Andy Rooney has been delivering the news for nearly seven decades, but the media icon can still concede when he’s out of touch. In a segment for CBS’s “60 Minutes” Rooney admitted for the first time that he can’t consider himself an “average” American and it was after reading an issue of Billboard Magazine.
Watch Andy Rooney Speak About Billboard’s 200 on “60 Minutes”
The 91-year-old journalist who’s been with the program since 1978 confessed that though he’d heard of “Sting and The Rolling Stones,” he was at a loss in placing artists in the current Billboard 200 chart. He goes on to say “The singers I know have been replaced by performers like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Usher, I mean who?” As an aside, if there were a way to pronounce “Lady Gaga” as if you sincerely have no idea who she is; Andy’s definitely got that down. “They’re selling millions of songs by singers that I’ve never heard of” he says, “and that must mean that I’m out of the American mainstream.”
But then Rooney was never known for his pop-culture sensibilities. His comments in a 1994 segment following the death of Kurt Cobain were admittedly less than enlighting. He is quoted expressing anger that Cobain’s death had overshadowed the passing of Richard Nixon, saying he had never heard of the Nirvana singer or his band and “If he applied the same brain to his music that he applied to his drug-infested life, it’s reasonable to think that his music may not have made much sense either.” Rooney later apologized on air, admitting that his remarks may have been “unfair.”
Still this time around Rooney is wisely taking the high road. “I think of myself as a musical ignoramus who doesn’t hear or like the nuances of sound that other people hear and do like, I don’t know who Lady Gaga is and kids today probably don’t know who Ella Fitzgerald was, maybe we should call it even.”
While no amount of stage glitz from today’s Lady could make us forget the First Lady of Song, we get what the old guy’s driving at. Touché Rooney.