On a recent taping of the Jimmy Kimmel show, 17 year-old pop superstar Billie Eilish revealed that she hadn’t heard of the 1980s rock band Van Halen. The world — especially Boomers and GenXers like myself — was aghast. Social media went haywire as people lambasted Eilish for her musical ignorance.
This young woman isn’t even old enough to buy cigarettes. And yet, she just made music-industry history by being the youngest artist ever to earn Grammy nominations in each of the four major categories (best new artist, best album, best record, and song of the year). For those of you who are counting, she also earned nominations for pop solo performance and pop vocal album. But go ahead, tell her she’s ignorant about music.
And then shut up again while I tell you what I believed when I was 17. I thought the band, the Rolling Stones, put out Rolling Stone Magazine. That’s right, I thought Mick and company wrote the whole damn thing every month. This, even though I bought the magazine frequently and could have easily looked at bylines. That’s what being 17 is like.