Much like their sports teams, successful Philadelphia musical acts never seem to get their just due in regards to their overall body of impressive work.
This is especially true in regards to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enshrinement. The fact that Daryl Hall and John Oates from Hall and Oates waited as long as they did to get inducted struck a sour note in the eyes of many local and national music fans.
Prior to last year’s induction, Hall and Oates was part of an unenviable group hailing from the Philadelphia area who have been denied one of music’s most esteemed honors. Here are some of the best-known artists from the City of Brotherly love who are currently on the outside looking in.
1. Chubby Checker
Granted, Checker is mostly known for “The Twist,” but the song and the dance became a cultural and national phenomenon that has spanned generations. To put things in perspective, it’s not a stretch to say that any wedding that’s taken place since 1960 has more than likely featured the Twist. Checker returned to the well in 1961 with “Let’s Twist Again,” which won a Grammy. Despite his affiliation with the dance and the song, however, Checker did have additional hits, including “The Hucklebuck” and “The Fly.” Nonetheless, Checker’s signature song and dance seems to have been a double edged sword for him, as he might possibly be labelled as a one trick pony by the Hall. Oddly enough, Checker’s other number one single was titled “Pony Time.”
2. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
With such timeless pop and R&B hits as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “The Love I Lost,” “Bad Luck” and “Wake Up, Everybody,” Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes was one of the most popular and influential soul groups of the 1970’s. However, the doors to Cleveland’s museum remains closed to them. It also remains closed to the singer who was the voice behind the group’s hits………
3. Teddy Pendergrass
After leaving Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass had four platinum albums in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. “Turn Out the Lights” and “Love TKO” are eternal R&B anthems. With a voice as timeless and unmistakable as Pendergrass,’ the fact that he’s been denied entry twice is kind of a mystery.
4. Patti LaBelle
Patti LaBelle is one the greatest female soul singers of all-time. Her 1970’s band LaBelle, is responsible for one of disco’s very first hits (“Lady Marmalade”) and she is currently part of four Hall of Fames: (Grammy Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Apollo Hall of Fame and Songwriters’ Hall of Fame). Isn’t it time to include her in another? Why are we even talking about this?
5. The Delfonics
While not as prolific as Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Delfonics scored four-Top 20 R&B albums from 1968 to 1972 with hits such as “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “I’m Sorry.” As the years have passed, the group’s music has proved to be timeless. Anybody who’s seen “Jackie Brown” can attest to that.
6. Todd Rundgren
While audiences best know Upper Darby native Rundgren for his 70’s hits “Hello, It’s Me,” “I Saw the Light” and the anti-work anthem “Bang the Drum All Day,” perhaps his most successful work has come as a producer for Badfinger, Meatloaf and Grand Funk Railroad. His relatively short catalog of songs might be the reason why the Hall hasn’t inducted Rundgren, but how many well-known songs do you know by Patti Smith besides “Because the Night”? Yes, induction is not solely based on hit songs, but the Hall’s rules seem to be ones that are quite flexible at times.
7. Jim Croce
Last but certainly not the least on this list, South Philly native and Villanova University graduate Jim Croce, amassed a body of work in just a few short years that most artists would dream of having over the course of a long career. With such hits as “I Got A Name,” “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown” and the posthumously released number one single “Time In a Bottle,” the recognition and adulation Croce has received since his untimely death in 1973 should be observed and rightfully honored by the Hall.
By Joe Vallee