Pretty well everybody from the past is an Icon nowadays. It’s real easy: all you need is to be old and boring enough. Being Dead used to be a big help; in the early years of Iconhood, Deadness was virtually a sine qua non to Iconic sanctification but nowadays it’s a luxury. Being a member of the Living Dead, as so many past musicians have mutated into, is quite enough, thank you very much. The appetite for Icons has expanded to the point that anybody who has survived the years in some vaguely recognizable shape or form and who hasn’t made a complete arse of themselves is verging on Iconhood.
The process of becoming an Icon is easy, too. First of all, somebody sez that a particular “artist” is a Genius or “The Future Of Rock’n’Roll” or some other piece of lunacy, somebody else repeats this purely on the basis that they heard someone else say it, somebody else likewise passes it on and before you know it yet another Icon is well on the way to being born. Such is the way of public opinion: Iconhood by way of repetition. And so, musicians who were laughed at in their prime have become the object of reverence thirty years past their ostensible “best”.
Take Queen, for example: in 1974 The New Musical Express had Freddie Mercury on the cover alongside the statement, “Is this man a prat?” And you know what? They were RIGHT, but that was before the musty reverence for anything that came out of some putative Golden Era had congealed into stuff like “Classic Rock” stations that accord piffling old bores like the Allman Brothers Beethoven-like musical adulation, endless Rolling Stone lists of the Greatest Old Farts Of All Time, and TV series that devote entire programs to analyzing “classic” albums like Black Sabbath’s Paranoid without the slightest hint that they’re Taking the Piss. I mean, they must be taking the piss! It’s Paranoid, for Christ’s sake!
And so Iconhood has been devalued…and devalued…and devalued… to that point of utter meaninglessness that has become a staple of our contemporary culture. But that doesn’t stop all the reverent looks whenever a lukewarm bowl of piss like Cold Chisel make a comeback tour (with all their original members, gasp!). Jesus, the Old Farts still know how to rock! And Jimmy can still shriek and emote, just like in the Old Days! What a great singer! I think Cold Chisel…Are…GOD!!!