Esteem through the ages

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My peers and I used to huddle around record players, listening to musicians whom we felt had achieved great fame or notoriety for their musical prowess. I’m sure there are up and coming young instrumentalists, singers, composers and songwriters who do the same thing nowadays, perhaps with different contraptions to the ones we used. In my youthful naivety, I assumed that the type of success those performers had would be everlasting, as in their contributions would always be held in esteem by others in the way that we heard them.

Now I listen to some of those same recordings and smile ruefully when I reflect on how much values can change with the passing of time. I understand much more about the role of marketing operatives in telling listeners and audiences the stories that make a difference between one type of success in the arts and another.

I truly believe there are some qualities that add up to make some creative works stand the test of time. The fact that a particular product has a moment of being in fashion doesn’t mean the work will signify the same things further down the line.

Even in genres of music where the work is supposedly “built to last”, there are trends that push one way of doing things or another into the forefront, that eventually seem to matter less when something else comes along to distract our attentions.

So through it all, maybe the best an artist can do is be his or her true self – in ways that stand outside of trends. Unless if he or she is in the fashion business, of course.