By Phill Marder
This is the 33rd 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
321. BONEY M.
This disco-flavored vocal group had virtually no success in North America, but has two of the best-selling singles of all-time and three #1 albums in the United Kingdom. The first record-breaking single was “Rivers Of Babylon,” a cover of The Melodians version, which appeared on the soundtrack of the movie “The Harder They Come.” The Jamaican group’s version came out in 1970, while Boney M.’s was released in 1978. In the United Kingdom, it topped the chart for five weeks and became the second best-selling U.K. single of all time. This was helped by the success of the flip side, “Brown Girl In The Ring,” which rose to #2 after “Rivers of Babylon” began its decline. All told, the release spent six months in the U.K. top 40, with 19 weeks in the top 10.
Now frequently covered, “Rivers of Babylon” also hit #1 in Germany, the group’s home base, Austria, The Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, France, Belgium, Australia and South Africa, becoming the biggest selling U.K. single of 1978. Later that same year, “Mama’s Boy Child-Oh My Lord” joined “Rivers” on the list of all-time best-selling British singles, holding down the U.K. #1 position four weeks. The Christmas hit had scored previously for Goldmine Hall of Famer Harry Belafonte and topped the charts in four countries in addition to the U.K. Neither single did much in the U.S., “Rivers of Babylon” reaching just #30, the group’s best showing in the U.S.
But Boney M.’s success was ample before 1978, with four #1 singles in Germany, all of which reached the U.K. top 10. Those included “Sunny,” a cover of the Bobby Hebb hit. Two more #1 hits were posted in Germany, 1978’s “Rasputin” and 1979’s double decker “Gotta Go Home” and “El Lute.” All told, Boney M. notched 10 top 10 singles in the U.K. between 1976 and 1992. In addition to the three #1 LPs. Boney M. also boasts #1 LPs in Germany, Austria and Sweden (three each), Norway and The Netherlands.
Their success, which places them among the very highest-ranking all-time sellers of singles and LPs worldwide, is somewhat clouded by the group’s actual participation. Later notorious for his foisting Milli Vanilli on the music scene, German producer Frank Farian actually was Boney M. on the group’s first release and contributed vocals to their recordings, along with Liz Mitchell and Marcia Barrett. Those three are the Goldmine inductees. 322. THE FOUR ACES featuring AL ALBERTS
When Billboard Magazine published its first listings for 1955, the Hot 100 did not exist. The Rock & Roll Era had begun, but, technically, that didn’t exist yet, either, because, at the time, who knew Rock would last long enough to merit its own era? But Billboard did publish three charts, including the main, “Best-Sellers” listing. As 1955, the opening year of our survey, began, “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes, a female group, topped that chart. The significance? At #11 was another version, this one recorded by The Four Aces featuring Al Alberts. The Four Aces’ version had earlier peaked at #5 and later in 1955 would return to the top 10, beginning a remarkable two-year stretch from this group, a stretch strong enough to gain it entrance into the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
The Philadelphia-based quartet already had 16 chart hits between 1951 and 1954, including eight that reached the top 10. Their very first effort, 1951’s “(It’s No) Sin,” published on their own label when they couldn’t get backing from a major, climbed to #4 and its successor, “Tell Me Why,” reached #2 on Decca. In 1952, “Perfidia” and “Should I” each reached the top 10 and the next year “Stranger In Paradise” and “The Gang That Sang Heart Of My Heart” did likewise, the former following “Mr. Sandman” into the U.K. top 10, also. In 1954, “Three Coins In The Fountain” became their first #1, cementing the group’s popularity in the U.S. as well as in Europe and the Pan Pacific.
But when 1955 began, many holdovers from prior years were buried by the “new” music. Not The Four Aces, who posted five hits that year, including “Melody Of Love,” which held the #1 spot in Australia for six weeks and peaked at #3 in the U.S., and “Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing,” which held the #1 spot for six weeks in the U.S. and reached #2 in the U.K. The group never again hit those heights, but they did post nine chart offerings in 1956, including two that reached the top 25, and several of their singles charted well in Canada through the ‘50s.
In addition to Alberts, the inductees are Dave Mahoney, Sol Vaccaro and Lou Silvestri. Unfortunately, all now are deceased, but their recordings have aged remarkably well, particularly for devout fans of the great vocal groups.
323. DEL SHANNON
This Michigan vocalist is most remembered for two things – his fantastic falsetto and his recording of “From Me To You,” which became the first composition by John Lennon and Paul McCartney to chart in the U.S. Oh, and there was one other “most memorable” moment from Shannon – “Runaway.”
His first hit single, “Runaway” entered the charts in early 1961 and quickly established Shannon as a major star on both sides of the Atlantic, eventually becoming one of Rock & Roll’s most covered and most beloved singles. Co-written by Shannon and Max Crook, whose solo on his newly invented Musitron, a heavily modified clavioline that proved a forerunner of the synthesizer, gave the 45 a truly unique sound, “Runaway” became a runaway sensation topping the charts in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia.
When an artist unloads a “classic” on his first hit record, it often becomes difficult to maintain that level of success. This was true of Shannon, but he was far from a one-hit wonder, two of “Runaway’s” successors reaching the top 10 in the U.S., seven climbing into the top 10 in the U.K., where he also claimed two top 10 LPs and one top 10 EP. In fact, his immediate follow-up, “Hats Off To Larry,” became almost as memorable as “Runaway,” topping the Canada charts while finishing #5 in the U.S. and #6 in the U.K. “So Long, Baby” and “Hey! Little Girl,” #10 and #2 in the U.K., respectively, helped solidify Shannon’s stature in England where “Swiss Maid” also reached #2 in 1962. “Swiss Maid” and “Little Town Flirt” also gave Shannon back-to-back #1s in Australia.
While touring England, Shannon picked up on “From Me To You,” which reached just #77 in the U.S., but hit #13 in Canada and #21 in Australia. In 1964, he returned to the U.S. top 10 with “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun),” which climbed to #9. When the hits stopped coming, Shannon became a successful producer, but he did return to the U.S. top 40 in 1981 with a cover of Phil Phillips’ “Sea Of Love.”
Shannon passed away in 1990. He was 55. 324. SCORPIONS
No one could accuse this German group of not paying its dues. Overnight sensation? Not quite. Formed in 1965, Scorpions didn’t record its debut album until 1972. Then it took seven more years and four more albums before 1979’s “Lovedrive” finally began the band’s rise to super stardom.
The initial breakthrough was compliments of the double-sided single “Is There Anybody There?” and “Another Piece Of Meat,” which barely snuck into the U.K. top 40. But the single was a major hit (#3) in France and helped propel the LP into the French top 10. It just missed the top 10 in Germany and became the group’s first chart entry (#55) in the U.S. The next LP, 1980’s “Animal Magnetism,” improved slightly on “Lovedrive’s” chart showings, and the heavy metal/hard rock quintet edged closer to a major breakthrough with 1982’s “Blackout” LP, which topped the French charts and came in at #10 in Germany and the U.S.
With its foundation firmly established, Scorpions needed only to keep the momentum, which the band did with its 1984 LP, “Love At First Sting,” a major success worldwide with top 10 results in Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland and the U.S. The long-player gave the band its first major hit single in the U.S. with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and the power ballad “Still Loving You” went top five in France, The Netherlands and Sweden. “World Wide Live,” issued in 1985, kept the ball rolling and helped shorten the wait for the next studio release, “Savage Amusement,” which didn’t appear until 1988. Still, it topped the Finland charts, hit #2 in Sweden and went top five in the U.S., Switzerland and Germany.
In 1991 “Wind Of Change” became Scorpions’ first #1 single in their home country, 25 years after the band’s formation. Eventually it became the band’s most successful single, topping the charts in nine countries. That, and the follow-up “Send Me An Angel,” also a worldwide hit, pushed the host album, “Crazy World,” to top 10 status across Europe.
