I once read an interview with John Murphy of Shoes, who commented that, when asked who their favorite band is, the vast majority will say The Beatles. Fair enough. This is still true. I always felt vaguely guilty about glomming onto The Beatles because they weren't mine--I was born into them. But my students, overwhelmingly born in the 80's, are still fans. In fact, I use The Beatles to teach James Joyce, because it's the most useful and familiar model my students have for the artist who may not have done it first, but did it best and made it popular and changed the face of the form in the process.
But Murphy continued, saying that despite most people's declared sentiments, Beatle-influenced groups tend not to be really popular. (Forgive the lack of link here; I remember vividly reading this interview, in which Murphy confesses shamefacedly to liking Chumbawamba's Tubthumper--but nothing to be ashamed of there, it seems to me. I love that record. But I looked for the interview link for an hour and gave up.)
That's always confused me, as it apparently confuses him. Why is pop not pop? Would we still like it if it were more common currency and less of a secret language?
There's enough folks visiting the blog now to start this conversation for real, and you can post anonymously, avoiding all the blogger registration nonsense. If you don't want to be an anonymous "Anonymous," just include your handle in the text. I'm curious what you think. Why can a world that provides "A Clay Aiken Christmas" not provide a decent living for really good songwriters?