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HOA: 1961 voting thread

Today we start the 1961 election. Select the ten most deserving artists, based on records released through the end of 1960.

To see a list of noteworthy pre-1961 candidates, as well as our discussion of them, check out this thread. For a reminder of who’s already been inducted, see the results thread.

For your ballot to be eligible, you must submit a ranked list of your ten most deserving artists. Also, for your top FIVE artists (at least), you must explain why they deserve to be in the HOA.

In addition, you may nominate up to three people for the Backstage Wing. This is optional; your ballot will still be eligible even if you don’t vote for Backstage candidates.

Deadline for ballots is 12:00 noon GMT (6:00 am where I am), Tuesday, July 22.

And away we go…

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Bo Diddley: One of the founding fathers of rock & roll. The only musician in history to have a rhythm named after him (the Bo Diddley beat). His debut single "Bo Diddley"/"I'm A Man", recorded in March 1955, is now widely acclaimed as one of the most influential debut singles of all-time.

2. Little Richard: One of the founding fathers of rock & roll and still one of the most explosive performers around.

3. Muddy Waters: Played a huge role in forging the link between the Mississippi Delta and the electric Chicago blues that spawned rock & roll.

4. Howlin' Wolf: The biggest voice in Chicago blues and a major influence on the British rhythm & blues scene in the 1960s.

5. Fats Domino: A consistent hit maker from 1955 thru 1963, Fats enjoyed half a dozen pop hit singles in 1960, including the classic "Walking To New Orleans".

6. Big Joe Turner

7. The Coasters

8. The Drifters

9. The Platters

10. Sam Cooke

Backstage Wing:

1. Willie Dixon: Chess Records songwriter, musician, session player, arranger, producer and manager.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1) Bing Crosby- Never before or since has a single performer been so dominant in entertainment (music [In 1931, ten of the top 50 songs FOR THE YEAR featured Bing’s singing in some capacity], movies [top billing in 55 films], radio [active from 1931-1962], television [various programs between 1954-1976]). He is the most recorded human voice (as of a 1995 study..Sinatra was 2nd, http://members.aol.com/doder1/speech1.htm). He utilized the advantages of electric recording to invent crooning and ending the “belting” operatic style common before that. Despite being 70 years old, many of his recordings continue to be surprisingly listenable (“Don’t Fence me In”,”White Christmas”,”Brother Can You Spare a Dime?”,”I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)”,”Pennies from Heaven”).
2) Carter Family- The invention of flatpicking in Mother Maybelle Carter’s picking style (“the Carter scratch”) as well as the virtual creation of the country music industry thanks to their popularity guarantees they deserve inclusion. The fact that they preserved so many folk songs is icing on the cake.
3) Frank Sinatra- Remember that he’s the 2nd most recorded human voice? Songs like “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”,”I’ve Got the World on a String”,”I’ve Got You Under my Skin”,”All or Nothing at All”,”I’ll Never Smile Again” and “(Love is) The Tender Trap” are why.
4) Billie Holiday- Not only has one of the finer voices on this list but also had the guts to speak out against lynching at a dangerous time to do so and with a fine tune to boot. (“Strange Fruit”) “God Bless the Child” has proven enough of a warhorse to survive batterings in Holiday Inn lounges across the country.
5) Everly Brothers- A stalwart early rock group reminding us of country’s place in the trinity of genres that spawned rock and roll. 5 instantly singalong tunes among the 3000..a timeless tremolo intro for “All I Have to Do is Dream”? This is a no-brainer.
6) Little Richard- A monster run of 50s hits that still sound fresh and dangerous today. His “woos” reverberated in Beatlemania. Rock pianists still look to him as a template. He deserves his ego.
7) Howlin’ Wolf- A bluesman you don’t have to be a blues fan to appreciate. From the leering of “Spoonful” and “Back Door Man” to the threatening merriment of “Wang Dang Doodle”, the Wolf is compelling. And there’s little creepier than the sound of “Moanin’ in the Moonlight” in a darkened room…
8) Roy Orbison- If there is a better voice in rock and roll, I’m not sure who it belongs to. Orbison imparted his distinctly operatic wail that oozed passion into all he recorded.
9) Fats Domino- I’d probably rank him higher if I’d heard any of his actual albums but I can say I love every single one of the 5 tunes on the Acclaimed list. The man is a living legend.
10) The Platters- They get less attention than they deserve probably because they aren’t seen as a “pure” R&B group by music critics but those vocals are silky smooth and heard to great effect on “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”. Add in “The Great Pretender”,”Only You (and You Alone)” and some that aren’t on the 3000 (“Twilight Time”) and their heft becomes clearer.

The Drifters miss my list THIS time because they still have a lot of great hits to come with Rudy Lewis and Johnny Moore on lead vocals. They’ll be a shoo-in by 1965.

Backstage Wing:
Willie Dixon

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Little Richard- Nobody even compares to him pre-1964. The energy is amazing and his original catalog is deeper than any pop artist at that time.

2. Frank Sinatra- A collection of great standards that nobody has ever done better. A lot of great music came out after 1959 but he has more than enough at this time to get him in.

3. Everly Brothers- The songs were amazing for their time. If you asked me who was more important for early 60's pop, Buddy Holly or the Everlys I'd have a tough decision. Buddy Holly had more songs but the Everly Brothers had the best songs. My answer would probably be that the Everlys were easily as important and some days I might even say that they were more important.

4. Art Blakely- One classic album with other work that is pretty good should get you into the hall and Moanin' is one classic album.

5. Nat King Cole- Seems to be relegated to Christmas time but this guy was almost as good as Frank when it comes to crooning.

6. Coasters
7. Jackie Wilson
8. Lloyd Price
9. Miles Davis: All of my favorite Miles Davis stuff has come out by now. Sketches of Spain, Bag's Groove, Cookin, Workin. I waited for Sketches of Spain but I probably could have put him in last year. After 1960, he only released only album that I really liked with In a Silent Way. But, I can't deny that every decade he found a new way to innovate even if I don't like the direction he went in the 60's.

10. Robert Johnson

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Louis Armstrong - Arguably the most important jazz musician.
2. Billie Holiday - The greatest jazz vocalist.
3. Frank Sinatra - Highly influential singer and entertainer.
4. Miles Davis - A jazz genius. Worthy for Kind of Blue alone.
5. Duke Ellington – The greatest jazz composer.
6. Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys (wasted vote)
7. Bill Monroe
8. Thelonious Monk (one year too soon for Coltrane, now that I learn 1961 is not included)
9. Johnny Cash
10. Robert Johnson

Backstage vote: Harry Smith.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread


One of them performed with his back to the producer; the other with his back to the audience. Their respective genres owe a f$ck-ton to these guys.

3. LITTLE RICHARD: More energy than a Ritalin-deprived adolescent. ("Long Tall Sally" reminds me of an old junior-high school teacher of mine, who used to do the ol' "director's hands" and frame young girls asses in the school hallways, and quietly remark "yep, built for speed". True story.)
4. BILLIE HOLIDAY: Her voice is ok, I guess.
5. LOUIS ARMSTRONG: Could blow a horn as effortlessly as it takes most people to clap their hands. Immeasureable talent and influence.
6. LEADBELLY: Quick shout-out to his guitar tech, Leroy Stubbs.
7. JOHN COLTRANE: Blue Train and Giant Steps are enough for me, Paul.
10. THE BEATLES: I kid. Duke Ellington.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread


1. LITTLE RICHARD. Just in terms of getting things in the right order, I still think Richard should have gone in ahead of Buddy Holly, just because his great records came earlier in the decade. Nobody in rock & roll history shows more exuberance than good ol’ Richard; one gets the sense that he burned all his songwriting fuel early, and no wonder, really.

2. DUKE ELLINGTON. Just as I would have preferred Richard to go in before Holly just because of chronology, if I get my way, Miles will have to wait for Duke. Miles absolutely deserves enshrinement—he makes a high debut on my ballot this week, partly because of Sketches of Spain—but I don’t want to put his cart before Duke’s horse.

3. BO DIDDLEY. Elvis was only the King; Bo was the Originator. It’s appropriate that his guitar was shaped like a box, rather than being sleek or curved, because he used it for rhythm rather than flash (his flash, rather like Little Richard’s, came from his swagger). More than most early rockers, his lyrics are particularly interesting, what with all the freaky hoodoo and sexual innuendo. Also, possibly the only A-list rock & roll star with a second career in law enforcement.

4. RAY CHARLES. Ray’s hard to pin down; his accomplishments are so varied. For starters, he was virtually unsurpassed as a brilliant arranger. Then, he was also one of the most expressive singers ever. And he was such a magpie, incorporating R&B, jazz, gospel, and country. I can honestly pay him the highest compliment I can give an artist: Brother Ray could do it all.

5. JIMMIE RODGERS. Invented country music. And, speaking of swagger (see Bo Diddley, above), Jimmie’s one of the few artists before Morrissey to combine mopiness with extreme self-regard (“I can get more women than a passenger train can haul”). For years, I wondered how the hell yodeling, a Swiss musical tradition, somehow became a staple of country music. Well, look no further…this is the responsible party.

6. MILES DAVIS. Astonishing. He created jazz masterpieces the way Josh Hamilton hits home runs (if you're not a baseball fan, let's say the way Ronaldhino makes free kicks) (or something).

7. ROBERT JOHNSON. I think I short-shrifted him in 1960.

8. LOUIS ARMSTRONG. More or less invented the solo. Which is a fine thing in jazz, if not in rock.

9. JOHNNY CASH. Sun Records’ Million Dollar Quartet goes in this order: Elvis, Cash, Jerry Lee, Carl. All of them would eventually get into the HOA if I had my way.

10. BILLIE HOLIDAY. My last spot came down to Billie and Frank. Given the kind of Hall this is, I have to put the Lady in Satin first.


Just one backstage vote this time: ALAN FREED.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

All right, I missed the first round, time to start participating.

1. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue is my third favorite album and occupies a genre-less musical universe all on it's own to get lost in. Hardly any pre-1961 long-player is even close to this strong. More innovation and excitement comes from Miles later, but he's earned it already.

2. Fats Domino - I just came back from a short visit to New Orleans, and it reminded me of the cultural melting pot of that city's musical community.. the richness of the kind that contributed to Fats making the first opening salvos of the Rock N' Roll sound. His voice and piano-driven songs are just coated with passion and what must have been an incredibly innovative sound at the time.

3. Little Richard - Musicians with barely contained energy have shaken up the system since 1961 and it's amazing to hear Little Richard's screaming between every alternative line of Good Golly or Tutti Frutti and imagine how scared it might have made the squares of the late 1950s.

4. Jerry Lee Lewis - More unique vocal stylings, with Whole Lotta Shaking and Great Balls of Fire creating Rockabilly and loosening some of the rigidity of country music's "golden age".

5. Everly Brothers - Harmonies and perfect popcraft, the brothers made timeless melodies, with a little edge in their voices the seperated them from the Mr. Sandman sounds of the 1950s.

6. Ray Charles

7. The Platters

8. Roy Orbison

9. Bobby 'Blue' Bland

10. Bo Diddley

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

For years, I wondered how the hell yodeling, a Swiss musical tradition, somehow became a staple of country music

It started to appear in the 19th century in cowboy songs
Probably due to Central Europe immigrants especially in the Kentucky mines. And yodelling was probably very practical for gathering cattle or calling each other in the plains ?

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

I guess this week I'm gonna move from realism to a combination of idealism and pragmatism (tactics ?)

1. Robert Johnson : An HOA with no bluesman would be an impossible thing. Robert Johnson IS the blues (especially for a rock audience), the junction between pre and postwar blues, country and urban blues, and he's the most impressively skilled as a guitarist, a singer and as a symbol (the tale of his selling his soul to the devil).
2. Little Richard : Because "Long Tall Sally" is one of my favourite songs ever. Because when discussing the spirit of '50s music, schleuse used this very appropriate word : "exuberant", that applies so well to Little Richard. Because of his TV appearances, often hilarious, like that one : Letterman was asking him about his biography and Richard said, “I used to be a cocaine addict and a homosexual.”
- "Wait, I’ve never heard of a former homosexual.” Said Dave.
- "LR : “Yes, I realized that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
3. Leadbelly : My favourite pre-rock artist. I don't know exactly why. Probably because his songs are so simple, so full of life, his voice so expressive, and also because it is raw. Nothing between the singer and the listener. I love that. Real folk music (nothing to do with Bon Iver's constipated music). And his life is the novel I would love to write one day.
4. Ray Charles : In anticipation, even if he did a few good albums after 1961. Nothing to add to what schleuse wrote about him.
5. Jimmie Rodgers : I'm not sure he invented country music, because there were country records before 1927. But he was country's first super star, and maybe the first folk singer-songwriter of recorded music.
6. Muddy Waters : king of postwar Chicago blues
7. Big Bill Broonzy : King of prewar Chicago blues and great guitar player; great acoustic revival in the '50s when he recorded for Vogue in France.
8. Fats Domino
9. Billie Holiday
10. Eddie Cochran

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Bill Monroe - The founding father of a music genre, and an artist I've been listening quite a lot to.

2. The Carter Family - An early pop group in what's mostly a solo singer time. Great songs, fun concept.

3. The Shirelles - Amazing pop songs, some of which has never been topped in their genre.

4. Billie Holiday - Fantastic voice, and some truly heartbreaking songs. The voice of a generation, and generations to come.

5. Kitty Wells - First of all a singer I enjoy listening to, but also one who has had a great influence on some other favorite country ladies, like Loretta and Dolly. She poured her heart out.

6. Patsy Cline
7. Jerry Lee Lewis
8. Bessie Smith
9. Johnny Cash
10. Dave Brubeck

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

nic, no sinatra?

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Sorry, not this time but I'm sure he'll get along without me

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

But I'll vote for him again if he doesn't make it this week

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

The thing about these early artists is that they get a pass for not having a deep catalog; they really only have a few classic singles outside of the jazz artists. Which is ok, I guess, since they were the innovators, but I hope that voters don't place the same standards on future entries since these artists were able to float by on a few songs.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Every artist has to be judged in his context.
For me that won't make a '60s artist more valuable than an "early" artist

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Louis Armstrong - To me, music is so many things, but above all it about joy. No one encompasses joy in music as much as Satchmo. Until he's voted in, I don't think there will be any other artist I will vote above him, except perhaps one.

2. Ella Fitzgerald -- I'd love to hear why people think she's not worthy of inclusion. My guess is it's a perceived (actual?) lack of emotional breadth. I do appreciate the ability to shift emotional tone from record to record... that's a huge reason Ray Charles is in my top-5. However, as I said before, Ella's other attributes to me are so overwhelmingly positive, they overcome this one weakness.

3. Django Reinhardt -- Doesn't look like I've convinced anyone to vote on him at all. That's OK. He'll probably begin to drop, as I concentrate more on the rockers over time.

4. Duke Ellington -- Pure class.

5. Ray Charles -- "The only true genius in the business" - Frank Sinatra.

6. Dinah Washington
7. Jerry Lee Lewis
8. Charlie Parker
9. Billie Holiday
10. Frank Sinatra

Backstage Wing:

1. Cole Porter
2. George Gershwin
3. Alan Lomax - I am not big into folk or the blues (see my list above for proof of that), but for backstage purposes, it's hard to argue against Lomax, even with my general preference to use the backstage wing for songwriters.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Dave Brubeck - Not a lot of regard for Dave here, but I think his contributions are a bit underrated. He wasn't as consistent with his albums as Coltrane or Davis, but a good retrospective demonstrates how much great work he contributed. Plus, "Time Out" is my fav. jazz album and an exciting listen to this day.

2. Miles Davis - And then there was Miles, whose great experiments didn't come until later, but it was his early stuff (especially the stuff with a large band) that holds up best.

3. Frank Sinatra - Probably would have been lower on my list except for the fact that I listened to "Songs for Swingin' Lover" last night for the first time, which is just one hell of an acomplishment.

4. Duke Ellington - A great earlier jazz icon.

5. Robert Johnson - Crack this one up to influence more than output. The actual HOA certainly regards influence and I think you can't find many people whose influence on rock music is more obvious. Plus, he was a cultural phenomenon due to the legend around his death. He really became one of the first great rock and roll legends.

6. Billie Holiday

7. Fats Domino

8. Bo Diddley

9. Woodie Guthrie

10. Patsy Cline

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread


Based on your votes, I'm guessing you love the Ella and Louis duet albums. I sure do. To anyone who hasn't heard them, they are pure magic.

But I didn't vote for Ella. Not because she doesn't deserve it, but because I only get 10 votes and there are so many other jazz and country artists I think merit consideration. (I don't really need to vote for rock artists. The rest of you have that covered.)

I think you are right as to why Ella's support is lower than Billie Holiday's (the only female jazz singer with a chance at enshrinement). Ella is perceived to be more techincally sound but less emotionally powerful. When compared to Holiday, I agree with the perception and I give more weight to the emotional impact of Billie Holiday's singing. But Ella is still great.


I'm sorry if we are not supposed to be commenting in this thread. Not sure. But it's easier for me to comment when I see the votes, because the votes trigger thoughts.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Comments are more than welcome, Paul.

And in fact, you just said exactly what I was gonna say about Ella.

When trying to decide about voting for jazz or pre-rock artists, the question I try to keep in mind is: "Who's more rock & roll?" (using my own criteria for what that means). Holiday is clearly ahead of Fitzgerald in that respect.

But I can't imagine anyone not liking Ella, and in my own life, I'm sure I've listened to her much more often than Billie.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Well of course I love the Ella and Louis albums (although, strangely, given my also voting for Gershwin backstage, not as big of a fan of their Porgy and Bess album). I don't think my comment on their first album when I voted it my #13 all-time album made it on to these boards, so I'll selfishly quote it now:

"As with rap, I simply do not have the knowledge to turn this into a jazz heavy list. I have a few albums, particularly vocal jazz, that I turn to… and this is at the top of that list. And I realize it's poppy and not real ground-breaking stuff. But it is so much fun. You look at the cover of the two of them sitting next to each other, and you feel like you could be looking at a family photo of your grandparents. You almost forget you are looking at two of the titans of 20th century music."

I hear what you (and many others) are saying about Ella, and maybe I am overrating her too much. But you sometimes can't help who you fall in love with.

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

01. FRANK SINATRA: the crooner with the most precise phrasing, with a perfect command of his talented voice to express emotions without losing his coolness. The most popular act during the 40s still got better during the 50s, releasing an impeccable string of concept albums. The irruption of rock ‘n’ roll hasn’t displaced him yet, and we are all expecting fabulous songs and albums during the following years (and decades!).
My favourite album: In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
My Top 5 Songs: I’ve Got You Under My Skin (1956), In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning (1955), You Make Me Feel So Young (1956), All or Nothing At All (1943), One for My Baby (1958)

02. BILLIE HOLIDAY: nobody will sing the blues like Lady Day.

03. DUKE ELLINGTON: the title of “duke” was not in vain. He’s not only the best composer and arranger of jazz music alive but one of the best of any kind of music. He has set a standard so high that it’s going to be really difficult to improve. And he’s around from the 1920s but, since he’s still active, we must expect great things to come.
My favourite album: Ellington at Newport (1956)
My Top 3 Songs: In a Sentimental Mood (1945), Take the ‘A’ Train (1941), Sophisticated Lady (1933)

04. RAY CHARLES: he has brought he sounds of the church to the profane sceneries of taverns and clubs, and then to the theatres. He fuses the devotion and enthusiasm of the gospel with the deepness and darkness of the blues like any performer before. And after?
My favourite album: The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)
My Top 3 Songs: Drown in My Own Tears (1956), I Got a Woman (1955), (The Night Time Is) The Right Time (1959)

05. LOUIS ARMSTRONG: the most important name of early jazz, the first one giving credit to improvisation as essential part of the style, a trumpet virtuoso and owner of a peculiar and raspy vocal deliverance. His historical importance is outstanding but he got present (and future) too.
My favourite album: Ella and Louis (1956)
My Top 3 Songs: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (1956), West End Blues (1928), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1929)


And at the backstage:
03. JERRY LEIBER & MIKE STOLLER: a great team of composers of strong, humorous and rollicking songs that found the perfect vehicle in the voices of R&B and R&R stars as The Coasters, The Drifters and, most significantly, our first inductee, Elvis Presley . Favourite song: ELVIS PRESLEY “Trouble” (1958).

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

1. Woody Guthrie - Besides being hugely influential, I also really like his music. He's funny, a good songwriter and a pure joy to listen to.

2. Muddy Waters - I'm going for the "idealism-approach", cause Muddy Waters really belongs in the HoA. Right now.

3. Miles Davis - With Sketches of Pain added to his repertoire he is now the definite king of jazz.

4. Little Richard - I'm not quite sure why I forgot about Little Richard last year, as all his good work has already been performed. Of course schleuse already put this better than I could ever do, even though I planned to use the word "exuberant" somewhere in my arguments too.

5. Frank Sinatra - Frankie is simply moving a few spots up because 3 of my nominees entered the HOA last week. Although he's not one of my favorite artists he's had such a profound influence that a HOA without Sinatra would be just as criminal as including Nickelback. Did I just compare Sinatra to Nickelback? Damn right I did.

6. Ray Charles
7. Johnny Cash
8. Bo Diddley
9. Louis Armstrong
10. Billie Holiday


Alan Freed

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Not sure if we have to write new comments about artists from our previous Top 5 that haven’t made it yet; my first two are simply repeats from my 1960 vote.

1. Little Richard – Defined the wildest edge of this strange new form of music, and his best stuff – all of it done before 1960 – still does a pretty good job of doing so.
2. Frank Sinatra – The greatest interpretive male singer of all time also, for all intents and purposes, created (along with his brilliant arrangers) the entire concept of “the album” as we know it out of whole cloth with a staggering series of mid- to late-50s recordings.
3. Robert Johnson – He made fewer recordings than anyone else eventually destined for this Hall, but their impact on blues and blues-based rock is incalculable. Without Johnson, there would be no Rolling Stones, no Eric Clapton, etc., etc.
4. Louis Armstrong – The most influential jazz musician ever. His early recordings are to jazz what Chuck Berry’s are to rock – they set the template for everything that followed, no matter how widely others have diverged from it.
5. Miles Davis – Of course, at this point he still has a myriad of brilliant work and innovation yet to come. But he’s already made his first set of great quintet records, MILES AHEAD, MILESTONES, SKETCHES OF SPAIN and, oh yeah, the single greatest jazz album of all time, so he’s earned his place and then some.
6. Duke Ellington
7. Fats Domino
8. Bo Diddley
9. The Everly Brothers
10. Jerry Lee Lewis

1. Alan Freed
2. Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller
3. Harry Smith

Re: HOA: 1961 voting thread

Recycling previous comments is fine, Harold. Thanks.