version of “Giving It All Away” and two hit singles, “One Man Band,” which climbed to #6 U.K. and Sayer’s first U.S. hit, “Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance),” which hit #4 U.K. and #9 U.S. Where “One Man Band” had been a big hit in South Africa, Germany and Austria, “Long Tall Glasses” was #1 in Holland, #2 in Belgium and #10 in France, starting Sayer well on his way to becoming one of the world’s biggest album and singles sellers.
While 1975’s “Moonlighting” was a massive hit across Europe, it failed to connect in the States. But Sayer’s next two singles, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You” gave him back-to-back #1’s in the States and Canada. While both were massive hits around the globe, the former just missed the top spot in the U.K., stalling at #2. Sayer placed two more entries into the U.K. top 10 before the close of the ‘70s and the original version of “Thunder In My Heart” topped the chart in France.
As the ‘80s began, Sayer was back near the top in the U.S. and Canada, his cover of Bobby Vee’s “More Than I Can Say” reaching #2 in the States and the U.K., while rising to #3 in Canada. “Living In A Fantasy” was his last U.S. hit, reaching #14 in 1981, but Sayer continued to score with successful U.K. singles and five packages of hits have scored well, 1979’s “The Very Best Of Leo Sayer” hitting #1 in the U.K. and Australia. He moved to Australia in 2005 and became an Australian citizen in 2009.
293. ROGER WILLIAMS – If previous inductee Mantovani had his “cascading strings,” this pianist certainly produced “cascading keys.” When Roger Williams played, it sounded as if five pianos were going at the same time. This style, and Williams’ extraordinary skill at it, made him the most successful solo pianist of our musical time span, which begins in 1955.
In fact, Williams, who started playing at age three, had his first and biggest hit soon after the Rock & Roll Era began, though his recordings were about as far from Rock as one could get. “Autumn Leaves” topped the Billboard best-seller chart for four weeks before the magazine issued its first Top 100 list as 1955 neared a close. The new chart combined the best sellers, most played on jukeboxes and most played by disc jockeys, the first #1 being “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” by The Four Aces. However, “Autumn Leaves” remained atop the best seller chart another two weeks, and was #2 on the Top 100 six more weeks, eventually spending 26 weeks on the charts.
Williams remained a steady presence on the singles’ chart until 1969, though he managed just two more top 10 entries, 1958’s #10 U.S. “Near You” and 1966’s “Born Free,” the theme from the popular movie, which hit #7 in 1966. Album sales were a different story, and still today Williams ranks among the elite on the all-time album sellers list compiled by Billboard. He had three LPs in the top 20 in 1956, then scored his first Top 10 as 1957 started, reaching #6 with “Songs Of The Fabulous 50s.” He bettered that the next year when “Till” reached #4 and scored two more Top 10 entries in 1959 when “Near You” reached #9 and “With These Hands” hit #8. All told, his first 11 albums reached the top 20. His pace slowed somewhat in the ‘60s, but he remained a constant force on the LP chart until 1972, totaling 38 best-selling LPs. At the close of 1960, “Temptation” clocked in at #5, “Maria” reached #9 two years later, and “Born Free” topped off at #7 in 1966.
Williams passed away from pancreatic cancer in October, 2011, one week after his 87th birthday. He remained a concert favorite until the end.
294. PATTI PAGE – Known as “the Singing Rage” Miss Patti Page was a trendsetter and superstar long before 1955, but she was able to continue her popularity after the beginning year of our survey, staying popular enough to earn her spot in the Goldmine Hall of Fame. Today, she still ranks among the top 100 worldwide singles’ sellers of all time.
Page had her first hit single in 1948, mentioned here because of its lasting impact on recording. When Page recorded “Confess,” no background singers were available due to a strike. Proving that “necessity is the mother of invention,” Mitch Miller, also a Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee, used his technical knowledge to have Page sing her own harmony by overdubbing her voice. It was not the first example of overdubbing, but it was the first on a commercially released recording, and the record climbed to #12 on the Billboard best-seller chart. Page continued to use the effect throughout her career, and today one would be hard-pressed to imagine the recording industry without it.
