Iconic? Or just well known?

It could be my imagination, and it might not be, but it seems to me that in the past few years, the word "iconic" has been increasingly overused and outright mis-applied in various contexts.  As an example, I recently read that the Dodge Dart was an "iconic" automobile.  Hmmm.  Not the '73 anyway.

This morning I read an article about Stuart Copeland, who was described as the drummer for the Police, "the iconic 1970's and 1980's British rock band".  I enjoyed the Police, and Lord knows they became famous -  but iconic?   They never struck me that way.  The Beatles - iconic.  Elvis - iconic.  The Band - iconic.  The Beach Boys - iconic. Cary Grant - iconic.  Lauren Bacall - iconic.  The Empire State Building - iconic.  Eiffel Tower - iconic.  Donovan  - ironic (what a difference one letter makes!)

What makes a band iconic as opposed to simply very well known, famous, infamous, popular?  When is iconic appropriate and when is it hyperbole?  Examples?

No need to debate somthing like this Jack (although it is damn entertaining).   Let's boil it down to the hard cold numbers! Dylan is iconic and Donovan is ironic.

Donovan has a ICON/IRON index of  .16   while Dylan has a ICON/IRON index of 3.62

Data summary:

Google: Donovan iconic = About 1,200,000 results     Google: Donovan ironic = About 7,240,000 results

Google: Dylan iconic  = About 3,510,000 results         Google: Dylan ironic  =  About 969,000 results





I saw the Jayhawks last night (excellent show by the way) . When they came out for the encore Louris quipped:

"Did we play too long. Fifty minutes and leave them hungry. That's what Donovan does."


That is damn funny!  Low calorie music!

Actually Jack that is funny. THIS is damn funny.  Donovan (and I'm not making this up - Page 180) credits his girlfriend Linda's mother (Violet) with teaching Tiny Tim "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" (which of course was his "hit" song). No Donovan? No Tiny Tim!

I don't know, that 73 Dart does look kind of cool and may be considered an iconic symbol of Mopar.  After all, they did bring back the Dart name, last year I think.  Hard to determine what makes a band iconic.  Let's take Cream for example.  A most talented trio of musicians, Clapton, Bruce and Mr. Baker.  But, they only released 4 studio albums in their short life span, 2 of which had live tracks on them.  Disraeli Gears, I'd call it an iconic album.  But how do they stack up against the likes of the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc?  Less iconic?  :-)  And, if you break down the band itself, Clapton, no doubt is iconic, but was Baker and Bruce....not so sure.  Anyway a fun discussion.