Scorpions has continued being a popular album seller and concert attraction. Over the years, the band has experienced numerous personnel changes with just rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker consistent since the beginning. He and vocalist Klaus Meine, who joined in 1970, and lead guitarist Matthias Jabs, along with Francis Buchholz, bass, and Herman Rarebell, drums, make up the classic lineup from “Lovedrive” to “Crazy World” and are the Goldmine Hall of Fame inductees.
325. BOOKER T. & THE M.G.’s
Even those who don’t know the name are probably familiar with many recordings featuring this Memphis instrumental group. As the house band for Stax Records, often borrowed for many Atlantic sessions as well, Booker T. & The M.G.’s played on more hit records than probably even the band members can recount, backing the likes of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Neil Young and many others, including our next inductee, Bill Withers.
At the same time, the band was busy releasing its own recordings, starting with 1962’s “Green Onions,” which went on to become a #1 hit on the Rhythm & Blues chart and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually becoming a bar band staple. Though it didn’t make much impact in the U.K., it came back 17 years later to climb to #7 there. The parent LP of the same name reached #33 in the U.S. and #11 in the U.K.
Except for a 1966 Christmas LP that reached U.S. #13, “Green Onions” was the group’s highest-charting LP, though they steadily appeared on the long-player charts through 1994. On the singles’ charts, the M.G.’s returned with 1965’s “Boot Leg,” a #10 R&B score, and 1967’s “Hip Hug-Her” and “Groovin’,” #6 and #10, respectively, on the R&B chart and fair-sized hits, overall. The band’s most successful stretch occurred in 1967 and early 1968 when three singles connected, the #17 “Soul Limbo,” the #9 “Hang ‘Em High” and “Time Is Tight,” which hit #6 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K.
Though it was generally reported that the “M.G.’s” stood for “Memphis Group,” Stax producer Chip Moman always claimed the band was named for the MG sports car he drove. Moman had been in a group with leader Booker T. Jones earlier, that group being named after Moman’s car at the time, a Triumph. Jones recently has validated Moman’s account, Stax evidently issuing the “Memphis Group” version to avoid possible trademark infringement.
Along with organist Jones, the Goldmine inductees include guitarist Steve Cropper, drummer Al Jackson, Jr. and original bassist Lewie Steinberg, present on the group’s first two LPs, and his replacement Donald “Duck” Dunn.
326. BILL WITHERS
Taking a roundabout route to fame, this vocalist traveled from his home state of West Virginia to the U.S. Navy, then finally to Los Angeles. By the time he recorded his first album, he was just shy of his 33rd birthday.
Despite the late start, Bill Withers made up ground quickly. The album, “Just As I Am,” was released in 1971, with the leadoff track, “Harlem,” issued as the first single. As so often happens, the public knew more than the record companies, and the flip side, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” became the hit, eventually becoming an all-time classic. “Ain’t No Sunshine” reached #3 in the U.S. and #9 in Canada, winning a Grammy for “Best R&B Song.” In the U.K., it was a late arrival, barely cracking the Brit top 40 38 years later. The follow-up, “Lean On Me,” was more successful on both sides of the Atlantic, topping the charts in the U.S. and climbing to #18 in the U.K.
“Use Me,” pulled from the 1972 LP that yielded “Lean On Me,” “Still Bill,” narrowly missed giving Withers back-to-back chart-toppers, settling at U.S. #2 for two weeks. First, Michael Jackson’s “Ben” blocked it, then Chuck Berry’s only #1, “My Ding-A-Ling.” The LP topped the R&B chart and landed at #4 overall.
Withers kept up a steady string of R&B hits, but it wasn’t until 1978 that he had a major successor to “Lean On Me” in Britain, “Lovely Day” climbing to #7. Containing what is reportedly the longest held vocal note on any U.K. top 40 single, 18 seconds, “Lovely Day” made more noise when a 1988 remix climbed to U.K. #4. The parent album, “Menagerie,” became Withers’ highest-charting in the U.K., coming in at #27. It also cracked the U.S. top 40. In 1981, Withers narrowly missed another #1 when his collaboration with Grover Washington, Jr., “Just The Two Of Us,” held the #2 slot on the Hot 100 for three weeks. Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” and Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” provided the roadblocks.
