We’ve been watching the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which has an act that serves as a fantastic tutorial in the history of modern (i.e., the last 50 years or so) British music.
Chloe was gobsmacked during the entire musical segment because she had absolutely no idea that the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, The Who, Queen and others were not American. How could it be that all these great musicians were not from the U.S? Yes – a completely stereotypical American reaction that illustrates our cultural self-centeredness.
When Chloe asked who we had to compare to all these greats, I hesitated since, frankly, most of my favorite musicians were born in the UK. I came up with Michael Jackson, Eminem, Simon & Garfunkel and Lady Gaga. After another 20 minutes, I mentioned the Beach Boys, which impressed her a little bit more. “That’s reassuring,” she said. “Green Day,” I added, to which she replied, “That’s more like it.”
She’s still in shock over the Beatles. And disappointed that U2 is also from the other side of the Atlantic. But a couple of hours and a lot of research and questions later, she’s somewhat mollified by the fact that Elvis, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi are American-born.