Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


do songwriters' personal lives matter?

Andy7 06 Dec 18 - 07:41 PM
meself 06 Dec 18 - 07:57 PM
Joe Offer 06 Dec 18 - 09:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Dec 18 - 09:57 PM
Lighter 06 Dec 18 - 11:00 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 02:13 AM
Will Fly 07 Dec 18 - 03:54 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 05:42 AM
Jack Campin 07 Dec 18 - 06:24 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 18 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Harry Hewitt 07 Dec 18 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,Gerry 07 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 18 - 07:25 AM
Jack Campin 07 Dec 18 - 07:36 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 08:10 AM
Iains 07 Dec 18 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 07 Dec 18 - 08:56 AM
Jeri 07 Dec 18 - 09:11 AM
Iains 07 Dec 18 - 09:39 AM
Lighter 07 Dec 18 - 09:46 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 18 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Andy7 07 Dec 18 - 10:02 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Dec 18 - 10:09 AM
Jeri 07 Dec 18 - 10:13 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 18 - 10:17 AM
Jeri 07 Dec 18 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Andy7 07 Dec 18 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 07 Dec 18 - 11:03 AM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 12:10 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Dec 18 - 01:14 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 18 - 01:16 PM
robomatic 07 Dec 18 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,matt milton 07 Dec 18 - 02:30 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 03:09 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 18 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Dec 18 - 06:04 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 06:11 PM
Andy7 07 Dec 18 - 06:18 PM
Joe_F 07 Dec 18 - 06:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Dec 18 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Dec 18 - 06:40 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,Grishka 07 Dec 18 - 06:43 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 06:44 PM
punkfolkrocker 07 Dec 18 - 06:47 PM
Andy7 07 Dec 18 - 07:15 PM
Lighter 07 Dec 18 - 07:25 PM
meself 07 Dec 18 - 07:56 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 08:56 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 18 - 08:57 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Dec 18 - 09:14 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 07 Dec 18 - 10:15 PM
Jeri 07 Dec 18 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,Grishka 08 Dec 18 - 04:37 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 18 - 06:26 AM
Iains 08 Dec 18 - 06:44 AM
Jack Campin 08 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 18 - 07:28 AM
Andy7 08 Dec 18 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Teribus 08 Dec 18 - 08:00 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 18 - 08:07 AM
Will Fly 08 Dec 18 - 08:17 AM
Will Fly 08 Dec 18 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Kenny B Sans Kuki 08 Dec 18 - 08:20 AM
Lighter 08 Dec 18 - 09:26 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Dec 18 - 10:52 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Dec 18 - 11:18 AM
punkfolkrocker 08 Dec 18 - 03:20 PM
Johnny J 08 Dec 18 - 06:05 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 18 - 06:37 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Dec 18 - 06:39 PM
Jack Campin 09 Dec 18 - 04:29 AM
Iains 09 Dec 18 - 04:50 AM
Will Fly 09 Dec 18 - 05:16 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM
michaelr 09 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM
Iains 09 Dec 18 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 09 Dec 18 - 06:57 AM
Jack Campin 09 Dec 18 - 07:07 AM
Iains 09 Dec 18 - 08:54 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 18 - 09:25 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM
Jeri 09 Dec 18 - 09:43 AM
Jeri 09 Dec 18 - 09:45 AM
Iains 09 Dec 18 - 09:57 AM
punkfolkrocker 09 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM
punkfolkrocker 09 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Dec 18 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,KennyB(inactive) 09 Dec 18 - 12:21 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Dec 18 - 12:34 PM
Jack Campin 09 Dec 18 - 12:37 PM
punkfolkrocker 09 Dec 18 - 01:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Dec 18 - 01:11 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Andy7
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 07:41 PM

Should we avoid performing songs written by people who have had dubious personal lives?

Very few people would actually want to sing anything written by those guilty of the most heinous crimes.

At the other end of the scale, no songwriter is likely to have led an entirely blameless life.

So, should we draw a line somewhere? And if so, where?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: meself
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 07:57 PM

No.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 09:20 PM

In general, I think that the personal lives of songwriters shouldn't matter. If the song is good, sing it.

We've had a few songwriters who have been questioned here at Mudcat over the years. One is the late Ernest Sands, a Catholic priest and child molester who wrote two very good hymns that are in common use (Sing of the Lord's Goodness and Song of Farewell) - Sands eventually committed suicide.

Another sex offender songwriter, of course, is Rolf Harris.

I had a church music professor in college who insisted he wouldn't perform music by any composer he considered "immoral" - but I've always considered the professor (a priest) to be a real bastard.

But if the song is good, go for it.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 09:57 PM

The personal lives of songwriters are a major factor in shaping their songs.   But the songs stand on their own, and should be judged and sung (or not sung) on their own merits.

The same goes for paintings, sculpture, music, films...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 11:00 PM

In theory, of course a good song should be separable from a villainous author.

But our brains are not compartmentalized. If a song makes you uncomfortable for any reason, why sing it?

A more interesting question may be, how uncomfortable do you have to be to object to someone *else* singing a song - written by, say, Charles Manson?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 02:13 AM

My usual reponse is...

What if Hitler, despite his day job, had actally continued painting
and become one of the finest Landscape artists of the 20th Century...???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 03:54 AM

More to the point: what if you didn't know that the wonderful landscape was by Hitler?

It's the age-old dilemma - do you separate the artist as a person from the art he/she creates? If you know nothing of the one, then you can have no preconceptions of the other. The work of art stands alone, just as it is.

It's when you get to know more about the personal life of the artist that the difficulty arises.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 05:42 AM

I'm not having any music by Wagner in my house, though I'd defend to the death anyone who wants to listen to it or perform it. I had to bite my lip when I heard that Daniel Barenboim, a hero of mine, was going to perform Wagner in Israel, but that's the way the world is and I won't fall out of love with him. Likewise, I won't listen to music conducted by Herbert Von Karajan. To me, this is a very personal thing. I've struggled when I've read about the lives and wartime doings of Furtwangler and Richard Strauss and am very likely biased because I love what they produced, but "I've given them a pass" after doing a lot of reading about them. I think it's absolutely down to you personally as to what you can or can't stomach and as to where you draw the line, so, to me, there's no one answer to this question.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:24 AM

I love almost all of Wagner's mature music. Finding time to listen to it is a problem. There has been a lot written in recent years about what he was actually up to, and the stereotype is bollocks. Mussorgsky was the man if you want an example of a real bottled-in-bond anti-semite; I like his stuff nearly as much. Janacek was apparently a Slavophile racist - I'm just back from the biennial festival of his music in Brno. Fauré and Debussy were both repulsive misogynists (and Debussy a nationalist bigot as well) but I don't hear it in what they wrote. Piazzolla supported the Argentine generals right through the worst of their reign of terror.

All the music I know by actual signed-up fascists is kinda boring - Mascagni, Rodrigo - but who knows there may be exceptions. Karayannis (who joined the Nazi party twice to make sure) did produce a few interesting performances along with the mass-produced glitz.

Meanwhile I have recently bought a lot of CDs of Gesualdo and Philip Pickett, whose criminal recordes are indisputable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:42 AM

AN EXTREME EXAMPLE THE DILEMMA HERE - still being debated nearly 8 decades after the events
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Harry Hewitt
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:55 AM

They have lives like the rest of us and who asks?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Richard Strauss:

Strauss in Nazi Germany
Reichsmusikkammer
In March 1933, when Strauss was 68, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party rose to power. Strauss never joined the Nazi party, and studiously avoided Nazi forms of greeting. For reasons of expediency, however, he was initially drawn into cooperating with the early Nazi regime in the hope that Hitler—an ardent Wagnerian and music lover who had admired Strauss' work since viewing Salome in 1907—would promote German art and culture. Strauss's need to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and Jewish grandchildren also motivated his behavior,[18] in addition to his determination to preserve and conduct the music of banned composers such as Gustav Mahler and Claude Debussy.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his private notebook:

I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence—the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.
Meanwhile, far from being an admirer of Strauss's work, Joseph Goebbels maintained expedient cordiality with Strauss only for a period. Goebbels wrote in his diary:

Unfortunately we still need him, but one day we shall have our own music and then we shall have no further need of this decadent neurotic.

Nevertheless, because of Strauss's international eminence, in November 1933 he was appointed to the post of president of the newly founded Reichsmusikkammer, the Reich Music Chamber. Strauss, who had lived through numerous political regimes and had no interest in politics, decided to accept the position but to remain apolitical, a decision which would eventually become untenable. He wrote to his family, "I made music under the Kaiser, and under Ebert. I'll survive under this one as well." In 1935 he wrote in his journal:

In November 1933, the minister Goebbels nominated me president of the Reichsmusikkammer without obtaining my prior agreement. I was not consulted. I accepted this honorary office because I hoped that I would be able to do some good and prevent worse misfortunes, if from now onwards German musical life were going to be, as it was said, "reorganized" by amateurs and ignorant place-seekers.
Strauss privately scorned Goebbels and called him "a pipsqueak". However, in 1933 he dedicated an orchestral song, "Das Bächlein" ("The Little Brook"), to Goebbels, in order to gain his cooperation in extending German music copyright laws from 30 years to 50 years.

Strauss attempted to ignore Nazi bans on performances of works by Debussy, Mahler, and Mendelssohn. He also continued to work on a comic opera, Die schweigsame Frau, with his Jewish friend and librettist Stefan Zweig. When the opera was premiered in Dresden in 1935, Strauss insisted that Zweig's name appear on the theatrical billing, much to the ire of the Nazi regime. Hitler and Goebbels avoided attending the opera, and it was halted after three performances and subsequently banned by the Third Reich.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss wrote a letter to Stefan Zweig, in which he stated:

Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am 'German'? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously 'Aryan' when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none.
This letter to Zweig was intercepted by the Gestapo and sent to Hitler. Strauss was subsequently dismissed from his post as Reichsmusikkammer president in 1935. The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics nevertheless used Strauss's Olympische Hymne, which he had composed in 1934. Strauss's seeming relationship with the Nazis in the 1930s attracted criticism from some noted musicians, including Arturo Toscanini, who in 1933 had said, "To Strauss the composer I take off my hat; to Strauss the man I put it back on again", when Strauss had accepted the presidency of the Reichsmusikkammer. Much of Strauss's motivation in his conduct during the Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice and his Jewish grandchildren from persecution. Both of his grandsons were bullied at school, but Strauss used his considerable influence to prevent the boys or their mother being sent to concentration camps.

Friedenstag
In 1938, when the entire nation was preparing for war, Strauss created Friedenstag (Peace Day), a one-act opera set in a besieged fortress during the Thirty Years' War. The work is essentially a hymn to peace and a thinly veiled criticism of the Third Reich. With its contrasts between freedom and enslavement, war and peace, light and dark, this work has a close affinity with Beethoven's Fidelio. Productions of the opera ceased shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939.


Strauss at Garmisch in 1938
When his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice was placed under house arrest in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1938, Strauss used his connections in Berlin, including opera-house General Intendant Heinz Tietjen, to secure her safety. He drove to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in order to argue, albeit unsuccessfully, for the release of Alice's grandmother, Paula Neumann. In the end, Neumann and 25 other relatives were murdered in the camps. While Alice's mother, Marie von Grab, was safe in Lucerne, Switzerland, Strauss also wrote several letters to the SS pleading for the release of her children who were also held in camps; his letters were ignored.

