Interview about the narrowing of fame in music with time.
April 29, 2020 8:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a vague memory of a radio/podcast interview. I'd love to find either the interview or whatever the guest wrote that prompted the interview. The guest was talking about the way in which our popular memory of music from more than a century ago tends to get pared down to a very small number of famous individuals. Perhaps badly paraphased, they said something like, "name a composer of marches. Now name a second one." They went on to ask what names from the late 20th century music world will be recognizable in a hundred years. I think they might have gone on to talk about things unrelated to music.

I'm pretty sure it was a public radio style interview show with two people talking to each other. Probably NPR, PRX, BBC, CBC. Possibly an independent thing. Most likely recorded between 5 and 15 years ago. My first guess was Fresh Air, but my attempts at searching their archives don't turn up anything.
posted by eotvos to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A bit of Googling found Chuck Klosterman, Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember? (NYT, 23 May 2016). He write "I have no data on this, but I would assert that if we were to ask the entire population of the United States to name every composer of marching music they could think of, 98 percent of the populace would name either one person (Sousa) or no one at all", and goes on to ask who students a few hundred years from now taking a music history class would be taught about. The Beatles? Elvis? Dylan?

So I suspect you are looking for a Chuck Klosterman interview and/or this article.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2020 [5 favorites]

If it's possible you're a bit off on the time frame, he might have been promoting his 2016 book But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:30 AM on April 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, madcaptenor. Your search foo is impressive.

I'm 60% sure this is what I remembered. I was off by more than a year.

The actual thing is a bit less exciting than my memory of it. But, I'm definitely going to read the book. Thanks!
posted by eotvos at 9:41 AM on April 29, 2020

This book was actually on my to-read list - I suspect I also heard this or something similar. (But a lot of things are on my to-read list.)
posted by madcaptenor at 9:56 AM on April 29, 2020

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