The Fink has a piece today about a New York journalist who has shat on Billy Joel from a great height. The Fink, who does not strike me as being avant garde about anything in life, is a BJ fan, and feels compelled to defend the short fat Long Island songster. The NY journo is a certain Ron Rosenbaum, so this could be a sort of Jewish professional writers' spat. Oy vey!
The bit where Rosenbaum tries to cover his guilt in buying BJ's greatest hits (for professional reasons, to help him write his piece) by adding a street-cred Gram Parsons covers disc he already owned is great stuff. The Fink reckons Ron is being too precious, snobbish and sensitive about being seen (by the till-girl!) buying Billy Joel.
But I think there is something in this. When I browse a big record store (only during sales), I also have brief moments of embarrassment when caught looking at the playlist on the back of a disc by a long-remembered 70s band. This sort of thing happens with Bob Seger, perhaps, or the Allman Brothers - to take two names from the top of my iTunes listing. (But obviously NOT with Aretha, The Band, or the great Barry White, to take three others).
Another angle: bands that go bad (or, as someone once memorably said about post-Gabriel Genesis 'started sucking commercial dick'). I want everyone to know that I own Tres Hombres by ZZ Top (1973), but none of the later 70s and 80s stuff. Where does one draw the line on Elton? (post-Captain Fantastic, I suggest).
Those who don't take music seriously - Abba fans seems an accurate collective description - couldn't give a stuff about any of this and haven't read this far. But the rest of you will have guilty secrets, and here is your chance to come clean and seek absolution.
Billy Joel? Yes, I listen to it when Mrs Idle plays it, and I enjoy the mid-70s stuff. Neil Diamond too.
My own guilty secret: Talk Talk. What's yours?