I have always been a lover of music. All music. Good music. Oldies, Disco, 70's radio hits, rock and roll.
Anything good I like.
But there is a distinction between pure pop stars, Rock and Rollers and a few distinct artists who bring something more to the table.
Some artists, and the songs they sing, show a side that others don't. The way they sing them and perform them and the way that the lyrics speak to the audience and fans separates them from others.
Mostly this is because of who they are and where they came from.
Two such artists from different eras, hammer this home.
Recently, I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the top two floors were reserved strictly for the Boss. Those of us that are over 40 simply know who that is.
For those of you who don't, Bruce Springsteen, or the Boss as us over forties know him, is legendary for his concerts and leaving every ounce of energy on the stage. The songs he writes speak to people. To average people. They are simple songs but they speak volumes. Glory Days, Born To Run, The Rising, Dancing In the Dark and of course, Born In The USA . And on and on it goes.
John Cougar Mellancamp sprung on the scene in the early eighties. His songs were also simple songs. Rock songs. Pop songs. But they also had themes that spoke to the audience. Jack And Diane, Pink Houses, Paper In Fire, Hurts So Good and on it went.
Both of these men have common backgrounds and a realness to them that many others don't. Its what draws the masses to them. They come from the heart of America, not some glamorous place like Los Angeles or New York, but New Jersey and Indiana.
They are your neighbors, your co workers, your brother or your husband.
Good guys who you can relate to. No flash, no glitzy shows with unreal light shows like the Stones, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Led Zepellin or the Bee Gees. Don't get me wrong. Those are all great bands who put on great shows and have fantastic songs.
But the general audience doesn't connect with them. They can't relate to Roger Daltry or Mick Jagger or Robert Plant. Those are big stars who seem larger than life.
The Boss and JCM just seem like the guys you know.
They are real men who look like they are from where they came. They look approachable and you feel like you know them. When they sing about life in the heart of America, you believe they understand what that is. Their anthems ring true because they ARE true.
Bands and artists like Stones, Beatles, Dylan, George Michael, Boy George, Michael Jackson, Steven Tyler, ZZ Top, while they have great music and songs don't relate and connect to the audience as these two do.
The other thing that separates them is their universal appeal. Men like thim because they identify with them, women like them because they are the type of stand up guys they want to be with.
You see this in sports all the time. The player the fans revere. In basketball, it was Larry Bird or John Stockton. Maybe not the most talented guys, they didn't jump the highest or dunk the hardest, but they played hard and they won. And they came from the heart of America.
You see this in many other sports. Its the guy the fans identify with. Pete Rose, Cam Neely, Dick Butkus, Jack Nicklaus. They all came from the heart of America, and they were the type of men all people could love.
That's the connection and appeal that I think separates The Boss and JCM from the rest.
Ain't that America...for you and me...yes..they ARE..Born In The USA.