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Fake Art vs. Fake Music: Relics vs. Reproductions
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In a comment about my new Taki’s column “State of the Art,” iSteve commenter Mr. Anon observes:

Another point about music vs. art: [music's] value is intrinsic, not relational, a least a lot more so than art, especially modern art.

If it were found tomorrow that a symphony by Mozart, or Beethoven, or Schumann, or Shostakovich, had not been written by the purported composer, but by some anonymous composer who passed it off as someone else’s, its place in the repertoire probably wouldn’t change at all. It would get played just as much, sell just as many records, etc. But if some piece of modern art (piece of…., in this case being an apt term) were found not to have been created by the celebrated artist it was claimed to have been by, it’s value would instantly plummet – 50%? 90%? More?

This has happened spectacularly in the visual art world. For example, physicist A.L. Barabasi writes in his new book The Formula:

… Consider Rembrandt’s Man with the Golden Helmet, which, up until the mid-eighties, attracted droves of art appreciators to the Bode Museum in Berlin. … The painting was the most popular work of art in the entire museum, and was undoubtedly beautiful. But when scholars announced that The Man with the Golden Helmet had been misattributed to Rembrandt — its true maker now downgraded to an unknown Dutch artist in Rembrandt’s circle — the crowds vanished. … virtually overnight interest waned, its value plummeted, and a few could remember what the fuss was about.

Rembrandt may have had some input into this painting, such as tutoring the artist and/or advising him. For all we know, this could have been Rembrandt running a forging operation of his own stuff using his best apprentices.

In contrast, we celebrate Orson Welles for being the auteur of Citizen Kane. But how much of the screenplay, for which Welles shared an Oscar with Herman J. Mankiewicz did Welles actually write?

There are probably a lot of famous works of art out there in which the named artist’s contributions are more like that of a movie director than of, say, Michelangelo laying on his back for four years painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. (Michelangelo did do that, right?)

Or the opposite happens. There’s the painting of Christ by Leonardo da Vinci, one of only twenty or so paintings attributed to him, which in 2017 sold for a record-shattering $450 million.

This is one ho-hum painting.

The last time it had changed ownership was in 2005, when a consortium of art dealers purchased it … for less than $10,000. What explains the Everest-sized leap in its value? Back in 2005 it was thought to have been painted by one of da Vinci’s disciples, not by the master himself. It’s the same painting, just as remarkable or unremarkable as it ever was. Nothing changed but its context.

Has anything like this happened with music? Offhand, I can’t think of any examples.

There are likely disputes over music-related collectibles, such as electric guitars, which would go for a high price a few years ago, although the market had cooled considerably the last time I looked into it. The electric guitar on which the short lived Duane Allman was said to had played on “Layla” would likely have gone for a lot at the peak of the guitar bubble, but it would have fallen in price if it were proved that wasn’t his guitar or that it wasn’t used in the “Layla” session.

Classical music hoaxes do exist. From The Guardian:

Don’t believe your ears: the best classical music hoaxes

Tom Service

Wed 12 Aug 2015 06.28

It’s not just literature and visual art. Classical music has also been a happy hunting ground for hoaxers over the centuries. In a market that’s less driven by cash than the art world, however, the hoaxers’ motivations are a more complex combination of aesthetic game-playing, private jokes, a bit of good old-fashioned lampoonery and, sometimes, a more shadowy kind of compositional fakery.

Some of these were pretty good, composed by talented composers who rebelled against their own age’s assumptions about what a contemporary composition was supposed to sound like. My impression, however, is that they don’t get included in the canon once they’ve been discovered.

A couple of commenters point to “Albinoni’s Adagio.” Commenter Inertial asserts:

Famous “Albinoni’s Adagio” was really written not by Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1751) but by Remo Giazotto (1910 – 1998). It’s still as popular as ever. But it wouldn’t become so popular if it wasn’t attributed to Albinoni first.

It’s hard to make much money off creating a new piece of music that you claim is from the era before current copyrights. Similarly, if I were to write a catchy song and claim John Lennon had given me the manuscript and a notarized letter entitling me to the intellectual property rights while were standing outside of the Dakota moments before he was shot, I’d be getting a certified letter from Yoko Ono’s attorneys shortly.

In pop music, there are a lot of songs where somebody gets a partial songwriting credit for business reasons without having written the song: e.g., John Lennon didn’t write any of the Lennon-McCartney song “Yesterday,” although at one point Yoko Ono was getting royalties for it and Paul McCartney was not. Elvis Presley did not co-write “Don’t Be Cruel,” but the songwriter Otis Blackwell was okay with giving him a split of the royalties in return for Elvis recording it.

But it’s hard to think of a pop record that was made into a hit via misattribution. I could imagine that, say, a recording with what sounds like a newly dead rock hero climbing the charts, the way “Me and Bobby McGee” was a giant hit in the wake of Janis Joplin’s death, only to discover later it was by a studio musician. That would be easier with a famous instrumentalist than a famous singer. But I’m not aware of it happening. (Or maybe that just shows how deviously it has been done?)

Commenters point to the Milli Vanilli scandal in which a couple of half-black German guys became initially celebrated and given awards and money until it was revealed that an African-American trio had recorded their songs. I suspect there are a lot of cases in which pretty people are made into pop stars without making too much of their own music, but for some reason the whole world got really mad at Milli Vanilli.

In the world of writing, there have been a few famous hoaxes over the centuries, such as Ossian, Clifford Irving’s autobiography of Howard Hughes, and the Hitler Diaries.

In general, there seem to be more hoaxes in markets where people want to pay money for relics (art, collectibles) rather than reproductions (music, literature).

 
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  1. inertial says:

    If it were found tomorrow that a symphony by Mozart, or Beethoven, or Schumann, or Shostakovich, had not been written by the purported composer, but by some anonymous composer who passed it off as someone else’s, its place in the repertoire probably wouldn’t change at all.

    Famous “Albinoni’s Adagio” was really written not by Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1751) but by Remo Giazotto (1910 – 1998). It’s still as popular as ever. But it wouldn’t become so popular if it wasn’t attributed to Albinoni first.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  2. Blame it on the rain, Steve, blame it on the rain.

  3. Bordon says:

    Milli vanilli’s music took a huge dive in popularity after they were discovered to have been lip synching

    • Replies: @Barnard
    , @Redneck farmer
  4. DW says:

    There’s “Albinoni’s Adagio,” a baroque-ish work supposedly reconstructed or completed by a 20th century musicologist based on a partial manuscript of Albinoni’s.

    The manuscript was never found, so the piece might have been entirely original, but it’s still very much in the popular baroque repertoire.

  5. Milli Vanilli sold millions of records, won a Grammy. Then when the world discovered the front men didn’t actually do any of the singing, and they lost everything (including the Grammy). I always wondered why the awards and fan interest didn’t just transfer to those actually doing the singing. The music was still the music, right? Turns out the music had very little to do with the adulation.

    • Agree: Tusk
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Blodgie
  6. didn’t respigi first claim his compositions were discovered from the rennaissance manuscripts… and Sir Walter Scott did the same with ancient scottish poetry.

  7. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:

    That many Rembrandts are not by Rembrandt is an open secret in the art world. A lot of works attributed him are by his students. But there’s so much money riding on issues of authenticity that a lot of people are happy with misattributions. I remember reading the opinion of a Rembrandt expert who said that some of Rembrandt’s students were so talented that they should be considered major old masters in their own right. The problem is that they’ve never had a publicity machine working for them to give them that status the way other artists like Leonardo have, and Rembrandt himself wasn’t interested in making his students his competitors for Rembrandtesque-type work.
    He wanted them working for him and anonymous as long as possible. It helped him earn a living.

    Painters have always made much more money if they run a ‘factory,’ namely mass producing work which is primarily by their students. The students pay the master for the privilege of learning the craft as apprentices, and they also do most of the work for paintings in which the master mapped out the basic idea for them. Sometimes the master paints a little of it, such as the faces, and lets the student do the boring yards of drapery or sky or suchlike. But work is sold as the sole work of the master, who pockets all the money.

    Unless you know art history, you have no idea how common this ‘factory’ work is. There are thousands of old paintings that are labeled ‘in the school of such and such.’ Generally, this means these works were directly produced by students of the master working in his ‘factory’ shop.

