Continuing the tradition of preserving and celebrating great recordings, The Recording Academy announced 27 new additions to its legendary GRAMMY Hall of Fame. The list currently totals 960 and is on display at the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE.
Some of the latest inductees include songs from some of America’s most noted African American artists. Songs by Sam Cooke, The Drifters, James Brown, B.B. King, The Sugar Hill Gang, Miles Davis, Run-D.M.C., Gill Scott Heron, Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars, the Charlie Parker Septet and Sister Rosetta Tharpe will be part of the new titles.
“Spanning the 1930s to the 1980s, this year’s GRAMMY Hall Of Fame entries represent a diverse collection of influential and historically significant recordings,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “Memorable and inspiring, these recordings are proudly added to our growing catalog — knowing that they have become a part of our musical, social, and cultural history.”
The 2014 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inductees range from the Mary Poppins — Original Cast Sound Track album to Sugarhill Gang’s early rap hit “Rapper’s Delight.” The highly regarded list includes the Drifters’ “Under The Boardwalk,” B.B. King’s “3 O’Clock Blues,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women. Other inductees include recordings by James Brown, Chicago, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Run-D.M.C., B.J. Thomas, and Neil Young, among others.
Here are two of the back-stories of this year’s GRAMMY Hall of Fame inductees Sam Cooke and The Drifters by Phil Gallo, Senior Correspondent for Billboard Magazine:
“Wonderful World” Sam Cooke Label: Keen Records, Year of Release: 1960
“Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke’s paean to romance trumping formal education, might have never seen the light of day were it not for a tangle of lawsuits and buyouts among labels and publishers.
Lou Adler, one of Cooke’s closest friends in the late ’50s, and Herb Alpert wrote the song with Cooke, and recorded a demo version just five days after finishing a Billie Holiday tribute project. At the time, Cooke was recording for Keen Records, forming his own gospel label, SAR, and excising himself from his relationship with Specialty Records. Adler and Alpert disassociated themselves with Keen first, according to Peter Guralnick’s book, “Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.”
By the end of 1959, Cooke had left Keen and signed with RCA, an event heralded in a full-page ad in Billboard. RCA’s first single releases from Cooke went nowhere: “Teenage Sonata,” which was also supported by a full-page ad in Billboard, and “You Understand Me” failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100.
Keen owner John Siamas, meanwhile, was on his way out of the music business when he thought he would sift through recordings he had on hand to see if anything was worth releasing. “Wonderful World,” with the simple backing of guitar, bass and drums plus a vocal trio, didn’t fit the model of current R&B.
Released in May 1960, “Wonderful World” peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 on June 27, 1960, while it was charting Cooke was touring the country with one-week stands at the Apollo in New York; the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C.; and the Tivoli in Chicago, where doo-wop acts the Flamingos and the Crests opened for him.
His 14th single to hit the Hot 100, “Wonderful World” was his highest-charting record since his debut, “You Send Me,” reached No. 1 in 1957. —Phil Gallo, Senior Correspondent for Billboard Magazine
“Under The Boardwalk” The Drifters Label: Atlantic Records, Year of Release: 1964
Lyricist Arthur Resnick was about two years into his three-year songwriting relationship with Kenny Young when they got the call to write a song in line with the Drifters’ “Up on the Roof.”
“Jerry Wexler asked us to write a follow-up,” Resnick says, recalling their days in the Brill Building working for Bobby Darin’s TM Music. After co-writing “Dream Lover” with Bobby Darin, Resnick and Young wrote mostly novelty tunes until the “Under the Boardwalk” assignment came in. The song was immediately accepted.
“We rehearsed the original in [producer] Bert Berns’ apartment on Third Avenue and the musicians who were supposed to do it went to the studio,” Resnick says, remembering the events of May 20, 1964.
Drifters lead singer Rudy Lewis died in a Harlem hotel that night. The next day, Resnick says, “the union wouldn’t let Bert cancel the musicians, so they got their old singer [Johnny Moore] to come back.”
“Under the Boardwalk” debuted on the Hot 100 on June 27, 1964, and peaked at No. 4—the Drifters’ 14th top 40 single. Resnick would be encouraged to re-create the “Boardwalk” magic and gave the Drifters “I’ve Got Sand in My Shoes,” which hit No. 33 later that year.
Resnick, who would go on to write “Good Lovin’,” says his favorite line in the song—”you can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell”—has had a lasting effect on him: He just issued a video of a reggae version of “The Night Before Christmas” by RT & the Elfettes on Hot Dog Records and has been trying to get Nathan’s Famous to license the song for 20 years.
“I bought stock in Nathan’s when it was $4 a share [in 1995],” he says, “hoping some day I could go to a shareholders meeting and tell them to buy the song.” – Phil Gallo, Senior Correspondent for Billboard Magazine
Celebrating the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame’s 40th Anniversary, The Recording Academy has partnered with FX Marketing Group to publish a 150-plus-page collector’s edition book.
GRAMMY Hall Of Fame 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition features in-depth insight into many of the recordings and artists represented in the Hall. Legendary artists provide exclusive firsthand accounts of the making of their GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted recordings, including Mel Brooks, Herbie Hancock, Loretta Lynn, the Mamas And The Papas’ Michelle Phillips, Carlos Santana, James Taylor, the Who’s Pete Townshend, and Bill Withers, among others.
The full-color book also highlights the legacy of the Beatles, the group with the most titles inducted into the Hall. The book is available online at the official GRAMMY store and is sold in Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart Stores and at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles.
For more information on the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, visit www.grammyhalloffame40.com