Two 1970s bands finding life’s more lucrative in the 1990s, a pair of acts that defined rock music in the ’60s, a rockabilly poster boy and three pioneers from New Orleans are the 1998 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, two bands with extraordinary album sales in the 1970s whose reunions in the 1990s have been embraced widely, will be joined by the Mamas and the Papas, Lloyd Price, Santana and Gene Vincent at the Jan. 12 induction ceremony at Gotham’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton will be inducted as an early influence and songwriter-producer Allen Toussaint will be inducted as a non-performer.
Inductees were notified last week by letter. News leaked that Billy Joel was among the inductees, but he was either not among the top seven vote-getters or didn’t get 50% of the vote, the two criteria for induction. Among the other nominees passed over were Solomon Burke, Dusty Springfield, the Stooges, Joe Tex and the Moonglows. Hall of Fame executive director Suzan Evans was not available for comment.
The Eagles are the only act receiving a first ballot induction, as acts are eligible 25 years after their first release. Credited with developing the Southern California country-folk-rock sound created by the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the band has the second-bestselling album of all time in its “Greatest Hits” and has sold more than 1 million discs a year since it disbanded in 1980. A reunion tour tied to 1994’s Geffen album “Hell Freezes Over” was a smash success. Group founders Don Henley and Glenn Frey, along with replacement guitarist Joe Walsh, have also had significant solo careers.
Fleetwood Mac was born in 1967 when three ousted members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers — Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Peter Green — joined forces with guitarist Jeremy Spencer and rode the crest of a U.K. blues boom. The group became a fixture on British album and singles charts until the end of 1970, when a revolving door of personnel changes sent the group into a spiral.
Premier ’70s rock act
In 1974, guitarist Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band and the group’s “Fleetwood Mac” album reached No. 1 in 1976, 15 months after its release. It was followed by the multiplatinum “Rumours” and “Tusk,” as Fleetwood Mac became the premier rock act of the late ’70s. In the late ’80s, the revolving door started up again until Mick Fleetwood put the name to rest. The reunion of the most popular lineup is again taking the U.S. by storm with the top 10 album “The Dance” and a sellout concert tour.
Santana, which had its biggest single with a version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman,” merged Latin sounds with rock ‘n’ roll in Bay Area halls such as the Fillmore West as the ’60s came to a close. An appearance at Woodstock got the band’s eponymous debut album off to a solid start that follow-up efforts maintained through the mid-1970s. With guitarist Carlos Santana as its cornerstone, Santana albums and concerts of the last 20 years have been an ambitious synthesis of world rhythms and American music forms such as blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.
The Mamas and the Papas combined hippie imagery with traditional songcraft and harmony singing on singles such as 1966’s “California Dreamin’ ” and “Monday, Monday” until John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips split up in 1968. Elliot, who made a number of solo albums, died in 1974. John Phillips has put the act on the road several times with substitute singers, among them his daughter MacKenzie Phillips and Spanky McFarlane of Spanky and Our Gang.
Impeccable ear for talent
Price helped pave the R&B path that would eventually lead to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll with his 1952 hit “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” but he also showed an impeccable ear for talent and changing tastes among American record buyers. He placed Little Richard with Specialty Records, made Wilson Pickett’s first recording, founded the successful blues and R&B imprint Kent Records, and after his discharge from the Army, recorded vibrant pop numbers such as “Staggerlee” and “Personality,” a No. 2 single in 1959. In 1964, Price concentrated on investments in black companies and established a college fund for black students, eventually promoting with Don King the Zaire ’74 music festival that was documented in this year’s Academy Award winner “When We Were Kings.”
Vincent (born Vincent Craddock) was signed by Capitol Records in 1956 during the label’s hunt for an Elvis counterpart. Vincent and his Blue Caps charted first with “Be-Bop-a-LuLa” (No. 9) but most of his success came overseas in the succeeding years. He died in 1970.
Early jazz practitioner
Pianist Morton (1885-1941) was an early practitioner of jazz. Through his compositions, among them “Dead Man Blues” and “King Porter Stomp,” and recordings he established himself as a small-band leader on par with Louis Armstrong, as important to small bands as Duke Ellington was to big bands.
Toussaint produced some of the biggest hits to come out of New Orleans — Irma Thomas’ “Ruler of My Heart,” Jesse Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Do” and Lee Dorsey’s “Ya Ya” — while he was recording under his name and as Allen Orange. In the 1970s, he produced Dr. John’s most significant work and Glen Campbell turned his “Southern Nights” into a million seller. Of all the inductees, Toussaint issued the most recent disc of all new songs — 1996’s “Connected” on the NYNO label.
The Hall of Fame ceremony allows all official members of a band to attend and receive awards, which could mean a considerable turnout for representatives of Fleetwood Mac (15 members) and Santana (at least 30).