In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna. However, Strauss was unable to protect his Jewish relatives completely; in early 1944, while Strauss was away, Alice and his son Franz were abducted by the Gestapo and imprisoned for two nights. Strauss's personal intervention at this point saved them, and he was able to take them back to Garmisch, where the two remained under house arrest until the end of the war.

Metamorphosen
Strauss completed the composition of Metamorphosen, a work for 23 solo strings, in 1945. The title and inspiration for the work comes from a profoundly self-examining poem by Goethe, which Strauss had considered setting as a choral work. Generally regarded as one of the masterpieces of the string repertoire, Metamorphosen contains Strauss's most sustained outpouring of tragic emotion. Conceived and written during the blackest days of World War II, the piece expresses Strauss's mourning of, among other things, the destruction of German culture—including the bombing of every great opera house in the nation. At the end of the war, Strauss wrote in his private diary:

The most terrible period of human history is at an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom.
In April 1945, Strauss was apprehended by American soldiers at his Garmisch estate. As he descended the staircase he announced to Lieutenant Milton Weiss of the U.S. Army, "I am Richard Strauss, the composer of Rosenkavalier and Salome." Lt. Weiss, who was also a musician, nodded in recognition. An "Off Limits" sign was subsequently placed on the lawn to protect Strauss. The American oboist John de Lancie, who knew Strauss's orchestral writing for oboe thoroughly, was in the army unit, and asked Strauss to compose an oboe concerto. Initially dismissive of the idea, Strauss completed this late work, his Oboe Concerto, before the end of the year.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:25 AM

As an admirer of our most prolific and talented songwriter who, thirty years after his death, is still being dug up to give a ritual kicking, I have to say I view this subject with a somewhat wry smile
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:36 AM

So from what Gerry quotes, it appears that Strauss was to Nazism what Jeremy Corbyn is to Brexit.

I actually know a classical composer who is a UKIP activist. He isn't very good and you aren't likely to have an opportunity to boycott him, so there's no point in naming and shaming.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:10 AM

My point wasn't that I eschew the music of anyone with a dodgy personal history. I regard Karajan and Wagner as extremists with shrivelled hearts and souls and don't want anything to do with them. Even brexiteers and Ukippers may have good points, however. It's just me, that's all. I have no reason on earth to disrespect anyone for being a Wagner lover. Didn't know that about Mussorgsky. Thank Christ I hate his music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:22 AM

Surely the merit of the work stands on its own regardless of the originator. Do we deny the use of medical data because it is derived from sources we are extremely uncomfortable about? It is not merely Nazi experimental data, let us not forget Porton Down and the "common cold research" and Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. or even medical data derived from animal experiments. The data exists. To refuse to use it on ethical grounds in my view demeans and dishonours those whose sacrifice produced it.
Do we abuse newton and deny his laws because he dabbled in esoteric arts? Do we ignore the scientific contribution of Einstein and Tesla because they may have been on the autism spectrum? Where does it end?
It is as ridiculous as dismissing articles by a person because you do not like his politics.Do you refuse to use an autobahn because they are a legacy of the Nazis? A total absurdity.
To be able to create a song that is successful is a gift. It is a roll of the dice as to who was granted that gift so why attach any significance to it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:56 AM

I'd just like to point out to Jim Carroll that Richard Thompson is still alive, and is also one of our most talented guitarists.
:-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 09:11 AM

I think we don't want to support people who do bad things, but if enjoying what they created doesn't support them, doesn't enable them to keep doing bad things, then it's not a big deal. If it gets in the way of your enjoyment, then avoid their creations.

It's like any form of communication: there's the messenger, the message, and the receiver. Anything that gets in the way significantly enough to eff up the experience and ruin enjoyment, just let it go.

(And if you sing a song you like, and somebody gives you chapters and volumes of opinions about why you shouldn't sing that, because that songwriter was a _______, then you're probably just in a Mudcat thread.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 09:39 AM

Jeri I do like your concluding sentence.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 09:46 AM

In the cold light of reason, medical and other scientifically established data, if accurate, are matters of fact of potentially significant value, no matter how distastefully acquired. Even if the methods used to establish a fact are repugnant or revolting, as in the cases cited, a recognized fact is a recognized fact.

But whether the Nazis, for example, used methods untainted by their all-consuming ideology, and thus established medical facts, is another matter. Whether they, or the syphilis study, discovered anything of real importance is another matter still. Whether a scientist or statistician should bring himself to even consider the findings, given their awful origin, is a third issue.

In contrast, biographical data are also factual but of less practical significance than scientific findings.

Now for art. The value of a work of art is almost entirely subjective. There's no way to demonstrate the "accuracy" or "correctness" or objective truth of an aesthetic response. All you can do is to enjoy or dismiss, and, if you've a mind to, try to persuade others to see the work of art your way.

And as long as we're talking theory, my theory is that I can enjoy Wagner because his antisemitism was at a low level, perhaps even lower than Stephen Foster's white racism.

But, so far as I know, such artists didn't harass, persecute, torture, or kill anybody. So I, personally, give their productions a pass despite their creators' personal failings - mainstream at the time. (Based on The Merchant of Venice, a case can be made that Shakespeare was a brilliant dramatist but still a conventional Elizabethan antisemite: just saying.)

Much of my willingness to blink at Wagner and Foster comes from my gut-level enjoyment of their best work. That reaction will usually override any logical arguments, which come later.

On the other hand, if a hypothetical Hitler had created hypothetical landscape masterpieces, I would disdain them, no matter how technically accomplished and acclaimed. Not because of my level of art appreciation, but because I know the "master" was also a monster.

