Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Mariah Carey

A diva among divas, who for more than twenty-five years has been charming audiences with her melisma, involved in a dramatic personal life that includes, as of this writing, two divorces and numerous feuds with other notable artists, Mariah Carey is an artist who both inspires imitation in some areas of life and likely inspires a desire on the part of others to avoid some of the areas where she falls short. She has even made fun of her own diva tendencies, spawning an alter ego named Mimi and titling one of her albums “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.” The album went gold. She is one of the best-selling artists in music history, and has a huge amount of hits, and also has endured personal troubles as well as a disastrous flip of a film career that can be summed up in one terrifying word: Glitter. She has passionate fans, and passionate haters, and has undoubtedly served as an inspiration to many artists in the past, and many who are to come, even being the subject of at least one Eminem song, to which she responded with her own top ten hit, “Obsessed.” Yet Mariah Carey is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, despite being a diva of tremendous popularity and cultural influence [1].

The Influence Of Mariah Carey

The influence of Mariah Carey on the music world can be understood in several ways. For one, there is her obvious and longstanding popularity on the music charts. Sometimes this influence comes in surprising ways. For example, her immense popularity in Christmas music (one multi-platinum and another gold album) has greatly influenced many artists to release Christmas albums and songs, a practice that is widespread in the contemporary music market, but was not as frequently done in the early 1990’s when Carey released her first such album. Another aspect of surprising influence that Mariah Carey has is in her signaling that singers and songwriters are worthy of greater popularity through her choice of covers. Throughout her career, Mariah Carey’s choice of covers as singles like “Without You [2],” “Open Arms [3],” “Endless Love [4],” “I’ll Be There [5],” and “Against All Odds [6],” to name but a few examples, is a signal of the continuing worth of such songs and of their original writers and performers, as the popularity of her cover versions serves to increase the influence of such worthwhile artists and to show their own worthiness for honors like induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In this she serves a similar role to Joe Cocker as a song interpreter of a high order [7]. When one considers this role, as a lightning rod for attention, as a diva in voice and attitude, and as a song interpreter who plays an important role in representing and helping to choose the Great Pop Songbook collection through her successful covers, and in her influence in encouraging holiday music, however one feels about it, Mariah Carey is undoubtedly a very influential artist, and thus worthy of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her style of music has been credited with popularizing melisma that influenced a generation of singers both male and female including such artsts as Leona Lewis, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Nelly Furtado, Brandy, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese, and Brian McKnight, some of whom are already worthy of Rock & Roll Induction once they become eligible [8].

Why Mariah Carey Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Aside from her cultural importance, including stints on American Idol and Diva’s Live, Mariah Carey’s worthiness for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rests on a body of work of immense popularity and worth, one that many artists are very envious of, and one that was earned in large part because of her voice. Among her albums, she has two diamond albums (Music Box and Daydream), eight additional multi-platinum albums, four more platinum albums, and two more gold albums on top of that [9], a body of work that is likely to become only more popular in the future as its sheer breath from studio albums to live albums to soundtracks and immense popularity will likely overwhelm attempts to capture it in one-disc best of compilations. That is not even considering her legacy in terms of singles, which includes 18 #1 hits (the most solo #1’s in American music history) on the Hot 100 among 27 top 10 hits. She is an artist with immense catalog value, with hits that are likely to be played for decades to come such as: “Vision Of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday,” “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “Emotions,” “Can’t Let Go,” “Make It Happen,” “I’ll Be There,” “Dreamlover,” “Hero,” “Without You,” “ Anytime You Need A Friend,” “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Fantasy,” “One Sweet Day,” “Open Arms,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Honey,” “Butterfly,” “My All,” “When You Believe,” “I Still Believe,” “Heartbreaker,” “Thank God I Found You,” “Loverboy,” “We Belong Together,” “Shake It Off,” “Don’t Forget About Us,” and “Touch My Body [10].” Even half that body of work would likely still be an open-and-shut case for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. That is not even mentioning the fact that she is well-known for her diverse and accomplished duets with artists as diverse as Nicky Minaj, Trey Lorenz, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, Westlife, Busta Rhymes, Jermaine Dupri, and Whitney Houston, among many others, [11] demonstrate she is an artist who works effectively with others.

Why Mariah Carey Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

No clue. There are plenty of artists who dance better, and who are better songwriters, but in terms of flat-out singing and massive and enduring popularity and inspiration for others, Mariah Carey is an obvious choice, one of the most obvious artists there is to induct.

Verdict: Mariah Carey is one of the handful of artists whose career is so superlative that it seems only a matter of time, and hopefully not very much more time, before she is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

[1] The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has not always been kind to divas. See, for example:








[2] Originally written and performed by Badfinger:


[3] Originally written and performed by Journey:


[4] Her duet partner was Luther Vandross, and the song was originally a #1 hit for Diana Ross and Lionel Richie.

[5] Originally performed by the Jackson 5.

[6] Originally written and performed by Phil Collins:


[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-joe-cocker/

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariah_Carey

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariah_Carey_albums_discography

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariah_Carey_singles_discography

[11] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-whitney-houston/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Mariah Carey

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