What makes someone great?

A couple of months ago I was at a BBQ place and they had live entertainment. It was a local duo performing a combination of bluegrass and country and they were wonderful. Great musicians, excellent voices, outstanding overall performers. The thing that kept going through my mind is “why were they playing in a BBQ restaurant in a town of 800 people?”

A few days later I was at a friends house and they had American Idol on the TV. While I certainly am not a music person, I’m not sure the final 10 performers on American Idol were any better (or even as good) as either of these two performers I heard live.

One thing that might hold this duo back is they might be content to perform near home. If that is the case, that is fine but again the question is what makes something or someone great?

The reason I started thinking about this is with the recent death of Clarence Clemons I watched a few Bruce Springsteen videos last night. If Bruce Springsteen were to appear on American Idol he most likely wouldn’t last very long. He would be called “pitchy”, they would say he couldn’t carry a tune, they would question his ability to perform other types of music etc. In short, they would question whether a performer like him could make a living in music (he seems to have done OK for himself) The same could be said for other ultra successful performers such as Bob Dylan.

If you think about the biggest fashion designers, the designs they use for their models on the runways rarely are designs one would ever seen actually worn in the real world.

The most famous architectural designs aren’t seen in most peoples local communities.

Those that are considered “great” are frequently so outside the mainstream that they might fail by normal standards.

Many people would like to be great but are so unwilling to step outside the lines that they will never give themselves the chance.

One can be very successful without being great and there are some great performers and designers who have died penniless so it’s not about money or fame, it’s really about what you want to accomplish.

This is one of the few posts I have written where I didn’t know where I was going with the post as I was writing it. I do believe the study of what makes some people great vs why most people are within the bell curve would be a fascinating one and would also be one that would be equally frustrating.

Just something to think about

Have a great day!

PS The recently deceased Clarence Clemons was one of the true greats on the saxophone. If you haven’t heard him, do a simple search on youtube.com, it’s an experience.

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