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Stolen Melodies - USA

Little Hawk 24 Aug 13 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 13 - 03:45 PM
Jack Campin 24 Aug 13 - 05:31 PM
John P 24 Aug 13 - 11:02 PM
Joe Offer 25 Aug 13 - 12:12 AM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 13 - 02:28 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Aug 13 - 08:48 PM
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Subject: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Aug 13 - 03:37 PM

Are you upset about Bob Dylan using various traditional melodies for some of his songs? If so, consider this: He is an American, and the United States of America has a long tradition for appropriating well known melodies and using them in its own official and sacred anthems!

For example, "The Star-Spangled Banner"....

"The poem by Francis Scott Keys was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "The Anacreontic Song" (or "To Anacreon in Heaven"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key's poem and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song.

And "My Country 'Tis of Thee"....

"whose melody is identical to "God Save the Queen", the British national anthem,[2] also served as a de facto anthem."

Theft, people! Outright, blatant, and unashamed artistic theft from fine British traditions, and theft by an entire nation!!!

Shocking! Unconscionable! For shame! ;-D

Well...maybe Bob was just doing what any patriotic American would by building upon existing traditions. Let's give him and the USA the benefit of the doubt on this, I say.

Then there's Woody Guthrie, who stole so many previously existing melodies that to list them all would be a truly daunting task...but...let's not even get into that.


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 13 - 03:45 PM

Tell the whole truth, Little Hawk.

Before it was absconded with by English imperialists, that tune was the anthem of Chongo Chimp's great-grandfather's homeland, Tizovthi, in eastern Africa.


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Aug 13 - 05:31 PM

"The Anacreontic Song" (or "To Anacreon in Heaven"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States

Is there any evidence for this?

It was never very popular in Britain, if the number of reprintings it didn't get is any indication. Artificially twee text, clumsy and nearly unsingable tune - a song destined for oblivion if ever there was one.

Isn't it more likely that it was something that just Key and his dog were fond of?

(It could have been an early instance of a dominant culture using a subordinate one as a cultural colostomy bag. We dumped "To Anacreon" on the Americans, then when it was payback time they dumped Sinatra, Dylan, Stephen Sondheim and Lady Gaga on us).


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: John P
Date: 24 Aug 13 - 11:02 PM

I think part of the difference is that Francis Scott Key didn't claim ownership of the melody. I don't think his brother-in-law did either, who I've heard was the person who actually put the words and the music together.

But I agree that fitting new words to existing melodies is a time-honored tradition. It's also a perfectly normal thing to do. I've done it myself. Grabbing someone else's national anthem might be a bit over the top, though. And we pay for stealing the Star Spangled Banner at every sporting event in the country. Do you realize how many people who can't sing that song do so anyway? And how bad it sounds with the current pop music pseudo-soul vocal stylings?


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Aug 13 - 12:12 AM

"To Anacreon in Heaven" was a really dumb song, and I can't imagine it achieved much popularity. Even our great-great-great-great grandparents didn't sing dumb songs, if they could help it.

But hey, it was a good melody, albeit a bit unsingable. So, it gained New Life by being paired with an American jingoistic poem. And though it may be unsingable, people love it. When I sing it at nursing homes, people stand and sing along with their hands on their hearts and tears in their eyes.



-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 02:28 PM

"And how bad it sounds with the current pop music pseudo-soul vocal stylings?"

Yes. Pretty dreadful. I sure hope no one ever does that with the Canadian national anthem.


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Subject: RE: Stolen Melodies - USA
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Aug 13 - 08:48 PM

As I said elsewhere, it's only theft if you use it and try (through copyright or other means) to prevent others from doing the same.


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