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From the making of the Absolute Beginners soundtrack in 1985, here’s David Bowie impersonating other rock stars.

As far as I can tell, he’s doing:

Bruce Springsteen (pretty good, but not quite as dead on as somebody [Joe Piscopo?] singing the Flintstones theme as a Bruce Springsteen epic: The Springstones)

Bob Dylan / Tom Petty (who were collaborating on the Traveling Wilburies and toured together in 1986, which I saw: Petty is a better live performer than Dylan).

Tom Waits

Lou Reed

Antony Newley / David Bowie

Some countryish singer

Neil Young

 
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  1. Victor says:

    The country singer is Iggy Pop. Bowie says so.

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  2. I venerate Bob Dylan’s art. But in in late 70s/early 80s, I went to some trouble to get tickets to one of his (solo) shows. It was a huge disappointment. He didn’t much seem to care. Recently, when the Nobel committee came knocking, I still hoped he’d find some Minnesota Nice in him and at least send a prompt, generous thank you note. Oh well, we make allowances for genius, I guess.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    When I saw the Dylan / Petty tour in 1986, the problem was that while Dylan is the more historic figure, he's not much of a live performer, or at least not on this tour as a middle-aged man. He just stood there like maybe his joints were stiff. Petty isn't quite an all-time great, but he's a full service rock star dedicated to giving audiences their money's worth. And in 1986 he was still in his prime as a live performer. So while the theory of Dylan and Petty on stage together sounded like a good idea, in practice it just sort of detracted from Dylan.

    Dylan reminded me of a 1979 show I saw by Van Morrison, who also just stood there looking dyspeptic. But it was a small concert hall and I was in about the sixth row, and I'd forgotten how many great songs Morrison had written, so I left impressed. On the other hand, it could have been a great show if Morrison had paid to have a horn section for his R&B numbers.

    Now, from a historical perspective, Dylan preceded Morrison by about two years: "G-L-O-R-I-A" is from 1964, but Dylan wrote some of his famous folk songs 2 or 3 years earlier. So Dylan is more important historically, and he is said to have put out fine albums in his old age, which is very hard to do. But Dylan's and Morrison's top 15 or so songs from their 1960s-70s primes are pretty comparable. Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks. The extreme lyricism seemed to get in the way of making catchy hit songs. But his decision to tone down the lyrics in favor of melody and rhythm is not one I disagree with.

  3. AndrewR says:

    Sailer, have you ever criticized Trump or are you a dishonest hack? I can’t recall you criticizing him ever and there is no excuse if you haven’t. His rhetoric about civil forfeiture reform should outrage every American. Trump wants cops to have the right to steal from innocent people with no due process. It is that simple. Trump is a mortal enemy of the American people and he should be treated as such.

    If he were on fire, I’d let my bladder burst before I’d piss on him.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/can-the-president-destroy-criminal-justice-reformers

    Read More
    • Replies: @trolery le peu
    Troleee. trolley trollie trolay, troeleee, trolley trollie trolay, sung to the tuna of hava nagila!
    Justa as i tuna my guieetarrr.
  4. Speaking of Tom Waits, I’d love to see a Sailer review of this documentary on JT Leroy:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5278462/

    It’s a very Haven Monahan tale of of a woman faking a whole personality. The fake person becomes a magnet for celebs who are aching for a piece of transgressive authenticy. Celebs and writers who gushed over this invention include:
    Winona Ryder
    Michael Stipe
    Courtney Love
    Lou Reed
    David Eggers
    Zadie Smith
    Gus van Sant
    Bono
    Suzanne Vega
    Billy Corgan
    Sean Lennon
    Nancy Sinatra
    Tom Waits
    Madonna
    And various ‘transgressive’ authors.

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  5. Butt Town says:

    ? = Iggy Pop. Sounds like his style, and before singing that section, one can hear a mention of “Iggy” in background before Bowie acknowledges and begins. A country singer would be cool for range, but maybe not something Bowie would be as likely to mimic in this setting.

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  6. Petty is a better live performer than Dylan

    My son’s highschool classmate is a better live performer than Dylan.

    Before the motorcycle accident Dylan did have charisma and energy on stage, judging from old clips from the ’60s, but when I saw him in the late 1980s he was already a lazy self-parody.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.
    , @Whoever

    Before the motorcycle accident
     
    Assuming there actually was one. He claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and several broken vertebrae in his neck. Wow.
    But no concussion or TBI. Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury.... Hmm....
    No ambulance was called, and there was, apparently, no hospital record of his admission or treatment. There was only an announcement by his agent, Alan Grossman, that he had had an accident near his (Grossman's) house after "locking up the brakes" on his Triumph, a 1964 Tiger 100. I've ridden all manner of vintage Triumphs and I honestly don't see how you could lock up the brakes -- for crying out loud, just let go of the brake lever. Duh.
    Anyways, as you can see in this photo, Dylan is riding along leaning back with his feet off the footpegs. Classic squid riding posture. Wouldn't be surprised if he ran over a pebble and ended up doing a flying W. So who knows?
    I just discovered his tune, "The Times, They Are A-changin'," and it kinda fits the alt-right, Trump era. Maybe Linkin Park could do a version of it.

    http://i.imgur.com/xlqE9XK.jpg

  7. Petty is a better live performer than Dylan

    One of the worst concerts I saw was Bob Dylan at the United Center in Chicago. It was right up there with a K.C. and the Sunshine Band concert somebody dragged me to.

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  8. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Absolute Beginners – a film which was absolutely hyped to death pre release in the UK.
    Yet another desperate ‘make or break’ effort for the British film industry.

    It sank without a trace – along with the male lead actor.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Whoever the star was, Phil Somebody, was previously in a low key version of The Who's Quadrophenia that was a decent little social realist look at Mods vs. Rockers at a seaside resort around 1960.

    Absolute Beginners was mid-1980s attempt to channel the music video style of the era into a movie. But it didn't really work.

  9. “Some countryish singer” is supposed to be Iggy Pop.
    Bowie says “Iggy” a few times in the break right before he starts singing this part.
    Then afterwards, he says something like he could never quite get him right.

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  10. I am a huge fan of Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and George Harrison, in that order. I was naturally a big fan of the Travelling Wilburys, even if they were a bit of a lighthearted gag. For some reason, however, I have never gotten the appeal of Dylan. Don’t like the voice and the lyrics never resonated.

    I know Steve mentioned the Roy Orbison “Black and White Night” Special a few weeks ago. I would have paid $5,000 to have seen that live. Having Springsteen and Elvis Costello on that stage with Roy would have been the ultimate. If you watch that video closely, Billy Idol is in the crowd. I played that CD so much, I am now on my third copy.

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    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    "Having Springsteen and Elvis costello on that stage with Roy would have been the ultimate".

    Just a question : How would it be to listen once and a while to "Singers" who know what "Singing" on key means?

    Okay Orbison did manage to not get off key to the point of obnoxiousness, the problem being that as of the last fifty years the idea of singing on key has become obsolete, and the concept itself is foreign to most "Singers" , result being : Autotune.

    The worst of them, the off-key singers, having been Lou Reed and L Cohen. Both of them setting world records for never having hit one note on key during their entire careers.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist. ( and on-key vocalist )

    PS I was born in Highland Park.
  11. I’ve always noted a weird affinity between Young, Reed, and Bowie. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but it’s there. I think one thing is that artist-in-search-of-a-concept thing is strong with all of them. And all three of them are solo acts that have flirted with the idea of bands, but never could commit all the way-though Reed came close in VU; even in the Buffalo Springfield, Young was already looking ahead-so BS’s records come across as White Albums; Bowie’s Spiders were hot, then he shucked them like a costume change. They all had quiet and noise periods. There’s others, but I’m sleepy right now.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Neil Young is a really domineering personality. It takes enormous masculine confidence to think you can be a rock star with a voice like that. For example, Crosby, Stills, and Nash were just about the biggest band in America, the American Beatles, when they invited Young to join. And yet he immediately took over the band because he'd threaten to walk out anytime he didn't get his way.

    He has kept as his long term backup band, Crazy Horse, even though they aren't that good, because they'll do whatever he'll say.

    Young is kind of a jock by nature who got diverted into music by childhood ill health. His dad was Canada's top hockey writer and his mom was a fine country club athlete. If he'd been healthy as a kid, he might have grown up to be an NHL coach or something like that.

  12. Joe Sweet says:

    His Springsteen impersonation isn’t bad. The others are pretty weak. Most Dylan fans could probably do a better version of Dylan. I know I can.

    This reminds me of Dylan channeling Springsteen on the Wilbury’s “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” which always cracks me up. Not so much an impersonation as a (somewhat sarcastic but still respectful) tribute.

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  13. The Z Blog says: • Website

    Grace & Steel did an interesting show on the state of pop music that you may find interesting.

    I have my own theories about it, but they did a good job covering the subject.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    My pet theory is that is down, primarily, to a two pronged attack from rubbishy black American music, Rap and Beyonce/Rihanna type overblown bullshit. Blacks left to their own devices musically stay in the same rut forever, basically - there is no innovation or change.
    Plus the wellspring of inventiveness in music, young white men are just not interested anymore.
  14. And doing it better than they were themselves! That was part of the genius of Bowie.

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  15. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Some countryish singer”

    Not quite. His friend Iggy Pop.

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  16. I detest her personality and her work, but Ariana Grande does an impeccable impersonation of Celine Dion; you should check out others of these spots from Fallon’s show if this sort of thing amuses you. I especially also recommend Christin Aguilera’s takes on both Britney Spears and Cher.

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  17. Anders says:

    2nd is undoubtedly Marc Bolan. Very characteristic vibrato. Bowie imitated Bolan already in Black Country Rock, 1970

    https://youtu.be/SLvhwD8cnKM?t=162

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    • Replies: @Ola
    Yes, definitely Bolan! Bowie sound like an inferior stand-in for Danielz, the stand-in for Bolan in T. Rex tribute band T. Rextasy.

    Stevie Riks used to make some pretty good impersonations of Bowie and Bolan together:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Dizp8E22I

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9GrxmlPhPE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRDJ_dVyshg
  18. I think the “country singer” is supposed to be Iggy Pop but then Bowie admits he can’t really do Iggy afterwards.

    The Neil Young is really good- kind of like how only the best actors can play bad actors convincingly only a good singer can approximate Neil’s disastrous voice.

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    • Agree: European-American
    • Replies: @Chet
    Agree. He says "Iggy" and Iggy Pop sounds like that.
  19. SPMoore8 says:

    The B-side to the Flintstone’s cover seems to have the recording info. While we are on the subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D3PqhHx5eM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTCYLbFxTpI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WfoccRna6I

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    • Replies: @Trelane
    Joe Walsh does "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". Bit off though.

    https://youtu.be/Kkj5Z3dZBhE?t=65
  20. I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1980 & 1981; very excellent concerts in the old Boston Garden. You were cool if you wore your concert t-shirt to school the next day. Just last week I watched five parts of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers VH1 Behind the Music on Youtube.

    Here’s an excellent video of a young Neil Young doing Old Man and Heart of Gold by himself from 1971.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ycit4OwYPNg

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  21. J1234 says:

    David’s Springsteen was the best, but, like Dylan, Springsteen has more than one voice.

    Dylan had his “Lay Lady Lay” voice, which I suspect approximates his natural voice, then he had his standard clumsy voice, which was an aggregate affectation of people like Woody Guthrie or people you might find on Alan Lomax recordings in the ’30′s. Then he has his old man’s voice, which I’ve heard compared to a frog…and that seems about right.

    Springsteen has an early Van Morrison influenced voice

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXWVSussrt0

    Then the standard warbly Born to Run album voice (which Bowie is doing.) Then a later voice that’s actually pretty nice at times

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtxLEMdBGDQ

    And he’ll fade in and out of these sometimes. A great songwriter, but so ignorant on politics. It’s the recurring theme: The “everyday working man” turned into the cliche elitist rock star.

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  22. Lot says:
    @Peter Akuleyev
    Petty is a better live performer than Dylan

    My son's highschool classmate is a better live performer than Dylan.

    Before the motorcycle accident Dylan did have charisma and energy on stage, judging from old clips from the '60s, but when I saw him in the late 1980s he was already a lazy self-parody.

    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do and Metallica’s I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross’s disco hits.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterike

    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however
     
    Dylan released two of his greatest albums ever as a grizzled old man. "Love and Theft" in 2001 and "Modern Times" in 2006. Both are easily in the top ten of his albums. And he's got a LOT of albums.
    , @Matra
    Bowie was good for about that long. When I saw him in two different places in 1990 his live performances were still great. He wasn't though still putting out good music.

    The Stones continued to put out good, though no longer great, music up until 1994.

    Van Morrison had excellent albums throughout the 1990s and a couple in the last decade but his live performances could be bad, bordering on disgraceful.

    Dylan's voice went super raspy in the late 80s or early 90s. Strangely, he seemed to decide that was the time to permanently tour.

    , @reiner Tor
    Metallica's output after Load (which was still superb) was mostly worthless shit, but their latest album, Hardwired... is great. I occasionally think it's as good as their old stuff.

    My pop music knowledge is not deep enough to discuss non-heavy metal artists, but in heavy metal there's Iron Maiden, whose last album is probably on par with their classic albums. I know a few other bands whose later output I often value similarly or even above their classic stuff, but those bands (like Paradise Lost) haven't sold enough albums to be considered rock stars.

    , @E. Rekshun
    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years

    Yep. Two of my all-time favorites -

    The Who put out almost 20 years of hits '64 - '83 and they're still touring!

    And Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still touring and putting out albums, and their hits spanned '77 - '94.

    , @Autochthon

    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however.
     
    A part of this phenomenon is the (admittedly sometimes overlapping) distinction between rockstars and musicians. A similar thing happens in Hollywood, as between movie-stars and actors.

    The star's appeal and success often relies very much upon his personality and charisma, and thus his work is usually never too far afield from a certain...I hesitate to write formula, because that's not quite fair or accurate, but it's the best word I can muster just now. (Tom Cruise, for instance, although a talented actor, essentially plays Tom Cruise in nearly all of his movies.) Departures too far afield turn off the audience, even if they might be sound work judged on their own merits.

    Musicians, on the other hand, build their following often upon technical virtuosity, an ability to thrive in mutliple idioms, etc.; often their very dedication to the craft leads them to avoid the excesses and flamboyancy that is part and parcel of being a star. These guys tend to have more staying power, and produce great work throughout their careers, but receive less notoriety for that work. Many go into songwriting and producing to deliberately avoid stardom: Richard Marx, Gregg Alexander, etc.

    The guys from Rush, Pink Floyd, and Yes are musicians. John Paul Jones, Roy Orbison, Kenny Aronoff, and George Harrison are (and were) musicians.

    John Lennon, Axl Rose, and Jimmy Page were both, but arguably leaned toward the star's end of the spectrum (they also were notoriously poor at playing well with others, and their careers can be argued to have faltered later for it; Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing...).

    Robert Plant is an example of a man squarely meeting both criteria but closer to the musicians' end of the spectrum, with more longevity to show for it. Phil Collins is a good example of someone only slighlty favouring stardom.

    The purest stars are either one-hit wonders, or those who become more known for their fashion and controversy than actual musical chops or influence (e.g., Madonna Ciccione).

    People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind.

  23. BB753 says:

    The film Absolute Beginners wasn’t that bad. Not as good as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, but interesting.

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  24. Tina Turner’s What’s Love Got to Do

    “Ike Beats Tina to Death!” is one of the top trashy New York Post headlines, up there with “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”

    Speaking of impersonation, David Bowie’s wife, the Somali-born fashion model Iman, played a shapeshifting alien in Star Trek VI.

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  25. Mr. Blank says:

    This is apparently something that singers like to do when they’re messing around. There are tons of clips on YouTube of famous singers doing their impersonations of other famous singers.

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  26. peterike says:
    @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.

    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however

    Dylan released two of his greatest albums ever as a grizzled old man. “Love and Theft” in 2001 and “Modern Times” in 2006. Both are easily in the top ten of his albums. And he’s got a LOT of albums.

    Read More
    • Replies: @hark, hark...the snark
    "Time Out of Mind" (1997) and "Tempest" (2012) also are brilliant.
  27. Matra says:
    @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.

    Bowie was good for about that long. When I saw him in two different places in 1990 his live performances were still great. He wasn’t though still putting out good music.

    The Stones continued to put out good, though no longer great, music up until 1994.

    Van Morrison had excellent albums throughout the 1990s and a couple in the last decade but his live performances could be bad, bordering on disgraceful.

    Dylan’s voice went super raspy in the late 80s or early 90s. Strangely, he seemed to decide that was the time to permanently tour.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Bowie's best live performances on YouTube are from the early 2000's, IMO (e.g. Ashes to Ashes below). He stopped performing live in the last 10 years of his life as his health declined, but he was making respected music until the end. His last album won some Grammys last night.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gk1DcFz-Uc&sns=tw
    , @Lot
    These are matters of taste, but I don't like anything by Bowie, or anything from Dylan and the Stones after around 73. Obviously some people disagree, in the late 70's and early 80's they sold more than 15 million albums, with Some Girls above 6 million sales all by itself. I imagine they were really good live back then too.

    My opinions on boomer rock stars were formed in the late 90's and early 00's and have not changed much since. As I've aged I appreciate most 1980's music more and more, but still not the dino-rock hits like "Start Me Up" and "Beast of Burden."
  28. Chet says:
    @Sam Haysom
    I think the "country singer" is supposed to be Iggy Pop but then Bowie admits he can't really do Iggy afterwards.

    The Neil Young is really good- kind of like how only the best actors can play bad actors convincingly only a good singer can approximate Neil's disastrous voice.

    Agree. He says “Iggy” and Iggy Pop sounds like that.

    Read More
  29. Whoever says:
    @Peter Akuleyev
    Petty is a better live performer than Dylan

    My son's highschool classmate is a better live performer than Dylan.

    Before the motorcycle accident Dylan did have charisma and energy on stage, judging from old clips from the '60s, but when I saw him in the late 1980s he was already a lazy self-parody.

    Before the motorcycle accident

    Assuming there actually was one. He claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and several broken vertebrae in his neck. Wow.
    But no concussion or TBI. Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury…. Hmm….
    No ambulance was called, and there was, apparently, no hospital record of his admission or treatment. There was only an announcement by his agent, Alan Grossman, that he had had an accident near his (Grossman’s) house after “locking up the brakes” on his Triumph, a 1964 Tiger 100. I’ve ridden all manner of vintage Triumphs and I honestly don’t see how you could lock up the brakes — for crying out loud, just let go of the brake lever. Duh.
    Anyways, as you can see in this photo, Dylan is riding along leaning back with his feet off the footpegs. Classic squid riding posture. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ran over a pebble and ended up doing a flying W. So who knows?
    I just discovered his tune, “The Times, They Are A-changin’,” and it kinda fits the alt-right, Trump era. Maybe Linkin Park could do a version of it.

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    • Replies: @slumber_j
    It's Albert Grossman, not Alan. But yeah: fishy.
    , @Autochthon

    Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury….
     
    Was he supposed to have been wearing a helmet? If he were, that would perfectly explain this combination. (Gravel or other debris can easily cut up one's face without damage to the actual skull.)

    I see in the photo he has no helmet, and I expect many foolishly eschewed them in those days, but I'm curious what the official line was about that detail.

  30. OT:

    Justin Trudeau is visiting Trump today. Judging from the pictures and content, Trudeau is not taking the opportunity to lecture Trump on his heartless immigration policy and misogyny.

    I think an under-reported fact about Canada is its national government is a lot more pragmatic and realistic than it lets on.

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  31. whorefinder says: • Website

    It makes you realize how much more important image is to selling pop music than anything else, which Bowie would have obviously understood better than most.

    I’m reminded about how Mick Jagger was really a geeky, ugly LSE graduate who figured out how to sell his image as a bad boy rock star and make a mint doing it. Bowie and Jagger were close, and I’m sure traded notes on image control, the difference being Bowie sought to change his image every 5 years or so to generate more attention, while Jagger sought to hew his image as close to classic rock star as he could. Both dudes sold well.

    I’m reminded also about how country music seems to be a place for singers to go if they have the talent to be famous but don’t want the hassle of constantly pushing the envelope required of other genres; it’s a lucrative gig if you can get it, but you’re not going to get you the headlines like being a rapper/hard rocker/pop tart will, and your albums can get quite monotonous if you’re just going straight-Nashville sound. Many older country stars actually get bored with the repetitive act and check out earlier than they need to (Charlie Rich being a prime example).

    Garth Brooks managed to bust out of the country niche while remaining in it and became the world’s #1 selling recording artist, but Brooks was always a very cagey (and manipulative) dude. Brooks tried to really break out of country music with his “Life of Chris Gaines” album, which was him LARPing as an 80′s pop singer, but it crashed and burned.

    Anyway, it must frustrate many of the singers when they get pigeonholed in one genre and then can’t indulge in their love of other genres—at least not until they do some weird tribute album later. Only a few guys—Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock—can do several genres at once and get credibility in each. Everyone else just appears crass and being inauthentic.

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    I’m reminded about how Mick Jagger was really a geeky, ugly LSE graduate

    Here's a youtube clip from probably 1970. A feminine-looking, preppy-dressed Mick Jagger introduces John Lennon before his set w/ Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. Lennon acts and looks much cooler and masculine and calls Jagger by his full first name "Michael." Lennon's voice sounds great in the song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuy-10Ejck4
  32. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    That’s funny. Here’s a good version of Bowie singing Absolute Beginners live from earlier this century.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG0_B-FUcYQ&sns=tw

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  33. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Matra
    Bowie was good for about that long. When I saw him in two different places in 1990 his live performances were still great. He wasn't though still putting out good music.

    The Stones continued to put out good, though no longer great, music up until 1994.

    Van Morrison had excellent albums throughout the 1990s and a couple in the last decade but his live performances could be bad, bordering on disgraceful.

    Dylan's voice went super raspy in the late 80s or early 90s. Strangely, he seemed to decide that was the time to permanently tour.

    Bowie’s best live performances on YouTube are from the early 2000′s, IMO (e.g. Ashes to Ashes below). He stopped performing live in the last 10 years of his life as his health declined, but he was making respected music until the end. His last album won some Grammys last night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gk1DcFz-Uc&sns=tw

    Read More
  34. Trelane says:
    @SPMoore8
    The B-side to the Flintstone's cover seems to have the recording info. While we are on the subject:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D3PqhHx5eM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTCYLbFxTpI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WfoccRna6I

    Joe Walsh does “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. Bit off though.

    https://youtu.be/Kkj5Z3dZBhE?t=65

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  35. @yaqub the mad scientist
    I've always noted a weird affinity between Young, Reed, and Bowie. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it's there. I think one thing is that artist-in-search-of-a-concept thing is strong with all of them. And all three of them are solo acts that have flirted with the idea of bands, but never could commit all the way-though Reed came close in VU; even in the Buffalo Springfield, Young was already looking ahead-so BS's records come across as White Albums; Bowie's Spiders were hot, then he shucked them like a costume change. They all had quiet and noise periods. There's others, but I'm sleepy right now.

    Neil Young is a really domineering personality. It takes enormous masculine confidence to think you can be a rock star with a voice like that. For example, Crosby, Stills, and Nash were just about the biggest band in America, the American Beatles, when they invited Young to join. And yet he immediately took over the band because he’d threaten to walk out anytime he didn’t get his way.

    He has kept as his long term backup band, Crazy Horse, even though they aren’t that good, because they’ll do whatever he’ll say.

    Young is kind of a jock by nature who got diverted into music by childhood ill health. His dad was Canada’s top hockey writer and his mom was a fine country club athlete. If he’d been healthy as a kid, he might have grown up to be an NHL coach or something like that.

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    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    I recall one article your wrote about Young where he supposedly asked Atlantic Records guys where the good golf courses were- weeks after arriving in LA and barely getting Buffalo Springfield together.

    It also takes a kind of confidence to act like a reflective, retrospective old man last waltzing it from the age of 25. That's part of Young's odd appeal.

    The Crazy Horse thing also lets him get some of that primitive noise fix in every few albums- just like Reed and Bowie did.

    There's also this weird thing going with David Crosby, who apparently after a life of advertising his free love/poly lifestyle like nobody else, decided call out Young publicly for dumping his 35+ year wife for Daryl Hannah.

  36. @Anonymous
    Absolute Beginners - a film which was absolutely hyped to death pre release in the UK.
    Yet another desperate 'make or break' effort for the British film industry.

    It sank without a trace - along with the male lead actor.

    Whoever the star was, Phil Somebody, was previously in a low key version of The Who’s Quadrophenia that was a decent little social realist look at Mods vs. Rockers at a seaside resort around 1960.

    Absolute Beginners was mid-1980s attempt to channel the music video style of the era into a movie. But it didn’t really work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Julien Temple's previous directorial effort was that appalling, god-awful, train-wreck of a dull, tedious, pretentious, disaster of a movie - The Great Rock n Roll Swindle.
    Now, how much 'talent' does it take to make a boring film out of the Sex Pistols?
  37. @Steve Sailer
    Neil Young is a really domineering personality. It takes enormous masculine confidence to think you can be a rock star with a voice like that. For example, Crosby, Stills, and Nash were just about the biggest band in America, the American Beatles, when they invited Young to join. And yet he immediately took over the band because he'd threaten to walk out anytime he didn't get his way.

    He has kept as his long term backup band, Crazy Horse, even though they aren't that good, because they'll do whatever he'll say.

    Young is kind of a jock by nature who got diverted into music by childhood ill health. His dad was Canada's top hockey writer and his mom was a fine country club athlete. If he'd been healthy as a kid, he might have grown up to be an NHL coach or something like that.

    I recall one article your wrote about Young where he supposedly asked Atlantic Records guys where the good golf courses were- weeks after arriving in LA and barely getting Buffalo Springfield together.

    It also takes a kind of confidence to act like a reflective, retrospective old man last waltzing it from the age of 25. That’s part of Young’s odd appeal.

    The Crazy Horse thing also lets him get some of that primitive noise fix in every few albums- just like Reed and Bowie did.

    There’s also this weird thing going with David Crosby, who apparently after a life of advertising his free love/poly lifestyle like nobody else, decided call out Young publicly for dumping his 35+ year wife for Daryl Hannah.

