By Phill Marder
This is the 13th 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.
121. MICHAEL BOLTON – After beginning his career as a hard rock, heavy metal vocalist, Michael Bolton first made his major mark on the music scene as a writer of hits for Laura Branigan and Cher. And his first hit for himself, 1987’s “That’s What Love Is All About” was co-penned by Bolton and Eric Kaz.
From that point, Bolton was to become one of the world’s most successful record sellers, combining self-penned material with cover versions of previous hits, his second hit being “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” a cover of the Otis Redding chestnut. Bolton even covered himself for his breakthrough, 1989’s #1 “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You,” which Bolton penned with Doug James. Just six years earlier, Branigan had taken it to #12.
Over the next four years, Bolton had six more top 10 entries on the Hot 100, and two more that just missed, stalling at #11. He also revisited the #1 position with his cover of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman.” During this period, four of his LPs hit the top five in both the United States and Great Britain, two topping the U.S. charts. In 1995, he added another, his “Greatest Hits” release hitting #5 in the States and #2 in the U.K. Two of Bolton’s releases also topped charts in Australia and Norway.
While Bolton’s pace cooled in the U.S., he has remained a good seller in the United Kingdom, his last two LPs reaching the top 20. The most recent, a summer of 2011 release featuring Bolton singing duets with many of today’s stars, climbed to #11.
122. ALICE COOPER – Few recognize the nameVincent Damon Furnier. Everyone knows his alias, Alice Cooper. Not just the name, but the look as well. In fact, even those not familiar with Cooper’s music know his image and pieces of his stage show – the snakes, the guillotines, the stabbings and more.
Alice Cooper is what a Hall of Fame should be all about…fame.
However, that level of fame would not have been attained without substance backing it up. Alice Cooper, the band, has always been up to the task of supporting Alice Cooper, the lead singer. And Alice Cooper, the lead singer, always has been up to the task of providing quality, memorable material for his band to play.
It took three albums and the hit single “Eighteen” for the band to catch on, breaking through in 1970. “Love It To Death,” the LP containing “Eighteen,” climbed the charts in North America and England, and the next LP, “Killer,” did even better without a hit single. The rest of the world got it when 1972’s anthem, “School’s Out,” reached #1 on the U.K. singles chart, while the LP of the same name climbed to #1 in Canada. The successor, “Billion Dollar Babies,” hit the top of the LP charts in the U.S. and U.K. the same year.
Cooper became a solo in 1975, with the #5 LP “Welcome To My Nightmare,” and continues to be a steady presence on the LP charts and on the concert scene.
The inductees are: Vincent Damon Furnier (Alice Cooper), Glen Buxton (guitar), Michael Bruce (guitar & keyboards), Dennis Dunaway (bass), Neal Smith (drums), Bob Ezrin (keyboards & production), Dick Wagner (guitar) and Steve Hunter (guitar).
123. TOM JONES – There were many great bands making up the British Invasion of the mid-‘60s, and almost every one had a memorable lead singer. Many became solo stars after the bands broke up, but few superstar male vocalists launched their careers as solo artists during this historic time.
The most popular and most successful was Welshman Tom Jones. Jones not only became a best selling recording artist, he emerged as one of the era’s top sex symbols, even earning his own television show.
A tremendously versatile vocalist with one of the Era’s most powerful voices, Jones has turned out hit recordings in almost every musical genre and proved himself capable of more than holding his own with any star he was matched with, even his idol, Elvis Presley, who became close friends with Jones.
His breakthrough smash came in 1965 with his signature song “It’s Not Unusual,” which soared to #1 in Britain, #2 in Canada and #10 in the U.S. From then until 2009, Jones had top 21 top 10 hits in the United Kingdom, five in the United States and 11 in Canada. From 1968 until 1970, he posted four top 10 LPs in the U.S. and has a total of 17 in the U.K., including “Spirit In The Room,” which reached #8 in the summer of 2012.
