How trivial is fame?
The Michael Jackson death is all the news today... It has me wondering, in the whole scheme of things, will Michael Jackson even be historically memorable?
The recording industry is pretty darn new.. The whole audio recording thing came about in 1890.. The 45 record wasn't invented until after World War 2, and prior to that, the various technologies where not nearly as popular.
So I am wondering, despite the fact that everyone knows Michael Jackson, and he is probably one of the most recognizable people in a generation, Is he really a historic figure?
I ran this question by my wife, and she argued that music changes culture, and cited the Beatles. I think a better case could be made for The Beatles being historically significant, but I don't think they changed the world with "I want to hold your hand".. As the culture changed them, the change was reflected in their music, and that music may have amplified the change that was underway...
I don't really think MJ's music had a ton of social content in it. It was good to dance to. But I don't see him impacting culture much outside of a bunch of silly teenagers running around wearing one sequined glove for a few years.. The Beatles changed and the world changed with them. Michael Jackson changed and the world laughed and cried about him.
I suspect in 150 years when they look back, The Beatles might be a small footnote, and Michael Jackson will go unmentioned.