    Read More
  38. Lot says:
    @Matra
    Bowie was good for about that long. When I saw him in two different places in 1990 his live performances were still great. He wasn't though still putting out good music.

    The Stones continued to put out good, though no longer great, music up until 1994.

    Van Morrison had excellent albums throughout the 1990s and a couple in the last decade but his live performances could be bad, bordering on disgraceful.

    Dylan's voice went super raspy in the late 80s or early 90s. Strangely, he seemed to decide that was the time to permanently tour.

    These are matters of taste, but I don’t like anything by Bowie, or anything from Dylan and the Stones after around 73. Obviously some people disagree, in the late 70′s and early 80′s they sold more than 15 million albums, with Some Girls above 6 million sales all by itself. I imagine they were really good live back then too.

    My opinions on boomer rock stars were formed in the late 90′s and early 00′s and have not changed much since. As I’ve aged I appreciate most 1980′s music more and more, but still not the dino-rock hits like “Start Me Up” and “Beast of Burden.”

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  39. @Steve from Detroit
    I am a huge fan of Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and George Harrison, in that order. I was naturally a big fan of the Travelling Wilburys, even if they were a bit of a lighthearted gag. For some reason, however, I have never gotten the appeal of Dylan. Don't like the voice and the lyrics never resonated.

    I know Steve mentioned the Roy Orbison "Black and White Night" Special a few weeks ago. I would have paid $5,000 to have seen that live. Having Springsteen and Elvis Costello on that stage with Roy would have been the ultimate. If you watch that video closely, Billy Idol is in the crowd. I played that CD so much, I am now on my third copy.

    “Having Springsteen and Elvis costello on that stage with Roy would have been the ultimate”.

    Just a question : How would it be to listen once and a while to “Singers” who know what “Singing” on key means?

    Okay Orbison did manage to not get off key to the point of obnoxiousness, the problem being that as of the last fifty years the idea of singing on key has become obsolete, and the concept itself is foreign to most “Singers” , result being : Autotune.

    The worst of them, the off-key singers, having been Lou Reed and L Cohen. Both of them setting world records for never having hit one note on key during their entire careers.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist. ( and on-key vocalist )

    PS I was born in Highland Park.

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  40. @IndieRafael
    I venerate Bob Dylan's art. But in in late 70s/early 80s, I went to some trouble to get tickets to one of his (solo) shows. It was a huge disappointment. He didn't much seem to care. Recently, when the Nobel committee came knocking, I still hoped he'd find some Minnesota Nice in him and at least send a prompt, generous thank you note. Oh well, we make allowances for genius, I guess.

    When I saw the Dylan / Petty tour in 1986, the problem was that while Dylan is the more historic figure, he’s not much of a live performer, or at least not on this tour as a middle-aged man. He just stood there like maybe his joints were stiff. Petty isn’t quite an all-time great, but he’s a full service rock star dedicated to giving audiences their money’s worth. And in 1986 he was still in his prime as a live performer. So while the theory of Dylan and Petty on stage together sounded like a good idea, in practice it just sort of detracted from Dylan.

    Dylan reminded me of a 1979 show I saw by Van Morrison, who also just stood there looking dyspeptic. But it was a small concert hall and I was in about the sixth row, and I’d forgotten how many great songs Morrison had written, so I left impressed. On the other hand, it could have been a great show if Morrison had paid to have a horn section for his R&B numbers.

    Now, from a historical perspective, Dylan preceded Morrison by about two years: “G-L-O-R-I-A” is from 1964, but Dylan wrote some of his famous folk songs 2 or 3 years earlier. So Dylan is more important historically, and he is said to have put out fine albums in his old age, which is very hard to do. But Dylan’s and Morrison’s top 15 or so songs from their 1960s-70s primes are pretty comparable. Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks. The extreme lyricism seemed to get in the way of making catchy hit songs. But his decision to tone down the lyrics in favor of melody and rhythm is not one I disagree with.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    "Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks."

    That record's instrumentation was not at all of its time, and as a result it still sounds great today. "Ballerina" - what a song.

    But this sounds pretty literary Irish, from 15 years later.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv49jlyX-co
    , @Clyde
    If you want to see a seventy year old Van Morrison exert himself go to youtube and look up Cyprus Avenue. He is playing to a hometown Belfast audience right on...
    Van Morrison - Up on Cyprus Avenue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKKmCBPI98s
    , @IndieRafael
    Astral Weeks helped keep me sane at one point. Yeah, its lyrics don't matter. One of a kind. And not even his best.
  41. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Whoever the star was, Phil Somebody, was previously in a low key version of The Who's Quadrophenia that was a decent little social realist look at Mods vs. Rockers at a seaside resort around 1960.

    Absolute Beginners was mid-1980s attempt to channel the music video style of the era into a movie. But it didn't really work.

    Julien Temple’s previous directorial effort was that appalling, god-awful, train-wreck of a dull, tedious, pretentious, disaster of a movie – The Great Rock n Roll Swindle.
    Now, how much ‘talent’ does it take to make a boring film out of the Sex Pistols?

    Read More
  42. Cortes says:

    Here’s Vovan and Lexus of Russia spoofing Maxine Waters as the “Prime Minister of Ukraine ” warning about Putin hacking the election in the well known African country of Limpopo:

    https://youtu.be/u2KZaD7hFSM

    Read More
  43. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The Z Blog
    Grace & Steel did an interesting show on the state of pop music that you may find interesting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLUgV5lVymc

    I have my own theories about it, but they did a good job covering the subject.

    My pet theory is that is down, primarily, to a two pronged attack from rubbishy black American music, Rap and Beyonce/Rihanna type overblown bullshit. Blacks left to their own devices musically stay in the same rut forever, basically – there is no innovation or change.
    Plus the wellspring of inventiveness in music, young white men are just not interested anymore.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce. This one, written by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, is better than anything Beyonce has done.


    https://youtu.be/tg00YEETFzg?t=49s
  44. And I’ll take the jute
    And I’ll throw him down
    On the burning ground
    On the burning ground
    On the burning ground
    On the burning ground
    On the burning ground

    What the hell is Van Morrison singing about. Burlap?

    Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker didn’t much like the big time operators on the music business scene.

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  45. slumber_j says:
    @Whoever

    Before the motorcycle accident
     
    Assuming there actually was one. He claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and several broken vertebrae in his neck. Wow.
    But no concussion or TBI. Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury.... Hmm....
    No ambulance was called, and there was, apparently, no hospital record of his admission or treatment. There was only an announcement by his agent, Alan Grossman, that he had had an accident near his (Grossman's) house after "locking up the brakes" on his Triumph, a 1964 Tiger 100. I've ridden all manner of vintage Triumphs and I honestly don't see how you could lock up the brakes -- for crying out loud, just let go of the brake lever. Duh.
    Anyways, as you can see in this photo, Dylan is riding along leaning back with his feet off the footpegs. Classic squid riding posture. Wouldn't be surprised if he ran over a pebble and ended up doing a flying W. So who knows?
    I just discovered his tune, "The Times, They Are A-changin'," and it kinda fits the alt-right, Trump era. Maybe Linkin Park could do a version of it.

    http://i.imgur.com/xlqE9XK.jpg

    It’s Albert Grossman, not Alan. But yeah: fishy.

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  46. slumber_j says:

    I know he’s just doing it for fun here, but David Bowie is notably not-great at this.

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  47. @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.

    Metallica’s output after Load (which was still superb) was mostly worthless shit, but their latest album, Hardwired… is great. I occasionally think it’s as good as their old stuff.

    My pop music knowledge is not deep enough to discuss non-heavy metal artists, but in heavy metal there’s Iron Maiden, whose last album is probably on par with their classic albums. I know a few other bands whose later output I often value similarly or even above their classic stuff, but those bands (like Paradise Lost) haven’t sold enough albums to be considered rock stars.

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  48. @Steve Sailer
    When I saw the Dylan / Petty tour in 1986, the problem was that while Dylan is the more historic figure, he's not much of a live performer, or at least not on this tour as a middle-aged man. He just stood there like maybe his joints were stiff. Petty isn't quite an all-time great, but he's a full service rock star dedicated to giving audiences their money's worth. And in 1986 he was still in his prime as a live performer. So while the theory of Dylan and Petty on stage together sounded like a good idea, in practice it just sort of detracted from Dylan.

    Dylan reminded me of a 1979 show I saw by Van Morrison, who also just stood there looking dyspeptic. But it was a small concert hall and I was in about the sixth row, and I'd forgotten how many great songs Morrison had written, so I left impressed. On the other hand, it could have been a great show if Morrison had paid to have a horn section for his R&B numbers.

    Now, from a historical perspective, Dylan preceded Morrison by about two years: "G-L-O-R-I-A" is from 1964, but Dylan wrote some of his famous folk songs 2 or 3 years earlier. So Dylan is more important historically, and he is said to have put out fine albums in his old age, which is very hard to do. But Dylan's and Morrison's top 15 or so songs from their 1960s-70s primes are pretty comparable. Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks. The extreme lyricism seemed to get in the way of making catchy hit songs. But his decision to tone down the lyrics in favor of melody and rhythm is not one I disagree with.

