It's true that I once spurned love songs because there were so many insincere ones, 'went off' artists because they dared to produce records that were appreciated by more than a handful of obsessed shoe-gazers. But if my cant has dissolved with the fulness of time, still I've always had an appreciation for the truly great, and recognized that people bought their records en masse precisely because of that.
I nod my head over The Beatles being described as greatest pop group and Rolling Stones as greatest rock'n'roll band; only thankful that there are two categories. I was too young to experience the amazing era when allegiances were divided between the Beatles and the Stones and there was still so many other absolutely brilliant acts around as well (Christ, Kaleidoscope were an obscure regional band!). But I remember sitting up on an old log while my mum(s)joined the (erronous) refrain of "Hey Buffalo Bill" and I can remember the poster of Elvis on a wall of the old house. He's always been more impressive to me in the pre-jump suit, sideburns and paunch days. Though his ability as a master interpreter of other people's songs never diminished.
For that matter, I take no issue with William Shakespeare retaining the trifecta after nearly four centuries, of greatest poet, playwright and writer overall. I'm no mean poet myself and I prefer Coleridge and bits of Blake but I wouldn't go to the wall over it.
And Leonardo is the genius of antiquity as surely as Einstein is the genius of the modern era. And so it goes.
Posted by berko_wills at 2:02 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2004 1:49 PM EADT