Like some artists on this list of snubs, Diana Ross is technically in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes, with whom she started her music career. That said, like many artists, she not only had a stellar career with a group but also an immensely productive solo career where she has the record for most consecutive years with a UK top 75 hit single at 33 years straight (from 1964 to 1996), besides having 6 #1 hit singles in the United States. And yet despite this enviable and immensely successful solo career, one in which she demonstrated skill in such varied genres as R&B, dance, adult contemporary, and soundtrack pop, Diana Ross has not been inducted as a solo artist, a stunning oversight for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Yet it is not altogether surprising that such a notable singer from a successful group would be snubbed in her solo career by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because it was not until earlier this year (as I write this) that Stevie Nicks became the first woman to be inducted as a solo artist after having been inducted as a member of a group. Diana Ross certainly belongs on that list as well.
The Influence Of Diana Ross
As a member of the Supremes, Diana Ross inspired generations of female artists with her ability to perform as part of a group, and when she went solo she inspired female artists to know that it was not the end of one’s career to leave a successful group and go out on one’s own. Anyone who has performed in or been influenced by Dreamgirls (either the theater or film version) has in some way been influenced by Diana Ross. So have the large number of artists who have performed with her or covered her songs, or been influenced by her ability to sing and act, as she proved with her work in The Wiz. In that role, she also proved her ability to serve as an elder stateswoman with younger artists like Michael Jackson, with whom she was able to successfully work. It is striking, therefore, that Diana Ross’ influence is in both her ability to work as a solo artist apart from a successful group as well as her ability to work with others, her ability to successfully change labels and styles while remaining popular and relevant over a long career that has somehow been neglected by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Why Diana Ross Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
She had a hit single in the UK every year from 1964 to 1996. She has 6 #1 singles in the US: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Touch Me In The Morning,” “Theme From Mahogany (“Do You Know Where You’re Going To),” “Love Hangover,” “Upside Down,” and “Endless Love (with Lionel Richie).” On top of that she had several top 40 hits from a duets album with Marvin Gaye as well as her own solo top 10 and top 40 hits like “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “Remember Me,” “The Boss,” “I’m Coming Out,” and “It’s My Turn” during her Motown years and hits like “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “Mucles,” “All Of You (with Julio Iglesias),” “Swept Away,” and “Missing You” after leaving Motown. She has continued to rack up hits on the adult contemporary chart, R&B chart, and dance chart as well as countries around the world from Europe to Australia and Japan into the present decade. She has three gold and two platinum-certified solo studio albums so far, two gold-certified soundtrack albums and a gold certified compilation album and way more where that comes from if you include the UK . If you’re looking for a career with longevity as well as plenty of highlights and hits that have been widely covered and sample, Diana Ross is an obvious choice.
Why Diana Ross Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
I have no idea why Diana Ross hasn’t been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her music is well-remembered and continues to be immensely popular. Her career has been stellar. She was a pioneering solo act who had success as a musician and an actress. She has shown a remarkable ability to work within a variety of genres and also to make beautiful music as a solo artist as well as in duets with other acts as diverse as Marvin Gaye, Julio Iglesias, and Al B Sure!. It’s hard to know what more she would have to do to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Verdict: Put her in already. She deserves to be in there twice.