Would that be "fair to the paintings," as some might say?

No. You don't have to be fair to a painting. Paintings don't have feelings.

Would it be "fair to the artist"?

Absolutely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:01 AM

I have in my repertoire a couple of songs written by a songwriter who was convicted of an unpleasant crime when an older man.

But he wrote those songs decades earlier; so the man that wrote the songs hadn't committed, or even considered, the crime, as far as anyone can tell.

I wonder whether that makes a difference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Andy7
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:02 AM

Oops - last guest was me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:09 AM

Too bleeding complicated.

one thing you may have noticed though. Advertise for musicians, and you always attract two or three psychopaths.

Some you recognise straightaway...you know the sort of thing.
Drummer wanted...sense of rhythm an advantage.
But the ones you only find out about their condition driving to gig a few weeks later.

But then you've got to say to yourself...well he plays the banjo all right, what matter his collection human heads in the fridge?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:13 AM

I'm reminded that a Press Room session attendee used to sing "Old Black Joe". It's a lovely song, but people know it was written by Stephen Foster. Now, the can think he was a racist because he lived and wrote in racist times, and wrote minstrel songs. He never lived in the south, though. If you listen to "Old Black Joe", it's just a sweet, sad song. Foster had issues, but I don't believe racism was one of them.

And now, it gets down to whether you believe gossip, and generally unproven, but rumored Bad Things? You can probably find a way to drop most songs out of your repertoire. Is it about the music, or about a cult of personality? No judgement on what you decide, just don't believe other people should share your decision.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:17 AM

I'd just like to point out to Jim Carroll that Richard Thompson is still alive, and is also one of our most talented guitarists.
:-) :-) :-)
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:21 AM

This is kind of a test to see if anybody read the opening post...

Andy, I'd say if it doesn't matter to you, just sing them and let other people argue about it.

The funny thing about folk music is that composers are usually forgotten. Who knows if the guy who originally wrote Barbara Allen used to molest farm animals?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Andy7
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:28 AM

Yes that's a good point! Old trdaitional folk songs have been changed so much across the years, by so many different people, and some of those contributors must have been pretty nasty!

Also ... even where the writer is known, and comparitvely blameless ... what about their proofreader, their publisher, the singer/s that made the song famous, the DJs that played the song ...

Probably every song is tainted in some way, by some connection to it. (Except maybe the songs I've written myself, haha!)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 11:03 AM

even where the writer is known, and comparatively blameless ... what about their proofreader, their publisher, the singer/s that made the song famous, the DJs that played the song ...

I once read an interview with Gyorgy Lukacs where he said "an artist is responsible for the use of their work till the end of time".

Interviewer gulped a bit and asked Lukacs for an example of somebody who passed his test.

Lukacs said "there is not a bar of Mozart that can be misused".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 12:10 PM

Well.... I'll still enjoy Gary Glitter's glam rock hit singles...

..just maybe not as loudly, in case folks are walking past our bay window.....

[an innocent bloke up the road in Bristol was accused of being a paedo,
then beaten and burnt to death,
just because halwitted thug vigelantes thought he looked a bit weird...]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 01:14 PM

"Who knows if the guy who originally wrote Barbara Allen used to molest farm animals?"
The sheep maybe?
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 01:16 PM

It matters for certain songs - the ones about his/her personal lives.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: robomatic
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 01:58 PM

The most honest answer I can give is that for me it does not matter - until it does.

The observational answer is that usually damaged people produce damaged products.

Formally I take the First Amendment view. If it can be put in print, it should stand or fall on its own merits. To quote Robert Graves' Claudius: "Let all the poison that lurks in the mud hatch out."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 02:30 PM

I don't understand how anyone could feel comfortable singing a song they knew was written by a child molester. Doesn't matter how much I liked the song, it would just feel horrible.

I had precisely this kind of experience recently. I was checking out recordings of Etudes by Frederic Chopin. I came across recordings of them by Wilhelm Backhaus. They are amazing - really beautiful performances that are genuinely innovative, witty, and manage to sound very modern and complex.

Wanting to find out more about Wilhelm Backhaus a day or two later, I discovered he was complicit with the Nazis in wartime germany and gave a private recital for Hitler.

It just immediately put me off wanting to listen to them ever again. And if I ever did, all I would hear would be some music by the guy that played for Hitler.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 02:58 PM

I can enjoy music / art by depraved human beings,
I can even enjoy music/art/cultural products that are considered by my liberal/lefty contemporaries
to be vile and untouchable....

How...???

I just have this innate ability to switch intellectual and pleasure modes
depending on the material I am currently enjoying.
To engage distinctly separate areas of my critical faculties...

Does that mean I might be a sociopath...!!!???

..or just open minded, at the same time as being keenly aware of the rights and wrongs of contentious material.

Having said that, there are things I will never consider going anywhere near, because they are illegal
and do not interest me, or so inhumane they make me despair of humanity...

20 odd years ago, some building site labourer housemates had a copy of 'Animal Farm' VHS
they'd acquired from their 'blueys*' dealer.
I caught a few seconds of it on the communal TV,
then left them to it laughing their bollocks off with cans of beer...
same for their German scat videos...


[*blue movies - delicate mudcatters.. well might be one or two...???]


