Popular musicians start out with music about things we can all identify with: love, friendship, heartache, adolescence, insecurity, failure, triumph, and so on. Their music reaches a wide audience because, other than being way more musically talented, they’re regular people, a lot the rest of us. Then, if they’re lucky enough to become very successful, their lives change. They’re not mooning after the girl that wouldn’t look at them in high school, they’re dating supermodels. Instead of wondering what goes on in those fancy houses on the other side of town, they’re turning down invitations to go there. How can they communicate what it’s like to have lives that their fans can only dream about? Often, it’s by complaining.
You’re never too rich to complain that you don’t have more. Take George Harrison at the height of Beatlemania, with money pouring in from records, tours, and merchandise at never before heard of levels:
Ray Davies is convinced both that he’s being screwed on royalties and that that’s a good subject for a pop song:
In fact, Ray finds the 20th Century not at all to his liking and would rather be in some other (oddly unspecified) time.
Here’s John Lennon, complaining that if you make yourself a public spectacle, people will look at you like you’re some kind of public spectacle.
Pete Townshend, always the most insightful yet self-absorbed of rock stars, is horrified to be so popular and successful that he’s allowed to be a pretty awful person.
Mark Knopfler thinks that fans don’t appreciating how special rock stars are and just resent them for their undeserved success.
But for the epitome of whining when, really, we don’t have a single reason to feel bad for you (except perhaps how badly your current song sucks), there’s this: