I Feel Old, or Who is Mark Ronson?

Derek points out that Phil Collins recently and casually announced his retirement. I’m skimming this article from The Times Online, and I encounter this paragraph:

How ubiquitous was Collins in the Eighties? His profile was akin to that of, say, Mark Ronson today. As a producer he quickly became the go-to guy for singers after their own separations. He worked on albums by John Martyn and Frida from Abba while maintaining the solo career and being in Genesis.

I have no idea who Mark Ronson is. None whatsoever. He’s as ubiquitous as Phil Collins was in the eighties, and I’ve got nothing. I asked Wikipedia:

Mark Daniel Ronson (born 4 September 1975) is a English-American, BRIT Award and three-time Grammy award-winning music producer, cover-artist and co-founder of Allido Records. His debut album Here Comes the Fuzz, focused on American hip hop, included collaborations with Sean Paul, Nate Dogg and Ghostface Killah, yet it failed to make an impact on the charts.

I’m encouraged by two factors: he’s British, and music has become incredibly balkanized since the eighties. Still, I don’t like being reminded of my vast cultural ignorance.

Despite being neither gay nor Jewish, Monsieur Collins features in this terrific episode of This American Life.


  1. Are you serious? I took a look at the Billboard Top 10 last week and only recognized 2 names. And I found myself PROUD of that. I cringe when I hear the radio.

  2. Alan Cross (of Ongoing History of New Music fame) says we establish our music tastes in our early twenties and stick with that forever. I’m more ashamed of not being familiar with some legends of years gone by. I don’t seriously think anyone is expected to keep up with the acts in music one doesn’t listen to, let alone in a generation one doesn’t listen to, let alone a PRODUCER. Off the top of my head I can only name 3: Brian Eno, Butch Vig (Garbage) and Daniel Lanois — I had to double-check the role of the last one — and all three are in their 50s. (Eno is about to turn 60.)

    Britain also has a sort of micro-culture for music: I remember there being tons of successful pop crud over there that only made it as far as YTV’s defunct Hit List here. (Who are Sean Paul, Nate Dogg and Ghostface Killah, btw?)

    I would suggest that you’re not old, you just have good taste.

  3. I’ve never heard of who was it again either. But Phil Collins? Now you’re talking.

    I even liked his cartoon soundtracks – Brother Bear for example.

    I don’t believe he’s really retiring… how can someone that creative just stop?

  4. You’ve no doubt heard of Amy Winehouse, who Mr. Ronson produced several songs for.
    Sean Paul is a reggae artist whose music you have danced to at a club, wedding, or professional sports event. You’ve heard Nate Dogg singing background on rap songs for Snoop, Dr. Dre etc. for 15 yrs. And Ghostface Killah a/k/a Tony Starks of the legendary Wu Tang Clan, is it’s last relevant member, and somewhat old himself.
    He actually did a funny cameo on the 1st season of 30 Rock, doing a commercial for Alec Baldwin’s wine.

    You should feel really old if you’ve never heard of artists that the current teens think of as kinda “old school”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: