Inside the Music Business

By Tony Barrow; Julian Newby | Go to book overview

20

The star

Is stardom really what all would-be singers, singer—songwriters and musicians are aiming at? There are some who will be driven from the start to make it to the very top and, if they drive themselves hard, are totally single-minded in their goal and pursue it to the exclusion of all else (and of course have the talent to justify such means to an end), they stand a fair chance of achieving it.

Few people are like that, however. Few are able to sustain the level of determination required to make it. Few are able to ignore the distractions of family and other relationships, and those who do (and to become a big star you have to) usually leave trails of hurt people in their wake. And few have the singleminded approach which allows them to forge ahead in their ambitions while others within the music business, and some outside it, serve to hamper their efforts, intentionally or otherwise. Whatever it is that drives a would-be star upwards, it has the power to upset lives and careers along the way. That may sound overdramatic, but few who have reached the dizzy heights would disagree. The route to the top is long and painful, both for the stars and for the people around them.

Here we’re talking about the very top. It is important to remember that sustained stardom (such as that enjoyed by the likes of Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and U2—in the field of music almost exclusive to the rock and pop world) is so rare that it is impossible to make generalizations about, and impossible to hold up one example as a model.

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