    “Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks.”

    That record’s instrumentation was not at all of its time, and as a result it still sounds great today. “Ballerina” – what a song.

    But this sounds pretty literary Irish, from 15 years later.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv49jlyX-co

    Read More
  49. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Anonymous
    My pet theory is that is down, primarily, to a two pronged attack from rubbishy black American music, Rap and Beyonce/Rihanna type overblown bullshit. Blacks left to their own devices musically stay in the same rut forever, basically - there is no innovation or change.
    Plus the wellspring of inventiveness in music, young white men are just not interested anymore.

    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce. This one, written by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, is better than anything Beyonce has done.

    https://youtu.be/tg00YEETFzg?t=49s

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce.

    I mostly only listen to Classic Rock, but many of Rihanna's and Beyonce's early songs are enjoyable, but it's hardly their voices on the recordings after the computerization and auto-tunes. I more admire the singer/songwriters that also play an instrument.
  50. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The “Springstone” parody was by a guy name Tom Chalkley. Joe Piscopo was famous for imitating Frank Sinatra, and on one occasion he did a duet with another comic singing Hanna Barbera verses before announcing “Enough of this cartoon crap”, or something like that, but this was no connection to the Springstone disc (which, however, is quite good.)

    One of the funniest imitator routines is by Bill Kirchen, I’ve seen him do it a bunch of times.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsLdufJePz0

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  51. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Dylan is a godawful performer. It’s always fun to watch people imitate him for that reason.

    The funniest on record is Adrian Belew, on Frank Zappa’s “Sheik Yerbouti”. Joan Baez was the best, live.

    Read More
    • Replies: @slumber_j

    Dylan is a godawful performer. It’s always fun to watch people imitate him for that reason.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u5x9pdInTU
  52. Clyde says:
    @Steve Sailer
    When I saw the Dylan / Petty tour in 1986, the problem was that while Dylan is the more historic figure, he's not much of a live performer, or at least not on this tour as a middle-aged man. He just stood there like maybe his joints were stiff. Petty isn't quite an all-time great, but he's a full service rock star dedicated to giving audiences their money's worth. And in 1986 he was still in his prime as a live performer. So while the theory of Dylan and Petty on stage together sounded like a good idea, in practice it just sort of detracted from Dylan.

    Dylan reminded me of a 1979 show I saw by Van Morrison, who also just stood there looking dyspeptic. But it was a small concert hall and I was in about the sixth row, and I'd forgotten how many great songs Morrison had written, so I left impressed. On the other hand, it could have been a great show if Morrison had paid to have a horn section for his R&B numbers.

    Now, from a historical perspective, Dylan preceded Morrison by about two years: "G-L-O-R-I-A" is from 1964, but Dylan wrote some of his famous folk songs 2 or 3 years earlier. So Dylan is more important historically, and he is said to have put out fine albums in his old age, which is very hard to do. But Dylan's and Morrison's top 15 or so songs from their 1960s-70s primes are pretty comparable. Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks. The extreme lyricism seemed to get in the way of making catchy hit songs. But his decision to tone down the lyrics in favor of melody and rhythm is not one I disagree with.

    If you want to see a seventy year old Van Morrison exert himself go to youtube and look up Cyprus Avenue. He is playing to a hometown Belfast audience right on…
    Van Morrison – Up on Cyprus Avenue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKKmCBPI98s

    Read More
  53. @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.

    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years

    Yep. Two of my all-time favorites -

    The Who put out almost 20 years of hits ’64 – ’83 and they’re still touring!

    And Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still touring and putting out albums, and their hits spanned ’77 – ’94.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    It's not uncommon for superstars' last huge hits to be old songs they kept in a drawer from their primes. For example, the Stones' 1981 "Start Me Up" was written during their Exile on Main Street sessions in 1972. Stevie Wonder's phone call ballad in the early 1980s was a leftover as well.

    I really don't know Sinatra's first hits. His golden age started in 1953 when he took control of his career and his last standard was New York New York about 25 years later.

    In the 1980s-1990s it was discovered that executives and producers could manufacture one last big hit for an aging star, like What's Love Got Do With It for Tina Turner or Smooth for Carlos Santana.

  54. @whorefinder
    It makes you realize how much more important image is to selling pop music than anything else, which Bowie would have obviously understood better than most.

    I'm reminded about how Mick Jagger was really a geeky, ugly LSE graduate who figured out how to sell his image as a bad boy rock star and make a mint doing it. Bowie and Jagger were close, and I'm sure traded notes on image control, the difference being Bowie sought to change his image every 5 years or so to generate more attention, while Jagger sought to hew his image as close to classic rock star as he could. Both dudes sold well.

    I'm reminded also about how country music seems to be a place for singers to go if they have the talent to be famous but don't want the hassle of constantly pushing the envelope required of other genres; it's a lucrative gig if you can get it, but you're not going to get you the headlines like being a rapper/hard rocker/pop tart will, and your albums can get quite monotonous if you're just going straight-Nashville sound. Many older country stars actually get bored with the repetitive act and check out earlier than they need to (Charlie Rich being a prime example).

    Garth Brooks managed to bust out of the country niche while remaining in it and became the world's #1 selling recording artist, but Brooks was always a very cagey (and manipulative) dude. Brooks tried to really break out of country music with his "Life of Chris Gaines" album, which was him LARPing as an 80's pop singer, but it crashed and burned.

    Anyway, it must frustrate many of the singers when they get pigeonholed in one genre and then can't indulge in their love of other genres---at least not until they do some weird tribute album later. Only a few guys---Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Rock---can do several genres at once and get credibility in each. Everyone else just appears crass and being inauthentic.

    I’m reminded about how Mick Jagger was really a geeky, ugly LSE graduate

    Here’s a youtube clip from probably 1970. A feminine-looking, preppy-dressed Mick Jagger introduces John Lennon before his set w/ Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. Lennon acts and looks much cooler and masculine and calls Jagger by his full first name “Michael.” Lennon’s voice sounds great in the song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iuy-10Ejck4

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  55. @E. Rekshun
    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years

    Yep. Two of my all-time favorites -

    The Who put out almost 20 years of hits '64 - '83 and they're still touring!

    And Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still touring and putting out albums, and their hits spanned '77 - '94.

    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    It’s not uncommon for superstars’ last huge hits to be old songs they kept in a drawer from their primes. For example, the Stones’ 1981 “Start Me Up” was written during their Exile on Main Street sessions in 1972. Stevie Wonder’s phone call ballad in the early 1980s was a leftover as well.

    I really don’t know Sinatra’s first hits. His golden age started in 1953 when he took control of his career and his last standard was New York New York about 25 years later.

    In the 1980s-1990s it was discovered that executives and producers could manufacture one last big hit for an aging star, like What’s Love Got Do With It for Tina Turner or Smooth for Carlos Santana.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    Yes! And Come Dancing came out right in time to give the Kinks a boost from MTV and a bunch of new teenage fans. I saw the Kinks up close in '84 at the University of NH.
  56. @Dave Pinsen
    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce. This one, written by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, is better than anything Beyonce has done.


    https://youtu.be/tg00YEETFzg?t=49s

    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce.

    I mostly only listen to Classic Rock, but many of Rihanna’s and Beyonce’s early songs are enjoyable, but it’s hardly their voices on the recordings after the computerization and auto-tunes. I more admire the singer/songwriters that also play an instrument.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce.


    But, despite their very White racial admixture, both of them have sort of become BLM blackety blackety black over the past couple of years.

  57. @Steve Sailer
    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    It's not uncommon for superstars' last huge hits to be old songs they kept in a drawer from their primes. For example, the Stones' 1981 "Start Me Up" was written during their Exile on Main Street sessions in 1972. Stevie Wonder's phone call ballad in the early 1980s was a leftover as well.

    I really don't know Sinatra's first hits. His golden age started in 1953 when he took control of his career and his last standard was New York New York about 25 years later.

    In the 1980s-1990s it was discovered that executives and producers could manufacture one last big hit for an aging star, like What's Love Got Do With It for Tina Turner or Smooth for Carlos Santana.

    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    Yes! And Come Dancing came out right in time to give the Kinks a boost from MTV and a bunch of new teenage fans. I saw the Kinks up close in ’84 at the University of NH.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Maybe Ray Davies' having to put out child support for having knocked Chrissie Hynde up might have influenced the decision to put some effort into a new Kinks record. As it turned out, she made way more than he did and wanted sole custody, so I doubt he actually had to pay:then too, she married Jim Kerr and cranked another kid out within eighteen months or so.
  58. @E. Rekshun
    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce.

