Why do so many of my favourite artists begin with B? A list of my favourite music of all time would quite genuinely include Bach, Beethoven (but not Mozart), the Beatles, David Bowie, David Byrne and Björk. Add some lower-level luminaries such as Blur, The Beat, the Beastie Boys, Blondie and so on, and you have a phenomenon. No other letter comes close. I really like Radiohead and Underworld and Bob(!) Marley and Yello (main writer: Boris Blank) and Led Zeppelin and Jack White and Elbow and Wire too, but when I try to think of other things starting with any of those letters I run out pretty quickly. And, I mean, you know. Beethoven; Beatles; Bowie; Bach: Blimey.
Not all B artists are great. There are always stains on the copy book such as Gary Barlow, James Blunt and Justin Bieber. But, you know, they’re not enough to outweigh the genius on the other side of the scales.
So, is it coincidence, nominative determinism or bias? I mean, the law of averages suggests some letters will be overrepresented. On the other hand, that explosive bilabial “b” sound is very sonorous and attention-grabbing…
C gets some good edgier artists: Johns Cage and Cale; Nick Cave; Leonard Cohen. Still nothing on B.
Ah well. If I had any sense I’d make sure all my musical projects have names that start with B. But I haven’t got any sense.