DK’s Hundred Heroes

I recommend this exercise to anybody and everybody. Aside from family members and friends and acquaintances, whom do you regard as most influential in making you who you are? I limited my list to artists and philosophers; I have to admit that political figures and captains of industry don’t really mean that much to me. This is DK’s list: the other members of Louder Than Dirt would obviously have quite different lists. I’m trying to understand who made me who I am as an artist. I’m not saying that I’m an expert in Duke Ellington or Geoffrey Chaucer. I’m just saying that I have enjoyed their works so much that they make their way into my own creative process.

The Rolling Stones
The Beatles
Oscar Wilde
Bob Dylan
John Keats
Jimi Hendrix
Thomas Mann
William Butler Yeats
James Joyce
Eric Clapton
Ludwig van Beethoven
Samuel Johnson
Jeff Beck
Miles Davis
The Kinks
The Talking Heads
William Shakespeare
Emily Dickenson
John Milton
Walt Whitman
Howling Wolf
Muddy Waters
Robert Johnson
David Bowie
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William Wordsworth
Franz Kafka
Duke Ellington
Charley Parker
Count Basie
Billy Holiday
Lester Young
Kurt Weil
Friedrich Nietzsche
Jürgen Habermas
Eduard Manet
Richard Ellmann
Wallace Stevens
Geoffrey Chaucer
Jane Austen
George Eliot
Charles Dickens
Thomas Hardy
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Henry Fielding
The Who
Booker T and the MGs
Roy Buchanan
Jimmie Smith
Vincent van Gogh
Elvis Presley
BB King
Joris-Karl Huysmans
Alfred Hitchcock
Ingmar Bergman
The Allman Brothers
ZZ Top
James Brown
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Wilson Pickett
Theodor Adorno
M. M. Bakhtin
Aphex Twin
Daft Punk
The Chemical Brothers
Vladimir Nabokov
Michael Jackson
Willie Dixon
William Carlos Williams
Akira Kurosawa
Alexander Pope
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Franz Josef Haydn
Giacomo Puccini
Frank Zappa
Little Richard
Chuck Berry
Claude Debussey
Johannes Brahms
Igor Stravinski
Louis Armstrong
Django Reinhart
Stevie Wonder
Mitch Mitchell
Emily Brontë
Anne Carson
The Animals
The Grateful Dead
Mary Shelley
Richard Wagner

Many of the heroes listed above are groups. So, right off the bat, The Rolling Stones are six heroes: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charley Watts, Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, and Mick Taylor. Ron Wood doesn’t make the cut, or rather, enjoys a benefit of association: he’s in as a Stone. The logic is quite inconsistent: Eric Clapton is on the list, and so is Cream. I guess I’m saying that I admire Clapton above and beyond his work in one of my favorite groups. Note that Lennon and McCartney do not appear outside the Beatles.
Many of the names are from popular culture, but some are from school. That’s right: I’m overeducated and underdressed. Kill me now?
Apparently, Matisse, Ahmed Ertegun, and Patty Smith didn’t make the cut. They totally belong here, but I hit a hundred before I thought of them, and I refuse to drop anybody. So I guess number 101 is “and others.” Jeez! No Pink Floyd? No Willie Dixon? [Actually, Willie’s in there.] No Dock Boggs? This list sucks.

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