SHARON, Pa. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — When Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley harmonized in the early 1960s, they called it “blue-eyed soul.”
And when a man attending one of their early shows shouted out, “ That was righteous, brothers,” they had their name.
The Righteous Brothers are the second Duo to be Inducted into the Vocal Hall of Fame (VGHF) and head up the Vocal Group Class of 2005.
They’ve got some extremely talented company.
The Neville Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, The Pointer Sisters and The Rascals are also members of the Class of 2005, all noted for their tight harmonies.
The groups are part of a list of 14 Inductees representing vocal group harmony from the 1950s through the 1980s. In addition, two pre-1950s harmony groups are being recognized with the Hall’s coveted Pioneer Award.
It’s the eighth class of Inductees and 2005 marks only the second year that the vocal duo category has been included.
The Everly Brothers took that initial honor as part of the Class of 2004.
Inductees receive Harmony Awards, essentially a lifetime achievement honor, as groups have to be publicly active for at least 20 years to earn consideration
for a nomination.
Musicologists, former Inductees and Website visitors can make suggestions of groups to be added to the Qualifiers List and the VGHF Induction Committee determines a group’s eligibility before nominating a group to the ballot. The public gets to help choose which groups are inducted.
Voting breaks down this way – The Induction Committee represents 35 percent of the vote, past Inductees make up 30 percent, voters using Goldmine Magazine ballots make up another 30 percent and ballots posted at the www.VocalGroup.org Website count for 5 percent.
The Class of 2005, by decade, is:
The Del Vikings: The group formed at a Pittsburgh Air Force base in 1955 when five Black enlisted men began singing together, but became one of the first integrated doo wop groups just a year later. The group’s version of “Come Go With Me” hit the charts in 1957 reaching number four on the pop charts and number three on the R&B charts.
The Spaniels: A rhythm and blues doo wop group created in 1953 at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana. Their first release, “Baby It’s You” reached #10 on the R&B charts but the group is best known for its 1954 hit, “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight,” which reached #24 on Billboard’s Top 40 and #5 on the R&B charts.
The Hilltoppers: Started out as a trio at Western Kentucky State College in 1952 and later added a fourth vocalist. Their 1952 hit, “Trying,” became a Top 10 hit and they went on to record many chart-toppers.
The Angels: Formed in Orange, N.J., in 1961, this group became one of the most successful of the early Sixties girl groups. Their first big hit, “Till,” hit the charts in late 1961 and reached #14. “Cry Baby Cry” followed, reaching #38, but their biggest hit, “My Boyfriend’s Back,” came in 1963 and reached the top of the charts.
Brooklyn Bridge: The 1960s pop group was formed on Long Island in 1968 from members of two other groups. Their first Top 5 hit, “Worst That Could Happen,” hit the charts in 1969.
The Chiffons: An all-girl group that was formed in the Bronx in 1960 as a trio but added a fourth voice in 1963. They hit #1 on the charts with “He’s So Fine” and followed that with such hits as “One Fine Day,” “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” and “I Have a Boyfriend.”
The Crystals: One of the first acts signed by Phil Spector on his Philles Label, this five-girl high school group was formed in the late 1950s. Their first hit was “There’s No Other Like My Baby” in 1961 and followed that with the classic
“Da Doo Ron Ron” and then “Then He Kissed Me.”
The Rascals: Originally known as The Young Rascals, this soul and rock music group was formed in New York City and hit the big time with their #1 hit “Good Lovin’” in 1966, followed by “Groovin’” in 1967, “How Can I Be Sure,” “A Beautiful Morning” and “People Got to Be Free.”
The Tymes: Formed in the late 1950s in Philadelphia, this soul group hit the charts in 1963 with “So Much In Love,” the first record to replace the Beatles in the #1 slot on the British charts and a #1 hit in the United States. Their other hits include “Wonderful, Wonderful,” “Somewhere” and “You Little Trust Maker.”
The Chi-Lites: Formed in Chicago in 1959, this group’s first hit, “Give It Away,” reached #10 on the R& B charts in 1969, followed by “Are You My Woman,” another Top 10 R&B hit in 1971. They’re best known, perhaps, for their ballads, “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl.”
Fleetwood Mac: Got its start as a blues combo in the late 1960s but evolved into a pop/rock group by the mid-1970s, recording such mega-hits as “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop.”
The Pointer Sisters: This R&B group actually started out in 1969 with four sisters but reached their biggest success as a trio. Their first single hit, “Yes We Can Can,” reached #11 on the Pop charts in 1973 and is regarded as an R&B classic. They crossed to the Country charts with “Fairytale” in 1975, earning them a Grammy. Other major hits include “I’m So Excited,” “Neutron Dance,” “He’s So Shy” and “Slow Hand.”
The Neville Brothers: Four brothers formed this group in New Orleans in 1977. They toured for years and released such hit albums as “Yellow Moon” and “Brother’s Keeper.” Brother Aaron Neville went on to individual success as a pop singer with “Don’t Know Much” and “Everybody Plays the Fool.”
The Righteous Brothers: Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield began singing together in 1963 and their music was dubbed “blue-eyed soul.” Their first major hit was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” in 1965, believed to be the most played song in radio history. “Unchained Melody” and “Ebb Tide” also came out that year. “Rock and Roll Heaven” was released in 1974. They found renewed fame when “Unchained Melody” was featured in the popular movie, “Ghost,” in 1990.
The Vocal Group Hall of Fame also recognizes outstanding vocal groups that set the musical standards before 1950.
Sons Of The Pioneers: An American cowboy singing group founded in 1933 by Leonard Slye (later known as Roy Rogers) that had numerous hits such as “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” and “Cool Water.” The group did songs for numerous western movies and even appeared in some, often with Roy Rogers and another cowboy star, Gene Autrey. The group was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Western Performers Hall of Fame in 1995.
The Mel-Tones: A vocal group of two women and three men formed in 1944 by singer Mel Torme, the Mel-Tones were regarded as jazz-influenced performers. The group had a number of hits on its own and with the Artie Shaw Band. Its biggest hit was “What Is This Thing Called Love?”
Class of 2006
The public can now vote on the Class of 2006 Inductees by visiting the VGHF Website at www.VocalGroup.org or by picking up the Dec. 22, 2006 issue of Goldmine Magazine for a hard copy ballot. (Available in stores December 8, 2006) (www.goldminemag.com) Voting will run through Dec. 31, 2006.
The Class of 2004 Induction Concert staged in Wildwood, N.J., will be released on DVD and CD as well as broadcast on Public Television nationwide in early 2007.
A combined Class of 2005 and Class of 2006 Induction Ceremony and Concert date and location will be announced in early 2007. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers