Media

Spec Poll Shows Reader Demographic

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 26, 2009

Right now the Spectator is running a poll asking, "Of the following music stars who died prematurely, which one had the biggest influence on you?"


Spec poll on music stars who died prematurely (Source: thespec.com

Missing from the list of music stars who died prematurely: any music star who died after 1980.

Instead, the choices, aside from Micheal Jackson, are: Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), Elvis Presley (1935-1977), and John Lennon (1940-1980).

I guess the Spectator editors know their core demographic.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By The Fallen (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 15:25:27

No Bob Marley? What about Jim Morrison? Bon Scott? Keith Moon? John Bonham (hmm maybe we need a drummer sub category)?

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By slacker (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 15:29:35

Duh Kurt Cobain, the slacker martyr.

Still- could be worse. They could've listed Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 15:38:58

They should have went for Mozart.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 15:46:22

Nevermind the fact that Jackson, Lennon, and Presley didn't exactly die 'prematurely'. It's not like their best work was still ahead of them.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 15:48:53

@highwater harsh much?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 16:11:01

It wasn't intended to be. 40 - 50 may be premature to the rest of us, but not so much for rock stars. We usually reserve the term for when we feel cheated by someone's death. Hendrix fits the bill IMO, also Joplin, Morrison, Cobain. I think it's safe to say that Lennon, Presley, and Jackson died with the bulk of their body of work behind them. We can mourn their deaths, but we haven't been cheated of future greatness.

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 16:11:43

MJ all the way. Despite the late career freak show he became, nobody will ever take the world by storm and flip the entire music industry and pop culture upside down again like he did.

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By bugglebear (anonymous) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 16:47:38

If MTV hadn't launched the year before Thriller's release, or if the album had come with crappy videos, MJ might have turned out to be a very different person. Still incredibly creative and driven, but the recipient of another huge gift in his ambition's synchronization with the global spread of music video.

And yeah, Spec readers seem kind of old.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted June 26, 2009 at 17:57:55

If not for Elvis, I doubt we'd have had any of the ones after him ;)

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By jason (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 18:27:25

bugglebear, keep in mind, MTV didn't exist for music like Jackson's pop music, nor did it play music by blacks. Thriller was by far the most expensive video to be published to date, and he gave MTV little choice but to break with their original 'rock-music' mandate and start playing his tunes.

He broke a colour barrier as opposed to being handed a gift.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted June 26, 2009 at 18:58:33

I believe Epic had threatened to pull all of their artists from MTV if they didn't drop the colour barrier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thriller_&#...

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By Oldie but Goldie (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2009 at 09:51:48

When you say 'died prematurely' of course you don't mean those who abused themselves with drugs?

Highwater...how do you know that Lennon's best work wasn't ahead of him?

And what's wrong with Buddy Holly? He laid the foundations for many who followed.

How about The Godfather of Soul? James Brown?

And for some Canadian content how about Great Biscuit Boy?

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By Oldie But Goldie (anonymous) | Posted June 27, 2009 at 09:53:07

Of course I meant King Biscuit Boy...who was great by the way.

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By Brian Quinn (anonymous) | Posted June 28, 2009 at 16:15:41


Michael Jackson was the 'Self-Proclaimed' 'King Of Pop'. He gave himself this title. In fact, Jackson was not very talented at all apart from dancing. He had a very weak voice and sang in only one or two musical genres. He was also extremely egotistical and refused to be interviewed unless referred to as 'King'.

The real KING was, and remains, Elvis Presley, who was the whole package - he had the talent, the looks, the voice, the charisma and was humble with it. Of course, Elvis was more than just a singer/entertainer, he was an historical figure who broke down racial and social barriers in 1950's U.S.A. paving the way for Dr. Martin Luther King. Elvis matured throughout his career whereas Michael Jackson did not and appealed to mainly teenagers throughout.

Elvis Presley was truly 'sui generis' and will still be revered in a thousand years time.


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By JonC (registered) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 10:39:07

To be fair, Michael Jackson at least wrote his own songs.
Also, I would disagree with your determination that Jackson had a weak voice and was unaware that Elvis was present in a plethora of genres. What were those again?

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By madmatt (anonymous) | Posted June 29, 2009 at 15:42:35

Joe Strummer all the way!!! Screw this pablum for the masses pop crap.

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By musician (anonymous) | Posted June 30, 2009 at 09:58:21

Elvis didn't write his own songs and held a guitar that he pretended to strum.

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By not surprised (anonymous) | Posted July 02, 2009 at 15:27:29

I think the fact that old or young most people know the names the Spec chose shows they are indeed names several generations have been affected by. Sure there are others but where then do you draw the line 5, 10, 20, 200 choices?

Everybody has their own opinion and it would be impossible to accomodate all of them. I would also say that some of the more recent big stars that have died, can not really say they have affected as many as those listed. Not that they won't but that their impact has yet to be measured.

I question many things local medai have done but this is kind of nitpicking isn't it?

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 02, 2009 at 15:38:36

^^Everyone I know was more affected by Kurt Cobain's death than Elvis'. Hell, I was a baby when Elvis died. This list was compiled by a Boomer.

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