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 03:09 PM

In this thread I think it's fine to express our subjective opinions about what we will or won't listen to or perform for whatever reasons. What would be wrong would be to prescribe things for anyone else. I don't think less of people who are Wagner completists. In addition, we are all free to dig and delve into composers' private lives - or not. You could love Wagner without ever having done any research into him, and that's perfectly valid. Of course, my expressed opinion about his antisemitism (which was anything but "low-level," incidentally) might get the occasional Wagner aficionado thinking a little. No harm in that either. Quite a difficult thing is to decide how much allowance should be made for behaviour that's "of its time." Richard Strauss held his nose but undeniably did little to impede the legitimisation of Naziism. Furtwangler was a great musician but also an apolitical, naive sucker who maybe didn't realise how useful he was being to Hitler. Whether that's forgivable is up to you. Yehudi Menuhin certainly forgave him. Karajan, on the other hand, was a cheerfully card-carrying Nazi who knew exactly what he was promoting and celebrating in Hitler's wartime Germany. That won't do for me. I'm no fan of his severely self-regarding and autocratic behaviour with his orchestra either (he had James Galway removed from the team photo because he refused to shave off his beard, which Herbert detested, and made it clear that any photo of himself must be taken from his chosen angle only. I suppose such things shouldn't affect my judgement, but at the end of the day it's MY judgement!)

As it happens I think that Wagner's music is overbearing, overblown, full of ego and had a deleterious effect on a number of other composers who tried to follow him. His work became a dead end. But what's that got to do with it! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 03:22 PM

I did not know nor care.

However, this is now forever tainted.

Play me digeridoo, Blue
Play me digeridoo
Keep playin' it till I shoot through, Blue
Play me digireedoo


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:04 PM

What worries me most in this thread is that all contributors except for "GUEST,Gerry 07 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM" are absolutely sure they know who is a villain. Tabloid newspapers and analogous media have done their venomous job.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:11 PM

Not fair. We all have our opinions about people and we fairly express them, but nobody here is telling anyone else what they should or shouldn't embrace.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Andy7
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:18 PM

"What worries me most in this thread is that all contributors except for "GUEST,Gerry 07 Dec 18 - 07:05 AM" are absolutely sure they know who is a villain."

Please don't make such a sweeping statement without evidence to back it up.

Have you really read every post in this thread carefully, and then fairly concluded that 'all contributors ... are absolutely sure they know who is a villain'? My guess is 'no'!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Joe_F
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:27 PM

Hans Leip, who wrote the words to "Lili Marlene" (mostly during W.W. I), was not a Nazi, but survived the war in Germany. Norbert Schulze, who fitted it with the music we all know, was an actual member of the party and wrote songs to encourage the troops in eastern Europe. I do not hesitate in the least to sing the song -- even the German, which is far more poetic than any of the English versions I have heard. It would be a pity to do without it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:29 PM

One advantage of traditional folk songs is that you can't even begin to worry about all this kind of stuff. All you have is the song.

In fact only quite rarely have I any notion of the names, let alone the character of whoever wrote the songs I enjoy in any type of music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:40 PM

Andy, the evidence is up there. I admit that "all" is an exaggeration.

The actual fallacy is to conclude from "was convicted of ..." or "was caught ..." or "wrote texts that I consider ...ist" to "was a villain". People do things for various reasons, and even if convicted rightfully to the last iota of the law my still be trustworthy in other aspects.

The converse is more common, though: highly respected persons of rotten morals.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:42 PM

GUEST,Grishka - try reading the entire thread before spouting off and making yourself look so silly...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:43 PM

Godwin's law in full action, proving my point as a corollary.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:44 PM

GUEST,Grishka - we cross posted - fair enough, you now recognise your hasty writing...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 06:47 PM

ps.. bollocks to Godwin's pompous 'law'...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Andy7
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:15 PM

Yes, that so-called 'law' is just one person's strange idea, haha!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:25 PM

Hitler is a useful figure in these discussions because he provides an extreme test case.

Before Hitler, and before the Internet, I believe Caligula and Nero were the usual examples.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: meself
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 07:56 PM

No one's going to stop me listening to my recordings of Nero fiddling!! (The snap, crackle and pop just add to the ambience ... ).

As for Henry VIII, now - I'll have to give another listen .......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:56 PM

It's a good topic is this, and one that has given me a fair amount of angst over the years. Trouble is, I tend to like reading of the lives of composers and musicians and, quite often, my readings throw up some unexpected unsavoury aspects. Schubert and Benjamin Britten certainly liked to hang around with what we'd regard today as, er, under-aged persons. Mozart was obsessed with bare bottoms and turds. We've had more disconcerting info from Jack about Mussorgsky and Debussy. And so on.

Mind you, what's so wrong with bare bottoms anyway...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 08:57 PM

...and that was a serious point!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 09:14 PM

Everybody's life matters...doesn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:15 PM

No.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 18 - 10:25 PM

1. Godwin's Law isn't appicable when one is talking about actual nazis.
2. If you thought what I said looked like I was "absolutely sure they [I] know who is a villain", then you can't read.
3. When someone goes after people in a thread instead of discussing the thread topic, most folks call it "trolling". It's an attempt to lure others into an off-topic argument. (Which I guess I fell for, so I'm done with that.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 04:37 AM

Jeri, you are still missing my point and stepping into the same trap again.

1. "Godwin's law" is a satirical notion, applicable to a large field of "rhetorical tricks" and/or fallacies. Calling anyone an "actual nazi" is such an example: "s/he did something in the sense of the NSDAP, therefore s/he is/was an actual nazi, therefore s/he is among the worst villains, guilty of millions of murders". Of course, real villains did and do exist, but to prove it takes more care. Best avoid such words as "nazi" altogether.

