Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Gloria Estefan / The Miami Sound Machine

There are some groups that deserve recognition because of a lengthy and solid body of work that achieves popular and critical success. There are other groups that deserve success for breaking down barriers and opening up avenues for success to others. Still other groups help build an infrastructure for others to find the road to success a bit easier. Some groups, like Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, manage to do all of these tasks. Their own body of work is itself worthy of admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for its excellence on the pop charts, Latin charts, and adult contemporary charts. They were a groundbreaking act (along with Santana) that opened the door for sustained success for other Latin acts and also provided the production infrastructure to help make those acts successful.

Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine’s Contribution

The contribution of Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine to rock & roll music history lies in several areas. First is their body of work and its enduring value and excellence. Second is their influence on other acts, both directly through the production skills of Gloria Estefan’s husband Emilio Estefan, who is the leader of the Miami Sound Machine, or indirectly through the enduring popularization of Latin music (even Spanish language) on the mainstream pop charts. The musical contribution of Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine (under a variety of names) is impressive: eight multi-platinum albums (some of them Spanish language albums), ten plantinum albums, and thirteen gold albums over a career that has lasted thirty-five years [1]. This success has not been limited to the United States or even other Spanish speaking countries but has extended worldwide from Australia to Switzerland. Gloria EStefan has managed multiple number ones on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart (Anything For You, Don’t Want To Lose You, Coming Out Of The Dark), the Adult Contemporary Chart (Anything For You, Can’t Stay Away From You, 1-2-3, Cuts Both Ways), the Dance charts (Abiertas Puertas, Tres Deseos, Oye!), as well as the Spanish chart (Abiertas Puertas, Oye, and Mas Alla) [2]. This is in addition to numerous top 40 songs starting from Conga and Words Get In The Way in the mid-80’s and extending to Heaven’s What I Feel and Music Of My Heart in the mid-1990’s. The total album sales for Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine are equal or greater to such undisputed heavyweight acts as Van Halen, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, REM, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Santana, all of whom are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [3]. When you add to their album sales and hit singles the fact that they have served as a direct influence for acts like Jon Secada and Marc Anthony [4] and an indirect influence for many more artists, especially from the Spanish-speaking community. This is not even beginning to mention the cultural importance of Gloria Estefan in providing a voice for the Cuban-American community in such albums as Mi Tierra or the Estefan’s work in philanthropic work through the writing and performing of charity singles.

Why Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine Is A No-Brainer For The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

When you combine massive cultural influence, a body of work that is excellent whether one looks at sales, chart records, critical appeal (including Grammys), as well as production and philanthropic work, Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine ranks as one of the most vital acts of the mid-1980’s through the late 1990’s, with influence that continues to this day. In many ways, inducting Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine can help recognize dance, 1980’s acts, as well as the Latin music community, all of which have struggled to receive their proper recognition by the Hall of Fame. For making the rock & roll music world safe for Jon Secada, Marc Anthony, and indirectly many others like Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine deserve a place in Cleveland where their career can be immortalized and recognized. In addition, a strong case could be made for inducting Emilio Estefan as a producer in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the band as well as numerous others.

Why Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine Isn’t In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

With a lengthy backlog of deserving acts that have fallen through the cracks, it appears as if inducing Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine has not been a high priority in Cleveland. Some difficulties could result from the fact that 1980’s music, dance music, and Latin music have not received a great deal of respect as of yet from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (though the recent inductions of ABBA and Donna Summer as well as Madonna reflect a higher view of the genre than was the case previously). There also may be some difficulties with determining how to name the band in terms of induction. It would make the most sense to induct the band as Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine to follow the precedent of other similar bands in the Hall (like Paul McCartney & Wings, to name but one example).

Verdict: Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine is a strong conteder for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and can expect to be inducted when worthy 80’s acts are being inducted.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Estefan_albums_discography

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Estefan

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_selling_music_artists

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Estefan

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18 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Gloria Estefan / The Miami Sound Machine

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  15. Bill Meyer says:

    Gloria Estefan is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the same reason that The Moody Blues didn’t make it until 50 plus years after their Inception. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t hold too much weight when it comes to the music world. And the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of a misnomer. How many crap rappers have made it in and yet they’re not part of rock and roll. And yet The Moody Blues, one of the longest running and most successful rock and roll bands did not make it in until 2017. When it comes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I cry foul😣

    • Agreed. To be sure, it does represent the views of its nominating committee and voters, but clearly there are wide gaps between how rock is viewed by various groups of people and how it is viewed by those voters. And while the fan vote does help at least some of the more popular (but less cool) groups get inducted, there are still gaps between influence and recognition.

  16. mothfire says:

    I have a particular dislike for two types of music.
    One is songs about music. I won’t go too much into this but songs like “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger and “Rock and Roll is King” by Jeff Lynne really grate on me.
    The second is bands that describe themselves as putting out assembly line music. C+C Music Factory and Miami Sound Machine come to mind.
    In 1979, there was a documentary on television about the music industry and there was one segment in which a producer showed how he could eliminate drummers and other musicians in the creation of Disco music. Within a week you had DJs calling for the burning of Disco records and, not too long after that, you had Disco Demolition Night in Chicago. There were other criticism of Disco, most of them homophobic or racist, but it was perceived mechanization of music that really hit the hardest. The over-produced version of Disco songs ended. It would be a couple of years until Diana Ross and Chic brought it back in a more scaled down production.
    Why the history tour? Well, I think it explains a lot in how we view music production. We tend to think of it as art when it really is craft. Miami Sound Machine is more craft than art and I think that hurts them.
    As far as influence, especially in the latin community, I think that Ruben Blades (who was writing and performing similar music although his lyrics were always in Spanish) and Selena had more influence than the Miami Sound Machine.
    But that is just my humble opinion.

    • Selena had a great amount of influence. Still, one can see Gloria Estefan’s influence in the way that Jon Secada was able to do very well after having his start as a backup for Gloria Estefan. I also tend to prefer Gloria Estefan’s solo work to her work with Miami Sound Machine, but that’s a small quibble. The relationship of music as an art and as a craft is something that has become increasingly problematic in recent decades. One could see it in the 1970’s with disco but increasingly has become a problem in pop and rock and country and other genres where the assembly-line aspect of songwriting and production has frequently overwhelmed the music listening experience.

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