By Phill Marder
This is the 34th 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
331. TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS
As great an achievement as it was, “Crimson & Clover” alone would not be enough to get Tommy James & The Shondells into the Goldmine Hall of Fame. Doesn’t matter. The group has plenty of other credentials to support its warranted induction. In fact, few groups from the 1960s have seen their material resurrected so often and with such success as have James & company. How many groups have almost identical copies of their hits knock each other from the #1 position 20 years after their initial impact? That happened in 1987, when Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was toppled from the top spot by Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony.” Neither hit #1 for the Shondells, “I Think We’re Alone Now” stopping at #4, while the latter peaked at #3. However, “Mony Mony” became the group’s lone smash in the United Kingdom, topping the charts there.
“Crimson & Clover,” written by James and Shondells’ drummer Peter Lucia Jr., has been covered by many, the most famous being 1982’s reworking by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, which climbed to #7 in the states. But the 1968 original reached #1. The third single from the “Crimson & Clover” LP, “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” reached #2. It sat there for three weeks as “In The Year 2525” by Zager & Evans refused to relinquish the top spot. And “Sugar On Sunday” was another Shondells’ cover that wound up a hit, the Clique taking it to #22 in 1969. Even in 2011, the album was producing hits, “I’m Alive” reaching the Netherlands Top 20 for Don Fardon. Yes, the same Don Fardon who, in 1968, did “Indian Reservation,” which later hit #1 for the Raiders.
Strangely, between “Crimson & Clover” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion,’ “Sweet Cherry Wine” was released as a 45, climbing to #7. It appeared on the group’s next LP, “Cellophane Symphony,” a distinctively non-commercial outing that saw James experimenting heavily with a primitive Moog. The progressive output was so well accepted that Tommy James & The Shondells were invited to play at Woodstock, an invitation they regretfully rejected.
Tommy James & the Shondells had other hits, the first being the #1 “Hanky Panky,” which was recorded with an entirely different backing group when James was just a kid. “Mirage,” the follow-up to “I Think We’re Alone Now” reached #10, and “Getting’ Together,” two singles later, and “Ball Of Fire,” following “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” both reached the top 20.The group never broke up, just retired. James continued as a solo artist, his biggest solo success coming with “Draggin’ The Line,” a #4 single. He didn’t reach those heights again, but a constant stream of recordings and concerts resulted in a steady chart presence and a #19 hit, “Three Times In Love,” in 1980.
Remarkable, considering from 1968 through 1970, when artists like Mick Jagger, John Fogerty and Jim Morrison were in their heyday, Tommy James & the Shondells sold more singles than any other pop act in the world. The inductees are James (guitar & lead vocals); Ronnie Rosman (keyboards); Mike Vale (bass); Peter Lucia Jr. (drums) and Eddie Gray (guitar).
332. JAN & DEAN
Most associated with surf music, Jan Berry also had a tremendous impact on the importance of the bass vocal in doowop, and, consequently, on the bass lines used by Mike Love in the Beach Boys. Jan & Dean actually started as a trio – Berry and Dean Torrence being joined by Arnie Ginsburg – and scored their initial hits as Jan & Arnie when Dean left for a stint in the Army reserves. The first, “Jennie Lee,” written by Berry and Ginsburg about a local stripper and recorded in Jan’s garage, featured Berry’s bass vocal throughout, creating a radio sensation that reached #8, even spurring a cover version by Billy Ward & His Dominoes, which also charted. The follow-up, “Gas Money,” was a great record but failed to come close to the debut’s success and when the next outing bombed, Ginsburg joined the Navy. By this time Dean had returned and he and Berry cut “Baby Talk,” another effort featuring Berry’s vocal bass lines. It hit #10.
Subsequent releases continued the formula of Dean singing over Jan’s bass vocals until the Beach Boys started the surfing craze in 1962. “Heart & Soul” peaked at #25 in direct competition with the veteran doowop favorites, The Cleftones, whose version reached #18. But in the United Kingdom, Jan & Dean’s version was the hit. With Jan & Dean appearing in person with the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson became friendly with Berry and his group often backed the duo. Eventually, Wilson and Berry collaborated on “Surf City.” The record soared to #1 in the U.S. and Australia and was in the top 10 of many European countries almost a full year ahead of the Beach Boys’ first #1, “I Get Around.” Dean returned the favor, singing lead on the Boys’ #2 single “Barbara Ann” a couple years later. That version of the Regents’ 1961 hit also reached #3 in the U.K.
The success of “Surf City” changed Jan & Dean’s career, turning them from stars to superstars as Berry expanded the duo’s subject matter as did Brian with the Beach Boys, adding hot rod topics to the surfing stable. “Honolulu Lulu,” hit #11, “Drag City” #10 and “Dead Man’s Curve” #8. In 2008, the latter was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have “qualitative or historical significance.” “The New Girl In School,” the flip of “Dead Man’s Curve” and a throwback to the duo’s doowop beginnings with its “papa doo ronday ronday” bass lead, also reached the top 40 to be followed by Jan & Dean’s instant classic, “The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena),” which soared to #3. In 1964 the string continued, the title song of the movie “Ride The Wild Surf” climbing to #16 and “Sidewalk Surfin’,” featuring Berry’s lyrics over Brian Wilson’s “Catch A Wave” music, peaking at #25 while starting another craze.
In 1965, two more top 30 entries, “You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy” and “I Found A Girl” came in a year that saw the duo granted the ultimate honor, being named hosts of “The T.A.M.I. Show,” the first filmed superstar concert, featuring Chuck Berry and Gerry & the Pacemakers opening with James Brown and the Rolling Stones closing. But the next year tragedy struck when Jan plowed his Stingray into the back of a truck. He lived, but never fully recovered, suffering partial paralysis and brain damage. He fought back to eventually appear live with Dean in later years, but his career as a recording force was over. Today, with a handful of projects, Dean continues to keep the legacy and music of Jan & Dean alive.
333. RICK ASTLEY
This English vocalist holds the record for being the lone male solo artist to have his first eight singles reach the U.K. top 10. That is one impressive achievement.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” started Astley’s remarkable run and remains his most successful release. It held the top spot on the U.K. chart five weeks and wound up as 1987’s best-selling single. Worldwide, it topped the charts of more than 20 nations, including the U.S. The accompanying LP, “Whenever You Need Somebody,” also topped the U.K. chart, duplicating that feat in Australia and Germany. It peaked at #10 in the U.S. The title song became Astley’s second English top 10, climbing to #3 and topping the charts in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.
The third single from the album, Astley’s cover of Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall In Love” backed with the dance number, “My Arms Keep Missing You” stopped at U.K. #2 as did the follow-up, “Together Forever.” The latter did, however, become the second Astley single to top the Billboard Hot 100, also reaching #1 in Canada and Ireland. The final single from the debut LP gave Astley his third Canadian #1 as “It Would Take A Strong Man” climbed to #10 U.S. It does not factor into Astley’s streak since it was not released in the U.K.
The second album, “Hold Me In Your Arms,” hit #8 U.K. and #3 in Canada and Germany, adding three more singles to Astley’s U.K. streak. The first, “She Wants To Dance With Me,” proved Astley’s fourth Canadian #1 and hit #6 in both the U.K. and U.S. “Take Me To Your Heart followed at U.K. #8 and the LP’s title cut just made it at #10. In 1991 “Cry For Help” became Astley’s last major hit, rising to #7 U.K. and U.S.
334. SIMPLY RED
Led by vocalist Mick Hucknall, this English group released 10 studio albums between 1985 and 2007, and all 10 reached the U.K. top 10, including four that reached the top. Throw in two Greatest Hits packages, and Simply Red totaled 12 top 10 offerings and five #1s.
But Simply Red has been much more than just a local phenomenon. In fact, the band’s first hit, “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)” was a top 10 entry in Ireland, Italy and New Zealand in 1985, but not in the U.K. Simply Red was having difficulty following up their initial score and “Holding Back The Years” didn’t do much to rectify that situation when released later that year. But when the record was re-released in 1986, it caught fire, hitting #1 in the U.S., #2 in the U.K., #3 in Holland and #6 in Canada. The host LP, “Picture Book,” became a top 10 entry across Europe.
