Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Barbra Streisand

Let me share a secret with you. I dislike most of the music of Barbra Streisand, and those times where I hear her often melodramatic songs on the radio, I change the station. But, like most people, I assumed she had been inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a long time ago. After all, a few years ago Laura Nyro (no, I had never heard of her either, before I saw that she had been inducted) was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and her greatest claim to fame was having written a few songs recorded later as big hits by Barbra Streisand and a few other artists. This is not to knock Nyro, who was a very influential songwriter and song stylist, and a worthy inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but to point out that the fact that Nyro is a worthy inductee sets a bar that anyone else whose influence and popularity meets or exceeds that standard, which includes no hit albums but the goodwill of many other artists, deserves induction as well. Recently I had asked one of the readers of my series on Rock & Roll Snubs about artists I had not written about yet and he mentioned Barbra Streisand. I thought that for sure he was wrong, but I investigated the matter an found to my surprise that she had not yet been inducted, nor had she been included in the prominent list of snubs that I had read either. She had simply not been on my radar since I thought it obvious that someone with her massive cultural influence, her decades of unparalleled success, and her firm place as one of the greatest recording artists of all time would make her an obvious inductee. But, to my surprise, I found out she had not been inducted, and so I find it necessary to state the obvious truth that Barbra Streisand should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most notable artists of the rock & roll era.

Why Barbra Streisand Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Barbra Streisand is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 70 million copies. Her tally (so far) of 52 gold and 31 platinum albums are more than anyone else than Elvis Presley. She is the only female artist ever to have fourteen multi-platinum albums (which includes a soundtrack to the film A Star Is Born). She has won 8 Grammys and various other achievement awards. She has had ten #1 albums, ranging from 1964’s People, 1974’s The Way We Were, 1980’s Guilty, 1985’s The Broadway Album, 1993’s Back To Broadway, 1997’s Higher Ground, 2009’s Love Is The Answer, and 2014’s Partners, giving her a #1 album in six straight decades. She has six live albums that have gone at least gold (including 3 of them with platinum and 1 with multi-platinum sales), 4 multi-platinum, 2 platinum, and 1 gold album among compilations, 1 multi-platinum, 3 platinum, and 4 gold cast recordings and soundtrack albums, and so on. Concerning songs, she has had #1 hits with “The Way We Were,” “Evergreen,” “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” and Woman In Love. She has had a total of 8 #1 hits on the Adult Contemporary Chart. She has had successful duets with Barry Gibb, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Donna Sumner, Neil Diamond, Kim Carnes, Don Johnson, Vince Gill, Michael Crawford, Il Divo, and Michael Buble. She has excelled both as a songwriter and as a noted interpreter of the songs of other people for decades. She has been a successful actress in theater as well as the big screen, and has acted and sung with notable success. She holds a dramatic amount of personal achievements for her work, including having been the only female artist to have three top ten albums for an entire year, and the first female in both the US and UK to have simultaneous #1 hit singles and albums [1]. Concerning influence, she has received many awards of the highest honor for her work, including the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts, and regular rankings high on lists of the best female singer-songwriters of all time or the voices of the century by the BBC and other. She has four of the American Film Institute’s top 100 songs from the movies, and has regularly appeared as a figure in television sketches, films, other songs, as well as stage plays, even concerning fashion. She is responsible for the Streisand effect, where lawsuits to suppress popularity of photos only lead to more publicity and exposure of what someone wants suppressed [2].

Why Barbara Streisand Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

There are no good reasons. Given her body of work as a musician, if she does not belong in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, nobody does, especially since the Hall of Fame does not reward the genre of Rock & Roll so much as the era of Rock & Roll, where Streisand has continually excelled for more than half a century. It is staggering, even among a lengthy list of female snubs to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [3], that Streisand has yet to be inducted. Any reasons that could be offered would amount to an admission of some sort of bias—whether or not you like her music, like her as a successful woman, like her as a flamboyantly successful Jewish entertainer, or any other sort of criterion one could determine, the length and depth and level of her sustained sales and cultural influence is unanswerable.

Verdict: Put her in, and then backdate the admission two or three decades.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbra_Streisand_discography

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbra_Streisand

[3] See, for example:













About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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10 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Barbra Streisand

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  5. abrahambj6308 says:

    Barbra to me is the most alarming case of snubs by the Hall. Like longevity (a consistent career of 50+ years), respect among the entire industry and a talented artist of top level. I thought the likes of her and Tina Turner were already in there.

  6. Noreen Hunter Colegrove says:

    if they could put that talentless Madonna in, they could put barbra in…

  7. mothfire says:

    I have never considered Barbra Streisand to be Rock and Roll. I agree with all of your arguments but I just don’t know that it is really a good fit.

    • I would wholeheartedly agree that Barbra Streisand is not rock. But with its inductions (see Madonna and any rap group), the RRHOF has made it clear that they induct acts in the Rock & Roll era even if they are not rock in genre, and based on her lasting success and influence, one cannot deny that Barbra Streisand is a worthy act. The only way that Laura Nyro makes sense as an inductee is that she wrote songs that were later covered successfully by Three Dog Night and Barbra Streisand, and if a little-known songwriter can be worthy of induction because her songs were covered by Streisand, then clearly Streisand must be viewed as credible in giving someone else clout, and thus possessing of some clout herself.

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