    I mostly only listen to Classic Rock, but many of Rihanna's and Beyonce's early songs are enjoyable, but it's hardly their voices on the recordings after the computerization and auto-tunes. I more admire the singer/songwriters that also play an instrument.

    Rihanna has had a lot of catchy songs, more than Beyonce.

    But, despite their very White racial admixture, both of them have sort of become BLM blackety blackety black over the past couple of years.

    Read More
  59. anon says: • Disclaimer

    That’s odd that Bowie was thinking enough about Springsteen to do an imitation in the mid 80′s (By the way, I think Bowie was one of the first semi-big acts to do a cover of a Springsteen song before Bruce got famous. I think it was Growin Up or Saint in the City or something.)

    But I say it is odd above because I remember watching a Conan O’Brien show from 15-20 years ago with Bowie as a guest. And right when he came out and the band was playing him on, he turned to do a little small talk with the band and says to Max Weinberg in complete earnest, ‘Hey Max, haven’t you played with Springsteen before because my current drummer played with him (I think it was the guy who played with Springsteen during the early 90′s when he first tried to break away from the E Street Band)’ And Max kind of gave a confused yes answer (to a question which would have been an obvious insult to anyone who knew anything about Springsteen’s famous backup band) and Conan looked at him funny for a while too.

    And it’s also kind of odd because I’ve seen Bowie (unlike say Keith Richards who apparently doesn’t know anything about any bands past the time when he got inspired) do interviews where he talks knowledgeably (including knowing the names of the band members) about 80′s/90′s bands like the Pixies and Sonic Youth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Keith's personal listening consists of country (mostly old time), reggae and R&B bands. The Stones have tried to remain tied to black, and to a lesser (but still more than most people realize) extent country music, and sort of deliberately pay not too much attention to white rock bands. They want to keep that shuffle feel.
  60. @AndrewR
    Sailer, have you ever criticized Trump or are you a dishonest hack? I can't recall you criticizing him ever and there is no excuse if you haven't. His rhetoric about civil forfeiture reform should outrage every American. Trump wants cops to have the right to steal from innocent people with no due process. It is that simple. Trump is a mortal enemy of the American people and he should be treated as such.

    If he were on fire, I'd let my bladder burst before I'd piss on him.
    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/can-the-president-destroy-criminal-justice-reformers

    Troleee. trolley trollie trolay, troeleee, trolley trollie trolay, sung to the tuna of hava nagila!
    Justa as i tuna my guieetarrr.

    Read More
  61. slumber_j says:
    @Anonymous
    Dylan is a godawful performer. It's always fun to watch people imitate him for that reason.

    The funniest on record is Adrian Belew, on Frank Zappa's "Sheik Yerbouti". Joan Baez was the best, live.

    Dylan is a godawful performer. It’s always fun to watch people imitate him for that reason.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u5x9pdInTU

    Read More
  62. @Steve Sailer
    When I saw the Dylan / Petty tour in 1986, the problem was that while Dylan is the more historic figure, he's not much of a live performer, or at least not on this tour as a middle-aged man. He just stood there like maybe his joints were stiff. Petty isn't quite an all-time great, but he's a full service rock star dedicated to giving audiences their money's worth. And in 1986 he was still in his prime as a live performer. So while the theory of Dylan and Petty on stage together sounded like a good idea, in practice it just sort of detracted from Dylan.

    Dylan reminded me of a 1979 show I saw by Van Morrison, who also just stood there looking dyspeptic. But it was a small concert hall and I was in about the sixth row, and I'd forgotten how many great songs Morrison had written, so I left impressed. On the other hand, it could have been a great show if Morrison had paid to have a horn section for his R&B numbers.

    Now, from a historical perspective, Dylan preceded Morrison by about two years: "G-L-O-R-I-A" is from 1964, but Dylan wrote some of his famous folk songs 2 or 3 years earlier. So Dylan is more important historically, and he is said to have put out fine albums in his old age, which is very hard to do. But Dylan's and Morrison's top 15 or so songs from their 1960s-70s primes are pretty comparable. Morrison only tried to be a literary Irish poet songwriter on one album, Astral Weeks. The extreme lyricism seemed to get in the way of making catchy hit songs. But his decision to tone down the lyrics in favor of melody and rhythm is not one I disagree with.

    Astral Weeks helped keep me sane at one point. Yeah, its lyrics don’t matter. One of a kind. And not even his best.

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  63. Ola says: • Website
    @Anders
    2nd is undoubtedly Marc Bolan. Very characteristic vibrato. Bowie imitated Bolan already in Black Country Rock, 1970
    https://youtu.be/SLvhwD8cnKM?t=162

    Yes, definitely Bolan! Bowie sound like an inferior stand-in for Danielz, the stand-in for Bolan in T. Rex tribute band T. Rextasy.

    Stevie Riks used to make some pretty good impersonations of Bowie and Bolan together:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Dizp8E22I

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9GrxmlPhPE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRDJ_dVyshg

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anders
    Stevie Riks is unbelievably talented. The voices are spot on he is a dead-ringer for Bolan.
  64. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @anon
    That's odd that Bowie was thinking enough about Springsteen to do an imitation in the mid 80's (By the way, I think Bowie was one of the first semi-big acts to do a cover of a Springsteen song before Bruce got famous. I think it was Growin Up or Saint in the City or something.)

    But I say it is odd above because I remember watching a Conan O'Brien show from 15-20 years ago with Bowie as a guest. And right when he came out and the band was playing him on, he turned to do a little small talk with the band and says to Max Weinberg in complete earnest, 'Hey Max, haven't you played with Springsteen before because my current drummer played with him (I think it was the guy who played with Springsteen during the early 90's when he first tried to break away from the E Street Band)' And Max kind of gave a confused yes answer (to a question which would have been an obvious insult to anyone who knew anything about Springsteen's famous backup band) and Conan looked at him funny for a while too.

    And it's also kind of odd because I've seen Bowie (unlike say Keith Richards who apparently doesn't know anything about any bands past the time when he got inspired) do interviews where he talks knowledgeably (including knowing the names of the band members) about 80's/90's bands like the Pixies and Sonic Youth.

    Keith’s personal listening consists of country (mostly old time), reggae and R&B bands. The Stones have tried to remain tied to black, and to a lesser (but still more than most people realize) extent country music, and sort of deliberately pay not too much attention to white rock bands. They want to keep that shuffle feel.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Honky Tonk Women is the only single ever that's clearly way too short.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6M77oHD110

  65. @Anonymous
    Keith's personal listening consists of country (mostly old time), reggae and R&B bands. The Stones have tried to remain tied to black, and to a lesser (but still more than most people realize) extent country music, and sort of deliberately pay not too much attention to white rock bands. They want to keep that shuffle feel.

    Honky Tonk Women is the only single ever that’s clearly way too short.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6M77oHD110

    Read More
  66. @peterike

    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however
     
    Dylan released two of his greatest albums ever as a grizzled old man. "Love and Theft" in 2001 and "Modern Times" in 2006. Both are easily in the top ten of his albums. And he's got a LOT of albums.

    “Time Out of Mind” (1997) and “Tempest” (2012) also are brilliant.

    Read More
  67. @Lot
    I think Dylan was good when he was young and went down hill a lot worse than the various former Beatles. I can't think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however. There were some Dinosaur Rock #1 hits from late 60s acts in the 80s, but they were nearly all pretty bad.

    Trying to think of good songs released by bands or singers 15+ years after original hits is pretty hard. Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do and Metallica's I Disappear are a couple. Perhaps We Built This City and Diana Ross's disco hits.

    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however.

    A part of this phenomenon is the (admittedly sometimes overlapping) distinction between rockstars and musicians. A similar thing happens in Hollywood, as between movie-stars and actors.

    The star’s appeal and success often relies very much upon his personality and charisma, and thus his work is usually never too far afield from a certain…I hesitate to write formula, because that’s not quite fair or accurate, but it’s the best word I can muster just now. (Tom Cruise, for instance, although a talented actor, essentially plays Tom Cruise in nearly all of his movies.) Departures too far afield turn off the audience, even if they might be sound work judged on their own merits.

    Musicians, on the other hand, build their following often upon technical virtuosity, an ability to thrive in mutliple idioms, etc.; often their very dedication to the craft leads them to avoid the excesses and flamboyancy that is part and parcel of being a star. These guys tend to have more staying power, and produce great work throughout their careers, but receive less notoriety for that work. Many go into songwriting and producing to deliberately avoid stardom: Richard Marx, Gregg Alexander, etc.

    The guys from Rush, Pink Floyd, and Yes are musicians. John Paul Jones, Roy Orbison, Kenny Aronoff, and George Harrison are (and were) musicians.

    John Lennon, Axl Rose, and Jimmy Page were both, but arguably leaned toward the star’s end of the spectrum (they also were notoriously poor at playing well with others, and their careers can be argued to have faltered later for it; Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing…).

    Robert Plant is an example of a man squarely meeting both criteria but closer to the musicians’ end of the spectrum, with more longevity to show for it. Phil Collins is a good example of someone only slighlty favouring stardom.

