There is, of course, some question as to whether one should consider Celine Dion eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. After all, her English-language debut, Unison , came out in 1990. Before, that, of course, she had eight albums released in Canada, the last in English and the first seven in French, most of which sold hundreds of thousands of copies in Canada (which is not easy to do). At any rate, whether you consider her career before debuting in the United States or not, Celine Dion has been a recording act for 25 years, and so we will consider her as eligible for the purposes of this discussion, and having been eligible for several years already. If Green Day can be considered as eligible because of an EP release, than an album that sells hundreds of thousands of records internationally is certainly good enough to grant a singer eligibility. That said, it is time to examine a particular situation that is sure to cause a lot of controversy, because while no one will deny that Celine Dion has been immensely successful as an artist around the world, both in terms of critical praise as well as hit singles and best-selling albums, in both French and English, there are likely many people that would not consider her career to be remotely close to Rock & Roll, and thus they would shudder at the thought of going to Cleveland to listen to “My Heart Will Go On,” even if they could listen to “S’il suffisait d’aimer” instead .
Celine Dion’s Contribution
Let us note at the outset that Celine Dion is not as strong a songwriter as some of the other obvious snubs for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame . Throughout her career, she has been strongly guided by her husband and producer, as she has not been the multi-dimensional writer, producer, performer triple treat that some other artists have been. That said, her music virtually defined mainstream pop in the mid 1990’s, she won numerous awards and had a hit single it seemed from nearly every big soundtrack for more than a decade, from 1990 to about 2004 or so. She collaborated with artists and writers as diverse as Barbara Streisand, R. Kelly, Frank Sinatra , The Bee Gees , and Jim Steinman (who wrote her 1996 hit “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”). As many of those artists are either in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or have strong cases to be either now or in the near future, it is no surprise that an artist who was one of the foremost divas of her time should be worthy of recognition along with her peers and mentors. At some point in the very near future there will be a lot of worthy divas from the 1990’s who will be worthy of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, and at some point artists like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey will have their chance to join the divas of a previous generation.
Why Celine Dion Is A No-Brainer For The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Has Celine Dion influenced other artists? Absolutely. Whether one looks at her career track–including time spent in Las Vegas, Celine Dion even now continues to influence how artists, especially older artists who do not want to tour, can make substantial money while performing in a stationary fashion for an extended period of time, or whether one looks at her vocal prowess, or her skill at soundtrack music, or her successful forays into dance pop, Celine Dion has established a template for success that others have followed. That is not even to begin to look at her success in singles and albums. She has been cited as an influence for artists as diverse as Arianna Grande, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Adele , some of whom seem likely to belong in Cleveland someday themselves. Among her albums, two of them have gone diamond in the United States (with album sales of more than 10 million), another six have gone multi-platinum, another four have gone platinum, and still another has gone gold. This is not even considering her massive success internationally with her French body of work, which has been just as popular and possibly more critically acclaimed than her work in English, which is her second language after all. She has had at least four #1 hits, ten top tens, and fifteen top 40’s, and that does not even include some of her most acclaimed songs (like “The Prayer,” a duet with Andrea Bocelli). Some of her hits songs, like “My Heart Will Go On,” and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” still define an era of pop music. Others, like “If You Asked Me To,” and “Misled,” are still as beautiful now as they were more than twenty years ago. Any artists that can define an era of music is worthy of being inducted in Cleveland, and it seems only a matter of time before voters agree.
Why Celine Dion Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Given that there is an extreme backlog for massively successful and influential pop acts (to say nothing of those whose genre work has been worthy of induction), it seems as if it has simply been the result of a traffic jam that Celine Dion has yet to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the fact that most people will probably focus on her English-language career rather than her whole astounding body of work. Given that massively successful acts from the 1970’s and 1980’s have yet to be inducted, it seems as if the most worthy divas of the late 1980’s and onward will have to wait a few years for that logjam to clear up. While Celine Dion’s heritage as a poor girl from a large family in rural Quebec made good has drawn a fair degree of mocking in some areas, it would seem likely that her career excellence and ability to work well with just about anyone over the course of her career, as well as her undeniable talent and success, will eventually win over voters at some point, hopefully when she can perform at least a few of her many hits to a large and appreciative audience. It seems like she will have to wait a bit, though.
The Verdict: Put her in. Perhaps the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame could make a Divas Live-like induction with her, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Kate Bush, and a posthumous induction for Whitney Houston. It could happen. If Laura Nyro can make it as a solo artist, there is no reason why there would not be room in Cleveland for Celine Dion or any of her worthy contemporaries.
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