Whilst living in London, this American occasionally got a ribbing at how much better British pop and rock stands up against American pop and rock. If you think about it, they have a point -- many many many of the biggies in this world (Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Who, Clash, Duran Duran, Wings, Adam Ant) are from the northerly isles off France. The USA has Velvet Underground, Dylan, the Ramones and the Outfield, and not a whole lot more than can stack up with the legends of All Time.
In the post-punk '80s, we may recall, the great race for respectability and un-solo-ed anthems set out between Ireland's U2 and Georgia's REM, with it too close to call by the time REM went major and jumped from IRS records to Warner Brothers. Then it all fell apart. REM's last two decades -- basically anything since 'Document' other than a few non-singles from 'Green' and maybe 'Lost My Religion' or throw-away 'Me in Honey' -- ranks up with the Stones' last couple decades for longest span of time with the least-inspired music. REM joined the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame this year, but they've flat-out sucked for a very very long time. U2 meanwhile has risen, with at least a single worth hearing every couple years.
Is the fight over?
No, says Billy Squier apparently. In yesterday's New York Times, the priceless story came out that fellow residents of the lux San Remo in Manhattan's Upper West Side are fighting over smoke rising from a handful of fireplaces in the building onto Bono's private terrace, where he and and his family occasionally drop water balloons -- Willis and Arnold-style -- onto sidewalk passerby way below.
Apparently fireplace-havers -- which include Billy Squier -- don't believe the smoke is entering Bono's living quarters. Bono does. The FBO is neutral on the fight here, but does have an issue with the New York Time writer who says Billy hasn't had a hit since 1984's 'Rock Me Tonight.' Who can forget the synth-spiked 'rocker' 'Don't Say You Love Me' from 1986, with the refrain 'don't say you love me, just say...HUHHHHH'?
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