Jones became such an icon, he is flattered by Tom Jones impersonators appearing around the globe. They, of course, rarely fail to please, performing such Jones classics as “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Delilah” and “Help Yourself,” among others.
124. PAUL ANKA –This Canadian probably was the first true teen idol of the Rock Era, mainly because he was just 15 himself when his first hit record, "Diana," was working its way to the No. 1 position in 1957. As a result, Anka found himself riding the tour busses with a lot of other Rock troopers traveling from town to town. He also toured the United Kingdom at age 16, thanks to “Diana” hitting No. 1 there also, becoming one of the biggest selling 45s ever. The terrific flip-side ballad “Don’t Gamble With Love” didn’t hurt sales, either.
Anka was no flash in the pan, though, quickly establishing himself as one of the Rock Era’s top singer-songwriters in spite of his youth. In 1958, he returned to the top 10 with the #7 “You Are My Destiny” and the following year he was back at #1 with “Lonely Boy.” His second chart-topper quickly was followed with #2 “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” #4 “It’s Time To Cry,” #2 “Puppy Love” and #8 “My Home Town,” the latter two coming in 1960.
Anka also composed Buddy Holly’s final hit, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” but by 1961 he was drifting toward a more mature style and sound, and his hits began to taper off though he still was a regular visitor to the top 20. In 1974, Anka came back with the #1 “(You’re) Having My Baby,” which was followed with three more top 10 efforts before the end of 1975.
But Anka’s success certainly was not limited to the United States. As would be expected, he was a superstar in his native land and throughout Europe. Including “Diana,” which topped the English charts, Anka placed seven singles in the U.K. top 10 and in 1959 “Lonely Boy,” “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and “It’s Time To Cry” were successive #2’s in Italy. He also wrote “She’s A Lady” for Tom Jones, the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and the theme for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
125. WILLIE NELSON – It matters not what genre of music is being discussed. No matter the personal taste, rarely will a bad word be spoken of Willie Nelson. He seems to be one of those rare talents everyone loves and admires, and the respect is well deserved.
If Nelson had never recorded a song, he still would be highly regarded as a composer of several classics, including “Crazy,” which, as recorded by Patsy Cline, is reported to be the most played jukebox hit of all time. “Funny How Time Slips Away” is another Nelson gem recorded by many, Joe Hinton having the most successful single version, reaching #13 in 1964 just two years after Jimmy Elledge had taken it to #22. In between, Johnny Tillotson also had a relatively successful version of it, reaching #50. Roy Orbison took “Pretty Paper” to #15 in 1964 and three years prior Faron Young carried “Hello Walls” to #12.
But Nelson’s recordings, by himself and in collaboration with others, have achieved phenomenal success, 44 reaching the Country Music chart’s top 10 with 23 topping the chart! His most successful crossover hits were “Always On My Mind,” which peaked at #5 in 1982, and “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” a duet with Julio Iglesias two years later that also hit #5.
His success as an album artist is mirrored on the Country charts, but this is where Nelson really made his mark, crossing over to place constant best-sellers on the Billboard Top 200. He continues today to release LPs, many of the works being collaborations with artists of all ages and varied musical styles, and remains a top concert attraction around the world. He is active in many humanitarian efforts, also, the most prominent being as president of the board of Farm Aid, which he helped begin.
126. DEAN MARTIN – Few entertainers were as versatile as the Rat Pack member known as “Mr. Cool.” Before the Rock Era even started, Martin was a star of recording, movies, television and personal appearances. Unlike many who faded once Rock & Roll kicked in as the world’s dominant entertainment force, Martin continued his superstar status until passing away Christmas Day in 1995.
Did he have anything to do with Rock & Roll? Certainly, his recordings didn’t. But just listen to a Dean Martin record, then an Elvis Presley record and you easily can hear where many of “The King’s” vocal mannerisms originated. Did Martin have any musical impact during the Rock Era? Certainly, his recordings did as he continued to be a top album seller, even sprinkling in a few major hit singles destined to become all-time classics.
