Last year, Arcade Fire was the big winner at the Grammys and the most talked about band of the night; however it probably wasn’t the publicity they were hoping for. After accepting the award of Album of the Year for “The Suburbs,” the twitterverse and blogosphere blew up with one resounding question: Who the f*** is Arcade Fire?
All over the country, angry teenage girls tweeted their frustration. How can a band nobody has ever heard of can win a Grammy when their precious, prepubescent Bieber went home with none? There’s even an entire Tumblr dedicated to the confusion sparked by the Canadian super group, which is appropriately named “Who is Arcade Fire?”
Like a fool, I hoped that this year would be different and that fans would learn how to use Wikipedia before posting such dumb questions. But this year was no different, and the first question of everyone’s mind was “Who is Bonny Bear?”
The award for Best New Artist is always an exciting time for the public to meet some of the most promising new acts in the business, and this year the world was introduced to Bon Iver. Singer, songwriter Justin Vernon accepted the award and delivered one of the most awkward acceptance speeches of the night, and it wasn’t long before viewers started asking questions about the straggly, bearded stranger on stage.
The twitterverse and blogosphere were once again bursting with questions like “Did they find this guy outside of Staples Center?” and my personal favorite, “Who is Bonny Bear?” As if Bon Iver’s victory wasn’t puzzling enough for some, it seemed that the band’s name carried the confusion to a whole new level earning Vernon and company the new nickname, Bonny Bear.
While the Bon Iver/ Bonny Bear blunder mostly came across as amusing, the Grammys audience went on to prove that musical knowledge is at an all time low. Things were about to get much, much worse.
After all of the performances were over and the last awards were handed out, Paul McCartney ended the night with the final songs from “Abbey Road.” As the show came to an end, the elderly Beatle was joined on stage by some of the guitarists who performed earlier that night. Once again, tweeters started asking questions. But they weren’t asking about Joe Walsh or Bruce Springsteen or Dave Grohl. They were asking about the old guy playing the left-handed guitar. People were actually asking the question, “Who is Paul McCartney?”
Call me old fashioned, but I was raised in a house where everything I learned about music started with one band and one band only: The Beatles. Whether I went on to listen to punk rock or folk music or heavy metal didn’t matter to my parents. As long as I respected the impact The Beatles had on the musical word, they felt they had done their jobs. Now I understand that most people are going to have different taste in music than I do. But this is The Beatles. And we’re not talking about Ringo. We’re talking about Sir Paul McCartney, arguably the most famous of the Fab Four.
While last night’s confusion is a bit concerning to me as a music fan, I try not to put too much stock in the ramblings that show up on my Twitter feed. I mean, it only took the Grammys five years and two records to figure out who Bon Iver was. But Justin Vernon isn’t a Beatle, and I find it embarrassing to live in a time where people don’t have the slightest clue who Paul McCartney is. So next time you’re watching the Grammys and you’re not quite sure who that old guy is, save yourself the embarrassment and check Wikipedia before you tweet, “Who the f*** is that?”
Follow Mike at @MikeMunoz12