This is the 56th set of selections in The Goldmine Hall of Fame.
Great Blogs Of Fire will be announcing 5 inductees approximately every three 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
506. GARY LEWIS
The names behind Gary Lewis’ stardom certainly form an imposing roster, though perhaps the biggest name is missing. That would be Gary’s famous father, comedian Jerry Lewis, who had virtually nothing to do with Gary’s recording career.
Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Tommy Allsup, Jim Keltner, Tommy Tedesco, David Gates, Steve Barri, P.F. Sloan, Carl Radle, Bobby Russell, Buddy Rich, Al Kooper and Glen Hardin all played major roles in Lewis’ success under the watchful eyes and hit-picking ears of producer Snuff Garrett, the major architect in fashioning Lewis’ career. As for Lewis’ band, The Playboys, Lewis explained, “The original Playboys that I put together in 1964 were the guys that did all the tracks to the first seven hits. We played on all the basic tracks, but then the overdubbing was done by studio people. Actually, they let the Playboys feel like they were really a part of it, but in the final mixdown they kind of buried them.
“The Playboys didn’t sing any of the background vocals. I was the only one of them that did any singing. Then Snuff brought in these studio people (The Eligibles). Those guys did it all. I doubled my voice on everything and tripled many, many times.”
Rich had schooled Lewis on drums and producer Garrett and arranger Leon Russell teamed with Lewis on several songwriting efforts. But the first hit, “This Diamond Ring,” was co-written by Kooper. It went straight to #1 and the next six singles, #2 “Count Me In,” #2 “Save Your Heart For Me,” #4 “Everybody Loves A Clown,” #3 “She’s Just My Style,” #9 “Sure Gonna Miss Her” and #8 “Green Grass” made Lewis one of just two artists whose first seven singles reached the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100, the Lovin’ Spoonful being the other. Hardin of the Crickets and Shindogs, penned “Count Me In” and “My Heart’s Symphony,” which ended Lewis’ streak by stopping at #13 and Bobby Russell of “Honey” fame wrote “Sure Gonna Miss Her.” Gates, Barri and Sloan also contributed material.
Seven also was a good number for Lewis on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. Nine of Lewis’ albums, which usually consisted of a few originals supplemented with covers of the day’s biggest hits, charted, with seven reaching well into the chart’s upper half. A collection of Lewis’ hits reached the top 10.
Legal battles led to George Clinton creating two bands at once. And both groups would qualify for the Goldmine Hall of Fame if considered separate entities. But, to keep matters confused, we’ll keep them joined while trying to sort out the main players as those eligible for Miners.
Clinton, obviously, is one. Not only was he the founder and leader of both groups, he established a formidable resume as a solo artist as well. In the ‘80s, Clinton placed four solo albums and four solo singles into the U.S. R&B top 20, including “Atomic Dog,” which topped the R&B singles chart in 1982. He added a fifth top 20 R&B single in 1996. It all started in the ‘50s when Clinton established the Parliaments, a doo-wop group. They didn’t have a hit until 1967 when “(I Wanna) Testify” rose to #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B listing.
When legal battles over the Parliaments name surfaced, Clinton took their backing band, named them Funkadelic, and used the Parliaments as “guest vocalists.” When Clinton regained control of the initial group’s name, recordings under both names began to surface, with almost equal success. When the smoke cleared, Funkadelic had placed 11 albums into the R&B top 25, topped by 1978’s “One Nation Under A Groove,” which topped the R&B chart, followed by the next year’s “Uncle Jam Wants You,” which peaked at #2. Both efforts reached the top 20 on the Billboard Top 200 LP chart. Both “One Nation Under A Groove” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep” hit #1 on the R&B singles list.
Meanwhile, Parliament did even better, notching eight top 20 R&B albums between 1970 and 1980, six landing in the top five with three of those climbing into the mainstream top 25. Six singles reached the R&B top 10, with “Flash Light” and “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)” both hitting R&B #1 in 1978.
The inductees are: George Clinton, Clarence Haskins, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas, Ray Davis, Ramon Fulwood, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, Cordell Mosson, Gary Shider, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Michael Hampton, Eddie Hazel, Lucius Tawl Ross, Billy Nelson, Tyrone Lampkin, Ron Bykowski, Glenn Goins and Jerome Brailey.
508. MARY WELLS
In an industry laden with heartbreaking stories, the saga of “the Queen of Motown” is one of the saddest. Growing up in a poor Detroit neighborhood, Mary Wells was afflicted with poor health and physical impairments from early childhood, struggled through lengthy contract battles once established, battled heroin and cocaine and finally succumbed to cancer at the still young age of 49.
