Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Steve Winwood

Like some of the people on this list of deserving acts into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame [1], Steve Winwood is already in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the band Traffic. However, his solo career is equally successful and noteworthy, which is a bit surprising because by the time that Winwood embarked on a solo career he had spent many years in successful bands like Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group, and Blind Faith, where he performed with noted artists like Eric Clapton and had sung on many songs. Yet, for whatever reason, his solo career can be marked by the decision of a record label to release a pirated compilation of the artist’s music in other groups without his permission that the artist and his later record label had to sue to pull off the market. Yet this pirated compilation, which today exists only in rare copies, only hinted at the sort of artistic and commercial success that Winwood would have as a solo artist.

Why Steve Winwood Deserves To Be Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

There are at least a few reasons why Steve Winwood deserves to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. One reason is his success in collaboration and his influence on later artists, as can be evidenced by the successful cover of Valerie (retitled “Call On Me”) by Eric Prydz, which was later sampled by Chris Brown in turn. Even during his solo career, Winwood was able to collaborate successfully with others, like thrice inducted Eric Clapton (with whom he collaborated on a live album), along with lesser known artists like Remi Kabaka and Abdul Lasisi Amao (under the moniker Third World) and Stomu Yamashta and Michael Shrieve (under the name Go) in the mid 1970’s before he properly began his solo career in North America and Europe. Although his solo debut was largely ignored, throughout his career, Steve Winwood has managed to produce two multi-platinum, two platinum, and one gold album within the United States. His solo career is also noteworthy for its songs, which are well worth playing on any jukebox in Cleveland, such as “While You See A Chance,” “Spanish Dancer,” “Alerie,” “Higher Love,” “Back In The High Life Again,” “The Finer Things,” “Roll With It,” “Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do,” “Holding On,” and “One and Only Man,” which are part of the artist’s two number ones, four additional top tens, and four additional top forty hits on the Billboard Hot 100 alone, not even taking into consideration his success on the Mainstream Rock and Adult Contemporary charts, where he had four #1 hits on each of those charts as well [2]. Throughout his career he managed to mix pop, soul, and rock elements with skill and flair, showing an appreciation of remixes and collaborations and soundtrack contributions as well as radio friendly and concert friendly singles.

Why Steve Winwood Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Taken for his body of work as a solo artist, even given his somewhat late start as a solo artist after spending the lengthy opening part of his career as a supporting musician for a variety of successful bands, it is unclear why Winwood has not yet been inducted (or, so far as I know, even nominated) for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It is possible that his successful and distinctive sound, which reached from the gorgeous synth pop of “While You See A Chance” to the mandolin-infused “Back In The High Life Again” to the dance pop of “Call On Me,” to give but a sample of his range, has simply not registered with the voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, who have been reluctant to induct successful acts from the 1980’s [3]. Despite this reluctance, Steve Winwood is a great example of an artist who has succeeded artistically and commercially over a lengthy career, whose music has enduring catalog value and is likely to retain that value for the forseeable future, and he has a passionate fan base that still appreciates his music.

Verdict: There are a lot of artists that deserve induction, and Steve Winwood is certainly one of those. Perhaps there can be a year that focuses on unjustly neglected 80’s acts, in which case he would be a perfect fit.

[1] See, for example:


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

[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.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Steve Winwood

  1. Pingback: But If You’re Willing To Play The Game, It Will Be Coming Around Again | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do? | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Joe Walsh | Edge Induced Cohesion

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