A special selection committee has elected session drummer Benny Benjamin, pianist
Floyd Cramer who helped develop the "Nashville Sound" and saxophonist Steve
Douglas to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Side-men
category. Mo Ostin, one of the most successful record executives, will be inducted
in the Non-Performer category, when the 18th Annual Induction Ceremony takes
place March 10 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
Benjamin, who died in 1969, was one of the most accomplished session drummers in
rock and roll and was a member of the Funk Brothers, a group of session musicians
who served as Motown's house band. As a session player with the Funk Brothers,
Benjamin played drums on numerous Motown recordings with The Supremes, The
Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops and countless others. Benjamin, whose
career dates back to the 1940's, had a fantastic technique and drive and was known
for his thunderous tom tom fills and the slap of his snare drum.
Cramer, a self-taught pianist, carried country music to a wider audience with his
"Nashville Sound.". His "slip note"
fingering style enabled him to blend one note to the next, allowing the melody
to be heard more distinctly. Cramer recorded with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison,
The Everly Brothers, Patsy Kline and many others. Cramer won a Grammy
Award in 1979 for best country instrumental song. He died in 1997 at 54 years
Douglas was a key member of the "Wrecking Crew," a group of session players who
worked with producer Phil Spector at Goldstar Studios in Los Angeles. Douglas
played on countless sessions including Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, The Righteous
Brothers, Bob Dylan, Duane Eddy, John Lennon and the Beach Boys to name a few.
He died in 1993 at 55 years old.
Under Ostin's his leadership, Warner Brothers Records became the most
commercially successful record company in history. Ostin put the creative
needs of his artists ahead of the bottom line and created an atmosphere
wherein executives could development their talents as well as build a nurturing
corporate environment that has been a business model ever since. Ostin has
worked with a vast and varied group of artists including the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix,
Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra. He is currently an
executive at Dreamworks.
As previously reported, this group will join Artist Inductees: AC/DC, The
Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Police and the Righteous Brothers.
An edited version of the ceremony will air on VH1 Wednesday, March 19, 2003.
Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first
record. Criteria considered include the influence and significance of the artist's
contribution to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. Similar
criteria are used for the "Non-Performer" and "Side-men" category, whose career
must have commenced at least 25 years prior to induction. Those eligible for
the "Non-Performer" category include songwriters, producers, disc jockeys,
record company executives (who are mainly related to A&R), recording
engineers, managers, journalists and other industry professionals.
A special selection committee elects inductees in the "Non-Performer" and
The Foundation's nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians,
selects nominees each year in the "artist" category. Ballots are then sent to an
international voting body of about 1,000 rock experts.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was formed in 1983 and the first
induction ceremony was held in 1986. All inductees are represented in the "Hall
of Fame", a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, in