Sunday, March 9, 2008

The 2008 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees

After all the grief we gave The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame last year with our in-depth profile series, we thought we'd take a slightly different approach this time around.

Tomorrow night, Monday, March 10th, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will hold their Induction Ceremony for this year's lucky inductees. We asked a few folks on the list to write a brief, POSITIVE profile on some of this year's candidates. (Naturally, WE made a few comments as well!!! lol)

By and large (with the exception of Leonard Cohen ... Rock And Roll???? ... PLEASE!!!!!), I think THE ROCK HALL did a fine job with their performer selections this year ... so here's a Complete "About Face" from Forgotten Hits ... and some unexpectedly positive comments about each of this year's candidates:

Of course most of the focus this year will be on these guys ... based on last year's very popular Forgotten Hits / Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Expose, it appears that The Dave Clark Five actually earned enough votes last time around to make the cut ... but were bumped instead so that Jann Wenner could induct a very DIFFERENT "five", his Rap Act, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. With the recent passing of DC5 Lead Vocalist Mike Smith (who many consider to be the "sound" of The Dave Clark Five), I hope ol' Jann is sleeping well at night. These guys deserved induction a decade ago but were constantly overlooked and left off the ballot. With two members of the band now deceased, it will be a somber induction to say the least. Thankfully, Frannie and I were fortunate enough to see Mike Smith live in concert when he passed through here a few years back ... it was, without question, one of the best concerts I have ever seen. Mike did ALL the hits ... and paid respect to all of the artists who helped to shape and inspire his own career. He never forgot where he came from ... and he never stopped loving Rock And Roll Music. (Something I'm sure guys like Leonard Cohen and Grandmaster Flash can certainly relate to!!! Hey, I know, I said I was going to keep it "positive" ... but c'mon!!! The Dave Clark Five
have been royally screwed by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and any recognition paid their way at this stage of the game can only be construed as bittersweet and "better late than never".) In the earliest days of The British Invasion, The Dave Clark Five were the guys who gave The Beatles their most serious run for the money. Thanks to their songwriting talent and ability to continue to change and inspire, The Beatles perceviered ... but The Dave Clark Five still managed seventeen Top 40 Hits here in The States, where they were lovingly embraced, setting the record for the most appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show for any British Act with eighteen! They were loud and raucous (Glad All Over; Bits And Pieces; Do You Love Me; Any Way You Want It; Catch Us If You Can) ... they were soft and tender (Because; Come Home; Everybody Knows; Satisfied With You) and it didn't matter if they were revving up an old Chuck Berry number (ala Reelin' And Rockin') or putting their spin on an early '60's classic (like You Got What It Takes) or a Golden Oldie (like You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby), The Dave Clark Five captured it all yet still made it their very own. I will never forget begging for ... and then receiving ... their Greatest Hits album for Christmas, 1965 ... I had never wanted an album so badly before ... and talk about HITS!!! There wasn't ANY filler on THIS disc!!! Their music hasn't been readily available for most of the past 25 years and that's a shame ... because classic tracks like these deserve to be played and heard and enjoyed. Congratulations to The Dave Clark Five on your induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... it's about time they noticed!!!
Kent Kotal

If someone were to ask me why I think the Dave Clark Five should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, first I would let their record speak for themselves. Some statistics, my dear friends:
- The band was considered the loudest UK group till the Who came along. In fact some ballroom owners did not allow them to perform "Bits & Pieces" because of the stomping damaged their wood floors.
- They had a string of 17 top 40 hits from 1964 to 1967. They were pretty much neck and neck with the Beatles during those three years.
- They helped steal the focus back to London from the Merseyside.
- They were the 2nd UK band to appear on the Ed Sullivan show (after the Beatles). And they were on that show more times than the Rolling Stones and the Beatles (18 appearances). - They were in two movies, Get Yourself a College Girl and Having a Wild Weekend (aka Catch Us If You Can.)
- The band has sold over 50 million copies of their records worldwide.
Now for something that is more subjective. The DC5 was fun, with that stomping drum beat, underlining saxophone. They were very adorable, with lead singer, Mike Smith and drummer, Dave Clark. They were a good solid pop group. I personally loved them. But I was a kid. I never met them nor worked with them. However, Ray Davies of the Kinks did. In his 'Unauthorized Autobiography', "X-Ray", he wrote about the 6 week tour back in March 1964.
The Mojos opened the show (whose hit at the time was Everythings Alright), then the Kinks, then the Hollies. The show's headliners were the DC5, who closed the show. Ray wrote: "Dave Clark was a quiet north Londoner who had become amazingly successful, not so much because of his musicianship but because he had a shrewd head for business. He also had an astonishingly dark suntan for a musician touring England in the depths of winter, and his stage act was somehow presented with a kind of contrived machismo that proved to be timeless in the sense that it was both decades ahead and behind its time. The Dave Clark Five were definitely a product, and it was probably for this reason that Eric (Haydock, of the Hollies) had taken such a negative response to their act. They were also Number One in the charts with "Bits and Pieces", to which they insisted on doing a military-style goose-step every time they performed on stage. There was so much equipment and so many cables connected to their equipment that on several occasions the whole power supply would blow up, causing an embarrassing delay while the long-suffering electrician repaired the fault. After a while Dave Clark and his four chums started to suspect that it was sabotage, and one night after a show in Southampton Clark stopped the coach on the way back to London to hold an official inquiry. He threatened that when the saboteur was eventually caught, the offender would be summoned to his quarters where 'a punishment of the severest nature' would be implemented. Graham Nash of the Hollies wondered if the sun-tanned drummer was showing signs of cracking. Mick Avory (Kinks' drummer) asked if Clark had been a boy scout, and if so, offered to help administer the punishment. Dave Davies (Ray's brother and Kinks' lead guitarist) swigged his beer and gave a V-sign, and Eric Haydock looked innocent and said nothing."
Although the DC5 couldn't make it over the psychedelic, album orientated, mind-expanding musical time period like The Who, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and others did; they did provide a fun ride while it lasted.
By the way, I found a very interesting report regarding Mike Smith's recovery from his very serious fall four years ago.
Suzanne Salinas

So sad about the death of the DC5's Mike Smith. His voice will live forever.
Clark Besch

Mike Smith, the keyboard player and lead singer of the Dave Clark 5 died of pneumonia yesterday, ironically, less than two weeks away from being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Check out the comments at the end of this article, it will make you cry ... this man was DEEPLY loved and admired by all! And what a talent ... his voice was incredibly beautiful.
I got a chance to see him perform in Denver about 4 years ago and he blew me away. I'll guarantee you, when the DC5 is inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame, there won't be a dry eye in the building!
Wild Bill
Click here: Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five - Telegraph

I'm saddened to hear of Mike Smith's passing. Two weeks before DC5's induction into the R&R HoF. He and the band should've been inducted some 15 years ago. What a disrespectful farce, but we all know that already. I always dug Mike's vocals -- what a soulful voice he had! He could sing a ballad or shout with the best of 'em ... and he was one of the best of 'em. My fave Mike Smith vocal was the DC5's cover of You Got What It Takes in 1967. To this day Mike's vocal in that song blows me away. In the 60's I used to think he somewhat resembled Paul McCartney. Maybe that's why I liked him best back then ... but now I know it was that voice ... RIP Mike Smith. bob
Click here: YouTube - Dave Clark Five (Rare Footage)

I am very saddened to hear of Mike Smith's death ... and right before their induction. Mike was the member of the DC5 I had a crush on! When I went to see them perform in Boston, I had made a "Gum wrapper chain" which was all the rage those days for Mike. I made it however tall he was, by folding tons of gum wrappers into some configuration. Right before the show, one of the ushers brought it up in an envelope with my name on it and announced to the crowd "Here is a gum chain for Mike from Eileen"! He let out a big "Whoop" from backstage!! I was so excited, and even more so on Monday when people in my school who had been at the concert were all talking about it.