The subject of an excellent 2009 documentary, “Still Bill,” Withers has been the recipient of many honors, including induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In 1972, he was a Grammy nominee for “Best New Artist,” but lost to Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee Carly Simon. “Just The Two Of Us” did earn a Grammy for best R&B song as did “Lean On Me” when covered by Club Nouveau in 1987.
327. BOBBY GOLDSBORO
There are occasions when an artist can release a record that becomes so big it becomes impossible to follow, thus killing the career to an extent. This can be doubly so when the record is a “novelty” that leads to critical disdain. Florida singer Bobby Goldsboro released such a record in 1968 but was talented enough to continue as a popular and viable artist for many years to come.
“Honey” is the release that put Goldsboro on top of the U.S. charts for five weeks in early 1968. It went top 10 around the world, also hitting #1 in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. It also became a #1 Country hit and Goldsboro became a regular visitor to the Country charts in both the U.S. and Canada after its success. Goldsboro’s recording was not the first of the Bobby Russell composition, The Kingston Trio’s Bob Shane having a minor local hit with it first. One of the last of the tales of a lover dying tragically, it has since been often covered in spite of appearing regularly on “Worst Songs Of All Time” lists.
Goldsboro had had success before “Honey” though. In fact, he had released a greatest hit package the year before his greatest hit! In 1964, he scored his first successful single when “See The Funny Little Clown” hit #9 in the U.S. and the next year “Little Things” climbed to #13. Both also were hits in Canada. In 1966 “It’s Too Late” continued Goldsboro’s run as a hit maker, rising to U.S. #23. The follow-up to “Honey” also was a substantial hit, “Autumn Of My Life” climbing to U.S. #19 and scoring well on the Country charts in both the U.S. and Canada. His single “A Christmas Wish” finished 1968 with Goldsboro riding high.
Now a steady seller in the Country market, Goldsboro was back in the mainstream in 1970 with a major hit when “Watching Scotty Grow” hit #11 on the Hot 100 and also climbed into the Canadian top 10 and in 1973 he scored again when “Summer (The First Time)” peaked at #7 U.K., #9 Australia and U.S. #23. His 1974 single “Hello Summertime” reached #14 in the U.K., where a re-issue of “Honey” the next year hit #2, the same peak it had originally reached there seven years before.
328. CLYDE McPHATTER
This North Carolina tenor seemed always to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, yet still is regarded as one of the primary figures in the formation of Rock & Roll.
Clyde McPhatter was the lead voice in Billy Ward & The Dominoes when they posted eight consecutive R&B top 10 hits between 1951 and 1953. However, he was not the lead voice on the group’s biggest success, “Sixty-Minute Man,” which topped the R&B chart for 14 weeks and proved the group’s first mainstream success, reaching #17 on the Billboard charts. McPhatter was on the 1951 recording, now in consideration as possibly the first Rock & Roll record, but the lead was sung was bass man Bill Brown. McPhatter left in 1953, a couple years before the group had its greatest mainstream success with three top 20 entries – “St. Therese Of The Roses,” “Star Dust” and “Deep Purple” – in 1956 and 1957.
McPhatter then started his own group, The Drifters, already inducted into the Goldmine Hall Of Fame. Again, his timing was off. Although his group produced four top five R&B entries in 1953 and 1954, including two #1 entries, The Drifters would become the first great vocal group of the Rock Era, which began in 1955, shortly after McPhatter went solo. His first release on his own was actually a duet with Ruth Brown that landed McPhatter back in the R&B top 10 and his first true release on his own, “Seven Days,” climbed to R&B #2 in 1956. Before the year was up, McPhatter had his first solo R&B #1 and his first mainstream hit with “Treasure Of Love,” which peaked at #16 on the best-seller chart. It also became his lone U.K. hit, reaching #27.
McPhatter had seven more singles reach the R&B top 10, including two that topped the chart, between 1956 and 1960, one #1 being “A Lover’s Question,” which became his biggest hit, climbing to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1958. In 1962 he reappeared in the top 10, peaking at #7 with “Lover Please. But the lack of further success caused McPhatter to become a depressed recluse and an alcoholic, and he passed away in 1972. He was just 39, though his year of birth has been reported variably from 1931 to 1933.
329. SARAH VAUGHAN
Known as “Sassy,” “Sailor” or “The Divine One,” this Newark, New Jersey native was best known as a Jazz singer, though she didn’t appreciate being pigeon-holed, telling Down Beat magazine “What I want to do, music-wise, is all kinds of music that I like, and I like all kinds of music.”
Certainly, Vaughan was one of the most successful female vocalists of the era preceding the Rock & Roll explosion, but her amazing talent and versatility enabled her to retain her popularity even as musical trends changed. She did, however, maintain an especially strong presence in the Jazz market, after spending her teenage years performing with the likes of Earl Hines, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Billy Eckstine and others. Two of her Jazz recordings were recipients of the Grammy Hall of Fame Award and a year before her passing, which occurred in 1990, Vaughan received the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters Award, the organization’s highest honor.
Vaughan had a spectacular career before the Rock Era and Goldmine’s tabulations began, putting 14 singles into the top 30, including three into the top 10. She added eight more from 1955 until 1959. “How Important Can It Be?” started an extremely strong 1955 for Vaughan, climbing to #12. She followed with her highest-charting record of the period, “Whatever Lola Wants,” which climbed to #6. “Experience Unnecessary” followed, peaking at #14, and “C’est la vie” closed the year at #11. The next year started the same, “Mr. Wonderful” rising to #13. Before the year closed, she added “Fabulous Character” and “The Banana Boat Song,” both of which rose to #19. Vaughan also placed four albums high on the U.S. charts in 1956 and 1957.
A drought followed, but in 1959 Vaughan unleashed one of her most memorable efforts, “Broken-Hearted Melody,” which hit #3 in Canada, #7 in both the U.S. and U.K. and #8 in Flanders. This ended her run as a major hit producer, but her performances kept her in the public eye. She eventually won an Emmy for a PBS production and her 1982 “Gershwin Live!” recording won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, female. In 1985, she was inducted into the Down Beat magazine Jazz Hall of Fame, and the same year received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. 330. THE STAPLE SINGERS
Like Sarah Vaughan, Chicago’s Staple Singers made a name for themselves before 1955. But unlike Vaughan, the Staples were rooted in Gospel, not Jazz. And also unlike Vaughan, it took the family until the 1970s to break through to the mainstream, by this time working in some R&B, Folk and Funk to broaden their listening audience.
Recording for Epic, the group drew some attention in 1967 with its coverage of the Buffalo Springfield’s hit, “For What It’s Worth.” But it wasn’t until 1970, after a move to Stax, that The Staple Singers became a chart success, “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” climbing to #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart. The follow-up, “You’ve Got To Earn It,” climbed to R&B #11 and the two hits helped push the LP “The Staple Swingers” to #9 on the R&B chart.
The door now was open and the Staples wasted no time rushing through, their 1972 album “Be Attitude: Respect Yourself” becoming their highest-charting LP on the Billboard Top 200, settling at #19, and climbing to R&B #3. The driving force was three singles that hit the R&B top 10, the #2 “Respect Yourself,” the #1 “I’ll Take You There” and the #6 “This World.” More importantly, “I’ll Take You There” also topped the Hot 100 and became a hit in the U.K. as well after “Respect Yourself” recorded a #12 peak. Four of the next five singles reached the R&B top 10, 1973’s “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)” hitting #1 R&B and #9 overall. In 1975, The Staple Singers’ “Let’s Do It Again,” the title song for the Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier movie written by Curtis Mayfield, topped both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart and hit Canada #7, the host LP also topping the R&B chart.
The inductees are: Roebuck “Pops”, Cleotha, Pervis, Yvonne and Mavis Staples.