10 Greatest Pop Culture Icons

Beauty, fame and talent... is it enough to become a pop culture icon? Obviously, these are vital qualities that should characterize such people but besides this features it also could do with a little bit of charm, grace and exceptionality. However, not necessarily you have to be a beautiful celebrity, talented sportsman or political idol in order to gain the public attention. You just have to be a magnetic, electrifying individuality that appeals by some unknown aura and intriguing manner. The fact of being famous doesn’t make you an icon. Popularity is only unstable item. Only if your star shines regardless the time and model of culture you become someone that people remember about. Pop culture released lots of celebrities, people who are admired by the whole public but only some of them glitter till today. This is the ranking of the chosen:

10. David Beckham - an English football player, a member of an England national team. He’s a twofold laureate of the best football player ranking announced by FIFA where he placed the second position. In 2004 he became the best earning football player. He has participated in lots of advertisements and became a fashion icon. He’s known for a marriage with former Spice Girls singer- Victoria Beckham what partially also brought him more fame. In “OK” magazine ranking he took the 1st place as the best of 50 men. He’s also an Officer in the Order of The British Empire and a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. Beckham has taken part in many advertisement companies and his fortune is estimated on 112 million of pounds.

9. Madonna - in fact her name is Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. American singer called as “Queen of pop” from 25 years keeps on the top of hit lists. Madonna for lots of years embodied a vision of a scandalous, obscene artist, she often used religious and sexual motives. She starred in movies and advertisements. Disgraceful singer didn’t avoid erotic scenes, her video clips were full of erotic and shocking acts. Actually she eased her image what doesn’t mean that lost her popularity. She’s still known as “one of the greatest pop acts of all times”. For all those years Madonna several times used to change her appearance, recorded songs in variety genres. According to Guinness World Records she is the most successful and most earning female artist of all times with over 200 million sold CD’s and about 490 million on her account.

8. Brigitte Bardot - a legendary French actress, model and singer. Sexbomb of 50s and 60s of XX century. Called also as European Marylin Monroe. Bardot has played in many movies, one of the most important was “And God Created Woman” where she played in famous, erotic scene (she was dancing on a table) what has brought a change like the people perceived eroticism in cinema. Thanks to her beauty and sex- appeal, Bardot has become a symbol of sexual revolution what partially caused completely different attitude in relation to sex themes. People have become braver and weren’t as afraid of showing their sexuality as before. After 40 she has finished her carrier and has become an animal rights activist.

7. Audrey Hepburn - an actress and model. Her mother came from Dutch aristocrat family and a father was an English bank clerk. During the II World War she lived in occupied Holland leading very poor life. After the war she moved to London and next to New York where became an actress. Very quickly she became famous and for the role in “Roman Holiday” received Oscar. Audrey Hepburn was one of the most famous actresses and her legendary role in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is one of the most popular ones of the American cinema in the history. During all her carrier she delighted of charm and class. In late 60s of XX century she quitted the carrier and became an ambassador of UNICEF. In 1922 for her activity, she received from George Bush a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Till these days you can see her picture in lots of popular motives, posters and so on.

6. James Dean - an American actor. Despite of short however daring carrier, quickly became an idol for young, rebellious generation. His the most popular role in: “Rebel without a Cause” where he presented some kind of model of misunderstood, young man that can’t agree with contemporary conventions caused that most of American teenagers started to identify with him. For the then young people James embodied an exact vision of somebody who represented their feelings and consternation. He played additionally only in 2 movies (“East of Eden” and “Giant”) and suddenly his well-prognostic carrier became ended because of his tragic death in a car accident. After his death at the age of 24 James Dean quickly became a cultural icon and a legend.

5. The Rolling Stones - the living legend of rock. One of the most popular rock bands of all times. They’ve had a huge influence on shape of popular culture. Their roots reach times of Beatles, hippies and legendary Woodstock Festivals. From over 40 years they record CDs and give concerts for thousands of fans. In times of youth were known from lots of scandals, drug experiments, alcoholic parties, famous romances and daring way of life. Their crucial piece called “I can get no satisfaction” protesting against the omnipresent conformity and hypocrisy became an anthem of the then young generation that needed some figure which might express their reflections and expectations. The scandalous band was some kind of representative of frustrated teenagers that were sick of prudish, snobbish society. Till today The Rolling Stones are the symbol of freedom and their logo (mouth with hung tongue) is their reconnaissance mark.

4. Elvis Presley - he’s decisively one of the most significant figures of pop culture. “The King of Rock ’n’ Roll” despite of being a singer and musician, was also an actor (played in many movies- westerns, dramas, music comedies). He was a various artist- played also gospel, blues, country and pop. The King gave over thousand of concerts, sold millions of CDs. During his life he became a legend already. He was admired also by lots of famous individualities and artist- he met with President Nixon, he was friends with The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Cher, Muhhamad Ali and so on. Unfortunately he was addicted to many medicines- among the others anti-depression remedies and stimulants. This probably turned him to death in 1977 in Memphis but the official announces say that died of heart attack. His legend lives till today and millions of fans don’t accept his death what caused the gossips that he hadn’t died- he just moved to some place at the edge of world and there leads calm, peaceful life.

3. The Beatles - many sources announce that this rock band from Liverpool is the most important music formation of world. They were the most popular band of all times, had millions of fans and during their activity there formed such happening as Beatlemania. It characterized of collective rage, craziness and a sort of cult that seized the then teenagers especially during their concerts. The boys (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) became not only the legend of rock but generally the music one. The Beatles were an exceptional phenomenon, a breakthrough that became a pattern for lots of musicians. Appreciated by variety surroundings are an unforgettable happening till presence. It is estimated that in late 90s of XX century there was sold their billionth CD.

2. Che Guevara - his everywhere- in posters, on t-shirts, shoes, even on briefs or pockets of cigarettes. His picture has become very quickly adopted by showbiznes and brings a lot of money to its producers. A specific paradox is that regardless the historical facts the modern pop culture creates him as freedom rebel, persistent revolutionist fighting for liberty. Not many people know that Che Guevara was Fidel Castro’s helper, one of the leaders of Cuban Revolution that has overthrown the reign of violent dictator- Fulgencio Batista in order to force on the communist regime. Nowadays there appeared some kind of Che Cult- he occurs in graffiti, movies, music, video and computer games. This phenomenon is an example how mass culture can manipulate of facts and change people’s point of view.

1. Marylin Monroe - everybody knows her. Marylin (actually Norma Jeane Baker) is cinema legend, sex symbol and by the most people recognized as the ideal of beauty. She’s famous for such movies as “Seven Year Itch” (a famous scene with raised white dress that has become one of the most unforgettable shots of cinema history), “Niagara”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “How to Marry a Millionaire”, “The Prince and the Showgirl”. The American sexbomb of 50s and 60s of XX century at the beginning of her carrier was also a model and posed to the 1st Playboy’s issue. She was also known from romance with President John F. Kennedy and his brother- Robert Kennedy. She died at the top of her carrier- officially there was announced that because of overdosing sleeping pills but secretive circumstances of her death caused some gossips supposedly her contacts with Kennedy’s were decisive in this case. No matter how many attractive and gorgeous actresses have appeared in showbiznes, Marylin Monroe will always be the one- the legend of beauty and the ideal.

author: Agnieszka Kosydar