As I walked in the door last Thursday, Mrs. A, Mrs. C and our friendly neighborhood high-school aged unofficial-library-volunteer-staff-member, Rif, were standing around behind the desk. As soon as they caught sight of me, they said, "Well try it out on JUICE. I bet he'll know."
"Huh?" I said, walking up.
Mrs. A was holding the latest issue of Rolling Stone, the second special issue in their Top 100 Greatest Rock Musicians of All Time As Determined by 50 Cent and Quentin Tarantino series.
On the cover was a grid of mug-shots of famous musicians, some of whom
the library staff and would-be staff were having difficulty identifying.
I took one look at it and said, "James Taylor, Tina Turner, Eric
Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Eminem, Joni Mitchel, Frank Zappa, 2pac, Elvis
Costello and Axel Rose." The only one that gave me pause was James
Taylor, but only because it was a very old photo from back when he had
hair and a really poor goatee. Those eyes, though, were unmistakable.
Of course, my fellow employees and Rif were astounded at my knowledge of musicians.
"How did you know all of them?" Rif asked.
I worked seven years in radio, for one thing," I said. However, I
didn't want to tell them that even if I hadn't worked 7 years in radio
and wasn't a repository for useless information of all kinds, those were
not even a challenge for MOST people with even a passing knowledge of
popular music over the past 30 years. Rif I excuse cause he's only 17
and recently admitted to having never heard a song by Prince. And
Mrs. J I can excuse, cause I'm not sure she'd even acknowledge there are other genres of music beyond country. But it seems like everyone else should have
known more of these. They weren't even curveball artists, like if they'd
put Jello Biafra or even Nick Drake on the cover. These were mostly
top-40 artists, with the exception of Jerry Garcia and maybe Frank
Zappa. Even "Valley Girl" did pretty well for him, though. And, man, everyone knows Jerry Bear!