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Popular Culture Icons

Peter Beilharz, Rebecca G. Adams, Ellis Cashmore, Richard Slotkin, Jeremy Ritzer, Chris Rojek and Andrew Milner

Subject Sociology of Culture and Media » Sociology of Popular Culture

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


All of the points made in the introduction to the entry on popular culture forms apply here, as well, to popular culture icons. However, the focus in this entry is on people (Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra, the Grateful Dead and Deadheads), ideas (Myth of the American Frontier), and programming ( The Simpsons, Star Trek ) that have achieved iconic status in popular culture; that is, they have become important symbols to large numbers of people around the world. – GR Robert Zimmerman was born in Hibbing, Minnesota. Unlike Jimi Hendrix, who peaked and died young, Dylan has become a kind of weathervane as well as leader of musical taste since the 1960s. Influences on Dylan included Woody Guthrie, Ramblin Jack Elliott, John Koerner and Tony Glover, Dave Van Ronk, and the whole folk-blues scene in Greenwich Village in that period. His earliest persona was that of the folk player, the pioneer singer-songwriter then poet and protestor, protesting as much against the absurdity of life as anything else, and helping to transform lyrics in popular music in the process. In the earlier period his persona was that of a singer with a harmonica in a rack and a guitar. Dylan revolutionized this image in 1965 when he appeared with an electric band at the Newport Jazz Festival. Heckling ensued from purists who could not abide electricity, but Dylan's creative ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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