I'm going with my obvious. David Bowie and Mick Ronson.
Last night I watched the over two hour documentary Moonage Daydream. I liked the concert footage, the rest was pretty much crap. Bowie has that great way of talking like he's a deep thinker. But, he literally contradicts himself at every corner. He talks over you, not to you. He does it with intentional purpose, in the same way he dressed in his early years. It's something that after he became a superstar (Ziggy), he slipped into sharp men's clothing for the rest of his career. For videos he went out on a limb. But, his stage presence was polished and sleek. He wore it well.
Overrated: Bowie is an artistic icon. But, is he really? He did not have a successful career till Ronson came on board. Ziggy Stardust was Bowie songs with exceptional arranging by Ronson. After Ronson, every other album had one hit and a bunch of filler. If you cut Ronson out of Bowie's career, I would wager Bowie wouldn't have had the career he had. Bowie has a distinctly different style of writing. The music needs to shine, without Ronson it rarely did. Listen to the Space Oddity album. The songs are great. But, it's Bowie's delivery, not the music that's memorable. With the Ronson albums, it's both, and on many songs with Ronson's riffs, it's the music you hum, and not the lyrics. I've pretty much heard every one of his albums, and the only two that hold up and are well received by the masses without Ronson are Space Oddity (which flopped till Ziggy was released) and Let's Dance. In the documentary, after they left the Ziggy footage, they floundered till (as they put) Bowie's comeback with The Serous Moonlight Tour. What did Bowie do between Ziggy and Let's Dance? A lot. But nothing that touched Ziggy. Why was it his comeback?
Bowie's movies were all pretty much panned, and deservedly so. He's not an actor. I went opening day to his debut The Man Who Fell To Earth. I was 15 or 16 and couldn't be more bored. He's an actor like Mick Jagger is an actor.
He painted. He backed out of two exhibits. He wasn't sure he was good enough. His painting is on par with Ronnie Wood, nothing special.
You could fill a solid album with Bowie hits without Ronson. The rest are for the fanatics. There's nothing worse than a fanatic. You don't have to remove any songs from the Ronson albums. Because they're all classic.
Bowie is a presence. Kind of like Madonna. He has much more talent than her. But, their iconic status comes from the being and not the talent.
Underrated: Mick Ronson.
He made Bowie. He was a great partner with Ian Hunter for years.
Excellent guitarist, multi-instrumentalist. Even better arranger. Arranging is one of the hardest aspects of songwriting to conquer. It can make great songs sound magnificent, and bad songs sound good. I didn't know till after he passed that he helped produce Jack and Diane. Once you know, you can hear his definitive style. That's a fairly simple song with excellent parts. Mellencamp gives Mick full credit for that song.
His two solo projects are both perfect in their execution. But, Mick wasn't a frontman. He didn't want to be. He wanted the glory and especially the money. In the end, he got none of that. He deserved much more than he got.
His posthumous albums which were never really complete, are very good. But, it's obvious they're not complete.
Did Mick deserve the icon moniker that Bowie has? No. But, neither does Bowie. Bowie deserves it more than Madonna.
I've always disliked Andy Warhol's art. I find it boring. I absolutely hate the Campbell Soup can. Seriously? How arrogant do you have to be to hang a big Campbell Soup Can in your living room? I asked my wife what she liked about him, and she said "He was the first to do it." I'm sorry, that's not talent. That's creative and excellent marketing. Not talent. That's Bowie for much of his career.