What is An Icon?

An Icon

An Icon

The Echoes 20th Anniversary Poll is underway with listeners voting on 20 Icons of Echoes and 200 CDs for the 20th Anniversary of Echoes.   The comments and Echoes “memories” we’ve been receiving have been gratifying and humbling.  And the voting is looking fascinating.

Without giving any interim results away, it seems like people have different ideas about what constitutes iconic.

Besides being a symbol on your computer screen, an icon is an important and enduring symbol or in this case, someone who represents the pinnacle of their music field, an artist who is loved and whose influence is pervasive.

Outside of the Echoes sphere, Picasso is an icon, Thomas Kinkade is not (although he might be an icon of schlock).   Nirvana is iconic.  The Foo Fighters are not.  The Empire State Building is iconic, the Comcast Tower is not.   Wolfman Jack was iconic, John Diliberto is not.  So let’s  keep a little perspective.

Hint #1: If you have to put a qualifier in front of their name, like ambient composer Josh Smoosh or jazz saxophonist Bent Reed, then they probably are not iconic.

Hint#2: If you don’t need their whole name, they might be iconic. Eno is iconic.  Trane is iconic. Miles is iconic. Jimi is iconic. Even Klaus and the Dream are iconic. You don’t even need their whole names to identify them to virtually anyone, certainly anyone in their field.

Hint #3 : If you are voting for yourself , then you are not iconic.  But you may be ironic.

So when you’re voting, have a little perspective and a touch of humility.  But have fun and vote. The Echoes 20th Anniversary Poll has been extended to Midnight October 5.  Not only will you be part of our birthday celebration, but you can win an iPod Touch.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

  2 comments for “What is An Icon?

  1. An opportunity missed in your post was to make the distinction, which it seems many people miss, between “iconic” and “iconoclastic”. The latter literally meaning “image breaker” or “image smasher” or, when applied to artists, those who depart and/or destroy the traditional form that came before them. Those artists who are now “iconic” were often “iconoclastic” when they first came to the general public’s attention. Elvis (Presley) might be a good example. His image is now (at least in his circa ’55 to say circa ’64 phase) that of the iconic rockabilly hep cat, even the iconic original rock and roller (although the critics and music geeks have field days with these kind of generalizations). But in his day, he was iconoclastic in that he blurred the lines between music for white teenagers and “race” music and brought from-the-hip-down sexuality into his stage presence.

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