At first glance, Sarah McLachlan may strike many fans of rock & roll music as not being very much on the rock side. Like artists such as the Carpenters , much of her success was in adult contemporary radio, and like other artists, she suffers from the relative neglect of Canadian artists that affects others like Bryan Adams (a duet partner of hers) and fellow diva Celine Dion, to give two of the most conspicuous examples . Yet, upon closer investigation, Sarah McLachlan has had a massive influence on music, even if that influence has been a subtle one, and that influence has been outside of the Adult Contemporary world where she is perhaps most familiar for her hauntingly beautiful music. Whether one looks at key songs that remain familiar to radio audiences, her work in building an infrastructure to support other female artists in Lilith Fair, as well as her record of consistent and successful albums going back to the late 1980’s, Sarah McLachlan has a strong case for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Let us examine that case.
The Influence Of Sarah McLachlan
When one looks at the influence of Sarah McLachlan, there are several avenues where that influence can be found. One can examine her list of RRHOF-inducted or worthy duet partners , like Stevie Nicks, Bryan Adams, Barenaked Ladies, Cyndi Lauper, DMC, Annie Lennox , and Heart . Even aside from this, one can look at the fact that her music influence has extended far beyond the ghetto of Adult Contemporary to dance music (where she had a #1 US dance hit with “Silence 2004” in a duet with the band Delirium), to rap music, where DMC credits her song “Angel” with saving his life. Through her promotion of Lilith Fair in the late 1990’s, one of the biggest music festivals of the decade, she helped break ground for musicians like herself, Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman, Jewel, Paula Cole, Suzanne Vega, Lisa Loeb, Natalie Merchant, Shawn Colvin, Dido, Pat Benatar, and many others, several of whom belong in the RRHOF for their own work . This is without even considering the main body of her own work, which is worthy of induction in its own right. One would think that with such a notable ability to work in collaboration with others, her charitable and wider cultural importance, and her own music, that her induction would be a no-brainer, and yet one does not even hear her among the list of those considered as snubs.
Why Sarah McLachlan Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
She helped organize one of the most groundbreaking and successful tours of the 1990’s, keeping it going for three years, leading to $10 million in charitable donations as a result of its efforts. Her successful work extends beyond pop and adult contemporary to genres as diverse as dance and rap, although in fairness she sang while her duet partner rapped in the latter example. Concerning her own career, she has four multi-platinum albums (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Surfacing, Afterglow, and Mirrorball), one platinum album (Wintersong), and three gold albums (Touch, Solace, and The Freedom Sessions). Several of her songs remain important in the catalog of pop music from the 1990’s, namely “Possession,” “I Will Remember You,” “Building A Mystery,” “Sweet Surrender,” “Adia,” “Silence,” and “Angel,” and that is not even taking into consideration other worthwhile songs like “Fallen,” “Ice Cream,” “Stupid,” or “Good Enough,” or earlier tracks like “Vox” and “The Path of Thorns (Terms),” which are worthy of remembrance. McLachlan is an artist whose consistent excellence has led to be a regular and successful contributor to soundtracks and a highly sought-out duet partner even when she has not been recording her own music.
Why Sarah McLachlan Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame:
She’s a woman. She’s Canadian. Maybe voters and the nominating committee don’t remember that her first album came out in 1988, was a success even in the United States, since most of her music is associated with the period between 1993 and 2004 when she was at her commercial peak. Perhaps the reminder is necessary that Sarah McLachlan has been eligible for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for several years now.
Verdict: Put her in. She will have plenty of Lilith Fair colleagues in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by the time the music of the 1990’s is fully accounted for.
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