Still, Wells established many firsts at Motown and many credit her with keeping the label afloat in its early days. She was Motown’s first female star, was the first Motown artist to receive a Grammy nomination and, opening for the Beatles, she became the first Motown star to tour the United Kingdom. When the first Motortown Revue album was released, Wells was listed on top alongside the Miracles and above other Motown standouts such as Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, Stevie Wonder and the Supremes. Unfortunately, she also was the first Motown star to clash with the label over the payment of royalties, eventually becoming the first Motown stalwart to leave the nest.
Wells’ departure did not sit well with her followers, but she suffered more from the separation from Smokey Robinson, responsible for writing most of her hits. Wells, just 17, wrote her first hit, “Bye Bye Baby,” for Jackie Wilson, but Berry Gordy had her record it instead, and it reached the R&B top 10 at #8. The follow-up, “I Don’t Want To Take A Chance,” also entered the R&B top 10 at #9 and became her first top 40 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100. When her next single flopped, Gordy paired her with Robinson and her career took off.
Starting with 1962’s “The One Who Really Loved You,” Wells posted nine consecutive top 10 R&B hits, with “You Beat Me To The Punch,” “Two Lovers” and “My Guy” all hitting #1. All four also reached the Hot 100’s top 10, with “My Guy” topping the chart while also hitting #1 in Australia and New Zealand and the top 10 in the U.K. and Canada.
Her last two hits were duets with Gaye, but once Wells left Motown she failed to have another major success. She passed away in 1992.
509. PETER & GORDON
Having a close connection with Paul McCartney as the Beatles were taking over the music scene was no guarantee for success. But certainly it didn’t hurt, either. Peter Asher and his sister, Jane, were child TV stars in the United Kingdom with Jane eventually becoming McCartney’s fiancée as the Beatles rose to stardom. McCartney, churning out hits for his group, passed one on to Peter Asher and his partner, Gordon Waller. “A World Without Love” was the tune, and it topped charts on both sides of the Atlantic plus New Zealand, getting Peter & Gordon’s career off and running.
McCartney funneled two more tunes their way, “Nobody I Know” climbing to U.K. #10 and U.S. #12 while “I Don’t Want To See You Again” failed to chart in their homeland, but rose to #16 in the States. “I Go To Pieces” closed out a very successful 1964 for the pair, also failing to chart in the U.K., but reaching #9 in the U.S. This one wasn’t penned by McCartney, but by another fairly successful artist … Del Shannon.
The duo returned to the U.K. charts with a bang as 1965 opened with a powerhouse cover of Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways.” With Waller’s deep register brought to the fore and a mammoth production, the pair reminded listeners of the Righteous Brothers as the hit rose to U.K. #2 and U.S. #14. Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” also emerged later in the year when Peter & Gordon covered Spector’s “To Know Him Is To Love Him” as “To Know You Is To Love You.” It reached #5 in the U.K. and #24 in the U.S.
By the time 1966 rolled around, McCartney found that just about everything with his name attached became a hit. He wondered if he could get a hit without his name on it, so he gave Peter & Gordon “Woman” using the pseudonym Bernard Webb. It was, of course, yet another hit, especially in Canada where it resided in or near the top spot while the U.S. saw it climb to #14. A change in style gave the duo three more U.S. hits, the novelty “Lady Godiva” climbing to #6 as 1966 wound down.
Asher went on to work behind the scenes for Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and others, but reunited with Waller in 2005, the pair making appearances until Waller’s passing at 64 from a heart attack in 2009.
510. LEVEL 42
This group started as an instrumental band playing Smooth Jazz or funk Jazz, but added vocals and switched to Smooth Rock or Pop with a dash of funk. That change made Level 42 worldwide stars.
A hit from the start in their native England, Level 42 placed four of its first five albums into the U.K. top 20. By 1984, the band was selling throughout Europe and the Pan Pacific. But North America remained untouched. That changed with 1985’s “World Machine.” The single, “Something About You,” became a massive worldwide smash, the band’s first in the U.S. (#7) and Canada (#8) and its highest charting single to that point in the U.K. (#6). The parent LP rode the wave of the hit single to #3 U.K. and #18 U.S., its first charting LP in the States.
Two years later, “Running With The Family” would do even better, unleashing the band’s biggest hit, “Lessons In Love,” which hit #1 in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and South Africa. It also climbed to #3 in the U.K. and #12 in the U.S. The LP peaked at #2 U.K. and #23 U.S. The group’s success continued as its next three albums reached the U.K. top 10 and 12 more singles entered the U.K. top 40. Chart success in the U.S. failed to continue, however.
The inductees are: Mark King (bass & vocals); Phil Gould (drums); Boon Gould (guitar); Mike Lindup (keyboards & vocals); Wally Badarou (keyboards & vocals) and Gary Barnacle (sax).