2. and 3. I am not "going after people". The thread topic as I understand it is whether works of art can be devalued by moral deficiencies of their authors, and my contribution is that such deficiencies are often diagnosed from too little information.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 06:26 AM

Equally, deficiencies can be understated via too little information. There's a classic example here in this thread, when Wagner was excused somewhat because his antisemitism was "low level." I'm not sure what that means, but a little delving into Wagner's life and personality reveals that his antisemitic and racist ideas, which are in writing in voluminous amounts, set out to damage the reputations of contemporary Jewish composers and, eventually, fed directly into Nazi ideology. We can't blame Wagner for Hitler exactly; equally I can't help feeling that they'd have got on like a house on fire. His views were detestable and were writ large. I don't know how that can be reconciled with "low level."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 06:44 AM

Instead of Hitler what is wrong with Vlad the impaler or Attila the Hun? What happened to equal rights?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 07:01 AM

Those composers' reputations needed damaging, though! Meyerbeer was his main target, and he WAS an overrated mediocrity who had hyped himself into a cult figure.

Dunno what Wagner said about Mendelssohn - he may have been Jewish but his best work is early and pagan in inspiration. He then turned into a Christian prude and churned out hours of stuffy pious mediocrity. His Jewish origins never came into it either way.

You don't have to look far in the folk scene to find real live racists. Griogair Labhruidh is part of the small and ugly racially Anglophobe tendency in Scottish nationalism, as is the piper James Macdonald Reid. There are many worse in the Irish and English scenes. And there are a few posters on Mudcat I'd never consider listening to because of their vicious opinions - the only reason I'd ever want to know who "Keith A of Hertford" really was would be so I could avoid listening to anything that evil thug ever recorded (if in fact he ever performed any music at all, he never referred to it).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 07:27 AM

Actually, Jack, Keith was a regular performer of songs and was very well-liked as such in his local area. Joe Offer told me that the chap we know as beardedbruce is, in real life, an amiable and agreeable fellow. We have to be a tad careful as to how we judge people in this rather two-dimensional Mudcat world, in which it's more than possible to set up your persona in a way that might not equate to you in real life.

Whether or not you think those composers' reputations need damaging (I definitely disagree about Mendelssohn but don't know much Meyerbeer), Wagner set out to damage them because they were Jews.. As I was trying to say, too little information can end up with our exonerating people who don't deserve to be exonerated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 07:28 AM

Ok.. for any mudcatters who think Hitler might be getting an unfair bashing in this thread...

The n@zis were probably the best looking dictatorship in modern history...
What an excellent sense of design and theatricallity...
Terrific designed uniforms, pagentry, and weaponry...!!!
Shows the difference an artist at the head of a conquest for total world domination can make...

Mind you, we at least did have the Spitfire.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Andy7
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 07:38 AM

Yes, the spitfire was certainly a work of art, with its pleasing lines and dimensions; although of course that wasn't the main consideration of its designers.

Interestingly, if I'd been alive during the war, and at high and constant risk of invasion and occupation from an evil dictatorship, I wouldn't have cared one jot - at the time - how racist, misogynist or otherwise unpleasant any of the spitfire pilots were, as long as they were good at their job!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 08:00 AM

Campin Jack, that last sentence of your post was totally uncalled for. The recently deceased Keith A of Hertford was neither evil or a thug, unlike the cabal on this forum who were permitted to "mob", harass and insult him constantly and mercilessly for a period of over six years, they continued to do so knowing of his illness and how serious his condition was. That he neither buckled nor bent in the face of such bullying is a testament to his character, and shines a light on the pitiful and shoddy nature of the characters of his detractors. He did perform as anyone could glean by referencing posts in his Obituary Thread - all such references were positive and from them I gather he was a very talented singer, well worth listening to. Your loss.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 08:07 AM

I can only speak from my experience - but most musicians I have ever known
have been a very dodgy bunch of people...

Unreliable and untrustworthy.
Some downright ruthless and treacherous.

Blame it on the alcohol and druggie life style...???
Throw in a personality disorders and mental illness...????

When I was a naive teenager in the 1970s I had this odd notion
that people who aspired to a life of music and art were the best and purest hearted of folks.

After 15 years or so working in photography I got completely sick of the ambitious back stabbing bastards
I encountered in studios, galleries, and arts colleges, in London.

Call me disillusioned, but...

It was quite relaxing getting back into folk music after all that shite...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 08:17 AM

I can only speak from my experience - but most musicians I have ever known have been a very dodgy bunch of people...

It was quite relaxing getting back into folk music after all that shite...

Ah, so people who perform folk music aren't musicians. Nice to see my prejudices confirmed. (Only joking!)

I don't think you can ever generalise about any set of people, whether they're musicians, scientists, artists or whatever. Individuals are individuals, and varied in character. Take people as you find them - and remember "mote and beam". Your opinions reflect yourself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 08:17 AM

Should have looked like:

I can only speak from my experience - but most musicians I have ever known have been a very dodgy bunch of people...

It was quite relaxing getting back into folk music after all that shite...


Ah, so people who perform folk music aren't musicians. Nice to see my prejudices confirmed. (Only joking!)

I don't think you can ever generalise about any set of people, whether they're musicians, scientists, artists or whatever. Individuals are individuals, and varied in character. Take people as you find them - and remember "mote and beam". Your opinions reflect yourself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Kenny B Sans Kuki
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 08:20 AM

I think the crux of the matter, well for those of a religious bent or otherwise, in succinct terms is

"Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?"

And for the pedants
Though it is widely attested that Booth used this adage, it originates in the 18th century, being attributed to George Whitefield, in The Monthly Review, or, Literary Journal, Vol. 49 (June 1773 - January 1774), p. 430; it has also been reported as a remark made by Rowland Hill, when he arranged an Easter hymn to the tune of "Pretty, Pretty Polly Hopkins, in The Rambler, Vol. 9 (1858), p. 191, as well as being attributed to Charles Wesley, and sometimes his brother John.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 09:26 AM

Concerning Wagner, Steve Shaw obviously knows more about his personal life than I do.