After 1987’s LP “Men & Women” stalled at U.K. #2, Hucknall and company placed five consecutive albums atop the U.K. chart from 1989 to 1998, including a 1996 hits package. From 1999 until 2007, Simply Red added four more top 10 offerings. They have had #1 LPs in The Netherlands, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, but their success in the States has been much more moderate, in spite of two #1 singles, the above mentioned “Holding Back The Years” and 1989’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” their remake of the Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes classic. That proved their biggest single, finishing top five across Europe and #4 in Japan.
There have been many members of Simply Red, with Hucknall the only constant from beginning until he retired the band in 2010. However, significant contributions from longtime members merit “Miners” as well. Thus, the inductees are: Hucknall, Sarah Brown & Dee Johnson (vocals); Fritz McIntyre, David Clayton & Andy Wright (keyboards); Tim Kellett, Kevin Robinson & John Johnson (brass); Ian Kirkham & Chris De Margary (woodwinds); Hector Pereira & Kenji Suzuki (guitar); Chris Joyce, Gota Yashiki & Pete Lewinson (drums) and Tony Bowers & Steve Lewinson (bass).
335. FRANKIE LAINE
Born in Chicago, this vocalist recorded a staggering 35 top 20 hits between 1947 and the close of 1954, 15 entering the top 10 with three landing at #1. In Britain, he didn’t score until the close of 1952, then proceeded to notch 11 top 10 singles, including three #1s, by the end of 1954. Then came 1955 and the start of the Rock & Roll Era.
But Frankie Laine didn’t slow down much. In the U.K., he posted another five top 20 hits, including the #2 “Cool Water,” while putting two singles into the U.S. top 20. One, “A Woman In Love” peaked at U.S. #19, losing out to The Four Aces version, which hit #14. But when the record saw its U.K. release in 1956, it made Laine the first to reach #1 four times on the U.K. singles chart. Meanwhile, he closed the year at #3 in the U.S., with the smash “Moonlight Gambler.”
In 1957, Laine issued the LP “Rockin’”, aptly named for Laine is considered one of several stylists – Tony Bennett and Johnnie Ray, for example – who bridged the gap between standard vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Rock & Rollers. It became Laine’s highest-charting effort in the States, climbing to #13. Ten years later, “I’ll Take Care Of Your Cares” hit #16. That year also saw him gain another top 10 entry in the U.S., “Love Is A Golden Ring” settling at #10. It took until 1959 for Laine to score again in the U.K. Ironically, the hit was “Rawhide.” The theme of the popular American TV show, it wasn’t a hit single in the U.S., but reached #6 in Britain.
Laine’s last major seller was 1969’s “You Gave Me A Mountain,” which peaked at #24. But he became a powerful force on the U.S. Easy Listening chart where he registered nine top 20 hits between 1963 and “You Gave Me A Mountain,” which topped that chart. Though he had suffered a stroke, Laine appeared on PBS in 2005, singing “That’s My Desire,” his very first hit. In 2007, he passed away at the age of 93.
336. SAMMY DAVIS JR.
The May 14, 1955, Billboard singles’ chart saw Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” begin its climb to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The same week the #1 album in the States was “Starring Sammy Davis, Jr.,” which held the top spot six weeks. Though the Harlem-born entertainer is associated most with the era preceding the Rock explosion, his first chart success didn’t occur until 1954 and, in addition to his chart-topping LP, he posted three top 20 singles in 1955 in the U.S. and U.K., “Something’s Gotta Give” hitting #9 in the U.S., while “Love Me Or Leave Me” did one notch better in the U.K.
Before 1955 was over, Davis, Jr. had another smash LP in hand, “Just For Lovers” climbing to U.S. #5. But the third member of the infamous “Rat Pack” to gain entry into the Goldmine Hall Of Fame, following Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Davis Jr. was not a Rock & Roller. He was, however, not just a gifted singer, but a talented dancer and actor as well, appearing in many movies and television specials.
Still, he managed to maintain a steady presence on the music scene, and in 1962 he scored in a big way with “What Kind Of Fool Am I?” from the musical “Stop The World – I Want To Get Off.” The single rose to U.S. #17 and the ensuing LP climbed to #14. Another surprise hit for Davis, Jr. came from another musical, “Golden Rainbow,” in 1968 as “I’ve Gotta Be Me” soared to U.S. #11 and the album of the same name reached #24. The 1971 film “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” gave Davis, Jr. his biggest chart success, though, when “The Candy Man” hit #1 in the U.S. and Canada the next year. Though Davis, Jr. reportedly didn’t even like the song, he became identified with it, even being called “The Candy Man.” The parent LP, “Sammy Davis Jr. Now” peaked at #11.
A mainstay on the Las Vegas strip, Davis, Jr. passed away in 1990 at age 64 from throat cancer. Two days later, the strip went dark for 10 minutes in his honor.
337. TERESA BREWER
This Ohio songbird was another holdover from the pre-Rock era who managed to hold on to quite an audience even as tastes changed drastically. One explanation may be that Teresa Brewer was only 24 in 1955, not much older than most of the early Rock stars. By then, Brewer had five years worth of hits already in her portfolio, including her signature song, 1950’s #1 “Music, Music, Music.”
She had another #1 in 1952 with “Till I Waltz Again With You” and just missed a third when 1953’s “Ricochet” stopped at #2. She hit #6 twice in 1954, closing the year with “Let Me Go, Lover” in the top 10 in both the U.S. and U.K. She also recorded the original version of the oft-covered “Gonna Get Along Without You Now,” taken to #11 by Patience & Prudence two years later. Most recently, it appeared on She & Him’s second LP.
Known for her unique singing style, Brewer embraced most genres in her prolific career, and the beginning of Rock saw her in the top 20 with her cover of the Johnny Ace blues, “Pledging My Love.” The next year she reached U.S. #5 with the Country classic “A Tear Fell,” which also rose to #2 in the U.K. The same year, “A Sweet Old Fashioned Girl,” a perfect sample of pure Pop, hit #7 U.S. and #3 U.K. One month after Sam Cooke released “You Send Me,” which would top the Hot 100 and the R&B chart, Brewer, as was the day’s custom, issued a cover version. It finished with a more-than-respectable #8 peak on the Hot 100, but proved Brewer’s final major hit, though she did make top 40 appearances in 1958, 1959 and 1960.
Brewer, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 76, had a sound all her own, instantly identifiable. She reportedly recorded approximately 600 songs, in those days the equivalent of around 50 albums. Still today, she ranks near the top 20% of all singles sellers, worldwide.
338. JACK SCOTT
(with Stan Getz & the Tom Cats & The Chantones)
A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, this Canadian vocalist had more U.S. chart singles (19) in a shorter period of time (41 months) than any other recording artist with the exception of the Beatles, two climbing all the way to #3.
His first hit record, “Leroy,” was originally titled “Greaseball,” about a friend from Scott’s native Ontario who had been in a brawl, prompting Scott to lament “Leroy’s back in jail again” when “Greaseball” was deemed politically incorrect. The song broke in the summer of 1958, reaching #11, a rather amazing accomplishment as it had been flipped over before hitting its peak. The other side – “My True Love” – appeared in the top 10 in Billboard’s first Hot 100 chart, eventually reaching #3. The follow-up, “With Your Love,” also was a double-sided hit. The flip was the incomparable “Geraldine,” in which Scott and the Chantones repeat the name “Geraldine” 102 times, squeeze in a couple verses and sax and guitar solos, and do it all in two minutes and five seconds. By year’s end, Scott had been drafted into the Army, but he reached the Top 10 again before the year concluded with a farewell to his girlfriend, “Goodbye Baby.” “The Way I Walk” was released during Scott’s service stint, which may account for its mediocre chart showing (it stopped at #35), but Scott returned with a vengeance in 1960, hitting #5 with “What In The World’s Come Over You” and the #3 “Burning Bridges.”
Having moved to the Detroit area from his native Canada, Scott, as the city’s first major rock star, was reported to have been a great inspiration to Berry Gordy Jr. Though Scott was attempting to break the country market – he even released an LP of Hank Williams’ tunes – his successes instead crossed to the rhythm and blues charts, prompting Gordy to try to sign him to Motown.
Scott has been lumped into the mass of those who followed Elvis. Like Elvis, he had a killer band backing him – Stan Getz & The Tom Cats, including his cousin Dominic on drums, and a backup vocal group – The Chantones – every bit equal to Elvis’ Jordanaires. But Scott did things Elvis never did, including writing most of his material – much of it featuring a cast of characters that would boggle the imagination. He recorded for many different labels, his prominent success coming on the tiny Carlton label which accounted for difficulty accessing his back catalog as the ‘60s and ‘70s rolled by.
