As you may know, I'm a big fan of backrounds on records, both insturmental and vocal. For example, take The Young Sisters out of Del Shannon's "Little Town Flirt", and you've got a really flat song.
Well, the R&RHoF has taken a lot of flack over the years for inducting artists without recognising the folks who helped make the artist "the artist". For example, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Bill Haley, Hank Ballard, Buddy Holly, and Gene Vincent are all in the hall. But would they have made it without the contribution of The Miracles, The Famous Flames, The Comets, The Midnighters, The Crickets or The Blue Caps? Probably not.
All the backup groups for the artists were insturmental in their careeres, especially in the early days of Rock and Roll. These groups toured with, and were in all cases, associated closely with the lead artist. And I'll admit comparing The Young Sisters to the groups to be inducted is a stretch, but trust me.
One of these groups is not like the others, that being The Miracles, but to induct Smokey Robinson (which the hall did) without including The Miracles is like inducting Levi Stubbs without the other 3 Tops. Between 1960 and 1967, when the name was changed to Smokey Robinson And The Miracles they were just The Miracles, through 9 monster hits like "Shop Around", "Ooo Baby Baby".....
.....and "You Really Got A Hold On Me". It wasn't until 1973 when Smokey went solo, with a career nowhere as brilliant as the one he had with The Miracles. Near the end of the association The Miracles themselves faded into the backround, but imagine "Tears Of A Clown" without their contribution....
.....the song would have been thin enough to keep Pagilacci crying. And thank you Motown Johnny for the remix.
The Famous Flames fall into the same catagory. The vocal group that backed up James Brown.....Brown was actually a member of the Bobby Byrd led group before he went "solo".....they sang with Brown from 1956.....
....until the group and Brown parted ways in 1968. And the billing was almost always James Brown And The Famous Flames. And to misquote Archie Bell, they not only sing, they could dance as good as you want.
The others being inducted are a different kettle of fish, but all fry in a similar pan. Buddy Holly may have been a great singer and writer, but The Crickets were what helped him become a star. Same thing with Hank Ballard And The Midnighters, Bill Haley And The Comets, and Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps were all groups in the true meaning of the term. They recorded together, toured together (and in Buddy's case, died with him) and without the groups, the artists probably wouldn't have been inducted in the first place. And that's the kicker. ALL the front men were inducted into the R&RHoF without their groups. Nice to see the hall correct it's mistake.
I'm not forgiving the R&RHoF completely for it's errors. Ringo Starr still deserves to be in as a solo, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, Ben E. King and many other early rock legends deserve a true shot. But maybe with this announcement, there's hope for those acts who will never be voted in but diserve a shot.
Having finished this thing, it occurs to me that I didn't post any of the bands. On this Buddy Holly cut, note the name of the band on the record label.
This Hank Ballard song was a hit for Chubby Checker 9 years later.
And for good measure, it's the Blue Caps....with Gene Vincent.
There. That rectifies that mistake.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Whitney Houston Saturday. She had a terrific voice, a cross between Mary Wells, Aretha Franklin and Dione Warwick, with some Beverly Sills thrown in for good measure, but threw most of it away. I'm sorry she's gone, but I feel really sorry for her mother Cissy Houston, her Aunt, Dione Warwick and Godmother Aretha Franklin. God what a waste of talent.