By "low-level," of course, I meant compared to Nazis.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 10:52 AM

Heydrich was from a family of prominent musicians and apparently was a pretty damn good classical violinist. No doubt people heard his playing and gasped at the sensitivity of his interpretation of Beethoven.

Interestingly the SS uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss. So remember the gas ovens when you sniff that aftershave in your Christmas stocking.

Like I say - a bloody complicated proposition.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 11:18 AM

"Tezz has as much right to comment as the rest of us."
On the subject in hand
He does not have a right to attack members of this forum in the way he chooses to do here
I ask again that his post is removed - a head-to-head on his accusations is exactly the type of thing that gets threads closed
If he has scores to settle with Mudcatters (among which he is no longer included), I suggest he goes elsewhere to do it
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 03:20 PM

I think this thread demonstrates that it is possible to respect a person's public reputation,
and hold their contribution to the arts and culture in high esteem,
whilst finding their personality very problematic, even troubling...

I can also say the same thing about folks I have known and consider friends
in local constituency Labour Party politics...

We are only human and need to maintain patience, tolerance, and a good sense of humour...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Johnny J
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 06:05 PM

I've no intention of getting involved in this slanging match here but would like to address the original question.

I think personal and private lives are important IF a songwriter or any other person advocates or "preaches"(as is often the case) some other mode of behaviour or is suggesting that the listener takes a certain path.

Of course, a songwriter might also compose a song to illustrate the standpoint or experiences of other people apart from his or herself which is maybe a trickier scenario. However, there is often still a message or moral in there somewhere which is intended to be conveyed to the listener. So, that shouldn't really be at odds with the writer's own behaviour.

As for not listening to songs or music by certain individuals, I agree that if the finished product in itself is good and apparently worthwhile then there's no need for it to be rejected.
After all, we all consume and use products and services on a daily basis where dubious and unsavoury people are often involved in the process or preparation.
e.g.. We don't always know who is working in the kitchen of restaurant, serving behind the counters of shops, delivering food and other mecrchandise to shops and so on. There's any number of examples.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 06:37 PM

That is all very true, and I return again to my original point, that we all make our own considered decisions, draw our own red lines, or don't even bother to dig deeper for we don't want to, and no-one should think less of us for that. Personally, I put art slightly above food production and delivery. At risk of sounding severely biased, when I listen to Wagner I hear his overblown ego coming through the threadbare superficiality of his "art." Conversely, I hear Beethoven's sheer humanity coming through in his music, as well as his flaws. Art is all about communicating. It must be quite hard to conceal your nastiness in beautiful art, which is surely a product of your soul.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Dec 18 - 06:39 PM

IF we don't want to


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 04:29 AM

I don't hear any gratuitous ego in Wagner's music. He was committed to telling a story using the most effective means he could find. How is there any more ego in the start of Tristan than there is in the start of Schubert's Unfinished? Both draw you into the start of a long journey. In the folk scene there are singers and storytellers who start every narrative with a gratuitous assertion of personality - the best of them, like Martin Carthy, take Wagner's approach and don't.

And in Wagner's social/political writings, his advocacy of vegetarianism and the rights of animals show a degree of tenderness and concern that Keith never showed towards anything in creation in his posts here, with their unmitigated bullying and hatred. It's obvious which of them came across better in print as someone you'd like to know personally and whose music you'd like to give a hearing.

The classical music scene has always been somewhat forgiving. Gesualdo had no problem getting his music published and reasonably widely known, despite disgusting his contemporaries with his criminality. Nicolas Gombert served a sentence in the galleys for fiddling with choirboys and picked up his very successful career regardless.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 04:50 AM

I take exception to the automatic assumption by a few "artists" that their stage persona gives them the right to inflict their political beliefs on us. Bono and Geldof spring to mind. However realistically politics and song has been intermixed since a frog first croaked so perhaps I should correct the above to state politics in the lyrics is a very different beast to the author talking or embracing politics both on and off the stage. Even the anodyne beatles were banned in Eastern Europe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 05:16 AM

Interestingly, there was a documentary recently shown on BBC4 - "How The Beatles Helped Bring Down The Berlin Wall" - which purported to show how the popularity of their music helped, in its own way,to undermine the politics of the Eastern bloc. Whether this was all true or not, I can't say, but the banning of the "anodyne" Beatles may have been because their musical power was recognised as subversive - in Communist terms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 05:26 AM

"How The Beatles Helped Bring Down The Berlin Wall" -
Nice theory, which runs counter to the fact that they appeared in a full page photograph on the front page of British Young Communist League' newspaper, 'Challenge'
JIm Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: michaelr
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 05:53 AM

I like Roy Harper's music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 06:09 AM

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/22/israelandthepalestinians.thebeatles

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/how-the-beatles-rocked-the-kremlin-24424


https://www.forbes.com/sites/berlinschoolofcreativeleadership/2016/08/26/how-one-cold-war-dj-showed-the-creative-power-of-rock-a

"Back in the USSR" McCartney "I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody. And "Back in the USA" was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there. I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know? It was also hands across the water, which I'm still conscious of. 'Cause they like us out there, even though the bosses in the Kremlin may not."

If the beatles made an impact from afar,I wonder what Black Sabbath or the Stones could have achieved prior to the fall of the Berlin wall, if allowed to perform?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 06:57 AM

A bit like if someone you have a rather dim view of, say a politician etc appears to share your musical tastes; does it cloud your view of the music you like?

Most psychologists reckon it does, even of you don't admit it even to yourself.

Fascinating..

