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  #76  
Old 01-02-2021, 09:32 PM
nightchef nightchef is offline
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Great thread. As a songwriter who’s also delved somewhat into poetry (I did a master’s in medieval/Renaissance lit), I feel strongly that they are related but distinct arts. Song lyrics that work as poetry in isolation from the music are the exception. In a great song, the lyrics are inseparable from the music, and the impact of the work is not the sum but the product of the two. I’m thinking of songs like Robbie Robertson’s “It Makes No Difference,” Ray Davies’ “Waterloo Sunset”, Smokey Robinson’s “My Girl”, Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows”, Joni Mitchell’s “River”.

Songwriters like these do not get more credit than they deserve — they are makers of some of the greatest art of their time. And they are (IMHO) more truly the inheritors of figures like Shakespeare and Mozart—popular artists who wrote for the enjoyment of ordinary people as well as aristocrats and scholars—than their contemporaries plying their trade in the worlds of academic music and poetry.
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  #77  
Old 01-09-2021, 09:36 AM
Ryler Ryler is offline
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I enjoyed this thread and topic, though serious opposition to the premise was a a little much for me. I know exactly what the OP meant, and the spirit in which he meant it. Referring to songwriting and poetry, Nightchef just summed it up well, "I feel strongly that they are related but distinct arts." Agreed.

But I think we may have driven MC1 off. I hope not. He's a great voice on this forum.
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  #78  
Old 01-09-2021, 01:56 PM
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When a person states an opinion to a knowledgeable and uniformed group of people they should expect knowledgeable and uniformed opinions and answers.
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  #79  
Old 01-09-2021, 02:00 PM
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We're supposed to listen to the lyrics?
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  #80  
Old 01-09-2021, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
When a person states an opinion to a knowledgeable and uniformed group of people they should expect knowledgeable and uniformed opinions and answers.
Uniformed?
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  #81  
Old 01-09-2021, 09:31 PM
PassingThru PassingThru is offline
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Twas a dark day in Dallas, November '63
A day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was a-ridin' high
Good day to be livin' and a good day to die
Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
He said, "Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?"
"Of course we do. We know who you are"
Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car
Shot down like a dog in broad daylight
Was a matter of timing and the timing was right
You got unpaid debts we've come to collect
We're gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect
We'll mock you and shock you and we'll put it in your face
We've already got someone here to take your place
The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone's eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done
Wolfman, oh wolfman, oh wolfman howl
Rub-a-dub-dub, it's a murder most foul
Hush, little children, you'll understand
The Beatles are comin', they're gonna hold your hand
Slide down the banister, go get your coat
Ferry 'cross the Mersey and go for the throat
There's three bums comin' all dressed in rags
Pick up the pieces and lower the flags
I'm going to Woodstock, it's the Aquarian Age
Then I'll go to Altamont and sit near the stage
Put your head out the window, let the good times roll
There's a party going on behind the Grassy Knoll
Stack up the bricks, pour the cement
Don't say Dallas don't love you, Mr. President
Put your foot in the tank and step on the gas
Try to make it to the triple underpass
Blackface singer, whiteface clown
Better not show your faces after the sun goes down
Up in the red light district, like a cop on the beat
Living in a nightmare on Elm Street
When you're down in Deep Ellum, put your money in your shoe
Don't ask what your country can do for you
Cash on the ballot, money to burn
Dealey Plaza, make a left-hand turn
I'm going down to the crossroads, gonna flag a ride
The place where faith, hope, and charity died
Shoot him while he runs, boy, shoot him while you can
See if you can shoot the invisible man
Goodbye, Charlie, goodbye, Uncle Sam
Frankly, Miss Scarlett, I don't give a ****
What is the truth, and where did it go?
Ask Oswald and Ruby, they oughta know
"Shut your mouth, " said the wise old owl
Business is business, and it's a murder most foul
Tommy, can you hear me? I'm the Acid Queen
I'm riding in a long, black Lincoln limousine
Riding in the backseat next to my wife
Heading straight on in to the afterlife
I'm leaning to the left, I've got my head in her lap
Hold on, I've been led into some kind of a trap
Where we ask no quarter, and no quarter do we give
We're right down the street from the street where you live
They mutilated his body, and they took out his brain
What more could they do? They piled on the pain
But his soul was not there where it was supposed to be at
For the last fifty years they've been searchin' for that
Freedom, oh freedom, freedom over me
I hate to tell you, mister, but only dead men are free
Send me some lovin', tell me no lie
Throw the gun in the gutter and walk on by
Wake up, little Susie, let's go for a drive
Cross the Trinity River, let's keep hope alive
Turn the radio on, don't touch the dials
Parkland hospital, only six more miles
You got me dizzy, Miss Lizzy, you filled me with lead
That magic bullet of yours has gone to my head
I'm just a patsy like Patsy Cline
Never shot anyone from in front or behind
I've blood in my eye, got blood in my ear
I'm never gonna make it to the new frontier
Zapruder's film I seen night before
Seen it 33 times, maybe more
It's vile and deceitful, it's cruel and it's mean
Ugliest thing that you ever have seen
They killed him once and they killed him twice
Killed him like a human sacrifice
The day that they killed him, someone said to me, "Son
The age of the Antichrist has just only begun"
Air Force One coming in through the gate
Johnson sworn in at 2:38
Let me know when you decide to throw in the towel
It is what it is, and it's murder most foul
What's new, pussycat? What'd I say?
I said the soul of a nation been torn away
And it's beginning to go into a slow decay
And that it's 36 hours past Judgment Day
Wolfman Jack, he's speaking in tongues
He's going on and on at the top of his lungs
Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack
Play it for me in my long Cadillac
Play me that "Only the Good Die Young"
Take me to the place Tom Dooley was hung
Play St. James Infirmary and the Court of King James
If you want to remember, you better write down the names
Play Etta James, too, play "I'd Rather Go Blind"
Play it for the man with the telepathic mind
Play John Lee Hooker, play "Scratch My Back"
Play it for that strip club owner named Jack
Guitar Slim going down slow
Play it for me and for Marilyn Monroe
Play, "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
Play it for the First Lady, she ain't feeling any good
Play Don Henley, play Glenn Frey
Take it to the limit and let it go by
Play it for Karl Wirsum, too
Looking far, far away at Down Gallow Avenue
Play tragedy, play "Twilight Time"
Take me back to Tulsa to the scene of the crime
Play another one and "Another One Bites the Dust"
Play "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In God We Trust"
Ride the pink horse down that long, lonesome road
Stand there and wait for his head to explode
Play "Mystery Train" for Mr. Mystery
The man who fell down dead like a rootless tree
Play it for the Reverend, play it for the Pastor
Play it for the dog that got no master
Play Oscar Peterson, play Stan Getz
Play "Blue Sky", play Dickey Betts
Play Art Pepper, Thelonious Monk
Charlie Parker and all that junk
All that junk and "All That Jazz"
Play something for the Birdman of Alcatraz
Play Buster Keaton, play Harold Lloyd
Play Bugsy Siegel, play Pretty Boy Floyd
Play the numbers, play the odds
Play "Cry Me A River" for the Lord of the gods
Play Number 9, play Number 6
Play it for Lindsey and Stevie Nicks
Play Nat King Cole, play "Nature Boy"
Play "Down In The Boondocks" for Terry Malloy
Play "It Happened One Night" and "One Night of Sin"
There's twelve million souls that are listening in
Play "Merchant of Venice", play "Merchants of Death"
Play "Stella by Starlight" for Lady Macbeth
Don't worry, Mr. President, help's on the way
Your brothers are coming, there'll be hell to pay
Brothers? What brothers? What's this about hell?
Tell them, "We're waiting. Keep coming, " we'll get them as well
Love Field is where his plane touched down
But it never did get back up off the ground
Was a hard act to follow, second to none
They killed him on the altar of the rising sun
Play "Misty" for me and "That Old Devil Moon"
Play "Anything Goes" and "Memphis in June"
Play "Lonely At the Top" and "Lonely Are the Brave"
Play it for Houdini spinning around in his grave
Play Jelly Roll Morton, play "Lucille"
Play "Deep In a Dream", and play "Driving Wheel"
Play "Moonlight Sonata" in F-sharp
And "A Key to the Highway" for the king on the harp
Play "Marching Through Georgia" and "Dumbarton's Drums"
Play darkness, and death will come when it comes
Play "Love Me Or Leave Me" by the great Bud Powell
Play "The Blood-stained Banner", play "Murder Most Foul"
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  #82  
Old 01-09-2021, 10:27 PM
aK_bAsh7 aK_bAsh7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc1 View Post
I like songs, and appreciate good lyrics. They can be powerful and meaningful, and the message is certainly enhanced by their musical and repetitive nature.

However, sometimes when people talk about Dylan or Cohen or whomever, I think they give them way too much credit. They aren't really in the same ballpark as Shakespeare or Yeats, but from some of the statements I read, it would appear that some think they are.

Songs are typically pretty short with lots of repeated sections. There just isn't much there, less that many nursery rhymes.

I'll end this post with the lyrics to Blowin' In the Wind.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, 'n' how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Yes, 'n' how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Well, poetry and song lyrics are distinctly different genres, with partially overlapping but quite differing skill sets.

Seems to me it might make (somewhat) more sense to compare poetry written during the sixties to Dylan's lyrics.

To judge Dylan's lyrics as somehow inferior when simply read off the page compared to a master poet-- whether Yeats or someone active in the sixties-- is to ignore the fundamental and inescapable fact that Dylan's lyrics are meant to be sung-- you can't divorce them from their musical context and experience the full impact. To state the obvious, the songwriting craft is about more than words alone. It's the fusion of text and music that gives it its power. AS others have mentioned, you're comparing apples to oranges.

There are a lot of songs out there, by all kinds of songwriters. Why not simply listen to what you enjoy and allow others to do the same?

Last edited by aK_bAsh7; 01-09-2021 at 10:36 PM.
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