From 1950 to 1955, Page had 19 top 10 singles, including four that reached #1 on the best-seller chart. Two became her biggest hits, “Tennessee Waltz” and “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?” reaching #1 status in many countries around the world. After the Rock Era started, Page continued to have hits, including 1956’s “Allegheny Moon,” which reached #2, “Old Cape Cod,” which climbed to #3 the next year and “Left Right Out Of Your Heart,” which peaked at #9 in 1958. Her pace slowed considerably in the ‘60s, but in 1965 she reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” from the movie starring Bette Davis, though Page’s version of the song is not in the movie.
Page, who also starred in several TV variety shows, remained a popular attraction in personal appearances until the end of 2012, when she retired due to health problems. She passed away New Year’s Day of 2013 at the age of 85.
295. TONY ORLANDO & DAWN – No overnight sensation, Tony Orlando was a star long before Dawn. Orlando had accounted for two major singles in 1961, “Halfway To Paradise,” which entered the Billboard Hot 100 a month after Orlando turned 17, and “Bless You.” Both recordings would have been quite at home in Gene Pitney’s catalog, and Orlando dig a bang-up job on each, the former reaching #39 while the latter made it all the way to #15.
But after his initial success, the young vocalist had a series of misfires. By the time he scored again, eight years had passed. Orlando was present on the #28 U.S. hit, “Make Believe,” credited to Wind. Anonymity would continue to be Orlando’s future, however. At least for awhile. Cutting a demo with Toni Wine, whose song “Candida” was the subject of the recording, Orlando found his work would be released as is. Contractual worries had him leave his name off the project, which was released as by Dawn. It became a major hit, going to U.S. #3 in 1970.
The same year follow-up, also featuring Orlando, did even better, “Knock Three Times” hitting U.S. #1, where it remained for three weeks. It also hit #1 in the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and just missed in several other nations. By now, Orlando was ready to resume his recording career in earnest, and he recruited Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson to form the group known as Dawn featuring Tony Orlando or later Tony Orlando & Dawn.
The trio continued to score hits, returning to U.S. #1 for four weeks in 1973 with “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree.” It became the trio’s biggest success, also climbing to the top in the U.K., Canada, Holland, Norway, Belgium, Australia and South Africa. The group followed with “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose,” a U.S. #3 and a top five smash in several other nations, and Dawn followed with its own TV show. In 1974, they were in the top 10 again with “Steppin’ Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight” and the next year their cover of Jerry Butler’s hit “He Will Break Your Heart” went to #1 as “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You).”
296. RICK SPRINGFIELD – In the ‘80s, it almost was impossible to turn on a radio without hearing the latest offering from this native Australian. And, the television was right behind as Springfield became a major soap opera star on the very popular “General Hospital,” appearing on other TV shows and movies as well.
Springfield started as a musician at an early age in his native land. After stints in several popular local bands, he released the single “Speak To The Sky,” which became a major hit in 1971. It climbed to #6 in his homeland, hit #10 in Canada and #14 in the U.S. For the next 10 years, he sprinkled the charts with minor successes now and then, but in 1981 he returned with a bang, “Jessie’s Girl” hitting U.S. and Australia #1. Springfield won Grammy honors for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
Though Springfield never scored another hit as big as “Jessie’s Girl,” he remained a constant presence on the charts, particularly in the States. Most Springfield hits were self-penned, but the follow-up to “Jessie’s Girl” was written by Sammy Hagar. “I’ve Done Everything For You” gave Springfield another top 10 entry, hitting U.S. #8. After “Love Is Alright Tonight” topped out at #20 to close 1981, Springfield started the next year with a rush, taking “Don’t Talk To Strangers” to U.S. #2. Springfield began 1983 much the same as the previous year, his “Affair of the Heart” proving yet another top 10 smash in the States. In 1984, Springfield posted his final top 10 score, “Love Somebody” climbing to #5. But from “Love Somebody” to 1988, Springfield had another six chart entries that reached the 20s.
