The American Idol hype has started up all over with the kickoff of its new season and fueled by the appearance of new judges Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman StevenTyler. Wellesley’s own Steven Tyler, that is.
Well, that is if you believe everything you read on Wikipedia, where Tyler is listed as being among the notable residents of Wellesley past and present along with the likes of actress/comedian Jane Curtain and basketball player Ray Allen.
I don’t believe everything I read on Wikipedia, though do think it is more accurate than naysayers argue. Still, I’ve seen that plenty of questionable “facts” from Wikipedia tend to show up over and over again in news stories, blogs and other places.
I’ve always had suspicions about references to Tyler living or having lived in Wellesley. He doesn’t strike me as the sort who lays low. But because he’s listed on Wikipedia as having been a resident the information has been taken as fact by some. For example, I noticed during recent coverage of the ex-Irish Anglo exec who took up residence in Wellesley that the overseas press was plucking Wellesley background from Wikipedia, including the bit about Tyler in Wellesley. I’ve also seen Tyler mentioned by realtors looking to entice people to buy property in Wellesley.
I asked town historian Beth Hinchliffe if she knew whether Tyler had ever lived in Wellesley, figuring she must have partied with him if so. “This is a fairly recent rumor — I’d never heard it before about 8 years ago. And I’ve only ever heard it in rumor form. My theory is that someone put it in Wikipedia and it developed a life of its own from there, because that seems to be the source of the few people (or other online sources) that have repeated the story. And, further, I’m guessing that whoever put it in Wikipedia confused him with Billy Squier — the rock musician who did live in Wellesley. The most I can think of otherwise is that he may have owned property here as an investment, but I have never heard anything, anywhere that would indicate he had ever actually lived here — and you know how that would have been the number one topic of conversation if it had been true.”
If Tyler really does live in Wellesley then we should definitely get together and talk about carpooling: Seems like every time I go to Boston sports event he’s there singing the national anthem…