    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    , @ThreeCranes
  8. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:

    Music does have a hoaxing problem. It’s quite common among record labels to see people being given songwriter credit who had little or nothing to do with the song so they can claim royalties or get back-pats for being a genius. If you dig around a bit, you’ll find this problem all over the history of modern music. It suffers from being a subject most people aren’t interested in enough to actually research. A lot of well-known pop singers today get songwriter credit for a song that was actually written for them by professional writers, but the singer is given credit as a lyric writer to placate their enormous egos. Sometimes the song is bought from a writer who grants the privilege of letting the new owner claim writing credit for it, as long as the cash is good enough.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    , @Pericles
  9. Ken52 says:

    I’m reminded of the scene in the movie “Blow Up” in which the crowd fights over a piece of Jimmy Page’s smashed guitar. When the protagonist escapes with the prize he throws it on the street and people walk by it ignoring it as the piece of junk it in reality it actually is.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Marty
    , @O'Really
  10. For all we know, this could have been Rembrandt running a forging operation of his own stuff using his best apprentices.

    Like Jim Davis and Garfield, or James Patterson’s monthly fortnightly weekly novels?

  11. “This is one ho-hum painting.”

    Easy there, Steve. It is now officially Advent, perhaps after the New Year that kind of noticing would be more tasteful.

  12. In pop music, there are a lot of songs where somebody gets a partial songwriting credit for business reasons without having written the song…

    Long before Lennon-McCartney, Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane had this arrangement. According to Martin (long after Blane’s death), Blane didn’t stick to his end of the bargain after the first year or two. Yet Blane was co-credited with everything, including the soundtrack to Meet Me in Saint Louis.

    The only standard that Blane actually wrote was “Buckle Down, Winsocki”. I remember that played a lot, as an instrumental, for one of the networks’ pro football broadcasts. So maybe Martin got some of Blane’s money, as well.

    Martin said he didn’t know why he never called Blane out on his laziness, but one guess is that he might have worried that Blane could have “outed” him. Martin, an Alabamian bachelor, lived to 96 and never talked about such things.

    The standard tome on golden-age pop composing, Alec Wilder’s American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900–1950, only mentions Martin.

  13. Barnard says:
    @Bordon

    It did, but they very likely would have faded in popularity quickly even if no one had ever known they didn’t record the music. A low percentage of these pop groups can maintain music popularity long term.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  14. From South Sudan, last week’s Facebook kerfuffle:

    The man who won the bidding for the teenager, businessman Kok Alat

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/20/africa/south-sudan-child-bride-facebook-auction-intl/index.html

  15. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    virtually overnight interest wanted

    waned?

  16. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    The big controversy in literature is “Did Shakespeare write the plays?”

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @william munny
  17. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ken52

    Speaking of cinema, the Auteur Theory messed up film appreciation in many cases.

    With an artist like Antonioni or Bergman, one can reasonably be sure that they were the mind behind the script and direction.

    But such was never the case in Hollywood with a few exceptions. But Auteur critics would assume that John Ford or Howard Hawks was behind every decision only to find out that it was someone or something else that led to a certain scene being the way it is.

  18. Twinkie says:

    OT: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2018/12/05/dc-council-decriminalizes-metro-fare-evasion-giving-its-final-approval-contested-measure/

    D.C. Council decriminalizes Metro fare evasion: ‘I’m sad that’s Metro’s losing money, but I’m more sad about what’s happening to black people.’

    Black people, do whatever you’d like. Laws don’t apply to you, and if they do, we’ll remove them.

  19. kihowi says:

    I think a lot of rock music is fake in a sense. If you’ve ever been really into a band, you’ll have noticed the wild swings in style when they change producers. It is my theory that they do much more of the actual songwriting work than is being led on. I imagine that primarily their job is babysitting the animalistic bandmembers, making sure they stay in the same room and don’t fight each other, and secondarily making a long string of “suggestions” about what would be a really awesome song to write.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    , @Anon
  20. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    In contrast, we celebrate Orson Welles for being the auteur of Citizen Kane. But how much of the screenplay, for which Welles shared an Oscar with Herman J. Mankiewicz did Welles actually write?

    Welles never claimed he wrote all or most of it. He did contribute considerably though despite what Kael wrote later.

    Besides, ‘auteur’ in cinematic terminology means something closer to ‘camera-stylo’, i.e. the ‘writing’ is done with the camera in terms of framing, mise-en-scene, and montage.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Pericles
  21. @Twinkie

    Black people, do whatever you’d like. Laws don’t apply to you, and if they do, we’ll remove them.

    Luxembourg also eliminated fares for all transit, starting in 2020, but for very different reasons.

    Luxembourg set to make all public transport free in world-first

  22. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Black people, do whatever you’d like. Laws don’t apply to you, and if they do, we’ll remove them.

    Wait, if fare evasion is decriminalized, it means it’s a free-for-all. Blacks are socializing the nation. Great! Blacks should be robbing more Apple Stores. Eventually, robbing Apple products will be decriminalized, and then ALL OF US can grab some free iphones.

    Thanks, Negroes.

  23. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jerktown Romeo

    Milli Vanilli sold millions of records, won a Grammy.

    Given what has happened to pop music since then, Milli should be considered as pioneers. What are pop stars today but programmed idols, mere industry dolls?

    PS. Some blacks might argue Elvis was a forgery of a Negro.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  24. @Anon

    And how much is the camera-style of Citizen Kane the work of Welles or of Gregg Toland?

    Welles recognized Toland’s gifts and gave him more chance to indulge himself than was normal.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Autochthon
    , @ACommenter
  25. @Anon

    Was Victor Fleming really the auteur in 1939 of both “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz”? How did he find the time?

    Before the auteur theory took hold, it was generally assumed that David O. Selznick was in charge of getting Gone with the Wind made.

    • Replies: @Anon
  26. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    And how much is the camera-style of Citizen Kane the work of Welles or of Gregg Toland?

    Certainly more Welles. Toland was a superb technician and artist in his own right, and Welles learned a lot from him. But Toland called on Welles because he wanted to work with someone with boldness and vision.

    Their later works prove it. Welles worked with other cinematographers but always created the Wellesian look. Even when he made movies on shoestring budgets — OTHELLO and TRIAL — , there was that unmistakable style of his.

    In contrast, Toland changed with the director. So, if another director called for a different look, he complied.

    Same goes for Douglas Trumbull. His best works were with Kubrick, Spielberg, and Scott(BLADE RUNNER). Certain directors bring out the best in the craftsman.

  27. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Vanilla Ice’s popularity declined significantly after it was revealed that he had exaggerated his rough upbringing and background in Miami.

  28. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Before the auteur theory took hold, it was generally assumed that David O. Selznick was in charge of getting Gone with the Wind made.

    Victor Fleming got a bum rap from the Auteurists. Their treatment of him revealed some of the worst aspect of Auteurism. As Truffaut said, the worst movie by an auteur is better than the best movie by a mere professional. That is crazy.

    Because Fleming was associated with WIZARD and WIND, both of which had immense input from the producer, too many Auteurs brushed him off as a mere hired hand, one of those impersonal pros. So, almost no Auteurist discussed him. And even when WIZARD and WIND were praised, the critics tended not to mention the director.

    But Fleming finally got some justice. I didn’t read the book but it sounds well-deserved.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=615TAGHm8WYC&lpg=PT19

    Because Auteurists disregarded him, I didn’t see most of his movies. But when I checked up on them, several of them were excellent. Fleming was a master Hollywood director. Ironically, his two biggest hits, WIZARD and WIND, did most to hurt his reputation in creative circles. Too many just assumed that he was just an impersonal hired hand,.

    CAPTAIN COURAGEOUS is one hell of a movie. His version of DR JEKYLL is very inventive.

    https://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Victor-Fleming-by-Michael-Sragow-3180222.php

    Andrew Sarris, in his groundbreaking 1968 study of American film directors, judges Fleming’s career in mixed to negative terms, and argues that his two most famous movies “seem extraneous to his career.”

    Maybe some of the reasons were political and tribal.

    https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2009/dec/27/philip-french-victor-fleming

    Many people regarded him as anti-Semitic, but this may well have been part of the coarseness of male conversation in those days.

  29. MBlanc46 says:
    @Twinkie

    “Crime is the new black entitlement.” (Colin Flaherty)

  30. Marty says:
    @Ken52

    Why do the concert-goers look like they’re watching a chess match or thoracic surgery?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @Carol
  31. @Twinkie

    I read the article, which also mentioned fare evasion on bus routes:

    Bus routes with the highest proportion of fare evasion include the W4, X2, 92, B2 and 70; the W4, the worst offender, has had 560,000 incidents of fare evasion since January, nearly 37 percent of its 1.5 million trips.