    The purest stars are either one-hit wonders, or those who become more known for their fashion and controversy than actual musical chops or influence (e.g., Madonna Ciccione).

    People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing…).
     
    Axl was involved in writing the music himself. I haven't checked because I'm not that interested, but I once read that his contributions were the largest, for example his name appears the most of all band members among the writing credits. But he needed the others for a balanced album, as shown by Chinese Democracy.
    , @BB753
    "People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind."

    What about Sting, Peter Gabriel and Paul Weller? Do they also qualify?
  68. @Whoever

    Before the motorcycle accident
     
    Assuming there actually was one. He claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and several broken vertebrae in his neck. Wow.
    But no concussion or TBI. Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury.... Hmm....
    No ambulance was called, and there was, apparently, no hospital record of his admission or treatment. There was only an announcement by his agent, Alan Grossman, that he had had an accident near his (Grossman's) house after "locking up the brakes" on his Triumph, a 1964 Tiger 100. I've ridden all manner of vintage Triumphs and I honestly don't see how you could lock up the brakes -- for crying out loud, just let go of the brake lever. Duh.
    Anyways, as you can see in this photo, Dylan is riding along leaning back with his feet off the footpegs. Classic squid riding posture. Wouldn't be surprised if he ran over a pebble and ended up doing a flying W. So who knows?
    I just discovered his tune, "The Times, They Are A-changin'," and it kinda fits the alt-right, Trump era. Maybe Linkin Park could do a version of it.

    http://i.imgur.com/xlqE9XK.jpg

    Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury….

    Was he supposed to have been wearing a helmet? If he were, that would perfectly explain this combination. (Gravel or other debris can easily cut up one’s face without damage to the actual skull.)

    I see in the photo he has no helmet, and I expect many foolishly eschewed them in those days, but I’m curious what the official line was about that detail.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Whoever
    All the photos I've seen of him on the bike show him helmetless.
    I was reading some more about this incident since I posted. I found this quote from Joan Baez: “He used to hang on that thing [his Triumph] like a sack of flour. I always had the feeling it was driving him, and if we were lucky we'd lean the right way and the motorcycle would turn the corner. If not, it would be the end of both of us.” That seems to indicate Dylan was not the most accomplished rider, as do the photos I've seen.
    And then this: "Nobody really knows what caused the wreck. Dylan was followed by his new wife Sara Lowndes after leaving his manager Albert Grossman's house in nearby West Saugerties. Dylan later told biographer Robert Shelton that an oil slick caused him to lose control. But according to playwright Sam Shepard, Dylan said the sun blinded him and he got thrown by the bike." That seems odd. Whenever I've stepped off a bike at speed I've had a good idea of what happened, because I would carefully go over the incident in my mind to make sure I understood why I screwed the pooch, so I would make sure not to do it again.
    Dylan said this about his situation at the time of the accident: “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I'd been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race. Having children changed my life and segregated me from just about everybody and everything that was going on. Outside of my family, nothing held any real interest for me and I was seeing everything through different glasses.” So I think it's likely that he just used the excuse of a motorcycle accident to break off from the life he was leading at the time.
    Of course, anybody who rides much will probably crash at least once, especially in the early days before he or she develops the proper combination of skill and caution. You only discover your limits by exceeding them. So Dylan might have bent his bike and realized he really didn't want to ride his motor sickle, he just wanted a pickle. Oh, wait, that's a different guy's song.
    All the quotes are from this article.

    https://youtu.be/BvLtNBm1yyA

  69. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @E. Rekshun
    Kinks: You Really Got Me in 1964 to Come Dancing in 1982.

    Yes! And Come Dancing came out right in time to give the Kinks a boost from MTV and a bunch of new teenage fans. I saw the Kinks up close in '84 at the University of NH.

    Maybe Ray Davies’ having to put out child support for having knocked Chrissie Hynde up might have influenced the decision to put some effort into a new Kinks record. As it turned out, she made way more than he did and wanted sole custody, so I doubt he actually had to pay:then too, she married Jim Kerr and cranked another kid out within eighteen months or so.

    Read More
  70. Whoever says:
    @Autochthon

    Trying to conceptualize how he landed that gave him cuts on his face, busted up his neck, but no cranial injury….
     
    Was he supposed to have been wearing a helmet? If he were, that would perfectly explain this combination. (Gravel or other debris can easily cut up one's face without damage to the actual skull.)

    I see in the photo he has no helmet, and I expect many foolishly eschewed them in those days, but I'm curious what the official line was about that detail.

    All the photos I’ve seen of him on the bike show him helmetless.
    I was reading some more about this incident since I posted. I found this quote from Joan Baez: “He used to hang on that thing [his Triumph] like a sack of flour. I always had the feeling it was driving him, and if we were lucky we’d lean the right way and the motorcycle would turn the corner. If not, it would be the end of both of us.” That seems to indicate Dylan was not the most accomplished rider, as do the photos I’ve seen.
    And then this: “Nobody really knows what caused the wreck. Dylan was followed by his new wife Sara Lowndes after leaving his manager Albert Grossman’s house in nearby West Saugerties. Dylan later told biographer Robert Shelton that an oil slick caused him to lose control. But according to playwright Sam Shepard, Dylan said the sun blinded him and he got thrown by the bike.” That seems odd. Whenever I’ve stepped off a bike at speed I’ve had a good idea of what happened, because I would carefully go over the incident in my mind to make sure I understood why I screwed the pooch, so I would make sure not to do it again.
    Dylan said this about his situation at the time of the accident: “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race. Having children changed my life and segregated me from just about everybody and everything that was going on. Outside of my family, nothing held any real interest for me and I was seeing everything through different glasses.” So I think it’s likely that he just used the excuse of a motorcycle accident to break off from the life he was leading at the time.
    Of course, anybody who rides much will probably crash at least once, especially in the early days before he or she develops the proper combination of skill and caution. You only discover your limits by exceeding them. So Dylan might have bent his bike and realized he really didn’t want to ride his motor sickle, he just wanted a pickle. Oh, wait, that’s a different guy’s song.
    All the quotes are from this article.

    https://youtu.be/BvLtNBm1yyA

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Dylan probably wanted a break.

    In the Freudian atmosphere of the time, nothing would seem like an accident.

  71. @Whoever
    All the photos I've seen of him on the bike show him helmetless.
    I was reading some more about this incident since I posted. I found this quote from Joan Baez: “He used to hang on that thing [his Triumph] like a sack of flour. I always had the feeling it was driving him, and if we were lucky we'd lean the right way and the motorcycle would turn the corner. If not, it would be the end of both of us.” That seems to indicate Dylan was not the most accomplished rider, as do the photos I've seen.
    And then this: "Nobody really knows what caused the wreck. Dylan was followed by his new wife Sara Lowndes after leaving his manager Albert Grossman's house in nearby West Saugerties. Dylan later told biographer Robert Shelton that an oil slick caused him to lose control. But according to playwright Sam Shepard, Dylan said the sun blinded him and he got thrown by the bike." That seems odd. Whenever I've stepped off a bike at speed I've had a good idea of what happened, because I would carefully go over the incident in my mind to make sure I understood why I screwed the pooch, so I would make sure not to do it again.
    Dylan said this about his situation at the time of the accident: “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I'd been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race. Having children changed my life and segregated me from just about everybody and everything that was going on. Outside of my family, nothing held any real interest for me and I was seeing everything through different glasses.” So I think it's likely that he just used the excuse of a motorcycle accident to break off from the life he was leading at the time.
    Of course, anybody who rides much will probably crash at least once, especially in the early days before he or she develops the proper combination of skill and caution. You only discover your limits by exceeding them. So Dylan might have bent his bike and realized he really didn't want to ride his motor sickle, he just wanted a pickle. Oh, wait, that's a different guy's song.
    All the quotes are from this article.

    https://youtu.be/BvLtNBm1yyA

    Dylan probably wanted a break.

    In the Freudian atmosphere of the time, nothing would seem like an accident.

    Read More
  72. @Autochthon

    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however.
     
    A part of this phenomenon is the (admittedly sometimes overlapping) distinction between rockstars and musicians. A similar thing happens in Hollywood, as between movie-stars and actors.

    The star's appeal and success often relies very much upon his personality and charisma, and thus his work is usually never too far afield from a certain...I hesitate to write formula, because that's not quite fair or accurate, but it's the best word I can muster just now. (Tom Cruise, for instance, although a talented actor, essentially plays Tom Cruise in nearly all of his movies.) Departures too far afield turn off the audience, even if they might be sound work judged on their own merits.

    Musicians, on the other hand, build their following often upon technical virtuosity, an ability to thrive in mutliple idioms, etc.; often their very dedication to the craft leads them to avoid the excesses and flamboyancy that is part and parcel of being a star. These guys tend to have more staying power, and produce great work throughout their careers, but receive less notoriety for that work. Many go into songwriting and producing to deliberately avoid stardom: Richard Marx, Gregg Alexander, etc.

    The guys from Rush, Pink Floyd, and Yes are musicians. John Paul Jones, Roy Orbison, Kenny Aronoff, and George Harrison are (and were) musicians.

    John Lennon, Axl Rose, and Jimmy Page were both, but arguably leaned toward the star's end of the spectrum (they also were notoriously poor at playing well with others, and their careers can be argued to have faltered later for it; Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing...).

    Robert Plant is an example of a man squarely meeting both criteria but closer to the musicians' end of the spectrum, with more longevity to show for it. Phil Collins is a good example of someone only slighlty favouring stardom.

    The purest stars are either one-hit wonders, or those who become more known for their fashion and controversy than actual musical chops or influence (e.g., Madonna Ciccione).

    People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind.

    Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing…).

    Axl was involved in writing the music himself. I haven’t checked because I’m not that interested, but I once read that his contributions were the largest, for example his name appears the most of all band members among the writing credits. But he needed the others for a balanced album, as shown by Chinese Democracy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I take your point. I didn't mean to suggest Rose didn't also write the music; only that he began to treat his co-writers as though they were a hired backing band, as he became more obsessed with stardom than music. A minor quibble: his name appears most in songwriting credits because he wrote the overwhelming majority of the lyrics

    I'm a huge fan of their work, including Rose's contributions. I even bought "The Spaghetti Incident?" on cassette, and the maxi-single for their cover of "Sympathy for the Devil," for goodness' sake. I confess I resent Rose for effectively destroying the band, but his lyrics were downright prophetic, and I'm sad to see he has since bowed to the thought-police with the requisite and contrite disavowal of his own work. I mean, if Axl Rose is afraid of offending people, it has gotten bad.

    Another, already pretty widely acnowldged reason its difficult to be an enduring rockstar is the difficulty of making great breakthroughs in any field as we age. Robert Smith was famously anxious to make Disintegration flawless because he feared that, as he was approaching his thirties, he was at the apex of his abilities and they would decline thereafter. He was probably right. Bloodflowers contains many laments that he himself continued to believe so.

    The phenomenon is doubly hard on rockers, as a big part of the idiom is angst, rebellion, discomfort, etc. – all tied up with youth to a large degree, and also for vocalists, since the physiological depradations of age on one's larynx are more rapid and pronounced than those on an instrumentalist's hands. On a good day, I expect Satriani can still play "The Summer Song" note for note as well as he did the day he wrote it, if not better; he doesn't have to change the key to accommodate a lower register....

    I've never heard a note from Chinese democracy though; I've no interest in it.
  73. @reiner Tor

    Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing…).
     
    Axl was involved in writing the music himself. I haven't checked because I'm not that interested, but I once read that his contributions were the largest, for example his name appears the most of all band members among the writing credits. But he needed the others for a balanced album, as shown by Chinese Democracy.

    I take your point. I didn’t mean to suggest Rose didn’t also write the music; only that he began to treat his co-writers as though they were a hired backing band, as he became more obsessed with stardom than music. A minor quibble: his name appears most in songwriting credits because he wrote the overwhelming majority of the lyrics

    I’m a huge fan of their work, including Rose’s contributions. I even bought “The Spaghetti Incident?” on cassette, and the maxi-single for their cover of “Sympathy for the Devil,” for goodness’ sake. I confess I resent Rose for effectively destroying the band, but his lyrics were downright prophetic, and I’m sad to see he has since bowed to the thought-police with the requisite and contrite disavowal of his own work. I mean, if Axl Rose is afraid of offending people, it has gotten bad.

    Another, already pretty widely acnowldged reason its difficult to be an enduring rockstar is the difficulty of making great breakthroughs in any field as we age. Robert Smith was famously anxious to make Disintegration flawless because he feared that, as he was approaching his thirties, he was at the apex of his abilities and they would decline thereafter. He was probably right. Bloodflowers contains many laments that he himself continued to believe so.

    The phenomenon is doubly hard on rockers, as a big part of the idiom is angst, rebellion, discomfort, etc. – all tied up with youth to a large degree, and also for vocalists, since the physiological depradations of age on one’s larynx are more rapid and pronounced than those on an instrumentalist’s hands. On a good day, I expect Satriani can still play “The Summer Song” note for note as well as he did the day he wrote it, if not better; he doesn’t have to change the key to accommodate a lower register….

    I’ve never heard a note from Chinese democracy though; I’ve no interest in it.

    Read More
  74. BB753 says:
    @Autochthon

    I can’t think of any rock star who stayed good for 20+ years however.
     
    A part of this phenomenon is the (admittedly sometimes overlapping) distinction between rockstars and musicians. A similar thing happens in Hollywood, as between movie-stars and actors.

    The star's appeal and success often relies very much upon his personality and charisma, and thus his work is usually never too far afield from a certain...I hesitate to write formula, because that's not quite fair or accurate, but it's the best word I can muster just now. (Tom Cruise, for instance, although a talented actor, essentially plays Tom Cruise in nearly all of his movies.) Departures too far afield turn off the audience, even if they might be sound work judged on their own merits.

    Musicians, on the other hand, build their following often upon technical virtuosity, an ability to thrive in mutliple idioms, etc.; often their very dedication to the craft leads them to avoid the excesses and flamboyancy that is part and parcel of being a star. These guys tend to have more staying power, and produce great work throughout their careers, but receive less notoriety for that work. Many go into songwriting and producing to deliberately avoid stardom: Richard Marx, Gregg Alexander, etc.

    The guys from Rush, Pink Floyd, and Yes are musicians. John Paul Jones, Roy Orbison, Kenny Aronoff, and George Harrison are (and were) musicians.

    John Lennon, Axl Rose, and Jimmy Page were both, but arguably leaned toward the star's end of the spectrum (they also were notoriously poor at playing well with others, and their careers can be argued to have faltered later for it; Rose, for instance, seems to have at some point completley forgotten there were four other people on stage with him every night who actually wrote the music over which he was singing...).

    Robert Plant is an example of a man squarely meeting both criteria but closer to the musicians' end of the spectrum, with more longevity to show for it. Phil Collins is a good example of someone only slighlty favouring stardom.

    The purest stars are either one-hit wonders, or those who become more known for their fashion and controversy than actual musical chops or influence (e.g., Madonna Ciccione).

    People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind.

    “People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind.”

    What about Sting, Peter Gabriel and Paul Weller? Do they also qualify?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Gosh, I don't know; I meant only to propose a useful framework for understanding the trajectory a career can take with two categories which aren't necessarily mutually exclusive but which embody opposite ends of a spectrum. Then, too, it's all hardly science.

    For my own part I'd argue the first two listed are good candidates; Sumner probably veered a but more toward stardom over time and Garbiel toward music (cf. my take in Plant and Collins).

    I confess I am wholly unfamiliar with Paul Weller's work.
  75. @BB753
    "People perfectly epitomising and balancing both aspects of things are rare indeed. Prince Nelson comes to mind."

    What about Sting, Peter Gabriel and Paul Weller? Do they also qualify?

    Gosh, I don’t know; I meant only to propose a useful framework for understanding the trajectory a career can take with two categories which aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive but which embody opposite ends of a spectrum. Then, too, it’s all hardly science.

    For my own part I’d argue the first two listed are good candidates; Sumner probably veered a but more toward stardom over time and Garbiel toward music (cf. my take in Plant and Collins).

    I confess I am wholly unfamiliar with Paul Weller’s work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BB753
    Paul Weller was the front man and main composer of the bands The Jam and The Style Council. He then went on to pursue a quite successful solo career.
    These two solo albums are excellent :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Wood
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Road
    https://youtu.be/6N-7t4-E_fM
  76. Anders says:
    @Ola
    Yes, definitely Bolan! Bowie sound like an inferior stand-in for Danielz, the stand-in for Bolan in T. Rex tribute band T. Rextasy.

    Stevie Riks used to make some pretty good impersonations of Bowie and Bolan together:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Dizp8E22I

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9GrxmlPhPE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRDJ_dVyshg

    Stevie Riks is unbelievably talented. The voices are spot on he is a dead-ringer for Bolan.

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  77. BB753 says:
    @Autochthon
    Gosh, I don't know; I meant only to propose a useful framework for understanding the trajectory a career can take with two categories which aren't necessarily mutually exclusive but which embody opposite ends of a spectrum. Then, too, it's all hardly science.

    For my own part I'd argue the first two listed are good candidates; Sumner probably veered a but more toward stardom over time and Garbiel toward music (cf. my take in Plant and Collins).

    I confess I am wholly unfamiliar with Paul Weller's work.

    Paul Weller was the front man and main composer of the bands The Jam and The Style Council. He then went on to pursue a quite successful solo career.
    These two solo albums are excellent :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Wood

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Road

    https://youtu.be/6N-7t4-E_fM

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