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BS: Trying to be somebody else?

31 Mar 04 - 03:54 PM (#1151238)
Subject: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,Shlio

We were having a discussion over tonight about people trying to be other people. I think the first example we came up with was Melanie trying to sing like Joan Baez. Sadly my sister tried to Dylan as an example (trying to be Woody Guthrie in the early years…?), which derailed the topic of conversation onto yet another lengthy Dylan debate.

I think we missed an opportunity there, so I thought I'd give you the chance to develop the idea. In your opinion, do people spend lots of time being people other than they are? Or trying to be? Do you?


31 Mar 04 - 03:57 PM (#1151239)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Cluin

Axel Rose tried to be Davy Jones. Stole His dance moves.


31 Mar 04 - 04:13 PM (#1151256)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: wysiwyg

Right now I'm working on trying to be Rick Fielding. Makes for a very different kind of day, and I am learning a lot. I can't tell if it's easier or harder than trying to be Jesus. :~)

Musically, I'm trying to be Sister Shirley. (See Kennedy Center Millenium Stage video)

I am sure most of these will wear off; they usually do. But I am the better for the effort, each time, and somehow, more myself than when I started.

~S~


31 Mar 04 - 04:25 PM (#1151266)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: McGrath of Harlow

Billy Connolly took a whole lot of the character he plays on stage from Alex Campbell.


31 Mar 04 - 04:36 PM (#1151276)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Rapparee

I'm often someone else. Who is a different question.


31 Mar 04 - 04:39 PM (#1151282)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: TheBigPinkLad

I think James Brown owes Jackie Wilson a nod of the head. Although Jackie was actually quite good.


31 Mar 04 - 04:48 PM (#1151285)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Cluin

Jackie's "Resurrection Dance" didn't work out so well though...


(ooooh, bad taste...)


31 Mar 04 - 04:57 PM (#1151291)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: TheBigPinkLad

Taste is the enemy of art ... ;o)


31 Mar 04 - 05:12 PM (#1151299)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,Penguin Egg

Donovan trying to be Dylan-lite is an obvious one. George Harrison pretending to be the Chiffons? Ewan MacColl trying to be a Scotsman.


31 Mar 04 - 05:15 PM (#1151302)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Amos

A buncha world-class film actors in the 30's started this game (I think it started with Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) of going up to one another and asking "Who do yout hink you are??" with full intention -- the answers, often unexpected were a source of great hilarity.

A


31 Mar 04 - 07:04 PM (#1151404)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: MMario

I don't have to try - I AM several people.


31 Mar 04 - 07:15 PM (#1151415)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,heric

I am trying to be Jimmy Stewart in Harvey, in an effort to change my reality by sheer force of will. You fine people are a great, wonderful help in the experiment.


31 Mar 04 - 07:48 PM (#1151437)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Bobert

Clapton as Robert Johnson? Hmmmmmmmm?

Bobert


31 Mar 04 - 08:08 PM (#1151450)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Johnny in OKC

I'm trying to be James Bond
but I don't have the looks.

Johnny in OKC


31 Mar 04 - 09:22 PM (#1151482)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: wysiwyg

Mmario, are any of them trying to be each other?

~S~


31 Mar 04 - 09:26 PM (#1151486)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Johnny in OKC

I'm giving up trying to be James Bond
and start trying to be William Shatner,
but I don't have the phaser.

Johnny


01 Apr 04 - 02:50 AM (#1151660)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Gurney

I've never tried to BE someone else, but sing and play like them, yes. Most people sound a little like Jake when they sing a Thackray song, or sound Irish when singing an Irish song (although the Irish don't seem to try to sound English when they sing an English song).
I'd say it was a sharing of or acknowledgement of the source.


01 Apr 04 - 04:00 AM (#1151715)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Leadfingers

Why do so many young female singers these days try to sound like Kate Rusby ?


01 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM (#1151740)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,KB

Leadfingers - its as good a place to start as any. Some people need to do emulate someone else in order to gain a bit of confidence. Then they can find their own sound later on.

Kris


01 Apr 04 - 06:29 AM (#1151780)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: harvey andrews

"I am trying to be Jimmy Stewart in Harvey"
Surely you mean Jimmy Stewart in "Harvey"!!!


01 Apr 04 - 09:48 AM (#1151931)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Shanghaiceltic

All Chinese girls in the karaoke bars want to be Celine Dione, and unlike the fatal iceberg they miss completely.


01 Apr 04 - 02:38 PM (#1152162)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Johnny in OKC

Forget William Shatner ~~~
now I am trying to be Ray Milland.

Love, Johnny


01 Apr 04 - 02:43 PM (#1152165)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,heric

LOL! Very sorry about that Harvey! You are absolutely right.


01 Apr 04 - 02:44 PM (#1152166)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Uncle_DaveO

There was a time when I wanted to be Pete Seeger. Then it was Josh White. Then I was dying to be Richard Dyer-Bennet.

I gave up. I'm not, and could not be them, nor a reasonable facsimile of any of them.

I'm just trying to be a good imitation of Uncle DaveO.

Dave Oesterreich


01 Apr 04 - 03:20 PM (#1152186)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Don Firth

Before he died, Rabbi Zusya of Hanipal said,
"In the world to come, they will not ask me,
'Why were you not Moses?'
They will ask me,
'Why were you not Zusya?'"
                                     —Tales of Hasidim

Don Firth


01 Apr 04 - 07:52 PM (#1152398)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Ebbie

Interesting bit of synchronicity here. The other day amongst several elderly people with whom I was not, shall we say, in full political agreement, I knew that there was no way I could hold my tongue. Until it occurred to me that I could pretend that I was a polite and gracious person. It worked.


01 Apr 04 - 08:33 PM (#1152419)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Johnny in OKC

For years I have been pretending to be polite and gracious.
Now I am pretending to be Ray Milland.

Love, Johnny (Ray Milland)


01 Apr 04 - 10:58 PM (#1152486)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Bee-dubya-ell

Hell, I spent most of my life tryin' to be somebody else: Twenty or so years tryin' to be who my parents wanted me to be. Fifteen years tryin' to be who my first wife wanted me to be. Thirty years tryin' to be who various bosses wanted me to be.   

So now I've spent three years bein' who I want to be and I don't think I want to go back to tryin' to be somebody else again.

Bruce


01 Apr 04 - 11:46 PM (#1152511)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Ebbie

Bee-dubya-ell, I spent the first 40 or so years of my life trying unsuccessfully to change myself- pretending for a couple of hours to be someone different wss kind of fun.


02 Apr 04 - 10:06 AM (#1152800)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Kim C

Bob Dylan is now trying to be a Victoria's Secret model. I just saw the commercial last night. Thankfully, he isn't posing in underwear.

I'm still trying to figure out who thought that up.


02 Apr 04 - 12:36 PM (#1152841)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Little Hawk

I tried to be Bob Dylan for many years and eventually SUCCEEDED! I have been mistaken for Bob by numerous people, even though I look a lot younger and better preserved at this point. I look sort of like Bob did some time in the 70's or early 80's. Some young people approached me after a Dylan concert in Toronto a year ago, and asked politely, "Mr Dylan, could we get our photo taken with you?" I graciously agreed to that. It was very intriguing. Not like they didn't know I wasn't him, but I looked more like their mental picture of Bob that day than he did....just like on the cover of Blonde on Blonde, as a matter of fact, although a bit more cheerful.

I have sung Bob Dylan's stuff so convincingly on so many occasions that I can safely say I AM Bob at those times...some people have referred to me as "George Dylan". I am him without the cigarettes and whisky.

It's fun! :-) Fortunately, it hasn't stopped me from writing a whole bunch of my own songs, some of which sound a lot like Bob and some of which don't sound like him in the least.

You start out imitating people because you like them. In the process you learn a lot of good stuff. As time goes by you begin to discover your own unique identity, but you never forget the inspiration you got from others.

I see nothing but good in that process. Bob was inspired by Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Little Richard, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, and a great many others. Little bits of all of them crept into his music and enriched it as he established his own foundation.

I wasn't aware that Melanie had tried to imitate Joan Baez, but it figures. Just about all the female folksingers were trying to imitate Joan back then.

Many have tried to imitate William Shatner too, but that is simply an unattainable pinnacle of grandeur... :-)

- LH


02 Apr 04 - 02:11 PM (#1152913)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Don Firth

There's a flip side to all of this.

During the early Sixties, I spent some time studying music at Seattle's Cornish School of the Arts. I was in the student coffee room one afternoon staring out the window at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Mercer Street and trying to determine if the predominant flavor in the coffee was Old Army Boot or scrapings from the tires of a manure spreader when I heard someone begin to play the grand piano in the lounge next door, and then a voice raised in song.

I wrote it up in the book I'm working on.
        One fall afternoon while sitting in the coffee room at Cornish, I heard a voice lifted in song in the student lounge next door. It was one of the folk songs that Joan Baez had recorded. The accompaniment was piano rather than guitar, but the voice--it was Joan Baez. I got up and went to the door.
        No. It wasn't Joan Baez.
        A tall, slender young woman, one of the new music students, sat at the piano and sang. When the song ended I went in and introduced myself. Her name was Annie Hartz.
        Hesitantly, not knowing how she felt about it, I commented on the amazing resemblance between voices. She acknowledged it ruefully, saying that this resemblance was something of a curse. She loved folk songs and wanted to sing them, but she couldn't open her mouth without someone accusing her of copying Joan Baez. She wasn't trying to copy anybody. That was just the way her voice sounded.
        Annie wanted to sing at the coffeehouses, but the only instrument she felt competent with was the piano. Not folky enough for the times. She and I wound up doing several performances together, with me providing the guitar accompaniment when she sang solo.
        The Queequeg coffeehouse in the University District planned a concert night and Eric Bjornstad, the Queequeg's owner, invited me to perform. Lots of VIPs were going to be there, including some non-folk performers such as Gina Funes and a number of jazz musicians, and a couple newspaper entertainment reviewers indicated they would come. It was intended to be a Big Deal. I told Eric about Annie and he said, by all means, bring her.
        How to handle the Baez thing:   we decided that Annie could use it to her advantage. It would certainly call attention to her fine voice, and rather than fighting the resemblance, she should flaunt it. Once that was out of the way, people might begin to realize that she was a superb singer in her own right, especially when she sang songs that Joan Baez didn't do.
        Annie's Seattle coffeehouse debut at the Queequeg was the time to do our flaunting. Although she would be singing other things, Annie's program would be liberally sprinkled with songs straight off the recordings of Joan Baez. The song we programmed as next to last was Fair Thee Well, from Joan Baez's first LP, which was pure chutzpah on our part. The verses were traditional, but the melody had been written recently and was a real display piece for Joan Baez's voice. To compound the felony, I studied Joan's guitar accompaniment and got it down practically note for note.
        Annie knew and sang Try to Remember, and she wanted to include it in the program. Although I didn't sing the some myself, I had an accompaniment partially worked out already. I added a brief coda to the accompaniment:   the first few notes of "Soon it's going to rain, I can feel it. . . ." It was also from "The Fantasticks."
        I thought the coda was a nice touch. It would give those familiar with other music from "The Fantasticks" the pleasure of recognition, plus indicating that we hadn't just learned the song from somebody's pop record, we knew where it came from. It fit nicely. We decided to end our part of the program with it.
        Between my hard-driving guitar and Annie's strong "achingly pure soprano," we blew them away. The response was outstanding. No matter who she may sound like, it was obvious that Annie was one helluva singer.
        Annie really got into Fair Thee Well and in the headiness brought on by the roar of applause that followed the song, she lost track of where we were in our program. As the applause died away, she whispered to me, "What's the next song?"
        It was our last one.
        "Try to Remember," I muttered back.
        "I am trying," she whispered, perturbed.
        Then suddenly she realized. I don't think the audience had the foggiest notion of why the two of us burst out laughing.
        Try to Remember was a good choice to finish the set with. It eased down from the preceding tour de force and ended on a gentle note. We receive a wonderfully warm ovation for our whole performance.
A year or two later I lost track of Annie, but I ran into her again in 1991 at a coffeehouse reunion bash. She was married and had three kids, and although she hadn't pursued a singing career, she was still singing from time to time and still sounding great.

Don Firth


02 Apr 04 - 02:19 PM (#1152924)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Little Hawk

Very neat story, Don. I greatly enjoyed reading it, and it took me right back to those times. I was crazy about Joan back then.


02 Apr 04 - 02:22 PM (#1152929)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Amos

Dang, Don, what a wonderful tale!! Thanks!!


A


02 Apr 04 - 03:45 PM (#1153028)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: GUEST,Shlio

Great story, Don - and Little Hawk, I am very impressed.

And I'm just bursting with pride that the thread I sarted is still around...

Though it does seem to be in the wrong section at the moment. Y'see, I figured that it couln't stay a music discussion for long...


02 Apr 04 - 05:44 PM (#1153157)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: Don Firth

Small correction before someone beats me to it. In the Sixties, Cornish School was located at the intersection of Havard Avenue and Roy Street, not Mercer Street as I wrote above. I was a block off. Dumb mistake considering I live just a few blocks east of there (between Mercer and Roy). They've since moved to larger facilities a few blocks north of here. I don't know if they're still using the old building on Roy Street.

Don Firth


03 Apr 04 - 03:30 AM (#1153392)
Subject: RE: BS: Trying to be somebody else?
From: dianavan

For years I tried to be a "lady" but now I am happy to be a woman.