    560K evasions on just one route just this year? And now they’re decriminalizing it. I’m sure that’ll make it all better.

    The tone of the arguments some of the DC council members made is pretty amazing; to wit, here’s the logic of one Charles Allen:

    “It would be easy to criminalize very bad behavior we don’t like because we know we don’t do it, but what if it happened to you?” he said. “There are serious real life consequences that come with misdemeanors and just because I don’t have that burden doesn’t mean that law is just.”

    ‘. . . we know we don’t do it, but what if it happened to you?’ Can’t refute that kind of solid-gold reasoning.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
    , @Pericles
  32. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Welles the maestro on this theme.

  33. Escher says:

    Boney M. A German man doing the actual singing for a black front man.
    Didn’t seem to affect their popularity.

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

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  34. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    If a guy with penis and testicles is now ‘woman’ if he says so, isn’t Fake the New Real?

    And talk about Fake News: Russia Collusion. I figure the Media loved Obama because he is such a total faker, a political idol. In contrast, Trump is TOO REAL, therefore too triggering to people who’ve grown so accustomed to the bubble of reassuring fakery. Now, Trump lies a lot and is full of BS quite often, but there is something real in him being what he is: Brash Hustler pushing Nationalism. In contrast, I can’t think of anything more fake than ‘citizen of the world’. Oh, how precious.
    People are drawn to fakery because it’s ‘nice’ and ‘reassuring’, but when the fake bubble pops, people find themselves back in reality.. like with the massive protests in France. But reality is grim and triggering, so people eventually turn back to fakery.

    When will some clever person make the case that plagiarism is okay? It’s not stealing but trans-art or something.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    , @Anonymous
  35. Off hand I attribute all this art world financial monkey business to the fact that paintings are objects that can be possessed. Possessed in a way music and films can’t be. You can be the guy who owns THE Mona Lisa, you can’t really own a piece of music or a film in the same way.

  36. I get the impression that music appreciation among teenagers is very similar to art appreciation among adults. They are into a particular song not because of the intrinsic merit of the work but because of the image that the performer has cultivated. Does anyone out there really believe that rap music has intrinsic aesthetic value, as opposed to just being 80 IQ idiots mumbling about their 80 IQ concerns (hos, $, respeck)? But powerless teenagers listen to it because they think it makes them appear tough and worldly. Nobody wanted to listen to Ice Ice Baby after Vanilla Ice was found out to be from an affluent Dallas Suburb, even though the intrinsic merits of the song didn’t change.

  37. “If it were found tomorrow that a symphony by Mozart, or Beethoven, or Schumann, or Shostakovich, had not been written by the purported composer, but by some anonymous composer who passed it off as someone else’s, its place in the repertoire probably wouldn’t change at all. It would get played just as much, sell just as many records, etc.”

    how did milli vanilli do after they were found out?

  38. Anon[211] • Disclaimer says:

    That would be easier with a famous instrumentalist than a famous singer.

    Instrumentalists like Yanni, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Zamfir are hardly ever chart-toppers, so that would be unlikely to happen. With DJs and producers, it probably already happens. But by that point you are so far away from authorship that it hardly even matters.

    I suspect there are a lot of cases in which pretty people are made into pop stars without making too much of their own music.

    • Replies: @Blodgie
  39. O'Really says:
    @Ken52

    That’s Jeff Beck’s guitar. Jimmy Page is on the other side of the stage.

  40. Gringo says:

    For fake music, consider the works of PDQ Bach, a musician who never existed. PDQ Bach: 1712 Overture.

  41. In music there is no ownership of a unique original object deemed superior to all reproductions, but would the value of original sheet music manuscripts collapse if found out to be the work of the maestro’s students? Some of those baroque composers were suspiciously productive for one person.

  42. TGGP says:

    I had heard that the Guess Who got big initially with “American Woman” because there was a rumor that it was a pseudonym for the Beatles, although they don’t sound that much like the Beatles to me.

    The classical hoax I’d heard of is Vladimir Vavilov’s “Ave Maria”, which he attributed to Giulio Caccini. It’s still sometimes performed today, but must compete for mindshare with two better known and unrelated Ave Marias (although that’s not Schubert’s original title for his piece).

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  43. @Reg Cæsar

    If I had a long flag along
    If you like Kok Alat, tag along.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  44. @Anon

    This phenomenon occurs with regard to patents’ lists of names inventors, too: many lawyers and businessmen who contributed little more than “it wouldn’t be cool if there were a way to…” (if that) wind up listed as inventors alongside the engineers who actually realised the possibility. By that tenuous and low standard for credit, H.G. Wells invented nuclear submarines, etc.

    Steve Jobs is notorious for this nonsense. Hi name is all over patents for technology he did f**k all to develop.

    Back on track: the fundamental reason music hoaxing doesn’t go on the way hoaxing with, say, paintings does is to do with the thing. Music exists in the moment and in the abstract. (We discussed all this a few months back on this very blog.) The music is a thing a thing which exists in time and is infinitely replicable. There is nothing special about this or that copy of a score or recording of a performance. (N.B. A performance itself, in real-time, has special value; thus we pay huge sums of money to see Led Zeppelin perform in honor of Ahmet Ertegun at the O2, or thrill about how we were THERE to see Eric Johnson’s first appearance at Austin City Limits…or whatever. Because that performance, like THE Mona Lisa (the painting itself, not a lithograph or print of it) is unique. Having a copy of Celebration Day on CD? So what….

    So the fundamental distinction is a painting is a single collection of pigment, canvas, etc. (A sculpture of marble, etc.). Music is instead the manipulation of sound and silence in time, and you cannot preserve or package that, and it ain’t unique except as a a performance qua performance.

    Forgive my lengthy post, but this stuff is a big interest of mine. I close by saying that Welles final film, F for Fake is a meditation on this very topic worth watching. I also add Welles was very much responsible both for the screenplay (his contributions to it were great indeed) and for the things he did while filming Citizen Kane : he NEVER took a script or screenplay and directed or filmed it. He was always manipulating it during production. Welles knew that theatre (plays) – and cinema (films) – were not their scripts or screenplays to the extent that, say, symphonies are their scores. Those scripts and screenplays are only one (concededly mportant) aspect of something much more. Plus gen did a hojilloonntjkngs beaides that movie more than proving his genius.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @dvorak
  45. @Anon

    The big controversy in literature is “Did Shakespeare write the plays?”

    Woody Allen solved this one. It wasn’t William Shakespeare, but another man with the same name.

  46. @TGGP

    I had heard that the Guess Who got big initially with “American Woman” because there was a rumor that it was a pseudonym for the Beatles…

    The name “Guess Who” was slapped on one of their records five years before “American Woman” was released. They’d had a big hit with “These Eyes” the year before, and their albums “Wheatfield Soul” and “Canned Wheat” were well-known, if not well-bought. The name was apparently a trick to hide their Canadian identity to see if their records would still get sales and airplay.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Steve Sailer
  47. @Barnard

    I’ve. Never been able find a transcript since, but Geddy Lee (and I’ve met him; he’s the most humble, down to Earth personnyou can imagine given his mind-melting talents!) once said when defending the more sophisticated music he made despite it’s not being as lucrative nor popular as that of others, something like: “I’d like to think people wil still be able to enjoy our music and appreciate it in a hundred or a thousand years. I think, if you are honest, you cannot say there is the faintest chance of that for bubble-gum pop.”

    • Replies: @anonymous
  48. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @SimpleSong

    They are into a particular song not because of the intrinsic merit of the work but because of the image that the performer has cultivated.

    But all rappers cultivate more or less the same image, so I guess it is a matter of some degree of talent. Even with something as crude as rap, some have more flair for rhyme and rhythm than others do.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  49. @The Last Real Calvinist

    You need to check your non-criminal privilege and not pass judgment on PofC (“People of Criminality”).

  50. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The name “Guess Who” was slapped on one of their records five years before “American Woman” was released.

    Guess Who had some killer songs. Undun and Laughing, along with These Eyes, are classics.

    They had a killer version of ‘Shaking All Over’.

    Also covered by The Who.

  51. @Steve Sailer

    Welles unselfishly heaped praise on Tolland at every opportunity. He famously recounted how, knowing nothing of filming conventions, he came in dictating all the minutiae of the lighting as he had done in the theatre, and Tolland said not a word (probably because he saw Welles was doing brilliant things). Tolland just inconspicuously had his people do as Welles told. Finally after many days of this some technician or other pointed out to Welles the oddity. Tolland was FURIOUS. Tolland and Welles apparently both agreed (Tolland then, and Welles having learned this truism from Tolland’s indulgence) that the only way to truly innovate is to bring in someone who has no idea what “the rules” and conventions are and no compunction to obey them….

    Tolland was an absolute genius, and Welles was always the first to say so, but Welles…Welles was not of this Earth.

    • Replies: @Anon
  52. anonymous[185] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    Geddy Lee was wrong.

    Sugar Sugar and I think I love you

    have awesome chord changes, perfectly suited for the human voice,

  53. @the one they call Desanex

    I’ve got the version by their brother-band, the Holy Modal Rounders. I’d read an interview with one of them, who lived with some rich guy for six months or so when he first got to the city. He wasn’t explicit, but kind of hinted that he wouldn’t be interested in “boobs a lot”.

  54. j mct says:

    The ‘same painting is worthless if done by a no name, but worth millions if by rembrandt, van gogh..’ phenomenon doesn’t have much to do with the paintings themselves, but the human psyche, as commonly noted. I’ve come to think that said phenomenon comes from the same place that the medieval veneration of relics does. Art museums that have ‘originals’ are really reliquaries. Also, the medieval outlet was a far clearer, healthier, and a more direct expression of this feature of the human psyche.

  55. @SimpleSong

    Uh huh; any random person off the street can do what is heard at 4:25. Nontalwnt at all involved. Hell, the other day my six-month old did this:

    People need to understand dismissing “rap” or “hip-hop” categorically because of dumbasses like Pitbull is like dismissing rock because of dumbasses like the Sex Pistols.

    Are these guys musical geniuses? Well, maybe not; they are no Wolfgang Mozart or Steve Vai; but then, neither of those guys has this verbal ability. Rap done well is a different form of art and it suffers for being held to the standard of conventional music. It’s better thought of as poetry performed, as it were….

    • Agree: Carol
  56. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    Back on track: the fundamental reason music hoaxing doesn’t go on the way hoaxing with, say, paintings does is to do with the thing. Music exists in the moment and in the abstract.

    I don’t think the main issue or problem is hoaxing or not hoaxing. It’s like the isteve commenter said. Even if we were to found out a certain song was ‘hoaxed’ or ‘stolen’, we would like it it’s good. There are lots of folk songs that were probably falsely accredited. If a musician traveled in the 18th or 19th century and picked up a tune from some local community, he might perform it later as his own. So much of folk tradition developed this way.

    The big difference now is that music culture is still alive. People still enjoy music. If I were to find out ‘Superstar’ by the Carpenters had a troubled history, I would love it just the same.
    But so much of Fine Art is not about enjoyment anymore. It’s about ‘whatever’ as determined by curators, critical obscurantists, and the like. So, for many people, the only value of a painting or sculpture may have to do with who/whom. Post-modern art is especially vulnerable to this because so many of them are obviously junk whose value depends wholly on the ‘who’ and ‘why’(as explained by ‘experts’).
    Traditional art and classical artifacts are less at the whim of accreditation. Back then, there were more obvious and shared criteria of what constituted good art. Also, even non-experts could readily see what was special about a nice painting. An illiterate peasant could walk into the Sistine Chapel and see what the big deal was.. just like even an uneducated person in music could sense what was special about Mozart or Beethoven. Experts knew and understood more, but for most of human history, Art’s worth and power were immediately accessible even to non-experts. So, the minds of experts and hearts of non-experts had a certain unity. So, fake or not fake, good art seemed like good art.

    But with modernism, the avant-garde artists and experts wanted to move far afield without any regard of conventional norms and public taste. This could lead to truly remarkable works of originality or vision. But it could also lead to conceit, solipsism, and self-delusion. Or, worse, it could be turned into iron dogma by fanatics(like the ridiculous premise for serial music) or corrupted & exploited by cynics(like Andy Warhol and his coterie). This meant that certain works of ‘art’ no longer united the experts and the people in their responses.
    The unwashed masses may not understand the techniques of Leonardo but can still sense greatness in something like The Last Supper. Experts knew more, but they were one with the people in admiration of art.

    But with much of modern and pomo art, the people just didn’t get it. So, it had to be explained to them by the ‘experts’ as to why something is ‘significant’ or ‘meaningful’. Some hoi polloi got philistine and dismissed all of modernism, which is like throwing baby out with bathwater. But other hoi polloi(esp those with status striving) or rich people(with dough but not much sense for culture) eagerly listened to the ‘experts’ and tried earnestly to understand. Still, they didn’t FEEL it in their guts and hearts. They were FED the significance. And because of the lack of real feeling for such stuff, the exposure of fraud is far more damaging in the Art World. It not only damages the artist/art but the ‘experts’ who are exposed as fools with eggs on their face or charlatans who took part in the ‘game’.
    But then, there are, of course, those ‘artists’ who say it’s all fake, and fakeness is part of the game, so it’s no shame to be fooled since it’s all tomfoolery and only stupid people take art seriously, and so, everyone should be cynical and just play it like a financial stunt.

    Archaeology is one area where relational worth can matter more than artistic worth. Even if an archaeological find seems to have obvious aesthetic value, it won’t count for much if it’s fake.

    In biology, who can beat pilt-down man? That is forever ROTFL. It made monkeys out of so many real scientists.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  57. @Anon

    All rappers aren’t the same, nor “cultivate the same image,” not anymore than the guys in Yes are the same or cultivate the same image as the guys in N’Sync.

    • Replies: @Anon
  58. @Reg Cæsar

    There’s a knock-off of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” in which an early 1970s rock promoter tries to explain his concert lineup: Who, Guess Who, and Yes.

  59. There was a great hoax in classical music by Fritz Kreisler. He wrote pieces for his great solo career and attributed them to masters. He finally had to admit it years later. Here is a list:

    Allegretto by “Luigi Boccherini”
    Andantino by “Giovanni Battista Martini”
    Aubade Provençale by “Louis Couperin”
    Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane by “Louis Couperin”
    La Chasse (Caprice) by “Jean Baptiste Cartier”
    Grave by “Wilhelm Friedemann Bach”
    Menuett by “Nicola Porpora”
    Praeludium and Allegro by “Gaetano Pugnani”
    La Précieuse by “Louis Couperin”
    Preghiera by “Giovanni Battista Martini”
    Scherzo by “Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf”
    Sicilienne and Rigaudon by “François Francoeur”
    Study on a Choral by “Johann Stamitz”
    Tempo di Minuetto by “Gaetano Pugnani”
    Variations on a Theme by Corelli by “Giuseppe Tartini”
    Violin Concerto in C major by “Antonio Vivaldi”

    Kreisler and other classical music hoaxes are described in this article:

    https://www.francemusique.com/musical-knowledge/six-best-hoaxes-classical-music-15587

    • Replies: @james wilson
  60. @anonymous

    Autochthon -

    Welles was very very good
    but would have been better
    if he had overcome his faults

    like Beckett never did, who was funny for all his lifetime but never really knew how to show the common royal touch that real geniuses (Shakespeare, WC Fields) are so familiar with, like poor Nabokov never did who even in his most hypomanic phase could not resist subsiding into pastiche, like Proust never did who was maybe the most subtly funny person of his generation but who just could not tell a story as well as any average dude standing in an average bar on an average Friday night, like Marilyn Monroe never did who was so beautiful but who did not know how to dress the part, like so many of us

    Welles could have been better

    Imagine if instead of Peter Jackson Welles had directed the Hobbit

    Imagine if instead of Steve Bannon Welles had advised our most popular politicians

    well Welles could have imagined that

    but instead he “starred” in lots of semi-boring black and white films

    I mean, he could have directed an episode, here or there, of Hogans Heroes or Gilligans Island, or something like that

    but he didn’t

    Sad!

  61. “I suspect there are a lot of cases in which pretty people are made into pop stars without making too much of their own music, but for some reason the whole world got really mad at Milli Vanilli.”

    That’s because they were faking singing. No one cares about writing credits. The writing credit principles of the music industry are somewhat strange (basically, being in the same room while a song is being written gives you a credit) and the public isn’t really interested. But people want the voice they hear on the song to come from the face on the album cover.

  62. @Anon

    I agree entirely, and your points are at the heart of F For Fake. N.B. It’s (questiining and contemptuous) discussions of “the experts.”

    Welles, having been screwed by The Establishment in Hollywood all of his career, knew all too well….

