Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Random Icon Tuesday

Audrey Hepburn - Moon River (buy album).

Frank Sinatra - Come Dance With Me (buy album).

Check the Comments to play Cultural Icon Seek And Find.


Paul said...

Seek and Find: How many icons can you spot on the front page of Setting The Woods On Fire right now ???

(Hint - We're lousy with 'em at the moment.)

Anonymous said...

I've got 10, counting Kwame.


Paul said...

Kwame is no icon!!!

Here is my icon rundown...

Yes (11): Hank, Audrey, Frank, Elvis, Ray, Reggie (of candy bar fame), John, Paul, George, Ringo, Bob.

Maybe (6): Jerry Lee, Joni, Loretta, Patsy, Thom Yorke, Neil Young

No: Kwame, Tom T., Nick Lowe, Conway, X, Replacements, Charley Patton, Jimmie Davis, Dick Curless, Moon Mullican, Caitlin Rose, Nick Drake, Donald Byrd, The Byrds, Everly Brothers, Buck Owens, Lovin' Spoonful, Moby Grape, other members of Buffalo Springfield.

Without Kwame, I'd say there are 11-17 cultural icons pictured on the first page of this site. Too many? Maybe.

To all: What is your take on the issue?

Here is the Wikipedia definition of cultural icon to help answer the question.

Robby said...

Interesting question. Almost everybody on this page could be considered an iconic figure within certain subsets of culture (for example, the Replacements as icons of indie rock).

But based on Wikipedia's definition, which I think sets a pretty high bar, you have it pretty much right, except that I think Reggie is a bit of a stretch. His iconic status is probably surpassed or at least equaled by Hank Aaron and Willie Mays (looking at roughly contemporaneous hitters), or even Pete Rose for non-baseball reasons, and of course by Babe Ruth, even after all these years.

Sorry to threadjack with a big baseball discussion! I'm into that almost as much as music.

Paul said...

Robby, thread-jack away. I love baseball. Off the top of my head, here are some potential icons from the world of baseball:

Ty Cobb
Babe Ruth
Lou Gehrig
Joe DiMaggio
Yogi Berra
Jackie Robinson
Mickey Mantle
Ted Williams
Willie Mays
Hank Aaron
Roberto Clemente
Reggie Jackson (?)
Cal Ripken

No pitcher icons? (Bob Gibson, Satchel Paige, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Mark Fidrych, Roger Clemens)

LD said...

Reggie Jackson is not only an icon, he's the Big Bang of the modern baseball player. In Reggie, you finally saw upper deck type of talent combined with herculean self-interest and self-importance (let alone self-promotion). He was the first mega-superstar and no doubt the first big money free agent. In fact, it's not sacrilege to suggest that Reggie is the 2nd most iconic baseball player of the 2nd half of the 20th century ... Mr. Robinson being #1, naturally ... both for his athletic achievements on the biggest stage and as an athlete who showed you can put your own interests before the team and be rewarded financially for a long time. Suffice to say, we can probably namecheck about 4,000 professional athletes who fit that description in the decades since, but Reggie got to the bag first.

Allow me to also make a case for Buck Owens as a true cultural icon, specifically of often-overlooked rural America. Sure, us city-dwellers can laugh at the cornpone of Hee Haw, but if you're the face of a show for about 20 years, you must be doing something right. And as Paul mentioned in an earlier post, Buck was instrumental ... pun intended ... in the evolution of both country and country-rock. He might've been the first country superstar to prove you can be successful outside of the Nashville system, a lesson not only taken to heart by his slightly younger contemporary, Merle Haggard, but in the next generation, via Dwight Yoakam. Plus, as a resident of Austin, TX, I can assure you that there's precious few artists for whom an annual birthday bash is held in our town. Elvis is one. Buck is another.

Paul said...

I love the baseball angle this comment tread has taken. My next blog will somehow combine baseball and music. Maybe just a baseball inspired post...

Great stuff about Reggie. So true. Curt Flood may have been the first free agent but Reggie set the mold for the last 35 years worth of players.

Buck is great, but I have a hard time making country singers into icons. Not that I don't love classic country, it's just that I just assume that the majority doesn't. Johnny Cash is probably the top country music icon, and really maybe the only true cultural icon in country music.

LD said...

Actually, Curt Flood lost his famous court case, so he never went through free agency. It wasn't until 1975 that the reserve clause was formally voided, with an arbitrator ruling in favor of players Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally. So there's the answer to the trivia question ;-)

By the way, if you're gonna do a baseball post, Joe Henry has a righteous tune called Curt Flood on his Fuse album. If I'm not mistaken, it's a funky instrumental in the Sly Stone mold ... think There's A Riot Goin' On.

Paul said...

I always get caught when I try to comment without thinking. That is a good trivia question and I feintly remember knowing it before.

Thanks for the Joe Henry suggestion. I think he has a few other baseball-ish songs too.