Any art in antiquity was produced by people with a very different moral compass to us. It is far easier to judge the product rather than factory that made it. Wagner and the Teutonic influence on the Nazi regime is mentioned in this thread. Many may have a dim view of freemasonry so that's Mozart up the spout. Elgar wrote stirring jingoism, so if you have any anti war and anti imperialism threads in your moral code, I doubt his "Glory, Pomp and Circumstance of Glorious War" should have you waving flags at Albert Hall....

On a more general basis, the songwriter may be using their own experience to write the song and might not. If they are, it helps you to understand where they are coming from if you know a bit about them perhaps.

Or it might just be that you like the noise it makes....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 07:07 AM

If the USSR had taken the approach of Tito's Yugoslavia, they could happily have absorbed every Western popular genre from Megadeth to Boy George and not have endangered themselves in the least. Yugoslavia gave the impression of being more liberal because of that sort of openness, but anyone trying serious political opposition soon found they were actually tougher than Krushchev or his successors when it came to the crunch (I knew someone who did time on Goli Otok for a trivial political offence - not fun at all). A Communist regime that took the trouble to distinguish empty gestures from genuine threats could easily classify them accurately.

So, as what-ifs go, Lennonism never had a prayer of supplanting Leninism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 08:54 AM

Freedom of speech is an admirable concept. It often falls apart if the PTB do not like the size of the audience being attracted.
Pete Seegar, in the land of the free, never made it to McCarthy's christmas list, to name but one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 09:25 AM

Well if I go to a Dick Gaughan gig I'm going to get his politics. When I went to Vin's gigs, which I did often, I knew I was likely to get his anti-abortion song. There are politics in Andy Irvine's and Christy's gigs. Of course, you may not know about them in advance and be surprised. There's no point taking exception to stuff you hear that you don't agree with. As with free speech (which is what we're talking about anyway), you have no right not to be offended. You can grumble and complain and tell your mates when you come out and not go again. Hearing things in songs that you find disagreeable will not deprave and corrupt you. We draw the line at rabid racism and hate speech, I hope. And misogyny. I've just been listening to my Elvis compilation. Now what was that bit about his girl:

"Come on and be my little good luck charm
Uh-huh huh, you sweet delight
I want a good luck charm
A-hanging on my arm
To have, to have, to hold, to hold tonight"

Innocently of its time or what!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 09:28 AM

Nice try, McCarthy, but no Seegar...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 09:43 AM

It's SeegEr. (Rhetorical: why is that so hard?)

Nobody will ever stop performers from mixing in politics. It's not about the performers; it's not about "should" and "shouldn't". It's about whether you want to listen to them or not. Most of the time, if you don't want to, someone else will.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 09:45 AM

...and somehow, this shifted from "songwriters" to "performers". I suppose they're often the same.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Iains
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 09:57 AM

It is called thread drift. Quite common here!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM

Vile personality singers/song writers/performers/poets/artists/etc..
can be helped to maintain spotless repuations after death
in cases where family and influential friends & admirers
literally burnt any letters, writings, diaries, anything else incriminating,
that revealed the darker side of who the artist really was...

Sometimes they went too far and burnt archives of genuine artistic and historic interest...

Well at least this kind of cover up is not so easy now in the internet era.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 10:55 AM

Similarly, well meaning mods can delete a few posts here and there to salvage the reputation of well known mudcatters
when they occasionally lose the plot in anger...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 11:36 AM

It seems some people won't rest until they close this thread
Shame
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: GUEST,KennyB(inactive)
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 12:21 PM

Dearest Jimmy
Re Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 11:36 AM

It seems some people won't rest until they close this thread
Shame
Jim Carroll

for reasons of clarity and honesty why don't you do 2 thing for us all
! name names
2 Give your cogent reasons why the thread should be closed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 12:34 PM

"for reasons of clarity and honesty why don't you do 2 thing for us all"
Because I have attempted to stop this thread being used as a hate platform against fellow members and have no intentions of joining in with that unsavory activity
I have not suggested it should be closed, just that it will be if things continue as they have been
It's an interesting subject; those not interested shouldn't be here

"Dearest Jimmy"
I post under my own name, Jim Carroll, and prefer to be addressed by one of those (preferably the former)- the only people who address me as "Jimmy" are friends or family - I very much doubt if you fall into either category
Here, only those who wish to talk down to me using false familiarity do so, they tend to prove that they are not in a position to talk to anybody (without standing on a very tall step-ladder)
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 12:37 PM

One aspect of performers' personal lives that matters to at least some of their audience, and as far as I can tell just about never does with songwriters or composers: their drug habits.

Alcoholic performers are usually rather disgusting, and when they take the line that drunkenness is a praiseworthy part of the show and we should all cheer them on for it (as Hamish Imlach did) the result is stomach-churning. I made damn sure i never went near Martin Boland once I realized he didn't give a shit about blowing smoke or vape fumes in people's faces (he spent most of his life in a cloud of nicotine and terminally kippered his heart in his mid-50s). And almost all stimulant abusers substitute aggression for imagination when they perform.

But one step removed, I can't see how that would matter.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter? or comp
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 01:00 PM

Back in the 1990s I heard plausible rumours that a young singer songwriter folkie I knew,
a right cocky little shite with a reputation for bedding women,
had sexually assaulted/raped a student.

There was no proof or complaints to police,
and on the surface our social circle continued as usual...

He wasn't a young bloke I was particularly fond of anyway,
and on the occasions I met him at gigs I tried to avoid more contact than necessary.
I couldn't know if the rumours were true, but it worsened my opinion of him...

Some weeks later we heard he and the girl had started going out as a couple.

So I just had to shrug it off and try to let go of my suspicions of him...

I daresay this sort of situation was not that uncommon in the music scene
of the last half century or more...?????


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: do songwriters' personal lives matter?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Dec 18 - 01:11 PM

I will...I'm knackered.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 December 12:51 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.