A happy day for sure. The Dave Clark 5 is in th Rock Hall and we can all reflect on what the music meant. At the time it meant nothing and by that I mean to say that it was like cool, sparkling tapwater in the summertime ... satisfying right down to your soul ... yet, we all assumed that there was an endless supply. That sound, that beat, those wailing vocals and screams. Surely they frame some moment of your childhood the way a brownie camera did. But it turns out there was a finite supply of those magnificent sounds, and thanks to an overprotective Dave Clark, you can't just go to Barnes and Noble and grab them ... making them seem more like insects preserved in amber. What these sounds represent is something most of us have lost ... namely, pure joy ... and that's exactly what every true fan should feel on this great occasion ... pure joy.
Jim Shea

The world lost a great person and a great singer when Mike Smith passed away recently. In my 39 years in broadcasting I have heard a lot of singers and he definitely was one of the best. I had the occasion just a few years ago to see Mike perform and was lucky enough to meet him after the show ------ a true, down-to-earth gentleman. He had a voice like no other. I hope Rolling Stone does him justice ----- I hope he is given the respect he is due ------ he truly had one of music's most powerful blue-eyed soul voices. I am a genuine fan, and to find out he was a really nice person was the frosting on the cake. Good singers are hard to find ------ you can buy a guitar and you can buy a set of drums but you can't buy a voice and Mike Smith had one of the best voices in Rock n' Roll, or any kind of music for that matter --- and his music and his voice will live on. I am really glad I got to see him perform ----- singing and greeting people all seemed so effortless for him. It seemed to me, I heard the Dave Clark Five performed more times on the Ed Sullivan Show than any other British Invasion group. How sad that Mike passed away just days, short of being inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. His last years I am sure were tough dealing with partial-paralysis since his accident ----- but I try to look at the bright side ----- now he doesn't have his body to hold him back. I would like to extend my condolences to his wife and family ------- I am sure they are devastated. What I noticed about Mike Smith when I met him was that he was so down-to-earth. Even though he was one of the best singers to ever hit Rock n' Roll, he didn't have an ego problem. He was as kind as could be. And when he stepped behind the keyboard and started singing it was pure dynamite ------- he definitely had a one powerful blue-eyed soul voice and his vocal range was astounding. From ballads such as "Because" to rockers such as "Reelin' n' Rockin" he could do it all. It's no surprise he powered the Dave Clark Five to so many hits. He left us a lot of great songs but the world lost a quality person. Mike, you will be sadly missed. Keep up your great work, Kent, it is greatly appreciated by us music-lovers. It is so great to have you present the stories behind the music from the people that were there. It gives it a whole different perspective. Thank-you again for all your work ---- it really is appreciated. Say a prayer for Mike Smith tonight. Tonight he is jamming with Elvis, Jimi, Janis, and out of the world of Rock N' Roll politics and into a better world.
Keep Rockin'!!!!
Tim Kiley / KDZA

The Dave Clark Five were a great pop/rock band and I was saddened to learn of the death of Mike Smith. I was not personally aquainted with any of them but, being part of the 'British Invasion' myself with The Searchers & Petula Clark, I took a great interest in their remarkable success in the 60's. I still feel 'glad all over' when I think about DCF music.

There isn't a lot I can say except that British Rock has lost one of it's best, Charlie Smith has lost the very best person in her life, we must do all we can to help her out and many of us have quite simply lost a good friend. Over the years I have had a great deal of fun with Mike, some of it a little crazy but "That's our Job" and I will remember him fondly as a good friend, great musician and a natural creator of "Fun." Keep it up, wherever you are, Mike! Love ya, Gordon Waller



I think that there are more than a few people out there who believe that I don't like Leonard Cohen when, in fact, this is not the case. The truth is I don't know enough about Leonard Cohen or his music to have ever even formed an opinion. Based on the volume of emails that we've received since this year's nominees were first announced, there seem to be a lot of fans (and artists) who cite Cohen as a musical influence but to my mind, in a year of pretty strong inductee candidates, Cohen appears to be this year's square peg. I guess my argument is this ... if Cohen was such an influential factor in the shaping of Rock and Roll Music, why doesn't anybody I talk to know any of his music? How can the majority of us be completely in the dark regarding his contributions if they were as significant as we're being led to believe? The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee states (in their credo regarding who gets in and who doesn't get in):

Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. Nomination and induction into the Hall of Fame is not about popularity, records sales, which label the group is on, or anything other than the process below. The love for, the evaluation of, and the impact of any artist are subjective questions to be answered by the nominators and the voters. Unlike baseball, football, basketball or hockey, statistics are not relevant. The only formal criteria for the performance category is that an artist has to have had their first recording released 25 years ago. That said, candidates are reviewed and discussed relative to their impact on this music that we broadly call rock and roll. The innovation and influence of these artists is also critical. Gold records, number one hits, and million sellers are really not appropriate standards for evaluation.

And therein lies my problem ... what exactly did Leonard Cohen do specifically to develop, perpetuate, innovate and / or influence the path of Rock And Roll??? And if you're going to cite him as a great songwriting talent whose material inspired and was interpretted by any number of artists over the years, then why is he being inducted into the Performer Category rather than the "influences" or "sideman" category? Perhaps his induction would be easier to accept were this the case.

In an effort to help us determine that answer ... and because I promised you positive feedback and response on all of this year's candidates ... I now turn things over to Diana Parker (long-time Forgotten Hits List Member Vaguememory), a staunch Leonard Cohen supporter througout all my ranting raving, to better educate the rest of us who know so little of Leonard Cohen's "Rock and Roll" accomplishments.

When it was announced that Leonard Cohen would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, I felt proud. As someone who has long admired songwriters, it was, it seemed, a natural progression in the order of things. While Cohen is not your typical "confessional" singer-songwriter like James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, etc., his poet's soul shines thru in almost every song. His songs can be sardonic, romantic, idealistic, or any combination thereof. Maybe everyone had finally "caught on".I was exposed to Cohen's poetry as a teenager, and I was thrilled to find someone who could integrate issues like sexuality, politics, solitude, and religion (things we all wonder about as teenagers). I also found it interesting that Cohen could find the ugliness inherent in beauty and the beauty we all seem to miss in the most ordinary of things.It was not until several years after discovering his prose that I came across The Songs of Leonard Cohen (1968) at a garage sale and immediately grabbed it. I put it on my turntable and listened to it non-stop for the rest of the day. I fell in love with songs like "Suzanne", "Stories Of the Street", "Sisters Of Mercy", and "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong". The songs were at once elevated and mind-numbing, something alluded to by Oscar Wilde, "lying in the gutter, but looking up at the stars." I was inspired.Subsequent releases were sometimes disappointing because they weren't as start-to-finish perfect and dead-on as Songs Of, but I cannot say that I could not find something to love about each and every one. Songs like "Chelsea Hotel #2", "Everybody Knows", "Hallelujah", and "(Take) This Waltz" emerged as "classics" and were recorded by many other artists. In all, they say more than one thousand renditions of Cohen's songs have been recorded. This, alone, is ample recommendation for Cohen's induction.

YouTube - Jeff Buckley-Hallelujah

No question about it ... Hallelujah is a great song ... and I've felt that way for as long as I've known it. (We've heard it used as a strong, emotional tool in any number of movies now and, ironically one of the contestants actually performed this one ... to resounding applause ... on American Idol this past week!!! In fact, our daughter saw Jon Bon Jovi perform it in concert this past weekend, too!) It's a great song ... but again ... it ain't rock and roll ... and the versions that we're all familiar with (and praising here) are not by Leonard Cohen!!! If it's true that "over a thousand renditions of Cohen's songs have been recorded," then I certainly missed the boat on this one regarding his impact and importance to the music scene ... these credentials certainly should stand for something. Induction as a "sideman" or "influence", yes ... OK ... I'll buy it ... but as a performer who helped to shape and mold the next (or any) phase of Rock And Roll??? Sorry ... but but I'm just not gettin' it!!!


Say what you want ... there was never a moment's doubt in my mind that Madonna would be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on the very first ballot. She practically reinvented "The Women's Liberation Movement" in the '80's and was "bringing sexy back" when Justin Timberlake was still in diapers! Madonna transcended music and became a cultural icon ... inspiring fashion, attitude, dance and more. Her records sold by the zillions, her concert tours were sell-out events ... her videos revolutionary ... her life always controversial (but always relevant.) To date, she's had over fifty records make Billboard's Singles Chart and she currently ranks as the fourth Biggest Recording Artist of All-Time in Joel Whitburn's latest publication, trailing only Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Elton John. (A couple more hit records could propel her into the #2 Spot very easily!!!) Does she belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame??? You Betcha!!! She inspired a whole new generation of music makers to follow in her footsteps ... and proteges like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera felt obliged not only to bow before her and kiss her ring, but apparently to kiss her full on the mouth, too, during the MTV Music / Video Awards!!! Congratulations to Madonna on her Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction ... you go, girl!!! (kk)


Earlier in his career, John Mellencamp had some "labeling" issues ... most of which stemmed from the various record labels he found himself recording for trying to launch his career. David Bowie's former manager Tony DeFries first saw him as some type of Glam / Punk Rocker when he released Mellencamp's first LP as "Johnny Cougar". (Have you seen the LP cover for this?!?!? John, I know you were trying to make it ... but how could you?!?!?) Next he "rocked up" a bit more and became simply "John Cougar" ... a couple more LPs followed with some minor chart success ... and then, after Pat Benatar (another very deserving candidate for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, by the way) cut a KILLER version of his tune I Need A Lover, Mellencamp earned the "street cred" he needed to start calling the shots in his own career. The metamorphosis started slowly ... first we were treated to a few John "Cougar" Mellencamp releases ... and then, FINALLY, John Mellencamp emerged. From this point forward, John was going to make the kind of music HE wanted to make ... and he was going to make it under his own name. When he took up the plight of The American Farmer and helped to launch Farm Aid (along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young), he began an annual tradition that to date has earned upwards of $30 Million. An Indiana boy, John knew the life of the farmer ... hell, he LIVED the life of a farmer. His music matured, too ... soon he was singing about Rain On The Scarecrow, little Pink Houses and other social issues. But, thankfully, his rock and roll roots never left him ... and John was born to rock. His live shows have always paid tribute to some of the great rockers that came before him ... and his rock anthem R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. pays homage to many of them by name. (He even had time to fight authority, master some James Brown dance moves and poke fun of himself, stating for the record, "Don't Wanna Be No Pop Singer." lol) A cancer scare a few years back may have slowed him down a little bit ... but not much. This Midwestern Son can still rock with the best of them. And, since he's probably never going to win an Academy Award for Falling From Grace, I'm guessing that he will very proudly accept this well-deserved honor of Induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with a smile on his face, a lump in his throat and some fire in his heart. (I can't wait to see him up there during the performance part of the show!!!) God Bless You, Johnny Cougar ... you've finally made it!!! (kk)


One of the very first songs I ever learned to play on the guitar was Walk Don't Run ... I LOVED it and (being a pretty crappy guitar player) was SO proud of myself when I mastered the lead. As far as I was concerned, The Ventures invented the vibrato bar ... then a necessary element for any good guitar player. (Of course, the truth is, we all know better ... nothing threw a guitar out of tune faster than playing around with that damn thing!!!) The Ventures placed an incredible 38 albums on Billboard's LP Chart (and probably recorded two or three times that many!!!) and went from leading the pack in the surf guitar arena to adapting and interpretting all of the latest trends in music (yet all the while retaining their own sense of style.) There is no way to measure the number of musicians who picked up a guitar or sat behind a drum kit, inspired by these guys ... and their induction is long overdue. Congratulations to The Ventures ... and welcome to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame!!! (kk)

