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chyna's avatar

Every generation has their musical icon, like the Beatles and Michael Jackson, so who is this generations icon?

Asked by chyna (46143points) June 25th, 2009

Most of the world had heard of John Lennon and many mourned his death. It seems, from TV coverage that people across the world are mourning Michael Jackson’s death. What musical icon of today would warrant such status?

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54 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

A mirror with a bank account? Seriously, I can’t see any really “predominant” musical entity. They all seem like fluff to me. I can’t imagine a rapper getting the sort of respect some of the previous musical icons inspired.

Jude's avatar

I don’t think that there’s anyone that stands out.

willbrawn's avatar

I think it’s hard now. The music industry use to control it all. But now with the way music spreads with the Internet. And so many local bands making it big there is no one person.

Wait…... I pick the Internet. Or iTunes.

Facade's avatar

I don’t really understand this whole icon thing…

pats04fan's avatar

There are so many types now that you could have one for all genres

richardhenry's avatar

Isn’t this the sort of thing that is never clear when you’re actually in the middle of “the generation”, and only really emerges afterward by what sticks and seemed to be popular and iconic at the time?

willbrawn's avatar

@richardhenry oh wise one. I think you are correct.

ragingloli's avatar


braucht kein Mensch

qualitycontrol's avatar

we haven’t really had anything new…everyone just copies Michael lol

seVen's avatar


willbrawn's avatar

@seven i think metallica will go down as being a band who ruined napster. Pro-longing the digital revolution.

chyna's avatar

@richardhenry I don’t agree. I felt like Michael Jackson was a great musician most of his life (and mine), whatever I thought of his private life. No one stands out to me that I would buy a ticket to see live at this time in music history.

seVen's avatar

Ok than…

wundayatta's avatar


Wardrobe Malfunction?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

When you mention icons, you’re going to have to look at the names you’ve already been seeing for a while. So I’m thinking the following:

Not my favs but then again, who i think is an icon not everyone thinks of that way.

kenmc's avatar

After Kurt Cobain, there really hasn’t been one.

I guess I’ll just have to become famous. Someone has to do it, I suppose…

YARNLADY's avatar

Josh Groban

wundayatta's avatar

Ok, this is really embarrasing, but I have no idea who Josh Groban is, and I have a feeling that if Yarnlady knows, I should, too!

chyna's avatar

@daloon I don’t either.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I think a better question would be one icon for each sort of Genre.

Grunge, you have to think nirvana or pearl jam.
Pop, n sync backstreet boys or britney spears.
Rap, Tupac, BIG, Jay Z or perhaps Eminem.
Alt Rock? unfortunately I’d say Nickleback
etc etc.

dannyc's avatar

Perhaps I should not know, just as my parents didn’t. The cycle continues.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Side not, I’m talking 89–09.

If we’re talking since 79 though, Metallica has to be in there.

nayeight's avatar

I didn’t care when Kurt Cobain died & probably wouldn’t care if Josh Groban died. But I would care if Madonna died. Or maybe Mariah Carey, she’s one of the best selling artists ever.

wundayatta's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 I was kidding about Eminem.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@daloon lol like it or not, the man has several huge albums, and even if you don’t like Rap he is insanely popular.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

This biggest problem with choosing a ‘music icon’ is that there are such a wide variety of musical styles today, and though there were plenty back then, there’s a huuuuuugggeee amount now, so no single band or artist appeals to such a range of people anymore.

DeanV's avatar

Elliot Smith. Oh wait…

It’s gotta be somebody who has also done some humanistic work, other stuff outside of music. I would go with either Madonna or Bono right now. Beck could be up there too. Or Dave Grohl. Maybe David Byrne.

SeventhSense's avatar

The lost and disillusioned state of society in the 1990’s. Lack of focus, apathy, frustration and societal angst. I’d have to go with these boys

TheTips2's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Tupac and Biggie? Their died and their deaths didnt touch as many people as John Lennon’s, or Michael’s death for that matter, so its really not our gerneration. You can’t really say who is a musical icon their isnt anyone that really stands out besides U2 i think mostly everyone has heard their music and they can be listened to no matter what music is your favorite.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

There is no band, group, singer or musician alive today that is popular that I would pay to see. Bands that sample other bands music aren’t being original, I don’t care how much you scratch the turntable. Maybe I have become my father, as he hated my generations music, and I hate today’s generations’ music.

Well, except Bullet for my Valentine and OK Go, I like those guys.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@TheTips2 like I said, now a days you can’t really pick a general Icon, but for the rap genre, they’re the biggest there are.

and I absolutely hate U2, never heard a single song I liked, and I know plenty of people like me. yes they’re very big, but just as many people dislike their music as people dislike tupac and biggie….

SeventhSense's avatar

For mega bands U2 no doubt=30 years plus and highly influential, positive and unifying.

DarkScribe's avatar

@chyna I don’t agree. I felt like Michael Jackson was a great musician most of his life (and mine), whatever I thought of his private life.

Your question related to idols for this generation. Michael Jackson was in his fifties – hardly a current musical idol. A latter day Baby Boomer – a member of the “Generation Jones” demographic. He was about to attempt a comeback. Even as an example of someone who would be currently classified an musical icon he doesn’t fit. He was a pop singer who was notorious for everything but his singing in the last decade or two.

I doubt many would regard him as a great musician, he was more of a showman.

kenmc's avatar


I think a better question would be one icon for each sort of Genre.

I disagree. An icon is called an icon for a reason. To me, that reason is because of how appreciated they are throughout all music.

Basically, genres are a lie. The similarities between all western music is ridiculous in its continuity.

seVen's avatar

Reggae- Bob Marley
Pop-Michael Jackson
Grunge-Curt Cobain
Industrial-Trent Reznor(NIN)
Punk-Sex Pistols/Misfits

Rap-Dr Dre/Tupac/Big

madcapper's avatar

@YARNLADY Josh Groban? Really? I have the feeling you are not very in touch with this generation…

madcapper's avatar

@nayeight and I wouldn’t care if Madonna died. There goes your opinion…

kenmc's avatar

…But to answer the question definitively:


johnny's avatar

William hung

YARNLADY's avatar

@madcapper probably – my grandson introduced me to his music, and his last album, Awake, had people lining up for the release at our local store

Several are very popular, but none has an outstanding, new sound.

whatthefluther's avatar

There have not been many music icons whose passing has had the effect on a very large number of people so as to cause them to want to congregate with like minded people, light candles, sing songs and share in a celebration of the life and music of their shared favorite. Morrison death did to a small degree. Lennon’s murder did. Cobain’s suicide did. Michael Jackson’s probably will. In the future, the one’s that immediately come to mind have to be McCartney and Dylan. Joplin and Hendrix didn’t nearly as much as Morrison which paled compared to Lennon and Cobain. Harrison didn’t. Nick Drake, Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley (and father Tim, as well) didn’t, although their popularity soared following their suicides (be it accidental, or not). Perhaps Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton will to a small degree. Ray Davies and Eric Burdon, probably not. Hell, they are all fucking great and would deserve the recognition and affection, but realistically, only Dylan and McCartney will probably approach the same level as Lennon and Cobain.

dalepetrie's avatar

Probably the most iconic rock band in this generation is Green Day. I would definitely agree that Eminem’s influence on music will outlive him. There are certainly people who’ve been around forever who are STILL iconic after all these years (Prince, Dylan, the remaining Beatles & the Stones, etc). Basically the people who reach this status are the ones who do something no one has ever done before, or in a way that it’s never been done before. These kinds of people don’t come along every day….maybe every decade.

kenmc's avatar

@dalepetrie If Green Day represents my generation, we’re doomed to be inseparable from the consumerist propaganda we’ve been fed.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yeah… Screw Green Day. I would like to believe Tool’s music will live on. But who knows.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not saying Green Day’s variety of watered down punk is as “good” as some of the iconic performers of past generations, but I am saying that they’re approaching their music in a way that keeps them relevant to the current generation via their politically motivated rock operas, their catchy, repetitive beats and their ability to draw a crowd.

cyn's avatar

they’re dead already.

dannyc's avatar

None. Since downloading and piracy became rampant, no one can accumulate the raw wealth that previous artists could as they rose in meteoric fashion. The media will homogenize and marginalize the brilliant.

dalepetrie's avatar

I was thinking more about this, and one person really came to mind as someone who is MASSIVELY popular in the realm of popular music, someone who is a sex symbol known far and wide, who can sing, dance, act, who everything he touches turns to gold.

Justin Timberlake

Now, he’s got a LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG ways to go to become Michael Jackson legendary, but I’m thinking if anyone on the planet right now has the potential to reach anywhere near those heights, love him or hate him, it’s probably JT.

DeanV's avatar

@dalepetrie I don’t want to believe it, but you may be right.

nayeight's avatar

I would say Beyoncé. She is extremely popular and has the potential to be a great icon (bigger than Whitney Houston in the 90’s). Plus she is the other half to rap’s biggest living icon and multi-millionare, Jay-Z. Her album dropped not too long ago and did extremely well and he has a new single and is about to relase a new highly anticipated album as well. The two of them have the right attitude, plenty of money, and a large fan base that could really make them music’s power couple.

dalepetrie's avatar

@nayeight – I think you are right, she is definitely in the upper echelons of performers today based on popularity and excitement when she puts out a new album. As for JT, I think there are some pretty decent parallels to MJ. Started out in a group of boys which was very popular. Then did a little acting and put out some solo albums. If I recall correctly, Thriller was actually MJ’s 6th or 7th solo album, so JT has 4 or 5 albums to go before he has to produce his masterpiece. Right now Lil’ Wayne is talked about like he’s just this amazing workaholic type guy, but personally I don’t see the appeal…I think he’s just the flavor of the month.

What’s hard is that people are saying that Jackson’s death is going to be like that of Princess Di or even Elvis, but then someone on CNN the other night made an excellent point. With Princess Di, there are people in America and a number of other countries who don’t care one iota about the Royals…I personally was one of them…was sad that a seemingly good person was hounded by the paparazzi until it killed her, but Princess Di did not mean to me what she seemed to mean to many others, and that was true many places throughout the world, the US in particular, so her death wasn’t felt quite so widely, even though it was a HUGE deal some places. With Elvis, he was mostly a US phenomenon…sure his music made it some places overseas, but the larger than life persona that was Elvis was really a purely American phenomenon, and so his death was again a HUGE deal (we still have Elvis sightings, Elvis impersonators, etc.), but it was somewhat isolated in the world. But Jackson’s music was played in every corner of the world, every country, he was known to more people than probably anyone else who’s ever existed. So, THAT’S going to be hard to match.

Now I suspect you’ll have big deals come and go and you know, as long as we have this culture where money is valued more than life so as soon as someone reaches a certain level of fame, they end up surrounding themselves with hangers on who bleed the person dry while giving him/her whatever drugs they want, you’re going to have this type of thing happen. A sad commentary on our culture.

Right now as I see it, if Paul McCartney or Bob Dylon were to expire, it would be huge, but both are older and it would be less of a media frenzy. Madonna or Prince, should either die before their time would probably cause a sensation close to what MJ did, because they were basically the other contenders to the throne of pop royalty in the 80s. But yes, no one has ever been, and maybe there never will be anyone who is quite as widely known as Jackson, so it’s really a matter of degree when you’re attempting to answer this question.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

airbrushed faces that disney has brainwashed everyone into liking, who play songs they didn’t write, and sing to music they didn’t play, with voices they don’t have.

dalepetrie's avatar

@tiffyandthewall – I somehow doubt we’re going to Central Park filled with candle wielding 12 year old girls if Miley Cyrus flings herself off a bridge.

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