John Lennon or Paul McCartney, who’s the better songwriter? McCartney’s 20 best Beatles songs
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
Ok, so it is about the songs, is it? Not John’s cockiness and dry wit, not Paul’s technical skill, not the fact that death is the best career step a musician can have. (John Lennon would have laughed and agreed, so shut the fuck up. ) The fact is that John Lennon’s death put a blanket over Paul McCartney’s reputation and legacy (especially his work in The Beatles) and he will not be taken seriously until they meet in rock’n roll heaven. It is only about the songs? yeah right…
Yes, I am saying that Paul suffered in critical regard because he didn’t get murdered. But…
My father used to play this great record by Roger Miller, “Roger Miller” from 1969. There was one particular song that has always stuck with me. Lately I have been listening to the lyrics more thorough and it has become one of my favourite country songs of all time.
It’s a relatively obscure record, but a great one, so start hunting collectors!
Where Have All the Average People Gone.
The late Dennis Linde wrote “Where Have All the Average People Gone.” Roger Miller recorded it and the song only reached No. 14 on the country chart in 1969, but the lyrics and social commentary still seems relevant. The song is about stereotypes and putting people into categories based on prejudices.
“Funny I don’t fit,
Where have all the average people gone?”
Roger Miller – Where have all the average people gone (audio):
I still write songs the same way I always did: I get a first line, the words and the tune together, and then I work out the rest wherever I happen to be, whenever I have time. If it’s really important, I’ll just make the time and try to finish it.
~To John Rockwell, Jan 1974
The saddest thing about songwriting is when you get something really good and you put it down for a while, and you take for granted that you’ll be able to get back to it with whatever inspired you to do it in the first place – well, whatever inspired you to do it in the first place is never there anymore. So then you’ve got to consciously stir up the inspiration to figure what it was about. Usually you get one good part and one not-sogood part, and the not-so-good wipes out the good part.
~To Bill Flanagan March 1985
[on songwriting] The song was there before me, before I came along. I just sorta came down and I sorta took it down with a pencil that it was all there before I came around. That’s how I feel about it.
~to Pete Seeger, Broadside Show, WBAI-FM Radio, May 1962
Anything I can sing, I call a song. Anything I can’t sing, I call a poem. Anything I can’t sing or anything that’s too long to be a poem, I call a novel. ~Nat Hentoff quoting Dylan, jacket notes Freewheeling Dylan
“It’s hard being free in a song – getting it all in. Songs are so confining. Woody Guthrie told me once that songs don’t have to do anything like that. But it’s not true. A song has to have some kind of form to fit into the music. You can bend the words and the meter, but it still has to fit somehow. I’ve been getting freer in the songs I write, but I still feel confined. That’s why I write a lot of poetry – if that’s the word. Poetry can make it’s own form.” ~Nat Hentoff Interview, June 1964
“A song is anything that can walk by itself, I am called a songwriter. A poem is a naked person, some people say that I am a poet”.
~Jacket notes Subterranean Homesick Blues
Saturday (April 12 – 2014) I asked the question – What’s your top 5 Bob Dylan songs recorded in the 60’s ? – over at our Facebook page. As of writing 72 people (all Bob Dylan experts) have uttered their opinions.
If you’re not on Facebook, or do not “like” our page.. you can use the comment section to post your 5 favorites.
“One place you’re going to find a lot of doctors is St. James Infirmary. This song’s history is convoluted and fascinating. Louis Armstrong recorded it as early as nineteen and twenty-eight, but it goes back much further. According to one study it got its start as a ballad called ‘The Unfortunate Rake’…”
– Bob Dylan (Theme Time Radio Hour, Doctors)
The Best Songs: St. James Infirmary blues
“St. James Infirmary Blues” is an American folksong of anonymous origin, though sometimes credited to the songwriter Joe Primrose (a pseudonym for Irving Mills). Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording.
There are hundreds of recordings and it has been difficult to choose my favourites. I’ve tried to pick some for their historic significance and some just because they are so incredibly good.
“St. James Infirmary” is based on an 18th-century traditional English folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake” (also known as “The Unfortunate Lad” or “The Young Man Cut Down in His Prime”), about a soldier who uses his money on prostitutes, and then dies of a venereal disease.
My first pick is an a cappella version of The Unfortunate Rake done by Ian McShane from the TV-series Deadwood (we can also clearly hear the melody that became Streets of Laredo):