As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, I was exposed to alot of new music, because of the Bandstand phenomenon going on in the early 60's. But, when I first saw The Ventures I didn't know what to make of them. They had cool Guitars,looked kinda cool ... but they didn't sing! I soon found out that the power of those guitars were every bit as strong as a vocalist ... and I was drawn in. My appreciation for The Ventures opened me up to artists like Davie Allan & The Arrows, and The Surfaris, both of who I have come to know personally, and who have had such a profound effect on me as a musician. I owe alot to The Ventures. They exposed me to a side of Guitar music that almost passed me by back then, and because of them I went back to listen to people like Chet Atkins, The Shadows,and many others. To say that The Ventures were and are Inspirational to me is an understatement. And "Walk,Don't Run" is forever a classic. Thank you Mr. Edwards, and congratulations to "The Ventures".
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

Fate is fickle in that a happy and celebratory moment can be, at the same time, sad. The Ventures being inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame is long overdue. The group influenced the whole world of instrumental records and the John Barry Seven had a hit in the UK with our cover of their world wide hit, 'Walk Don't Run.' Also, saddened by the very recent loss of Mike Smith, the Dave Clark Five surely deserve this recognition and a place amongst the greats of the industry. I knew and worked with the DC5 and have nothing but respect for their work and, like the Ventures, their influence on pop music. Mike and I met just before his dreadful accident and talked about how exited he was with his past, present and future career. Let us all raise a glass to a gentleman, an inspiration and a great musician.
Vic Flick

Non-Performer Category: KENNY GAMBLE and LEON HUFF
I'd also like to point out that Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the guys responsible for "The Sound Of Philadelphia" are also being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame tomorrow night in The Non-Performer Category. These guys dominated both the pop and soul charts throughout the '70's, creating classics like Me And Mrs. Jones (by Billy Paul), Love Train and Back Stabbers (by The O'Jays), If You Don't Know Me By Now and The Love I Lost (by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes) and When Will I See You Again (by The Three Degrees.) They were responsible for writing great late '60's classics like Cowboys To Girls (by The Intruders), Expressway To Your Heart (by The Soul Survivors), I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (by Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations) and A Brand New Me (by Dusty Springfield.) Frannie and I had the pleasure of touring their studio (thanks to our gracious Philly Tour Guides, Rich and Mamie) when we flew out to the East Coast last November ... heck I even had my picture taken with a cardboard cut-out of Kenny Gamble and sat in a chair in the same studio where Me And Mrs. Jones was written! Congratulations to Gamble and Huff ... you guys ARE "The Sound of Philadelphia"!!!

Sideman Category: LITTLE WALTER:

Last but not least, Little Walter is also being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame this year in the "Sidemen" Category. Once again, I have to plead ignorance ... I mean I know who Little Walter is, but I don't know what his connection was to Rock And Roll!!! So I did a little bit of research and pretty much everything that I read cited Little Walter as perhaps the greatest inspiration for Blues Harmonica Playing that there ever was. So he should be in the BLUES Hall Of Fame, right?!?!? What exactly is his connection to Rock And Roll??? And what Rock And Roll Records and Recording Sessions was he a "Sideman" on that would earn him such a distinctive honor? Unfortunately, I couldn't find one shread of evidence in any of the research that I did to indicate that Little Walter had contributed anything to Rock And Roll Music. So again, I ask you ... educate me!!! Why is Little Walter being honored tomorrow night when so many great artists who truly DID make a contribution to the Evolution of Rock And Roll Music are continually being denied and ignored??? (I hate to end on such a down note, but come on already!!!!!) I mentioned last week that I had just read the Eric Clapton Biography ... in it he campaigns for J.J. Cale regarding his rightful place in The Hall ... stating that Clapton himself has already been inducted THREE TIMES ... why double and triple induct the SAME artists when so many OTHER artists are continually being overlooked? This was one of our biggest bugaboos when we did our Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Expose last year ... it simply isn't fair ... or necessary. (See, I just can't shake it!!! lol)

Anyway, Congratulations again to ALL of this year's Inductees ... can't wait to see the VH1 Broadcast ... should be QUITE the show this year!!!