Fascinating article in the NY Times a while ago called, Which Rock Star Will Historians Of The Future Remember?
Note the singular Rock Star. The author’s premise is that in 300 years, Rock will have been rendered down to a brief footnote represented by one person. Given our human propensity for over-simplification, and our attraction to hero myths, this is completely plausible.
Having successfully established that premise, the article goes on to examine – and eliminate – most of the obvious candidates, arriving at Chuck Berry.
That’s a very good conclusion, eminently argued in the article. But my money is on John Lennon. Yes, as the article explains, he was part of the Beatles, and groups don’t qualify for the hero myth. But Lennon has all the attributes ascribed to Chuck Berry – and then some. He also has the advantage of being a martyr, and the past 35 years would suggest that his hero-martyr persona will ultimately relegate the other three Beatles to walk-on roles in the larger Lennon legend.
It’s not a stretch.
John Lennon took a passing American musical fad and, with his band, turned it into an international sensation, defining the music and the culture of the times. He died tragically, but his influence lived on for generations.
So says the as yet unwritten music history textbook.