artistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzomusic

Pretty popular for a dead guy: Thoughts on running out of milestones

No Gravatar

I was watching Paul McCartney in concert on TV the other day. He was playing to a festival crowd — maybe eighty-thousand strong. (It was at the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Lucy or something like that.) As he got the end of “Hey Jude,” the crowd, many of whom had been years away from being born when “Hey Jude” was written, joined in, singing the “Na-naaa-na-nanana-naaaah,” part and it occurred to me that success is a bizarre thing.

Imagine being Paul. Imagine being a guy whose name is recognized by virtually everyone in the civilized world who is over the age of fifteen. Imagine, then, that out of those people, most, if not all, can name a song you wrote and a good number can probably sing one on the spot.

How do you process that as an artist? If a crowd that size ever sang one of my songs, I’d crash to my knees and weep at the profundity. But Paul just kept playing. Why? Because he is used to being probably the best-known songwriter alive. I’m not saying he doesn’t appreciate it at all; it’s just . . . for the love of baloney . . . how do you get used to that?

Success is an odd thing, indeed. I mean, what happens when Tantalus gets as many grapes and gulps as he wants?

All I know is that it was cool to see the Foo Fighters in concert at Wembley and to watch Dave Grohl get emotional. He’s no Paul, but he’s a big success. At least still has milestones to reach.

I respect Paul immensely. I just feel kind of sorry for him, sometimes. (Magnanimous of me, ain’t it?)

And talk about perspective: I’d be happy to sell three-hundred CDs. You feel me?

(This piece originally appeared on my blog, Hats and Rabbits, on September 7.)

Chris Matarazzo’s ARTISTIC UNKNOWNS appears every Tuesday.

Chris Matarazzo is a writer, composer, musician and teacher of literature and writing on the college and high school levels. His music can be heard on his recent release, Hats and Rabbits, which is currently available. Chris is also the composer of the score to the off-beat independent film Surrender Dorothy and he performs in the Philadelphia area with the King Richard Band. He's also a relatively prolific novelist, even if no one seems to care yet. His blog, also called Hats and Rabbits, is nice, too, if you get a chance...
Print This Post Print This Post

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment