Owing a nod to Olympus Mons and to Nick Hornsby's High Fidelity, I present you with Any Given Tuesday's Top 10 Music Icons. These lists always spark debate, but this is what I'm giving you: the view of one Gen-Xer who has been through music from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD to digital.
My criteria are limited mostly to certain "I"s: Identifiability, Influence, Individuality and Inspiration.
1) Jimi Hendrix - His appearance at Monterey Pop changed the way guitar was heard and played forever. Suddenly, feedback was a desirable tool for guitar players to add to their repertoire.
2) Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) - Nerdy, defiant outcast who hit in the right place at the right time. Kurt Cobain wrote really simple songs that altered the paradigm of music in the 1990s.
3) Elvis Presley - So recognizable, he is a brand. Arguably due to his race, Elvis was an 'acceptable' face for rock and roll, but nonetheless it was the King who made rock huge.
4) Jerry Lee Lewis - A flamboyant rebel and probably the coolest on this list in my eyes, the Killer is tied inextricably to Elvis, Carl Perkins, and the man in black, Johnny Cash. Piano rockers like Elton John have Jerry Lee to thank.
5) Marvin Gaye - Broke tradition from Motown's wholesome but suffocating image and made some of the most sensual R&B of his time.
6) Jim Morrison (The Doors) - The very definition of rock star, Jim Morrison was not only wildly scandalous but unmatchedly charismatic. Morrison penned some of the most bizarre and provocative rock lyrics of his time.
7) Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) - Reznor's pop sensibility helped to make him a pioneer of industrial electronica, and his magic spans three decades.
8) KRS-One - Still maintaining hip-hop as intelligent and culturally relevant in a positive way, KRS pens intellectual and philosophical rhymes that most popular artists can't touch.
9) PJ Harvey - Continually doing "her thing", writing blues-tinged rock songs with emotion and intensity, and maintaining her credibility as an artist.
10) Madonna - The universal symbol for pop music, Madonna was an awakening for legions of MTV-bred music fans, continually pushing boundaries throughout her career.