It’s interesting to note who have been the big winners and losers on the cultural stock market since the unveiling. The two blue-chip Americans have fared best of all. Buddy Holly’s status as a one of the key ‘rock pioneers’ was reinforced by the 13-year run of ‘Buddy: The Musical’ and Hendrix has attained a level of historical significance unknown to all but a handful of musicians via his inclusion in the English Heritage Blue Plaque scheme. Elton John, Madonna and David Bowie are holding steady, Diana Ross remains a strong cultural icon despite the many revisionist histories of Motown and Mick Jagger’s Knighthood has effectively institutionalised him as a national treasure.
Onto more shaky ground we find Annie Lennox. The Eurythmics were the darlings of the British Record Industry during the ‘80s. Converting early synth-pop innovation into multi-platinum transatlantic success, they became a sort of living business school case study for the British Music Industry. The running joke at the industry-chosen Brit Awards during that decade was that the ‘Best Female Singer Award’ should be renamed the ‘Annie Lennox Is In Town Award’, such was the willingness of retail managers to vote for her year in, year out regardless of whether she’d released anything noteworthy. Critical reputation rarely coincides with industry status, however, and it’s now rare to see the Eurythmics name-cheked as a significant influence.