The first female rock star in the United States, Connie Francis presents an interesting case for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Does one choose to examine her on the basis of her hit singles from the early days of rock when she was a massive star in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s? Does one give her any credit for her strong stand against rape and violence against women as a survivor of rape? Does one give her any credit for her immense skill as a singer in different languages—she recorded a wide variety of albums and songs in at least nine languages, most notably English, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Yiddish, Hebrew, and German. Does one hold against her a doomed romance with singer Bobby Darin, when her slightly overprotective father broke up their relationship by gunpoint and left him to marry Sandra Dee, or the fact that her brother was killed by members of the Italian mafia in the early 1980’s? Given the sort of scrapes that rock & roll musicians find themselves in, it would seem unjust to hold a dramatic life against anyone, much less someone who was so successful and who remains an influential figure, whose song “Vacation” (her last top 10 hit) in 1963 helped create the image of the Atlantic coast of Florida as a spring break location . This sort of influence merits induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. One only wonders why it hasn’t happened yet.
The Influence Of Connie Francis
The influence of Connie Francis comes from several different sources. One of the sources of influence come from the ethnic focus of much of her work. Her skill with a wide variety of languages allowed her to sing well-known songs in several foreign languages as well as English, which helped her find a great deal of enduring success in Europe even after musical tastes changed in the United States and Great Britain and she lost her initial popularity there. Her albums of favorite songs in Italian, Spanish, German, Yiddish, and Hebrew helped establish the viability of such ethnic music to mainstream audiences, showing the ability of a New York Italian with an anglicized name to fully appreciate the wide variety of cultural influences around her, and to honor the achievements of her neighbors as well as her own culture. A second source of influence comes from the lasting importance of her songs, which include such enduring classics as: “Who’s Sorry Now?,” “Where The Boys Are,” “Mama,” “Vacation,” “My Happiness,” “Lipstick On Your Collar,” “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own,” “Together,” “Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You,” and “Breakin’ In A Brand New Broken Heart.” All told, in her career she had in the United States three number 1 hits, an additional twelve top 10 hits, and another nineteen top 40 hits. That sort of career in any age is worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, especially as the first female rock superstar. The third sort of influence is her influence on social trends, which came about because of her skillful promotion of the vacation possibilities of the Atlantic coast of Florida (which led to the rise of spring break as a cultural phenomenon in places like Ft. Lauderdale and Daytona Beach) as well as her work in social causes (especially against rape and violence against women), even to the level of suing the producers of movies who use her music in rape scenes (which would be terribly traumatizing for a rape survivor). Even now her songs and her works are known, and she has gained the support of Gloria Estefan  for her candidacy into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as for a biopic about her life and struggles. With that level of recognized influence and support, along with numerous references in popular culture, show that she remains culturally important more than half a century after the peak of her career. Few artists can make that claim.
Why Connie Francis Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
Connie Francis’ case for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rests on several grounds. Culturally, she is important as the first female rock star, as well as an Italian-American whose music paid homage to her own heritage as well as that of many other Americans, showing an appreciation of America’s diverse heritage from the very earliest era of Rock & Roll. This achievement encouraged the development of many strands within Rock & Roll that came from specific backgrounds. On the level of popular success, her albums and singles remain of vital importance, and were immensely popular in her day. She was a chart-topper whose songs won wide critical and popular acclaim. Additionally, her work had social influence on the vacation habits of Americans that remains true for this day. Few artists can claim the level of enduring cultural influence that she had, or a long and productive life that has seen her triumph over and over again over adversity and troubles.
Why Connie Francis Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
I honestly don’t know. Artists of vastly lower stature have been inducted and she has not been. Perhaps, like Pat Boone  and Frank Sinatra , she represents the general forgetfulness of Rock & Roll to a lot of its key history.
Verdict: Put this lady in so she can see a deserved honor while she is still alive to enjoy it.