As of this writing, Scott, 77, is planning his first album of new material in 50 years, the target date for release sometime in January, 2014.
Inducted along with Scott are his backing band, Stan Getz (bass), Dave Rohiller (guitar) and Dominic Scafone (drums) and The Chantones, Roy Lesperance (bass), Jim Nantais (baritone), Larry Desjarlais (tenor) and Jack Grenier (lead).
You’ve got to hand it to Chas Chandler. The man could spot a sensation in the making. A Goldmine Hall of Fame inductee as bassist for the original Animals, Chandler went into management and production when that group disbanded. He found Jimi Hendrix, took him to England, and the guitar virtuoso became a superstar. Then, he found Slade, left them in their native England and they became superstars.
The North American audience may not be that familiar with the British foursome as it is one of those strange and rare examples of a group becoming one of the world’s most popular without ever connecting in the U.S. or Canada. But Slade was generally recognized as the most successful British band of the 1970s, connecting with 17 consecutive top 20 hits, including six chart-toppers. They were the first act to have three singles enter the U.K. chart at #1. Between 1972 and 1974, Slade placed six LPs #6 or better on the U.K. chart, with three reaching #1 consecutively. Ironically, their last big British hit, 1983’s “My Oh My,” which peaked at #7, wound up being their biggest U.S. hit, climbing to #20 with exposure help from MTV.
That single also hit #1 in Sweden and Norway, but by that time Slade was well established throughout Europe, almost every single release going top 10 in almost every European nation. “Coz I Luv You” and “Look Wot You Dun” each hit #1 in France and “Far, Far Away” also reached #1 in Norway. In Australia, Slade had two #1 albums. But even moving to the U.S. didn’t help Slade break that market, though they made quite an impression on many future stars of different genres, including The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Ozzy and Alice, Twisted Sister and Kiss, and Quiet Riot had their biggest single with a 1983 cover of Slade’s “Cum On Feel the Noize,” which Quiet Riot took to #5 U.S. and #8 Canada.
In spite of never “breaking” the “big market,” Slade proved so popular everywhere else the band ranks in the top 25% of album and singles sellers, worldwide. The inductees, together from 1969 until 1992, are: Noddy Holder (lead vocals & guitar); Dave Hill (guitar); Jim Lea (bass & keyboards) and Don Powell (drums).
340. LAWRENCE WELK
Today, many are familiar with this unique bandleader only from Saturday Night Live’s spot-on impersonation by Fred Armisen. The baton waving, the bubbles floating about and Armisen’s German-accented speech provide those who never witnessed the real thing with a pretty solid reference point. But those left who grew up with television are more than a little familiar with Welk, whose weekly show ran for 30-plus years and still appears on many PBS stations on a regular basis. Pretty good for an accordion player from North Dakota.
But Welk was much more than a distinct TV personality who introduced numbers his band would play with a much imitated, “aoneanatwo,” which even appeared on his license plate as “A1ANA2.” His recordings dominated record charts from 1956 through 1972, even though most young listeners paid little attention to his “champagne music,” which found its audience in the middle aged and up. He placed a remarkable 42 albums onto the Billboard Top 200 chart, 10 reaching the top 10. Four – #5 “Lawrence Welk and His Sparkling Strings,” #6 “Bubbles In The Wine” #10 “Say It With Music” and #8 “Merry Christmas” all came in 1956, smack dab in the middle of Rock & Roll’s emergence. The same year, he placed four other LPs into the top 20!
The next year was not quite as abundant, but Welk still had four top 20 long-players, a good career for most artists. A void then occurred until the end of 1960, when Welk suddenly returned with his highest-charting LPs to that point, “Last Date,” which hit #4. As 1961 began, he eclipsed that with “Calcutta!,” which topped the Billboard chart for 11 weeks and in the summer of that year, he just missed a repeat when “Yellow Bird” stopped at #2. In 1962, Welk added three more top 10 entries, #4 “Moon River,” #6 “Young World,” #9 “Baby Elephant Walk and Theme From The Brothers Grimm.”
As you can see from his LP titles, Welk adapted many current hits to his orchestra’s style, making them palatable to his older audience. Not just palatable, but “Wunnerful, Wunnerful.” Welk passed away in 1992 at the age of 89.