Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Collective Soul

With a band name that comes straight from Ayn Rand’s writings and a history that includes singing a theme song for American Idol (“Hollywood”) and an epic clash with fellow band Smashing Pumpkins that involved lawsuits over plagiarism that was immortalized in the song “Smashing Young Man” [1], Collective Soul has had a career that has managed to have some unusual detours, including a few years producing their upbeat pop-rock music in the independent labels before finding their way back to major label promotion when they showed themselves commercially viable.  Indeed, the fact that this band has remained commercially viable and creative despite the drama they have dealt with their entire career is impressive, and is testament to the success of Ed Roland and his associates in being able to focus on the music and not on the many distractions, even if these distractions have served as the subtext and context of many of their most successful songs.  Perhaps that is part of the reason why Collective Soul is worth focusing on, given that many artists worthy of respect and honor have the tendency to pour their own lives out into music that makes people sing and dance even where they don’t realize the private pain and torment from which that art springs.

The Influence Of Collective Soul

The influence of Collective Soul has often been somewhat implicit.  It is hard to think of bands off-hand that have claimed to be inspired by the band, as of yet, but it is easy to think of ways that the band’s music has shaped the larger music world, whether that is their duet with Elton John, their lengthy struggle for initial success before the fluke success of “Shine” and their debut demo album, their legal drama with their former manager and the Smashing Pumpkins, their exile from major label status and their return back again, as well as their ability to craft excellent soundtrack hits from Dumb & Dumber’s “Gel,” to Scream’s “She Says” to Varsity Blue’s “Run.”  Like at least a few other worthy bands and musicians [2], the film music of Collective Soul is an important aspect of their popularity and cultural impact, as is the fact that they sang one of the themes of the show “American Idol.”  All of that spells an influence on society that is unusual and striking, both in their influence on other groups and on the context in which music is made.

Why Collective Soul Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

In one of the most disposable and fly-by-night eras of music, the turbulent period of grunge and post-grunge music, Collective Soul managed to carve out a lasting and successful career despite their label and legal drama.  Their first five albums went at least gold, the first two albums multi-platinum and the second two albums platinum [3].  Their recent albums continue to chart high on the Billboard Top 200, demonstrating they retain a fanbase twenty-five years after their beginning.  With three top 40 hits on the Hot 100, they have made their biggest mark on the Mainstream Rock Chart, where they have amassed seven #1 hits (“Shine,” “December,” “The World I Know,” “Where The River Flows,” “Precious Declaration,” “Listen,” and “Heavy.”  Their songs remain popular on rock, alternative, and adult alternative radio, and even adult contemporary where songs like “Run” made a run on the charts.  This is a band whose body of work has held up over the years and is likely to be music that is played and enjoyed for a long time to come.  Dolly Parton even covered their debut hit “Shine” in one of her traditional country albums, demonstrating how their work is worthwhile for other interpreters as well.

Why Collective Soul Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

It’s not clear why Collective Soul isn’t far more frequently mentioned as an obvious band for induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Perhaps their music came a little out of left field and people have forgotten about how influential and how worthwhile their music has been, providing a sunnier pop rock and adult alternative to the post-grunge that became popular in the aftermath of Nirvana’s rise to power.  It seems that as long as people enjoy melodic rock music that Collective Soul’s music will be highly regarded by fans.

Verdict: Put them in.  Their original five musicians made some great and lasting music together, and even their later career demonstrates considerable creativity and worth.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/smashing-young-man/

[2] See, for example:












[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 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Collective Soul

  1. mothfire says:

    I’m not sure I am there yet with this band. What do you think of the Gin Blossoms?

    • I think the Gin Blossoms were a great band, but I think they don’t have quite enough material. Had they released a successful album between Congratulations, I’m Sorry and No Chocolate Cake I would probably write about them. New Miserable Experience was a great album and I like Congratulations, I’m Sorry Too, but the death of their main songwriter and its effects really tore this band apart. I consider them a tragic case not too unlike Badfinger, but with fewer big songs/albums.

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