  63. A vaguely related point is that some painters left behind a lot of casual studies, aborted sketches, etc while others took care to preserve only what they personally were satisfied with.

    I’m thinking here of Renoir versus Monet. I admire both, but while Monet literally had regular picture-burnings, Renoir simply left everything. As a result, a Monet is almost necessarily an excellent Monet, while I’ve seen sketches by Renoir that consist simply of a camel on a square canvas. It’s got no particular aesthetic merit at all; Renoir was just sketching a camel.

    But it’s still around, it is indeed ‘a Renoir,’ and I suppose it’s worth several million dollars.

  64. Relics vs. Reproductions

    HBD rears its head once again.

  65. @SimpleSong

    There are absolutely talented rappers writing clever lyrics out there. Most successful rappers are not IQ 80 morons, not anymore. Jay-Z probably has an IQ over 140. Being able to come up with that many clever rhymes, puns, associations, etc takes serious verbal IQ. The average person couldn’t do it a couple times let alone hundreds.

    Also, modern day rap music is as progressive and avant garde as popular music gets in terms of the sound of it. With some notable exceptions (like the album released by The 1975 last week), rock has been left in the dust.

    The main instrumental hook sounds like Blade Runner put through an acid trip and it’s absolutely riveting:

    Or this, which consists of three separate beats segueing into each other:

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Anon
    , @Anon
    , @HEL
  66. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    All rappers aren’t the same, nor “cultivate the same image,” not anymore than the guys in Yes are the same or cultivate the same image as the guys in N’Sync.

    It is still a narrow musical genre like metal and punk. So, while not every rapper is about ‘muh gun’ or ‘muh dic*’, it’s mostly about bad attitude and arrogance-of-ignorance.

    • Disagree: Autochthon
  67. Thursday says:

    It always struck me that screenplays are to movies what librettos are to opera. Generally, the composer of an opera deservedly gets most of the credit, though a good libretto helps a lot. But there are some instances where the librettist and composer are more or less equal, and probably even a few where the librettist deserves most of the credit. Same with the screenwriter and the director.

  68. @Autochthon

    An interesting question is if Mozart, for all his musical genius, would have been able to write a modern day hit single. The hit single now is an extremely fine tuned process, down to precise formulas of how many bars between verse and pre chorus and chorus, although coming up with a creative hook is always a matter of of-the-moment inspiration. Hit pop songs tend to be very simple, but with something slightly unusual that keeps you coming back to them and keeps them fresh when listening over and over. They sound simple, but it’s very hard to write a hit and only few people can do it multiple times. One man, a 40 something Swede, is responsible for an abnormally large proportion of the best selling pop music in the last 20 years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Martin

    He is probably the most successful songwriter of all time, yet most of his compositions, from Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” to the Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way”, Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, are 1/100th as complex as a Mozart piece.

    And yet they, as globally popular pop songs benefitting from playing on the radio, in cars, bars, parties, etc., are probably the most widely distributed art pieces (yes, pop music is its own art form with its own distinct parameters) in history.

    • Replies: @sanjoaquinsam
    , @Anon
  69. Pericles says:
    @Anon

    Music does have a hoaxing problem. It’s quite common among record labels to see people being given songwriter credit who had little or nothing to do with the song so they can claim royalties or get back-pats for being a genius.

    It’s the same thing with science. Co-authors: Professor X for chasing grant applications and Full Professor W for ruling the building wherein this work was, in some sense, done. And so on. That’s how modern geniuses of academia write hundreds of papers.

  70. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    People need to understand dismissing “rap” or “hip-hop” categorically because of dumbasses like Pitbull is like dismissing rock because of dumbasses like the Sex Pistols.
    Are these guys musical geniuses? Well, maybe not; they are no Wolfgang Mozart or Steve Vai; but then, neither of those guys has this verbal ability. Rap done well is a different form of art and it suffers for being held to the standard of conventional music. It’s better thought of as poetry performed, as it were….

    Rap isn’t poetry because it’s emotionally too stupid. Besides, even most lyrics of classic songs don’t work as poetry. Paul Simon was more poetic than most but even his songs don’t really work without the music.

    Rap is like poetry in that it has rhymes. Now, it the most basic technical sense, anything in verse form could be called ‘poetry’. It’s like any creative expression can be called ‘art’. But there is also the meaning of Art as something of higher creative value. Similarly, Poetry in the higher sense means literary expression in verse of poignancy, beauty, or meaning. Poetry grows out of contemplation, a certain reverence, of searching and longing. The term ‘poetic’ has a special meaning. There’s an element of fragility like light snow. Or inspired and soulful, with tragic dimension. Rap comes at you like a barking dog or a club. It works like a sung limerick, the purpose of which is baser and cruder than poetry. Rap and ‘slam poetry’ have no sense of soul or depth. It’s just ego and lips.

    Now, is there real verbal talent in Rap? Yes, but in the service of what? Intelligence or skills in service of idiocy, infantilism, and savagery is self-defeating. Maybe Shakespeare could have been a talented rapper, but what would have been use of all that natural talent yapping about Sheeeeeeiiiit.
    It’s like pole dancing. I’m sure real skills and strength are involved but to what purpose? To say “Look at me, I’m a ho?” It’s like lots of Hollywood action movies present much that is amazing on the technical level but are ultimately worthless because it’s skill in the service of stunted imagination or ugliness of vision.

    I don’t doubt Emimen’s verbal gymnastics, but he’s now middle aged but still yapping like some teenage tard. He has used his imagination poorly, and the very format of rap is to blame for this. Rap, by its nature, discourages reflection and thought. It’s about “I know even though I know nothing.” Such attitude prevents remorse, contrition, curiosity, empathy, and growth. This isn’t the case with country music or blues music that allows its practitioners to grow, develop, and mature. Rap is always the fizz in the soda and never ages into wine. Same reason why I can’t stand punk. It’s stuck on stupid.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  71. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Cleverness for cleverness sake is meaningless. Lots of TV commercials show lots of visual ingenuity. But they are empty.

    However talented rappers may be, it’s at best verbal tap-dancing and at worst talent-as-dementia.

  72. Pericles says:
    @kihowi

    If you’ve ever been really into a band, you’ll have noticed the wild swings in style when they change producers. It is my theory that they do much more of the actual songwriting work than is being led on.

    Nowadays Max Martin (from Sweden, as it happens) does all the writing and composing, for everyone.

    Or it’s possible his, um, ‘school’ does.

  73. Pericles says:
    @Anon

    The provenance of a modern movie script is of course complicated, often passing through many hands and getting many ‘notes’ from people in the vicinity.

    As I understand it, the penultimate version is then usually rewritten by the director and his pals so that auteurial proprieties can be maintained and people can get paid.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  74. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    It’s only right that Toland was credited by Welles for the superb work on KANE.

    But the genius behind KANE is really Welles. I think Welles could be magnanimous because it was so obvious who was the real eye and finger behind KANE.

    Toland only did one movie with Welles, but Welles films with other cinematographers are just as amazing. Consider MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, LADY FROM SHANGHAI, and TOUCH OF EVIL. And even films with troubled production like MR. ARKADIN, THE TRIAL, and CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT look totally Wellesian.

    I’m not sure Toland made another movie that was as visually amazing as KANE. He did fine work on THE WESTERNER and GRAPES OF WRATH, but any other first-rate professional could have done just as well. He also did BEST YRS OF OUR LIVES, but it looks like just other Wyler movies(photographed by others).

    Great directors draw something out of the technical crew. Lucien Ballard was a terrific cinematographer but he outdid himself when working with Peckinpah for THE WILD BUNCH.
    Sven Nykvist did great work for Bergman, but the Bergman Look had already been established before their collaboration. Nykvist perfected it.

    Same seems true of music. Morricone did lots of great work, but working with Leone always brought out something MORE.

  75. Pericles says:
    @Anon

    Yes, Milli Vanilli lost the battle but Autotune won the war. Most stars lip sync their own stuff for live performances these days, don’t they? Faked on several levels, you might call it.

  76. Pericles says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    The fellow almost said ‘the law is socially just’, because that’s all justice means these days. And it’s what the sentence means.

    In a similar vein of government irresponsibility and law breaking, it was found that some employees of the Swedish Crime-Prevention Council (BRÅ) were systematically evading subway fares in a ‘network’, presumably mass texting etc. They were exposed, of course, through twittering about it.

    NB: Communist white institution-marchers, actually, since you wonder. Not sure if they lost their bureaucrat tenure, but would that be just, I ask? Certainly not.