Springfield had several hit LPs in Australia prior to his first major score, “Working Class Dog,” which reached U.S. #7 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in 1981. The next year, “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” did even better, reaching #2 U.S. and #6 Canada. That proved Springfield’s peak, but over the next three years he released three more LPs to peak at #21 or above. In 2008, he still maintained hit-maker status, his “Venus In Overdrive” climbing to #28 on the LP chart, and last year (2012) he climbed to #44 with “Songs For The End Of The World.”
297. CONWAY TWITTY – Another early Rocker who became a Country megastar, Conway Twitty, when first introduced to listeners in 1958, sounded so much like Elvis many thought “The King” had recorded under an alias just to see if he would sell without his name on the record. The record – “It’s Only Make Believe” – sold, even when record buyers discovered it wasn’t Elvis, climbing to #1. And there’s no mistaking it was a Rock record, as were a host of Twitty’s follow-ups. In 1959, Twitty released “Mona Lisa,” covering a hit version by Carl Mann, which had been released a couple months earlier. Mann was covering a version done by Nat King Cole nine years before. Twitty also had a hit with it, then put the standard “Danny Boy” into the top 10 before covering Elvis’ “Danny” as “Lonely Blue Boy,” which reached #6. Before he became one of the biggest Country stars of all time, Twitty had a hit with a cover of Chuck Willis’ “What Am I Living For.”
Though some of his hits were covers, Twitty was an accomplished writer, too, penning Roy Orbison’s “Rock House” and “It’s Only Make Believe” as well as its follow-up, “The Story Of My Love,” and many others.
Twitty posted 40 #1 Country singles before an abdominal aneurysm suddenly took his life in 1993. It was a record until George Strait passed him in 2006.
298. CHRISTOPHER CROSS – Talk about support, when this Texan finally got around to recording his first LP at age 28, he had plenty of big-name talent willing to help. Released in December, 1979, the eponymous disc immediately drew attention when the lead single, “Ride Like The Wind,” featuring the voice of Goldmine Hall of Famer Michael McDonald, blazed to U.S. #2, blocked at the top by Blondie’s “Call Me.” The single also reached #3 in Canada.
But Cross’ debut, which also featured performances by Don Henley, Nicolette Larson, Valerie Carter, J.D. Souther and a host of others, was just starting to yield successes, “Sailing” being its second single. “Sailing,” like the first hit, was penned by Cross. Unlike the first, “Sailing” made it all the way to the top in the U.S. and Canada and scored well across Europe and in South America. “Sailing” became one of the most honored singles, winning Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Arrangement of the Year and Cross became the only artist ever to win those plus Album of the Year and Best New Artist in the same year. By this time, most already owned the album, driving it to #6 in the U.S. and Australia, but still two more top 20 hits emerged, “Never Be The Same” and “Say You’ll Be Mine.”
Cross left himself a near impossible act to follow, but before his sophomore effort was released he set the bar even higher when the movie piece, “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” climbed to #1 in the U.S. and Norway, #2 in Canada and became his only top 10 U.K. hit, peaking at #7. For good measure, it took the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best song honors.
“Another Page” stopped at #11 in the U.S., but was a bigger success in many parts of the world, hitting #1 in Japan, #2 in Germany and top 10 in the U.K., the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. The album produced two hit singles, “All Right” and “Think Of Laura.”
