First off, Rocks Off is not including rap and hip-hop artists in this article, because a) we'd be here all damn day; and b) We could write another book about what we don't know about the rap world. So we'll just stick to good old-fashioned rock-star prick-waving.
Whether they try and hide their enormous, shiny egos in their lyrics, or just blab them out over the airwaves, many musicians just can't resist the opportunity to remind you of their own awesomeness. Part of it is the mystique and bigger-than-life persona that is usually required to become an icon. Part of it is the logical result of giving crazy people lots of money and attention.
So here are some of our favorite bragging lines.
1. "We're more popular than Jesus now." - John Lennon
No list of rock-star brags would be complete without Lennon's 1966 claim that the Beatles were moving more units than that No. 1 son of a virgin. Though the basic claim would have been perfectly in character for the snarky Lennon, the remark was actually part of a discussion with a journalist on the decline of Christianity. The full quote reads:
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
Nonetheless, Americans reacted by burning albums and shooting guns during Beatles concerts.
2. "I'm not conceited. Conceit is a fault, and I have no faults." - David Lee Roth
Like him (we don't) or loathe him (we do), even Roth's most vehement detractors would have to admit that the Van Halen front man is a walking quip machine. Rocks Off collects quote books, and Roth offers his own diamond-studded viewpoint on life in almost all of them.
3. "Inspired by God Almighty" - Ludwig Van Beethoven
The legend goes something like this...
A violinist had the audacity and poor judgment to complain to old Ludwig Van that a piece Beethoven had composed was so hard that it was virtually unplayable. Rising in a rage, Beethoven, who is responsible for classical music's greatest pop hits, is alleged to have said:
When I composed that, I was concious of being inspired by God Almighty. Do you think I can consider your puny fiddle when He speaks to me?
4. "A lot of cats copy the Mona Lisa, but folks still line up to see the original." - Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong ranks not only as one of the greatest jazz trumpet players of all time, but also as one of the most parodied. His odd facial expressions and distinct gravelly voice are still the subject of impression artists almost 40 years after his death.
Though he was known far and wide for his gentle personality and kindness, Armstrong was also not without a little conceit. For instance, he was fairly unimpressed at being asked to play a private concert for King George VI. His opening line for the recital was, "Yo Rex! This one's for you."
5. "I got a body like an Aztec temple." - Tim Qualls
Our local boys are just as capable of crowing as the big boys. Take 2010 HPMA Best New Act winner Tim Qualls, whose debut EP This Is Our Land was one of Houston's best releases in the Past year. But what kind of humility do you expect from a guy who writes a song called "Vain."
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6. "I'm so omniscient; if there were two of me I'd be both of them." - Ziltoid the Omniscient
Our absolute favorite brag ever comes from the wonder known as Ziltoid.
Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad decided to quit touring and spend time with his family in 2006. During that time he conceived a metal opera starring an insane alien warlord named Ziltoid intent on conquering the universe in the name of finding a good cup of coffee.
Using a puppet to represent the main character, Townsend made video diary entries for Ziltoid's MySpace, one of which contained the above quote.Townshend is currently working on a sequel called Z2.