When one is looking at the greatest pop/rock acts to have never had a #1 despite multiple top 10 hits, there are a few obvious contenders. One of them, Credence Clearwater Revival, was an obvious choice for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with 5 #2 hits and no #1 hits. Two acts are tied for second place in this list, and oddly neither of them have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In the case of Blood, Sweat, and Tears (which I may write about in the future), the three #2 hits they had were their only top two hits in a brief period of popularity. However, in the case of En Vogue there were three albums of popularity extending over the course of several years, and their three #2 singles (which came from each of the groups first three albums) were interspersed by a wide variety of top 40 hits that managed to cross over from R&B into the mainstream charts and which showed the group as being a force to be reckoned with when it comes to 1990’s female R&B. Yet despite the group’s undeniable popularity and the fact that they had plenty of great songs that should have been hits and weren’t, the group is not considered an obvious snub for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame despite their obvious influence.
The Influence Of En Vogue
The influence of En Vogue as an act can be understood in several ways. For one, they were clearly part of a long line of black women singing in harmony that goes back to at least the 1950’s and 1960’s with Motown and that continues to this very day. Their success, which included 3 #2 hits, certainly encouraged contemporary groups like Salt-N-Pepa (with whom they collaborated on the top 5 hit Whatta Man) and also encouraged later groups as well. One of the members of the group was even part of the successful R&B group Lucy Pearl (whose “Dance Tonight” was a big hit) demonstrating the influence of the group on others. Both in their attitude and their success they appear to be a direct inspiration to acts like Destiny’s Child and TLC, who like En Vogue made very successful careers singing about romantic relationships and cautioning scrubs and women dealing with them about the problems of such endeavors. En Vogue’s sustained success is certainly something worth celebrating.
Why En Vogue Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
For one, the band is one of the most successful crossover R&B acts to never have a #1 hit. The group tied with Blood, Sweat, & Tears for having the most #2 hits without a #1 hit, managing to turn the trio from their first three albums, which were all certified at least platinum with “Hold On” from their platinum-selling debut “Born To Sing,” “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” from their triple platinum sophomore album Funky Divas, and “Don’t Let Go (Love)” from the Set It Off soundtrack as well as their platinum-selling third album EV3. In addition to these hits, they had three additional top tens (“Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Whatta Man,” their aforementioned collaboration with Salt-N-Pepa, and the pointed social commentary “Free Your Mind”). They also had five more top 40 hits on top of that with “Lies,” “Give It Up, Turn It Loose,” “Love Don’t Love You,” “Whatever,” and “Too Gone, Too Long,” besides other minor hits that were popular on R&B radio like “Runaway Love .” Suffice it to say that they have enough solid hit music over the course of their career that they have multiple excellent best of compilations from their first three albums alone , not even considering their work after losing popularity, which includes the Masterpiece Theater single “Riddle” and a Christmas album among other worthwhile music.
Why Isn’t En Vogue In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?
It’s hard to understand why, except that the women’s groups of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s have not been inducted very quickly into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, despite their success. Despite their skill and sass and large amount of stellar and important songs, the group and several others like them has not just found a great deal of respect among those who look at the most notable snubs. One wonders whether other groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child, to give the two most obvious examples, will shine a bit more of light on their peers from the decade.
Verdict: Put them in, perhaps in a year when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame adds tons of fellow funky divas.
 See, for example: