Tuesday, July 30, 2002

SELF-IMPORTANT PEOPLE: If it wasn't so dangerous, it'd be funny. Boyz II Men have become the first artists - and we use that word making frantic quotation mark mimes - to respond to Michael Jackson's claim that the music industry is racist with something other than a "yeah - 'kay, Michael..." The Boyz believe that it was racism which stopped them getting the Time magazine front page when they broke Elvis' record for longest stay at number one. According to a piece on Playlouder, Shawn Stockman says the band was surprised when they came back from abroad to discover that front pages hadn't been cleared, and for some inexplicable reason only Billboard seemed at all interested in a small detail about its chart. (Compare this, of course, with the nineteen day Bachanallia that greeted Bryan Adam's Everything I Do stranglehold on the chart in the UK, when the BBC replaced the spinning globe with a 3D image of the record breaking Canadian's head and The Times dedicated two entire editions to the 'Record stays at number one for a couple more weeks than usual' story.) "We came back to the States and it just seemed that everyone was so loyal to Elvis there was a complete media blackout. I mean, can you imagine the publicity that would have occurred if Celine Dion or Madonna had broken that record."
Well, we've tried to imagine a world in which week after more people buy Celine Dion than anything else, and let me tell you - it's a sad place. But this is clearly such thick nonesense you don't even need a spoon to eat it - first of all it's meant to be a race thing, then it's a loyalty to Elvis thing. The real reason, of course, is that with the way the record industry is these days, records are being broken even week, and it's just not as newsworthy. Elvis and The Beatles did something incredible. You sold a few records. They'd have yawned if you were white, and I hope the guilt of trying to use racism as a way of relaunching your stalled career eats away at you.


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