In fact, “Memories Are Made Of This,” released at the tail end of 1955, became one of the first dominating chart singles of 1956, remaining #1 for six weeks. Two years later, he returned to the top, “Return To Me,” sung partly in Italian, climbing to #4. Another Italian gem followed that summer, when Martin’s version of “Volare” reached #12, while the original, “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu” by Domenico Modugno held down the #1 position five weeks. It took six years for Martin to return with a smash, but when he did it sure was memorable, “Everybody Loves Somebody,” a cover of the 1948 release by his buddy Frank Sinatra, soaring to #1 smack dab in the middle of Beatlemania. Its successor, “The Door Is Still Open To My Heart,” hit #6 and the next year “I Will” reached #10.
All this time, Martin remained a steady presence on album charts, not just in the U.S., but in Europe as well, and today he ranks as one of the all-time top sellers of long players.
127. STYX – The story of Styx’ rise to prominence is one heard often in the music industry. A group releases a great record…the record goes nowhere…a couple years later a DJ with a good ear starts pushing it and it climbs the charts. Some groups have disappeared by then, some are still plugging away. Some become one-hit wonders and some have the talent necessary to build on their good fortune. Styx belongs to the latter category.
“Lady,” co-written by Styx’ keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, was recorded in 1972, but didn’t connect until two years later, reaching #6 and helping to carry the LP “Styx II” to #20 after the band’s debut hadn’t even hit the top 200 and two other LPs had barely scratched the chart. “Lorelei” kept Styx’ symphonic rock on AM radio and helped “Equinox” stay on the LP best-seller chart for almost a year, but 1976’s “Crystal Ball” album marked a major shift in the band’s fortunes. For that album, Tommy Shaw joined on guitar, giving Styx another lead singer and songwriter, and a little harder edge. “Crystal Ball,” written and sung by Shaw, was a flop as a single and the LP wasn’t a greatest success, but the song since has become one of Styx’ best-loved.
The band went back to DeYoung’s songbook in 1977, and he delivered big time with “Come Sail Away,” which became their first top 10 single since “Lady.” When Shaw’s “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” followed “Come Sail Away” up the charts, Styx had superstardom, “The Grand Illusion” LP and its successor, “Pieces of Eight,” which featured two Shaw hits, “Blue Collar Man” and “Renegade,” each reaching #6.
Styx was just starting to hit its stride, though, the next three albums all dominating the charts into the mid-‘80s, “Cornerstone” at #2, “Paradise Theater” #1, and “Kilroy Was Here,” #3, with a mixture of ballads – the #1 “Babe,” #3 “The Best Of Times” – and rockers – #3 “Mr. Roboto” helping Styx remain on the singles charts.
The inductees (all contributing vocals) are: John Curulewski, James Young & Tommy Shaw (guitars); Dennis DeYoung (keyboards); Chuck & John Panozzo, bass & drums respectively.
128. THE CLASH – This English punk pioneer achieved just moderate sales success in the United States, but strong followings in Europe, Canada and New Zealand, plus an almost unmatched showering of praise from critics has placed the band on this lofty perch in the Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Even in their home country, The Clash, consisting of Joe Strummer on guitar and vocals, Mick Jones (not the Foreigner) on lead guitar, Paul Simonon on bass and Nicky Headon on drums, never had a top 10 single until 1991 when a re-release of “Should I Stay (Or Should I Go)” hit #1. They were, however, a steady presence on the English chart from 1977 until 1982, and all five of their LPs during that time period landed in the top 20, “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” in 1978 and “Combat Rock” in 1982 each resting at #2.
“London Calling,” “Sandinista!” and “Combat Rock” each hit the top 10 in Norway and Sweden, the latter giving The Clash its lone U.S. top 10 LP, reaching #7. Ironically, The Clash was just starting to show signs of being a hit singles group of all things when the band fell apart. “Rock The Casbah” had become their lone top 10 hit in the States (#8) and went top 10 in many other countries as well, and the re-release of “Should I Stay (Or Should I Go)” was climbing the British charts.
Both came off the "Combat Rock" album, indicating the band finally was set for its big commercial breakthrough. But the usual problems - drugs and internal frictions - caused the departure of Headon and Jones, and by the time their final release appeared three years later, The Clash had, regretfully, disintegrated.
129. PERRY COMO – Like Dean Martin, Perry Como was a superstar before the dawning of the Rock Era, but he managed to sustain his popularity even through the upheaval in musical tastes. Como had many other similarities with Dino, also. They were both Italian, both exceptionally good looking and both sang in a smooth, restrained manner. They also both starred in their own television series. About the only major difference between the two was that Martin was a major star of film, also.
Como’s portfolio of hits was so extensive that his totals pre-Rock Era would have placed him in the Goldmine Hall of Fame, and combining his work prior to the Rock Era with during the Rock Era surely would have put him near the top of this list. He closed 1954 with two top 10 entries, “Papa Loves Mambo” and “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays,” and opened our initial year with a whopper, “Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)” climbing to #2.
As Rock & Roll exploded, taking over the charts, Como was one who made sure the “new” music didn’t grab the entire market. Between 1955 and 1958, Rock’s truly formative years, Como notched 10 top 10 singles and just missed a couple more. Three times he topped the charts, in 1956 with “Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom),” the next year with “Round & Round” and in 1958 with “Catch A Falling Star,” the flip side being the #4 “Magic Moments.” But Como’s success didn’t end there. He continued to have hits, even reaching the top 10 as late as 1970 with “It’s Impossible.”
Como also was a steady presence on the album charts, and his success was not limited to the United States, by any means. For instance, in the United Kingdom Como put 11 singles into the top 10 between 1955 and 1973, “Magic Moments” hitting #1, and he was a best seller throughout Europe, in Canada and Australia.
Como passed away in 2001.
130. JERRY LEE LEWIS – Perhaps no nickname in music is more appropriate than that bestowed upon this Louisiana fireball…”The Killer.” For whether it was Rock & Roll or Country, Lewis destroyed any competition within earshot, on record or in live performances.
One of the true Founding Fathers of Rock, along with Elvis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Bill Haley and The Everly Brothers, Lewis pounded his piano with skill and humor never matched, “killing” it and the bench, not to mention the audience, at every opportunity. That he short-circuited his career with his infamous marriage turned out to be just another chapter in his legend as, fortunately, his Country music fans proved more forgiving and, after a brief hiatus from chart success, he roared back stronger than ever, eventually putting together a long, successful career.
Of course, even while he was churning out three of Rock’s most enduring classics, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless” and “Great Balls Of Fire,” Lewis was true to his Country roots, also releasing his versions of standards such as “Crazy Arms” and “You Win Again.” His most successful LP, 1964’s “The Greatest Live Show On Earth,” also was sprinkled with Country gems, while his “Live At The Star Club, Hamburg” is considered by many the greatest live album ever recorded and by some as the greatest Rock album ever released. Amazingly, Lewis never notched a top 10 album on the Billboard Top 200, but his Country chart success was almost without equal. Starting with 1968’s “Another Place, Another Time,” “The Killer” ran off a streak of 11 singles to chart #7 or higher on the U.S. Country chart, five reaching #2 and two, “To Make Love Sweeter For You” and “There Must Be More To Love Than This” climbing to the top. At the close of 1971 and the start of 1972, he had back-to-back #1’s with “Would You Take Another Chance On Me” and “Chantilly Lace.” As late as 1981, he still was seen in the top five, totaling eight more top 10 hits after “Chantilly Lace.”
A true icon worldwide, Jerry Lee Lewis’ place in the Goldmine Hall of Fame was a foregone conclusion. When the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrated its 25th anniversary with a 2009 concert at Madison Square Garden, it was Lewis at the piano opening matters. At 74, he still left the crowd slack-jawed as he finished by sending his piano bench toppling over backward. For good measure, he grabbed it and tossed it again as he strutted off the stage…as always, over the top as only “The Killer” could be.