DEAR JERRY: Who are some of the most popular and successful stars that deserve to be, yet are still not, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I know the one person that absolutely, positively should be inducted is Connie Francis. Do you agree?
Year after year, various female singers that are nowhere even close to the status of Connie, are voted into the Hall. Whether these other gals deserve it is not the point. It's just that folks like Janis Joplin and Dusty Springfield should be chosen after Connie, not before. Certainly not instead of.
Wasn't it Connie Francis and Brenda Lee that dominated the first Rock and Roll era? And Brenda Lee, rightfully so, is in the R&R Hall of Fame. You can't separate them no matter how you look at it.
So where's Connie? Was it something she said?
Lastly, please list all of the female inductees? Then readers can see for themselves how disturbing Connie's absence really is.
J.J. Williams, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
DEAR J.J.: You are definitely not alone in an effort to draw attention to easily the most glaring omission on the part of those who do the voting, one of which I am not in case you are wondering.
Several others have written regarding this topic, but I will let your letter speak for all those in Connie's camp.
As for some of the top talent not yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, I can name three that definitely belong there.
Keep in mind, an artist does not become eligible until at least 25 years have passed since the release of their first recording.
1. Connie Francis. An absolute no-brainer. Of all the eligible female non-inductees, Connie is the worldwide top-selling artist by far. Reviewing the inductees list that follows, one finds several ladies already enshrined whose accomplishments do not compare to those of Francis.
2. Pat Boone. He is the second most popular singles artist of Rock's first decade (after Elvis). Pat's sales were so strong from 1955 through '62 that he STILL ranks among the Top 10 artists of all time. Dozens of less successful acts are already in the Hall of Fame.
3. Neil Diamond. He is the only other artist in the all-time Top 30, besides Connie Francis and Pat Boone, missing from the Hall.
All three should be inducted at the very next opportunity! And a case can also be made on behalf of Dionne Warwick.
Here is an alphabetical list of the 16 women already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as performers:
LaVern Baker; Ruth Brown; Aretha Franklin; Gladys Knight (with the Pips); Billie Holiday; Mahalia Jackson; Etta James; Janis Joplin; Brenda Lee; Joni Mitchell; Ma Rainey; Bonnie Raitt; Bessie Smith; Dusty Springfield; Tina Turner (with Ike Turner); and Dinah Washington.
Not included on this list are individual female members of groups when the inductee is identified only by the group name (i.e. Supremes, Shirelles, Platters, etc.)
Another well-known performer, Carole King, gained Hall entrance because of the many great songs co-written with her husband-partner Gerry Goffin. She is not on the above list because, as songwriters, they are in the Non-Performer category.
Until some of these wrongs are corrected, complaints like yours about the selection process are completely justified.
DEAR JERRY: One of your recent columns interested me because you wrote about one of my favorite novelty recordings, “Close the Door” by Jim Lowe.
I also remember this cute tune and have searched for many years trying to find a recording of it. Even a well-versed local oldies dee jay was unable to come up with it.
At long last, I came across a Time-Life CD compilation titled “Golden Goofers” (HPD-40) and was delighted to discover “Close the Door” included.
Among the other tracks on this album is The Battle of Kookamonga,” which Karl K. Sieger, of Lancaster, Pa., wrote to you about.
Ken White, Texarkana, Ark.
DEAR KEN: Readers seeking those goofy tracks will be delighted to learn of “Golden Goofers.” Thank you for sharing that information.
IZ ZAT SO? To the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's credit, they recognized from the git-go the importance of honoring individuals whose contributions did not involve singing or playing an instrument.
In their inaugral year 1986, dee jay Alan Freed and Sun Records founder Sam Phillips became the first two in the Non-Performer category.
That time they got it right.