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 . 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) . 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 . 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  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.