  77. @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Mozart died at age 35 but completed over 600 works. His name was known globally in the 18th century. #lolurdum

  78. Cortes says:

    Didn’t some supernatural being write the Bible?

    Or was that fictional?

    Then there is the better version of Don Quixote:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Menard,_Author_of_the_Quixote

  79. Michelangelo neither lay on his back nor worked alone (he had a team of four assistants) for the Sistine Chapel project. It was, however, basically his first project in fresco.

    See Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling https://www.amazon.com/dp/0802713955/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_dwncCbK45S00M

    • Replies: @Ghost of Bull Moose
  80. LondonBob says:
    @Anon

    There is a good programme on the BBC called Fake or Fortune that had an investigation of a Rembrandt. There were three, all different versions of the same thing, but the experts decreed only one was a genuine Rembrandt, the one owned by the Dutch national gallery, the others were attributed to students. I couldn’t see why and they remain displayed in an obscure German gallery and an English country house.

  81. @DW

    With emphasis on the “popular”. No serious student of the baroque had ever believed for a moment that this schmaltz was either by Albinoni or worth listening to to the end.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  82. @Marty

    Why do the concert-goers look like they’re watching a chess match or thoracic surgery?

    Because the director, Michelangelo Antonioni, told them to.

  83. The Hitler Diaries were an absurdity from first to last. The idea that Adolf Hitler sat down each night and wrote out his thoughts and reactions to events like some English (male) spinster was always hilariously unlikely, indeed unthinkable.

    That Trevor-Roper and even (for a time) David Irving were fooled is just more evidence that the “great and the good”(in whatever field) are rarely either.

  84. @Bordon

    They still get some airplay. The guys who did the music were talented.

  85. While the performance is emphemeral, the original manuscripts by say Beethoven would be worth a bit of money, and the reprints less. And would we really care if he had someone else helping him do the copy and that he didn’t write every note down? The problem is of course that the original manuscripts of most of this stuff is long lost and in terrible shape, where the first printing of the scores leaves you with multiple copies. In addition, the composers usually can’t leave their pieces alone and keep making changes to their scores (Mahler is pretty well documented). So it’s hard to define an original. I think I did see an original copy of perhaps Haydn’s oratorio or Beethoven’s chorale in a museum in Prague… So they are around..

    But add to the revisions, the multiple printings, plus counterfeit printings, plus modified versions (often the endings of operas and ballets, but also symphonies)… But versions written by the composer are worth good money – although I don’t know of any counterfeits, I’m sure they exist too.

    Here’s an article on a Beethoven score that got downgraded to “not in his handwriting”

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/arts/music/as-prices-for-classical-scores-soar-one-beethoven-is-in-question.amp.html

  86. @Anon

    Would it matter? If Shakespeare didn’t, it should not matter because we don’t know anything else, really, about him and he has no significance other than his works. If we found out that he only wrote some of it, then maybe we see people explaining why his work was better than the other stuff.

    Unless the other stuff was written by one of Mary Beard’s black Englishmen.

  87. @Steve Sailer

    “The Wonder Who?” turned out to be The Four Seasons.

  88. @Steve Sailer

    and now DW Griffith is being de-noticed…. never mind Leni Refinsthal

  89. slumber_j says:
    @Escher

    Yeah, I was thinking of Boney M too.

    More generally and off-topic I guess: the interaction between American sounds and Germany and blacks has produced a lot of big-selling music. Heatwave had huge hits with “Groove Line” and “Boogie Nights,” and there’s Boney M. and a bunch of others that escape me right now, and I have to take the boy to school…

    More generally, the Afro-Am thing of having invaded the world in the US military and then come back to make music is something to explore. Bill Withers comes to mind.

    Finally, for a decade or more I’ve tried to get people to say “BONY-M” for Bank of New York Mellon, and nobody but my wife will do it. Frustrating!

  90. @Anon

    Speaking of Rembrandt, have any of you ever gotten close enough to one of his paintings to really look at what he’s doing when he paints?

    You can’t tell from reproductions in books, but they are almost sculptures. One critic once quipped that you could grab a Rembrandt sitter by his nose.

    He built up the texture of his fabrics and flesh with (what I’ve read) was a mixture of lead white and stand oil. The flow of the texture follows the directions of folds in the fabric. Look carefully at the self portrait Steve posted the other day. Or the flow of paint duplicated the sculptural appearance of the human face.

    After this had dried or set up, he glazed it over with thin, transparent and translucent layers of tinted paint which was allowed to settle in the depressions and valleys and wiped off a bit from the peaks. This created a very three-dimensional effect that cannot be duplicated with simple opaque painting. It is both laborious and time consuming, not something that can be dashed off in a few hours.

    When a fellow commenter and I criticized the heavy-handed restorations done in the last two decades we pointed out that the subtle glazes seem to have been stripped off in the process. The faces looked flayed. Flattened and bare.

  91. @Anon

    Good comment. People prefer fantasy and get really pissed off at anyone who destroys the illusion. That means the prevailing consensus is a kind of Ponzi scheme. Seems right.

  92. Carol says:
    @Marty

    Don’t know about the director’s intent, but I remember white kids were a lot more self conscious and restrained at music shows. Only the negroes and then the stoners moved around to the music.

    When I saw Joplin in 1967 only the people in the front row were weaving around, bobbing their heads. I felt very embarrassed about it and a bit threatened. Very uptight! This was in Hollywood, too.

    Things have really changed eh.

  93. @Reg Cæsar

    Hugh Martin, yet another homosexual from Alabama!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:LGBT_people_from_Alabama

    Who knew Tim Cook was born in Mobile?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  94. Can somebody out there solve this musical mystery?

  95. a reader says:

    In any case, one should hurry to admire classical paintings before:

    1- they are replaced by lions’ heads.

    2- you are replaced.

  96. Pat Boyle says:

    It’s quite true. I was chosen to sing the bass part in Mozart’s Requiem under Calvin Simmonds. I was shocked to realize that my favorite numbers were those written by Sussmayer not by Mozart at all.

    Who’ed a thunk it?

  97. anonomy says:

    Well at least Twelfth Night is still by Shakespeare

  98. Anon[277] • Disclaimer says:

    Back in the Paul is Dead era of FM radio conspiracy theory, some songs became hits due to interest in studio secrecy.

    Stealer’s Wheel (Stuck in the Middle with You, from Pulp Fiction) were supposed to have Dylan secretly on vocals.

    Was Mick Jagger on the chorus of “You’re so Vain?”

    Badfinger was reputed to be McCartney or the Beatles.

    • Replies: @Couch Scientist
  99. Anon[277] • Disclaimer says:

    I’m thinking that in painting or sculpture, the work of art is created by the artist’s own hands. Hence, a “fake” is essentially worthless.

    In music or dance, or “the theatre,” the creator is not the same as the artist. The composer creates a scheme-work, which the performer has to re-produce each time.

    Rock is an interesting case; the “authenticity” meme makes people value not Hey Jude but the Beatles recording, but in many cases other artists can “cover” a song, perhaps “making it their own.” People who argue Rock is “art” try to make it more like classical music, where the particular performance is not the work of art itself. But perhaps rock is just as much “art” as painting or sculpture?

    The value of a manu-script (hand-writing) of the Ninth Symphony come from Beethoven’s physical contribution. If it’s discovered to be a fake, it’s worthless. The value of the Ninth remains. (Nor is it harmed by a bad performance).

  100. @Percy Gryce

    Michelangelo neither lay on his back nor worked alone (he had a team of four assistants) for the Sistine Chapel project.

    Do people really care? Print the legend, right? It’s a good one.

    Do they care that della Porta and Fontana finished the cupola of St Peter’s? Not really. Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini, these are the names associated with that building. That’s really enough for most people. Do they care if someone else carved the leaves on Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne? Not much.

  101. Blodgie says:
    @Anon

    Yanni has sold over 25 million albums, Satriani 10 million.

    They are massively popular.

    Not sure what point you were making there.

  102. “In general, there seem to be more hoaxes in markets where people want to pay money for relics (art, collectibles) rather than reproductions (music, literature).”

    There was a huge market for religious relics in the medieval days, and no shortage of fakes.

  103. Blodgie says:
    @Jerktown Romeo

    False conclusion to say that the song wasn’t the biggest part of the adulation

    It’s always the song, gotta have a hooky song

    Image itself never moves product

    Their appeal waned because the song got worn out and no one wanted to be associated with the con job

    But the song, to this day, is extremely infectious and hooky

    Girl, you know it’s true!

  104. @isteve_reader

    You missed Kreisler’s greatest misattribution, “Humoresque”. Everybody did. Anton never heard the piece, but the widow got the royalties. Humoresque is pure Kreisler.

    Kreisler’s legendary humility was genuine. He simply didn’t want the program to be plastered with his name. He didn’t need to sell tickets, his concerts had always been jammed.

  105. segundo says:

    “In the world of writing, there have been a few famous hoaxes over the centuries, such as Ossian…”

    The extent of the “hoax” in regard to the Ossianic corpus is still very much up in the air. Macpherson definitely made some stuff up, but there also seems to be a solid core of authentic material within the Ossianic works, the extent of which is hard to determine. Let’s not forget that Lonnrott added some things/made emendations on THE KALEVALA, but he didn’t have a Johnson gunning for him. This is one of those cases where the fame/stature of the hoax accuser (Johnson) managed to outweigh the literary merits (and possible authenticity) of the work in question, though even then, the Ossian stuff stayed popular for decades. Johnson hated the Scots and couldn’t see anything good coming from them. The success of Macpherson drove Johnson straight up the wall.

  106. Interesting. And the debate over who actually wrote the screenplay to “Citizen Kane” continues to this day. Couldn’t help but think back to when I was a little kid there was a hit song called “The All American Boy”. The singer of the song was always identified as someone named “Bill Parsons” and I believe that his name appeared on the label on the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of recordings of this song. In point of fact, the REAL singer turned out to be none other than the famous C&W star, Bobby Bare, even though “Bill Parsons” always appeared on the label.

  107. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:
    @kihowi

    Good producers do come up with a lot of music suggestions, but they also do a lot of arranging and digital musical gimmicky to fill out a song and make it better. If the band’s writing isn’t strong enough, a producer will suggest they record a cover song, or tell the higher ups among the label that the in-house writers need to create something for the band. The job of a producer is to make as solid and as radio-friendly as album as possible out of what may be weak material. Sometimes they do good work. In the 1960s and 1970s, the quality of what producers added to an album could be a positive. But in recent years, producers have been as lost as the band is regarding the definition of ‘good.’

  108. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    It’s not hard to write a hit. What makes a hit is payola, not talent. Without radio airplay, there is no hit, and record companies have always bribed stations to play certain songs.

    • Replies: @TheMediumIsTheMassage
  109. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    Look at your favorite rap lyrics on a sheet of paper to see what they’re really like without the theatrics. You’ll be disillusioned by how stupid they are.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  110. Anon[850] • Disclaimer says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    I hate to tell you this, but your first example is just 1980s-style digital music typical of that era among New Wave types. There has been a ton of innovation in rock music since the punk and New Wave revolution since 1977, but it was never played on American commercial radio because it was too radical. Therefore, people like you were never exposed to it. We’ve had at least two generations grow up completely unaware of what rock music has accomplished after the Stones and the Beatles.

    • Replies: @TheMediumIsTheMassage
  111. @Anon

    The European film industry is certainly more hospitable to auteur directors (although a film by a European auteur like Lars von Trier is an excruciating thing to sit through). Hollywood is 20% art, 80% commerce, and yet still spits out some fine product.

    • Replies: @Anon
  112. @Pericles

    Or rewritten by the actor-producer and his associates. Each production has its own power system, but the writer is usually relegated to the outhouse. That’s why most writers of the non-hack variety drift towards TV.

  113. The disdain for fake art makes more sense when you consider art as a sub-field of history or archaeology. It’s the historical personages and the material they’ve left behind that interest us, not the art per se. What’s exciting about going to a gallery is the thrill of knowing that this canvas was touched by Rembrandt, Blake, or whomever.

    We lose interest in fake art the same way we lose interest in fake historical artifacts. I’ve seen the Dead Sea Scrolls several times, and I never tire of getting so close to these ancient documents. Tell me they were forged by someone in 1955, I’d never go again. Same with artifacts dragged up from the Titanic, medieval manuscripts, or an Egyptian sarcophagus.

    All this applies, to some extent, to contemporary art as well, but in that case it makes more sense to consider art as a function of celebrity. We’d lost interest in a forged Jackson Pollock the same way we’d lose interest in fake movie memorabilia.

  114. @the one they call Desanex

    Who knew Tim Cook was born in Mobile?

    So was Mardi Gras, at least the American version.

    https://www.mobile.org/events/mardi-gras/

  115. @Anon

    The “theatrics” are the point, which is why I cited the example I did. You had might as well argue that “without the theatrics” “The Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee” is just so many sounds or marks on a page of staff paper. Did you listen to it the piece I cited? Can you do that? Maybe, if you are, say, a professional auctioneer.

    I realise most everyone in this forum hates hip-hop (I hate most of it; I also hate most rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, etc. – I like the good works in each mode) but some hip-hop has meaningful and touching lyrics, and they are delivered with a talent most do not have.

    You may thing people who juggle flaming brands or play basketball while riding unicycle are silly or dull, too, but it’s disingenuous to say they have no talent.

  116. “But it’s hard to think of a pop record that was made into a hit via misattribution.”

    Might not be exactly what you have in mind, but the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Wimoweh/Mbube was variously attributed to The Weavers, Pete Seeger and their producers and publishers as it became a global hit. It was only decades later that the actual original author, Solomon Linda, received credit (and full compensation).

    Mark Steyn wrote it up:

    https://www.steynonline.com/6003/the-lion-sleeps-tonight

  117. vinteuil says: • Website
    @inertial

    You’ve got it totally backwards. It’s Giazotto’s arrangement that made Albinoni famous – not the other way around.

    I mean, Jeezus, people – who was listening to Albinoni’s fairly routine stuff in 1950?

  118. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Fred G. Sanford was ahead of his time.

  119. vinteuil says: • Website
    @Old Palo Altan

    Oh, c’mon. “Albinoni’s” Adagio is so pretty & pleasant to listen to. Very much of a piece with Respighi’s arrangments of renaissance & baroque material in his Antiche arie e danze & Gli uccelli.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  120. dvorak says:
    @Autochthon

    Steve Jobs is notorious for this nonsense. Hi name is all over patents for technology he did f**k all to develop.

    Wikipedia: “[I]nventorship can change during the prosecution of a patent application as claims are deleted or amended.” All it takes it a share in inventing one of the tens of patent claims on a patent, to be listed as an inventor. And there’s no option to say “leave me off the list, I didn’t contribute much.” All inventors must be listed.

  121. vinteuil says: • Website

    I think Josquin des Prez was the first composer with a name big enough that opportunistic publishers tried to pass off as his works by lesser contemporaries. To this day, scholars are still trying to sort it all out. There are a few major works that remain in question. The good news is that the dubious works that are any good continue to be performed & recorded. I’ve got a really good Hyperion CD dedicated specifically to works mis-attributed to Josquin.

    A smaller scale version of the same thing happened with Haydn. His String Quartets Op. 3, including one very famous movement, were actually composed by a certain Roman Hofstetter.

  122. Anonymous[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    When will some clever person make the case that plagiarism is okay? It’s not stealing but trans-art or something.

    Richard Prince already has. Prince, whom art critic David Apatoff has dubbed Lizardus plagiarista, makes a lot of money “appropriating” the artwork of others. The Gagosian gallery in Manhattan, which sells Prince’s work, explains that Prince has “redefined the concepts of authorship, ownership, and aura.”
    Uh huh.

  123. There was a country cover of rap song Gin and Juice that was misattributed to Phish and likely spread much further because of that. Back in Napster’s hayday, that type of thing could make a song more popular.

    https://www.phish.net/faq/gin-and-juice

  124. Anonymous[170] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    I’m surprised to find that you’re into rap. You’re among the last people here I would have expected to be into it. Lots of kids these days go through a wigger phase, but they usually grow out of it by high school. Frankly, I’m disappointed in you.

    • LOL: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    , @Autochthon
  125. @Anon

    Anything attributed to Dylan will be more popular. Wagon Wheel is a great song, but would it have been a top hit if it wasnt a reworked Dylan song?

    Dylan stole “don’t think twice, it’s alright” ; would it have been as popular if he had attributed it properly?

  126. @Anon

    Lol, I’m a music critic. I know all about rock music since the 1960s. Right now, in 2018, hip hop is far more innovative.

    • Replies: @HEL
  127. Erik L says:

    I’ve searched the web and find no reference to Janice Joplin not singing on Bobby McGee. What are you talking about? She didn’t write it; Kris Kristofferson did but that was known at the time because his version was already out

  128. HEL says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Lol, I’m a music critic. I know all about rock music since the 1960s. Right now, in 2018, hip hop is far more innovative.

    You should get a new line of work. The idea that those tracks you posted are even the tiniest bit innovative is completely laughable.

    • Replies: @TheMediumIsTheMassage
  129. HEL says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Or this, which consists of three separate beats segueing into each other.

    The year is 2018. Hip-Hop critic declares track which includes separate sections to be “innovative.” LOL.

    Wow. Music that isn’t just a single measure repeated endlessly. What a strange new world we are living in . . . We are truly through the musical looking glass.

    I will grant you this though– from what little I hear modern day mainstream rock music does seem to be completely, mind bogglingly awful. The genres may well have converged in terms of sheer uselessness.

  130. Anon[312] • Disclaimer says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    Lars von Trier is an excruciating thing to sit through

    One of the worst. He needs to be hit with an entire planet.

  131. @Anonymous

    I expect lots of people here didn’t spend half their childhoods homeless in the streets of Atlanta. Just because Negroes are paranoid doesn’t mean The Man isn’t out to hose poor people. I’ll leave it at that.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @Anonymous
  132. @Anonymous

    Anyhow, there are significant musical virtuosos among us “wiggers”:

  133. @vinteuil

    Well exactly!

    At least Respighi is not trying to fool anybody with his schmalz.

  134. Art Deco says:
    @Autochthon

    The number of people who have had multiyear stints on the street as juveniles is vanishingly small.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  135. Anonymous[929] • Disclaimer says:
    @Autochthon

    It’s because you ordinarily come across as a pedantic and uptight scold in your comments. Most people don’t expect such types to be wiggers. Now if it is true that you’re a wigger who grew up homeless in the streets of Atlanta, the whole pedantic and uptight scold thing looks like a put upon act. It would mean you aren’t some well bred snob but rather a phony. Liking “nu-metal” like Evanescence is even worse than being a wigger tbh. That rap-metal genre is an absolute atrocity.

  136. I’m sorry, Dad; I’ll try to be a better scolding, phony wigger; I promise!

  137. @Art Deco

    Twelve hundred here; twelve hundred there…pretty soon you’re talking about real numbers.

    https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/112_appendix1.pdf

    I’ll add I didn’t sleep in the streets much, or spend literally my entire days wandering them; I assumed, in my typical scolding, pedantic, phony way, that people understood the common parlance of what being “on the streets” means in American English.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  138. @HEL

    Music criticism doesn’t pay in 2018 so it’s not really work per se. That said, my comment was clearly about innovation in the commercial mainstream. By those standards, they are pretty progressive. For the real innovative music of the moment you’d have to look at a band like Low or an artist like SOPHIE.

  139. @Anon

    This was true up until maybe 5 years ago. Nowadys hits are determined by streaming. Many of the biggest hits of the past year received barely any airplay (such as tracks by the murdered rapper XXXTentacion). And it’s exceptionally hard to write a hit, it’s one of the most brutally competitive fields there is. Payola can only take you so far, the radio stations will play something the labels pay them to but they won’t spam a song that will lose them advertisers due to dwindling audiences; payola hits usually top out at about the #15-#10 range, not going beyond that because then they enter what is called ‘power rotation’, reserved for “true hits” since they’re played so much going overboard with a song no one likes will negatively impact the radio’s audience figures–it can be quite obvious for music chart observers when a song is payola because of this. And radio nowadays is playing catch up to streaming, before that it was playing catch up to iTunes. At the end of the day, a hit needs people to actually listen to the song, and since streaming statistics work by number of plays, you need a song that can still sound good after being played 500 times by the same person. It’s really tough to write songs like that and that also appeal to millions of people.

  140. Art Deco says:
    @Autochthon

    The Census Bureau could only find 200,000-odd vagrants in 1990; the Urban Institute estimated 600,000 at that time. You’re telling me there are 1.3 million students who are homeless? That would amount to 2% of the student population of the United States. Mitch Snyder subsequently admitted he’d pulled his ’3 million homeless’ datum out of his rectum, and the media just repeated it. The social work lobby got the idea.

    I assumed, in my typical scolding, pedantic, phony way, that people understood the common parlance of what being “on the streets” means in American English.

    People understand what it means very well. You’re the one trying to put one over on people and playing status games in the process.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  141. I’m not telling you anything in particular; I am citing empirical data. Evaluate it for yourself and disbelieve it, as you seem to, if you like. Are the data completely accurate? Perhaps not. Demography, by definition, hardly ever is: People are a pain in the ass to count. Are there five homeless children in the country, as you seem to intimate? Absolutely not.

    I can tell you many children are homeless for long periods of time. Most live in shelters, the occasional home of a friend or relative, motels for a stint here and there, and – perhaps most commonly of all – in vehicles. Most do not advertise their homelessness; for many, absent a particularly caring and astute teacher, no one but the child and his family ever knows he is homeless, although he will probably obviously be seen to be very poor. It’s not a mark of “status” to be homeless, and you are an asshole for suggesting anyone who is or has been homeless thinks it is.

    [MORE]

    I made an effort to explain that hip-hop is not all mumble-rap, gangsta-posturing, and booty-shaking, and that some is quite sophisticated and appreciated by persons of taste knowledgable about music. I supported that idea by, inter alia pointing out those who have not experienced the kinds of environments from which hip-hop arose perhaps appreciate it less or pay attention only to the poorest, yet popular, exemples (just as someone whose only knowledge of dance is watching fools twitch their pelvises on The Grind might not realise Ben Vereen, Gene Kelly, and Twyla Tharpe have done amazing things). I cited as examples to further support that idea talented musicians working in more conventional modes who have incorporated rap into their work. (The idea Amy Lee is not talented is risible; trained in classical piano for nine years, capable of playing that instrument as well as the guitar and the harp, and with a stunning mezzo-soprano voice in fine form night after night when she tours, she’s hardly comparable to Limp Bizkit or whatever the Hell else is meant to be invoked by the label “nu-metal.”) Many other great musicians also appreciate hip-hop; Prince Nelson among them. You and the anonymous character who dubbed me a wigger disagreed, but you did so whilst making a weird effort to make the disagreement about my life and, effectively, calling me a liar based solely upon your preconceived notions that children aren’t homeless and that people who grow up in urban poverty cannot be intelligent and annoyed by stupidity, the last bit I’ll address is that idea: that someone cannot be intelligent and exacting yet come of poverty and still appreciate and reflect his roots. It’s baloney. There is nothing “phony” nor any effort to “achieve status” about it. In fact, the opposite behaviour would be a lot phonier. Everyone who grew up in a city sleeping in cars and walking the streets doesn’t have an IQ of 87 or grow up to work at Burger King, nor disown his past if and when he achieves success and some modicum of wisdom later in life.

    I really shouldn’t even be writing any of this stuff, because it’s just dignifying ad hominem snobbery with a response. I do, though, because thinking it all through has made me realise what this – and any – forum is and is not. It’s a lot of often bright people who, more or less, pay attention to the kinds of things Steve pays attention to. Being one of them, I like that. It’s not – as no online venue anywhere is – any kind of place for sincere or genuine personal interaction. While I never expected it to be a lonely hearts club or a place to make friends, I had foolishly thought it was a place where genuine experiences could be shared for their potential value to others. One can discuss the election, a recent study, and so on, but it’s not productive to in any way strive to elucidate one’s perspective by sharing personal experiences, because there’s no genuine connection underlying it. There will always be a mob of shits, nay, cockwombles, like you telling others they are insincere, dishonest, and so on; and since no one knows who anyone else really is – save Steve, Señor Unz, the Derb, etc. – that kind of stuff just devolves into douchebaggery. Twinkie is a Peruvian pacifist, Intelligent Dasein has never set foot in Denver and he despises Catholics, the Old Palo Altan is a young transvestite in Alberta, and Lagertha, far from being a Scandinavian lady in New England, is a Nigerian prince who needs help recovering his lost fortune. See? It’s easy to insist people are what you decide in an anonymous forum. I fault myself for naïvely failing to appreciate this important nuance long ago.

    I have to get back to my imaginary mestizo wife in time to drive her to the rally to elect Hillary Clinton in 2020 we are attending tonight, where I’ve been invited to speak about my fabricated military service and my time as a high-status wigger living in Alpharetta next to Dale Murphy’s house.

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