On the “Tracks of my years” segment of Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show this morning Noel Gallagher selected U2’s “I still haven’t what I’m looking for”. He talked about how much he loves the band and how you can’t really trust anyone who says that they hate U2. How can anyone hate every song they’ve ever done? It’s the same with the Beatles: how can you hate every Beatles song? Earlier this year, when he was on “Desert Island Discs”, he chose “With or without you” by U2 and defended the band in a similar way. As the song played he asked “Are you listening, Paul Weller?” There are plenty of people who will tell you how much they hate U2, and how much they hate Bono.
I have spent a lot of time with people whose musical tastes are defined by the artists they hate rather than the artists they like. Some of these people are still friends of mine, some are not. As a rule of thumb it seems that friends of mine who told me that they hated the Beatles or Bob Dylan are still friends, but those who professed hatred for Elvis Presley or Led Zeppelin are no longer friends. And that’s not because of their musical tastes. Other things happened which mean that we are no longer friends.
Steve Howe (guitarist from Yes) was also on “Tracks of my years” a few years ago and he said much the same about Elvis as Noel Gallagher said about U2 this morning: he can never really trust someone who hates Elvis.
And a few years ago I read a quote from Jack White saying the same thing about people who hate Led Zeppelin: never trust someone who tells you they hate Led Zeppelin.
I have been quoting Steve Howe and Jack White for years and now I will add Noel Gallagher’s advice: never trust a man who hates Led Zeppelin, or Elvis, or U2. I will reserve judgment about people who tell me that they hate The Beatles or Bob Dylan but I’ll keep gathering evidence.
For the record I love Elvis, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. I like a lot of Beatles songs, and ever since “The Joshua Tree” I have defended U2 for the quality of songs like “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”, “One Tree Hill”, “Bullet the blue sky” (and, later, songs like “One” and “Staring at the sun”). Be defined by the things you love, not by the things you hate. And never trust a man who hates the music of Elvis Presley.