Protective Covering

A wayback bit of my memory mentions to me how George Thorogood and Bob Seger each felt, responded, etc., when asked to play their single most widely known songs — which are of course this one and this one, respectively — for live shows. Elements of the discussion — one article, with thoughts from both? or two I happened to be reading at about the same and am not conflating?

Cldnt tell ya, but elements of the discussion included shows being something true fans, whether 1,000 or, more recently, 100 tend to do and they want to hear the standbys and standards.

Seem to recall Seger being most miffed [tho this] of the two. Thorogood once frankly noted his new stuff didn’t always resonate but artists are best off being grateful for once having been a thing and the mere blessing of a backlist, and that he got that and it was fine —

I don’t mind hearing new stuff if the new stuff is good. But if it’s not good, then I just want to hear the old stuff. John Fogerty is going to be very hard-pressed to write any more songs that are as good as ‘Fortunate Son‘ and ‘Green River’ and Old Man Down The Road.’ He’s a hard act to follow. He’s trying to follow himself.

Seger seems to have come around — tho Universal Music Group’s version of it has about 2 million views and a fan’s YouTube channel has 14 times as many.

Dylan’s recent sale of his entire [to-date] song catalog, spanning almost 60 years, put to a point the idea of getting paid over and over again for work one has already done — what da Yutes think they invented by calling it scale. The deal was likely worth up to about a half-billion or so and pretty soon that is real money. The WSJ account of the deal was true to their ‘brand’ [a word relevant for any minuscule meaning of ‘communicating core characteristics’ remains and also … simul … a term that, my blog to God’s ears, will one day gag flecks of vomit into the speaker-wielder’s throat] by noting the lump sum gets hit with a 25% capital gains tax but Zimmerman won’t have to keep paying 38% on the use of the songs as annual income.

+

Still, this activity of ‘they’re playing my song’ isn’t always welcome.

Consider political gatherings and the occasional floated demand by musicians not to do so at them.

Sometimes they want it both ways and one hears that ‘Born in the USA’ at a rally is simul ‘don’t play my song’ and ‘ha! aren’t they stupid’. But if you don’t like them for other reasons, and the latter is so, why do you mind the former? Wldn’t you want them to showcase their imbecility?

Well, no.

First, bec they know ‘Born in the USA’ or ‘Hotel California’ are imagey salves, and they don’t want their enemies’ crowds having no peaceful easy feelings. Second, the tune are also often crowd rousers — not much better a state of affairs, if Springsteen and Henley, et al get to vote on the question.

In truth they don’t bec no matter how much they rock it, and they aren’t talking to the Image in Chief at the head of the salving and rousing movement du jour anyway but just taking an easy oppty to be self-holier than they. They don’t get a vote because if you make art, bruh, you can’t control — or for too long complain — when people don’t get it; consider the guy shocked Tom Morello talks lefty politics in his lyrics.

Besides, ‘they the people’ do get it: the reason covering such songs can be used both to mollify and to Molotov, is that they’re images by now … those words, to them adorable deplorables, don’t mean what you think they mean.

End of the day, even if you don’t shut up and sing, most massed minions will tune you out anyway.

+

This happened once to Natalie Merchant at L.A.’s Wiltern Theater, after she went solo and somewhere around the early aughts of the current millennia. Crowd kept asking for ‘Peace Train‘, which 10,000 Maniacs had covered on In My Tribe, and she rebuked her fans and repudiated the song in tones that managed to be hectoring, morose, and disappointed all at once.

‘Aww, you don’t wanna hear some old Cat Stevens’ tune … ‘

But of course they did.

I cd take or leave the song, myself, and didn’t vote but Merchant didn’t play it bec since it’d been placed on the group’s album the crooner — Marleybone-born Steven Demetre Georgiou before landing as the Cat — had become Yusuf Islam and expressed support for the occasional fatwa.

Serendipitous to that was Laura Ingraham’s star-shining had begun. Perhaps also ironical: Merchant did not end up singing and she shut up, at least as far as trying to change the crowd’s collective unconsciousness.

And all that contrasts nicely with Johnny Cash and his American Recordings. He had ‘Nine Inch Nails’ at hello — recall Trent Reznor saying they were honored just to get the request for ‘Hurt‘. He called Cash’s rendering the elder singer of songs’ own — different — creation. Prolly I am a bigger fan of Cash’s ‘Mercy Seat’ than of Nick Cave’s.

+

Now-retired MLB closer Jonathan Broxton, who came up with the Dodgers also roundabout the mid-2000s, paid his version of homage using Cash’s arrangement of ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down‘ as his walk-up music; several other relievers still do.

Come to note it, that shd bug people more than some silly shill sallying forth for ‘higher’ office and co-opting a jingle. A song of sin and redemption is being used to call balls and strikes; remixes of the Cash have shown up in online gaming and ads.

+

Some art is just more fluid.

Leonard Cohen covered himself on ‘Hallelujah’ every time he adapted the lyrics or added six new verses, were, say, in architecture — indeed in politics conducted by rallies — we pay for what we get. And it can stay that way a long time. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent

Can We Tawk?

Comedienne Joan Rivers’ catchphrase was, ‘Can we talk?’ with all that that entails — its rhetorical nature, the Jewish thing, an implication that at least one of the parties will be better off for having done so … Like God. T’other day a priest spoke of ontological remembrance, the immediate and ongoing memory of past-present-future

Read More »

Hide and See

Something lost, Dallas Willard said once, might yet be very valuable. One’s car keys for instance. He was speaking somewhat in the context of salvation, if I recall … the general point was calling something lost doesn’t mean it’s not wanted — quite the opposite. Yet it remains … until finding its way out or being found

Read More »

Greater Love Blah Blah Blah

Do we doubt locals thanked them for their service? I’m not equating the two. They were wrong; glad we crushed them. Only noting it’s likely they thought as much about such things as we do, which is to say not much. German citizens who believed their leaders, loved their country, watched their sons get on

Read More »

Dark Eyed Life

According to @CitizenScreen, doing yeoman’s* work daily on Twitter* relative to the Golden Age of film, today is the birth date of Mabel Normand, Hedy Lamarr, and Dorothy Dandridge — Normand: New York, 1892 Lamarr: Vienna, 1914 Dandridge: Cleveland, 1922 — which makes for coupla at least interesting, if not compelling or fascinating at the

Read More »

Random

More Research Necessary

A report from the lab — She’ll talk sometimes, make an endless series of noises with inflections and rhythm and pauses. Or she’ll just scream for as long as she can. — this from my son, the father of the girl in question, and questioning. Hmm, I said, I still do that. But for she,

Read More »

What Men Want

In an office of the U.S. Postal Service this morning, a morning show deejay played clips from last night’s Leno and … I forget now, but prolly was a guy after Leno, on the same network. Come to think it, maybe they own the station, and the whole shtick — supposedly hey you might have

Read More »

I Am The Fat Guy

One New Year’s Eve I was in Big Bear with friends. I was in college and we’d been coming up the mountain for a few years, first at Mike’s, then at Andy’s. It didn’t take much for us to decide to drink while we were up there, but we weren’t hardcore, as far as I

Read More »

Missing Dinner

The common phrasing phor life today offers one and sundry the common counsel, Live, Laugh, Love. Jesus responds — preempts if you prefer it precise — with semi-characteristic frankness Love Love Love I say semi-characteristic since only half the time is he blunt, while the other half he’s maddeningly opaque — like the dork in high

Read More »

Related

No It Won’t

I don’t think that quotation means what we think it means. Beauty will not save the world and anyway Dostoevsky didn’t say it and anyways he didn’t mean it neither. The line that’s led to our clichéd abuse of the idea’s akin to ‘Eskimos have 418 words for snow’ and ‘it takes 21 days to

Read More »

Whee

Each animal has its glory. The dog his ears, the rabbit her tail, the dolphin their leaps. Elephant trunk Moose antlers Giraffe … duh Walrus tusks Whale tails Wolf howl Bear claw Bird caw + [We’d first say flight of course but see, think, feel they all fly and largely the same — tho the

Read More »

Room Where It Happens

If the line between good and evil cuts through the human heart there’s gotta be some overlap. The lovely mesh seems so far to last oh … about forever and it occurred this morning it will never quite be clean this side of the fundy conception of the Jordan. Even Dr. Willard, averring as he

Read More »

Not For Teacher

There’s an unfortunate instructor-y thing where the guy on stage [I’ve found it’s usually a male doing this] asks a question he already knows the answer to, one of the people in the audience … err, classroom … is the target, the answer given is wrong, and the stagehand just goes and gives the answer

Read More »