So, to make things easier, I’ve invented the Sippican Cottage Musical Acid Test:
If you’re from Liverpool, and your composition is played Santuario-di-Madonna-di-San-Luca-skiffle style by five Bolognese men a half a century after you wrote it, you’re on to something with your approach to songwriting. That’s as far as I’ll go.
Akin to Bernard Levin’s idea of the historical filter.
We don’t know what it will be that survives our own cultural or artistic preoccupations and interests. But that historical filter does in fact work. We listen to more Mozart than Scalieri today and there’s nothing wrong with Scalieri’s stuff either, just Amadeus was rather better at it (or as it has been put, God simply poured his love for his creation through him).
Although we can take the odd bet on this. It’ll not be Madonna……
Another key moment for Rodgers was an argument he had with his jazz guitar teacher about the compositional merit of the Archies’ late-60s hit Sugar Sugar, which Rodgers ridiculed and resented having to play in a boogaloo covers band.
“Any song that sells and gets to the top 40 or top 10, any song is a great composition,” Rodgers recalled.
Sure, it’s manufactured schlock. And this is truly dreadful lip syncing.
It’s also artfully constructed and a rather good pop song.
Yes, I knew that George Michael was very talented. Perhaps not quite my style of music but he certainly could sing and he wrote very good pop songs (occasionally at least).
What I hadn’t know was that he was also a musician – well, obviously a singer is one of those. But on that 1990 album he’s credited as drums, percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards and horn arrangements as well. Covering that range of instruments is pretty good – especially the horn arrangements, that’s usually a very specialist task.
Would be fascinated to know which parts he played on, say, Freedom 90, if any. It sounds simple enough but it’s not actually a simple arrangement at all.
No, I’m not saying that it’s all great music rather than very good pop but still, there was more there than I had thought.
It took only 20 seconds for Clyde Stubblefield to drum his way to immortality. They came near the end of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” recorded in a Cincinnati studio in late 1969. Brown counts him in — “1, 2, 3, 4. Hit it!” — and Mr. Stubblefield eases into a cool pattern, part bendy funk and part hard march. It’s calm, slick and precise, and atop it, Brown asks over and over, “Ain’t it funky?”
It was. That brief snippet of percussion excellence became the platonic ideal of a breakbeat, the foundation of hip-hop’s sampling era and a direct through line from the ferocious soul music of the civil rights era to the golden age of history-minded hip-hop of the 1980s and 1990s.
Though Mr. Stubblefield wasn’t enamored of the song — “I didn’t like the song. I still don’t really get off on it,” he told Paste magazine in 2014 — its mark became indelible. Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Boogie Down Productions’s “South Bronx,” Sinead O’Connor’s “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” and Kenny G’s “G-Bop”: Mr. Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break appeared as a sample in all of those songs, and over a thousand more, beginning in the 1980s, right up through present day.
It’s not a sample here but it is copied as the basic beat of the piece:
Iggy, born James Osterberg Jr, was a native of Muskegon, Michigan, who rejected the twee high-school band he was in to hang out with blues musicians and things continued from there. (His high school career itself is of course entirely irrelevant.) He describes his musical epiphany like this: “I smoked a big joint by the river and realised that I was not black.” But he did realise that he was a magnetically animal stage presence who revelled in sexy shirtlessness. He had moves like Jagger … better than Jagger.
When Search and Destroy crashes out of the screen, it sounds more terrifying than ever, and Iggy has some great commentary on it. James Williamson’s guitar, he says, fills the space like a drug dog, searching everywhere. Amusingly, he attributes his gift for pithy lyrics to a TV kids’ show presenter called Soupy Sales who asked viewers to write in – but to limit their messages to 25 words. Cheekily, Iggy contrasts this with prolix Bob Dylan, a cartoon of whom is shown droning: “Blah, blah, blah …” (Iggy Pop is one of the few people who can get away with this kind of blasphemy.) Unwholesome rock’n’roll excitement.
The fun being that the drummer and bass guitarist on Lust for Life etc were in fact the sons of Soupy Sales.
How You Can’t Always Get What You Want became Donald Trump’s bizarre theme song
The Rolling Stones asked Trump to stop using their song but he ignored them – and he’s not the first Republican to defy artists’ objections
These follow a certain format, these pieces in The Guardian. Nice final line today:
I would so pay to watch something like that right now. Well, you can’t always get what you want.
Do say: “But if you try sometimes, you just might find … oh God, this is a nightmare.”
Don’t say: “I groped her today at the reception.”
Rerecording that with ISteve type lyrics could well become something of a hit really. Why not, Weird Al has had a number 1 recently hasn’t he?
The Rolling Stones have hinted they are about to release their first album in more than a decade, apparently a collection of covers of Chicago blues classics.
There’s a fun story about their first album. Which was covers of blues songs.
So, they all march into a nightclub to the adulation of the babes. And the DJ then plays their entire album, in order. Except that it’s the original of each of their covers.
I admit that I like a lot of the Stones stuff but that’s because I like amplified blues. I like a lot of Led Zep for the same reason, it’s blues turned up to 11. Yeah, alright, the musicologists will complain about details but….
Sometimes Led Zep even listed the original songwriters properly.
Unlike the Stones when they covered a Pop Staples piece……
He also remained a prolific songwriter. Characteristically one of his final compositions was titled When I Die, Just Bury Me at Wal-Mart (So My Wife Will Come Visit Me).
Actually rather too much musical talent for a rather weak song.
Reminds me of Lewis Grizzard (and yes, if you haven’t, you want to read some of him). Where the game is to write a country song. Which is to write just the title, from which you now know everything about how the song is going to go.