When Rolling Stone released its list of “The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time” at the beginning of the year, Celine Dion fans were flabbergasted she wasn’t included in the rankings. Friday, a devoted group of idolizers flocked to the magazine’s New York City offices to protest.
The outlet covered the gathering itself and documented the many slogans adorning protesters’ signs. From “Justice for Celine” and “Rolling Stone Is Stoned” to “I Drove All Night to Be Here,” the group — which calls itself the Red Heads — was eager to be heard.
“Obviously, you made a big mistake forgetting her name on the big list you published last week,” founder Line Basbous told Rolling Stone. “We wanted to make sure that you understand that you missed the best singer in the world. She should be the first name on your list.”
Rolling Stone noted in the introduction to the list that it was composed of the greatest singers rather than the greatest voices. However, it controversially included artists like Kelly Clarkson (No. 194) over Dion. For the Red Heads, this couldn’t stand.
The group was simply a devoted Facebook page before 15 members took the six-hour drive from Montreal to New York, per Variety. They gathered outside the outlet’s offices in midtown Manhattan to blast Dion’s music — and to enlighten Rolling Stone staff, including video producer Ilana Woldenberg who spoke with them.
One protester even entered the building in an attempt to meet Rolling Stone’s editor-in-chief, Noah Shachtman, and hand him a DVD cataloging Dion’s career highlights. Footage of the protest has since landed on the group’s Instagram story.
This tangible outpouring of support went viral and led many on social media to note that it coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Across the street, protesters at the New York Public Library were shouting for Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict those involved in the insurrection.
“Yeah, it’s very important, the other protest, we believe in the other protest,” French Canadian broadcaster Julie Snyder told Woldenberg. “But we think also we can protest with our heart and our song and that the song can help people to get better.”
Dion, whose “My Heart Will Go On” and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” remain iconic, wasn’t the only legendary female artist to be excluded. Madonna was omitted as well. However, Dion’s absence was too egregious to the Red Heads for them to ignore it.
“She’s won Oscar, Grammy, American Music Awards,” said Snyder, reminding Woldenberg of Dion’s performances at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the Tribute to Heroes event after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “You forgot her! You’re stoned guys, it’s OK!”