We are told over and over again that American culture dominates the world, that we are on the verge of a monoculture McWorld. BBC World Service just finished a poll of the world’s favorite songs. Guess how many are American?
- 1. A Nation Once Again — The Wolfe Tones.
2. Vande Mataram — various artists.
3. Dil Dil Pakistan — Vital Signs.
4. Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu — Ilayaraja.
5. Poovum Nadakkuthu Pinchum Nadakkuthu — Thirumala Chandran
6. Ana wa Laila — Kazem El Saher.
7. Reetu Haruma Timi — Arun Thapa.
8. Believe — Cher.
9. Chaiyya Chaiyya — A R Rahman.
10. Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen.
One American song and we are represented by Cher! There are only three songs in English. I’ve frankly never heard of the other artists, worthy though they may be. I’m in a good mood so I don’t want to talk about “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but the point isn’t the quality of the songs, it’s the non-American, non-English-speaking nature of the list.
In the rock era, the US and UK have combined to produce the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, David Bowie, U2, the Who, the Doors, Creedence, and including those who sing in English, Bob Marley. None of these made the Top 10. Some domination: an Irish group I’ve never heard of, Queen, and Cher. Based upon these selections I’d say the world hasn’t really grasped our good stuff yet, and maybe never will. The world remains quite safe from us.
There are profiles of the Top 10 artists on the site as well as sundry information on the vote.