It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future!
– Robert Storm Petersen
Sometimes when I listen to the music of Mozart and Beethoven, I wonder at the fact that their music has survived for 200 years. And then I can’t help wondering, which of today’s musicians will be remembered in the year 2212, 200 years in the future?
Of course The Beatles is an obvious candidate. So far their music has survived for more than 40 years and people still listen to it. (You could then argue that The Beatles is not “Today’s Musicians”, since they were dissolved in 1970.)
Having mentioned The Beatles, it is hard to get around The Rolling Stones, their greatest competitors from the 1960s. In fact they have never officially split up, so they do qualify as “Today’s Musicians”. I have my doubts; their music is already played more rarely than The Beatles. Which is a pity, if you ask me.
A less well-known candidate which I like a lot is The Alan Parsons Project. Formed by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson in 1975, they specialized in concept music where each of their records had a specific theme. Their greatest hits were probably Eye in the Sky and Don’t Answer Me but one of my personal favorites is Some Other Time from the Isaac Asimov-inspired album I Robot:
Alan Parsons was originally a producer. His best-known effort in that quality is Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”.
I give all these three bands a fair chance of going down in history. But if I have to name one musician who will be remembered in the centuries to come, it has to be Mike Oldfield. He released his first album, Tubular Bells, in 1973 at the age of 20. It became an instant hit in England and a cover version was released by no less than the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also used as the theme in The Exorcist so chances are that even if you haven’t heard of Mike Oldfield, you still know his music.
Oldfield is still active and played parts of Tubular Bells for the opening of the Olympics in London. Tubular Bells remains my favorite Oldfield album but my favorite track is the opening track from Tubular Bells II from 1992, Sentinel:
You will notice that I have mentioned four British candidates to go down in history. This doesn’t mean I am an Anglophile (OK, maybe I am when it comes to contemporary music). I could mention plenty of other candidates to be remembered in the centuries to come (Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Simon & Garfunkel come to mind) but decided to stop at four names.
Who do YOU think will be remembered 200 years from now?