So, as I seek to find people who fit into a certain brand of Legend, I have decided to start asking people around me about what they think makes someone legendary.
Being in West Texas and in Lubbock mainly, I always hear the name Buddy Holly thrown out there as a legend who died before his time. It’s like a given out here. He is the first name that comes out of people’s mouths 99 out of 100. I wonder why.
Nothing against old Buddy – I know how his style influenced a lot of other musicians and I know that his songs are all pretty cool. But, is that enough to make him a legend?
Does talent, plus popularity, plus an early death equal LEGEND?
If so, then Buddy Holly is one for sure.
I recently asked a Texas College professor who is familiar not only with my search for legends, but who is also from the days when Buddy Holly lived and breathed. (I met this guy a while back while we were sharing a Midland extended stay suite – you meet the most fascinating people who are on temporary assignments…)
“Is Buddy Holly a legend?” I asked simply.
He responded, “Well, lots of people consider him one, but not me. I like his music and he was a cool fellow if you like young men who could rock it out with the best of them. But still, legend is a big time label to drop on someone so young, don’t you think?”
I paused and considered my own stance on Buddy H. I also enjoy some of his music, but I had to agree with this well-educated instructor of young minds. The label of Legend is too big for a guy like Buddy. So I said back to this Texas college professor (who is also a millionaire in the oil business), “I’d put him in the music hall of fame for sure. But I don’t think he qualifies for legendary status. I’d probably be strung up if I said that in certain circles in Lubbock. But, you’re right. His death was a tragedy, but a few good songs and some influence on a tiny part of life does not a legend make.”
The professor just smiled at me and finally continued, “I don’t even think Elvis is a legend. People loved him and still do. He is an icon. But not a legend.”
“Okay,” I say. “Then what singer would you say crosses past talent and icon status? Is there anyone you would consider a legend?”
I was shocked by his answer – more because I hadn’t thought of it myself than because I disagree.
“Bono is a legend,” he said.
I nodded my head. “You got it. He is. He has made great music and influenced others in that industry, but he has also changed the actions of governments so that the oppressed and needy have been helped on a large scale. He is a legend.”
Older people, like this Texas Colleges professor, keep proving to me that wisdom can be found if you just ask the experienced to weigh in on stuff.
What say you, readers?
Do you think Bono is a legend for crossing industry lines to effect the world?
Who else in the music business would you consider more than an icon?
Who else is a world-shaking legend?
I’ll see you next time.