I’ve often wondered what is it that makes someone want to go out and buy your music, want to see you play live, join your fan club (they don’t exist any more do they?). Is it because you’re really good looking? Is it because you’re a great singer, a lot of successful singer/songwriters aren’t necessarily great singers, (have you heard Bob Dylan sing?) Do you have a close personal identification with the person and what they sing about? I think were getting closer. I would like to run through a few artists and see what their appeal actually is.
What can you say about David Bowie that hasn’t already been said, the guy has written some of the most memorable songs ever written, he’s been copied time and again by successful artists doing impressions of him (Brett Anderson and the bloke from Bauhaus spring to mind). I personally preferred his earlier stuff, probably pre 1980, I played some of those earlier albums to death, knew all the words off by heart, and probably all the chords.
In my pre pubescent years i did a cover version of “Moonage Daydream” I sounded like Aled Jones on Acid, I’m pretty sure that one has been lost in the archives (hopefully) never to resurface. But I digress, so DB at the ripe old age of 66 records an album without anyone knowing about it, releases it and takes the world by storm. From what I’ve heard of the new stuff I like it a lot, he’s still got it, whatever it is.
He has written hundreds of songs that have been used by hundreds of different artists, he just keeps going , releasing more stuff, he has certainly been a big influence on me. Maybe to my detriment at times. He’s a lot more popular in America these days, I keep a passing interest in his music these days, but nothing has blown me away like it did when I first heard “This Years Model” or “Armed Forces” Last thing I saw was his appearance on Sesame Street doing a very strange version of “Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes” with Elmo renaming it “Monsters gone and ate my red 2”. I think he’s still got it, i need to listen to more of his later stuff to clarify that, of course.
Being from Woking I can’t help but have been influenced by Paul Weller, not only is he a great singer and songwriter, he’s a much underrated guitarist, some of the guitar work he’s done has been fantastic. I think it’s quite amazing that he’s managed to stay at the level he’s been at for the 30 + years that he has, it’s a true testament to his talent. Even in the slightly dodgy Style Council days he has always churned out quality tunes. My favourite album of his is “Wildwood”. I think the “Dad Rock” tag that ive heard bandied about recently is a little unfair, but everyone is entitled to their opinion i suppose. He’s still got it.
I’m not sure what to make of Ed, he has written some classic songs, he’s not afraid to go near the knuckle as far as his lyrics are concerned, he’s clearly supremely talented, maybe there’s a bit of jealousy in there from my part, he’s only 22 and he’s achieved so much. He plays live with just him and his guitar (not an easy thing to do). I think there will be a lot more to come from him. Has he got it? Probably.
Even at his most cockiest, you can’t help but like him, he wrote Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back in Anger, what more do I need to say. His solo album for me started off brilliantly with “Everybody’s on the Run” it didn’t really hit that height again for me, Some nice tracks on there though. I think he has a great ear for a chorus that everyone wants to sing along to and that’s why joins songs have such a long term appeal. He’s still got it.
I could ramble on and on for ages about my favourite Singer/Songwriters, but I think it’s time to draw to a close now, I realise I haven’t mentioned any female Singer/Songwriters but I’m writing this from a male Singer/Songwriters perspective, so maybe that’s for another post on another day.