He electrified the crowd at a sold-out Madison Square Garden show, stealing the spotlight from a superstar lineup, almost even upstaging the Who.
He captured the nation with his swagger and bravado. He was more real than Jay-Z, more street than Suge Knight, more earnest than Creed, more in-your-face than Fred Durst.
FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Saturday January 19, 2002 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Concert site--The U2 concert attended by Sen. Jesse Helms in June took place in Washington, not Raleigh, N.C., as stated in the Pop Eye column in the Dec. 23 Sunday Calendar.
Heck, Bono quoted him during U2's fall concerts--something usually reserved for the likes of John Lennon or Salman Rushdie.
And he did it all by simply telling Osama bin Laden to stuff it, adding, "I live in Rockaway, Queens, and this is my face."
There was simply no bigger, better rock star in 2001 than New York City firefighter Michael Moran, who spoke those words at the Oct. 25 Concert for New York City in pugnacious tribute to his brother, Battalion Chief John Moran, a dozen firefighters from his company and 20 teammates from the Fire Department's football team, all lost in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
Officially, this annual edition of Pop Eye is meant to honor acts of dubious distinction, and there was certainly nothing dubious about Moran's remarks. But in the shadow of so many bigger things, citing any of the pop music world's dubious doers as first among the many seems pointless.
Instead it seemed a good time to salute an act that serves as a reminder of the pop platform's power to provoke and inspire.
LET THE MUSIC DO THE TALKING: No one could have used a reminder about the power of pop this year more than programming executives in the Clear Channel radio conglomerate. They focused on potential provocation and forgot about the inspiration when they sent to their stations a list of songs whose appropriateness in the wake of the terrorist attacks had been questioned by some individual program directors.
While there are plenty of reasons to cheer the banning of Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" on any grounds, the list went from the ridiculous (the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday," apparently because Sept. 11 was a Tuesday) to the ridiculouser (John Lennon's universal plea for peace "Imagine" and Simon & Garfunkel's comforting "Bridge Over Troubled Water").
Some other head-scratchers:
Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" (but not the group's "Life During Wartime").
The Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian" (since no one had done a song titled "Walk Like an Afghan" or "Walk Like a Saudi Arabian").
All Rage Against the Machine songs (why take any chances?). Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" (but no problems with "Come Fly With Me").
POP HISTORY 101: "I am a really big Elvis fan. And I think the real reason why we did the whole Elvis thing is because, you know, he's from Vegas."--Britney Spears, speaking to the Boston Herald about her Presley-themed promotions for her live from Las Vegas HBO special. Presley was from Tupelo, Miss., and lived in Memphis.
ALL THAT GLITTERS: It seems that with so much entertainment value to be had from Mariah Carey's real life, fans had no need to go see her movie debut, "Glitter," or to buy her album of the same name. First there was the little striptease for an embarrassed Carson Daly on MTV's "TRL," then there was the almost poetic ramblings of voice messages she left for fans on her Web site in July, right before she checked into a hospital because of "exhaustion."
Some voice message highlights: "So basically all I really want to say is I don't know what's going on with life. And I hope all the fans are good and I just want you to know that I'm trying to understand things in life right now and so I really don't feel that I should be doing music right now.... And, if I [sigh] have two phones in my ear. I'm not saying I'm defeated because I'm not defeated...."
BYE-BYE BLING-BLING: Following his break-up with Jennifer Lopez and his acquittal on gun-related charges, Sean Combs declared the end of the "bling-bling era." To kick off the new one, he pledged to downplay materialism and display more humility, changing his performing name from the flashy Puff Daddy to, um, P. Diddy and later taking the opening slot on Britney Spears' tour. Perhaps he confused humility with humiliation.
POP HISTORY 102: "You know how the Beatles broke off, they all did their solo projects and they came back together and they were even stronger." --Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland on her trio's plans to work on solo projects. The Beatles never reunited after breaking up in 1970.
A STREET WITH A NAME: A corner near punk-rock crucible CBGB in New York's Bowery is being designated as Joey Ramone Place in honor of the punk icon, who died of cancer in April at age 49.
ROCK 'N' ROLL ALL NIGHT: And party into eternity.... "I love livin' but this makes the alternative look pretty damn good," said Gene Simmons in June, introducing the "ultimate KISS collectible"--the KISS coffin. If only it came with a tombstone that shot flames.