299. CHAKA KHAN (with Rufus) – This Chicago-born vocalist began her career with Rufus, which quickly became Rufus featuring Chaka Khan when success came knocking. It didn’t take long, their first album – 1973’s “Rufus” – just denting the charts, but paving the way for the next effort, “Rags To Rufus.” With two smash singles, the Stevie Wonder-penned “Tell Me Something Good” and “You Got The Love,” written by Khan with Ray Parker Jr., leading the way, the 1974 release climbed to U.S. #4.
Later that same year, “Rufusized” rose to U.S. #7 and hit #2 on the R&B chart, two spots higher than the previous release. “Once You Get Started” was the fuse, reaching U.S. #10 and #4 on the R&B chart. The release also hit #14 in Canada, where Rufus’ previous recordings had scored well, also, and new ground was broken when the song rose to #6 in Denmark. Khan and guitarist Tony Maiden teamed up to write “Sweet Thing,” which hit at the close of 1975, reaching #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. The host LP, “Rufus featuring Chaka Khan,” equaled “Rufusized” by reaching #7 U.S., but did it one better on the R&B chart, climbing to the top. Three of the next four Rufus LPs topped the R&B chart, the lone miss being “Numbers,” the group’s first album without Khan. The group had six more top 10 R&B hits, including three that reached #1. Khan officially departed in 1982, but returned to do a live LP in 1983, the group’s last release.
By the time 1982 rolled around, Khan already had posted two R&B #1 solo singles and two of her three solo albums had reached the U.S. top 20. But after she went solo officially, only two of her LPs – 1984’s “I Feel For You” and 2007’s “Funk This” – reached the top 20, though most of her releases were steady sellers. The 1984 single, “I Feel For You,” was her lone major crossover hit, reaching #3 on the Hot 100, but several of her singles were successful on the R&B chart and the U.S. Dance chart. She also made countless guest appearances on the recordings of others, including Stevie Winwood’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love.”
The inductees are: Khan and Maiden plus Andre Fischer (drums), Kevin Murphy (organ, bass, clarinet, clavinet), Bobby Watson (bass) and Dave Wolinski (keyboards).
300. CHIC – For a four-year stretch, this New York City band was on top of the music world. When disco died, Chic’s success went with it. But while they were hot, you couldn’t get much hotter.
Firing out of the gate, the group’s first single, “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” quickly became the #1 Dance hit in the U.S. But its impact was felt off the dance floor as well as the single hit #6 on the U.S. Hot 100 and duplicated that peak on the U.S. R&B chart and the Canadian and U.K. charts as well. But that was just the start for Chic. Though the follow-up, “Everybody Dance,” fell off in the U.S., it reached #4 in France, #6 in Ireland and #9 in the U.K. Both came from the debut album, “Chic,” which peaked at U.S. #27.
It was a tough act to follow, but Chic leaders Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, who wrote nearly all the band’s material, were more than up to the task. In 1978, they unleashed “C’est Chic,” which easily eclipsed the first LP, becoming a worldwide best-seller. It topped the U.S. R&B chart, rose to #2 in the U.K., #4 in the U.S., #5 in Canada and #9 in the Netherlands. Two monster singles were pulled from the disc, “Le Freak” hitting #1 across the board in the States, also topping the charts in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. “I Want Your Love” topped the U.S. Dance chart and went top 10 in the U.S., Canada, France and England. “Risque” became the group’s third smash LP, climbing to U.S. #5, though it failed to sustain the band’s successes in other parts of the world. The lead single, “Good Times,” kept Chic atop the world charts, though, becoming their second U.S. #1, hitting #2 in Canada, #5 in the U.K. and #8 in New Zealand.
When the anti-disco backlash hit its peak in 1979, Chic was on the receiving end, eventually disbanding, though Rodgers currently has a group back on the road. He and Edwards went on to be involved in many successful projects as producers, writers and musicians, including the Honeydrippers and Power Station, which also featured Chic drummer Tony Thompson. While many musicians and vocalists were involved in Chic, the Goldmine inductees are limited to the core members, Rodgers, Edwards and Thompson, and vocalists Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin.