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John Simkin

Greatest Songwriters

Recommended Posts

John Lennon

Paul McCartney

Bob Dylan

Van Morrison

Bruce Springsteen

_____________

James: You picked my favorites too. I would just add Natalie Merchant (10,000 maniacs) Carole King, Neil Sadaka (sp), so many more. Too many to list, but my favs are Beatles and Bruce. The Boss is my "main man" (lucky I don't have a jeslous husband:)

Oh and Freddy Mercury- (Queen)-, who also had the greatest voice in r and r. (And Roy Orbison)

love it all

Dawn

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I would just add Natalie Merchant (10,000 maniacs) Carole King, Neil Sadaka (sp), so many more. Too many to list, but my favs are Beatles and Bruce. The Boss is my "main man" (lucky I don't have a jeslous husband:)

Oh and Freddy Mercury- (Queen)-, who also had the greatest voice in r and r.  (And Roy Orbison)

I had the pleasure of seeing the Beatles before they became famous (the summer of 1962). It was just before they released their first record Love Me Do? Their performance was amateurish and the reaction from the audience was not very good (no screaming girls at this stage of their career). However, the next day I told all my friends they were going to be big. Why? Well, they mostly sung Tamla Motown covers. I was a great fan of the originals (Money, Please Mr. Postman, etc.) and was not impressed with their versions. However, they did sing a couple of songs that I did not know. These were songs that they had written. I thought they were very good and quite unlike any other UK band was doing at the time. You could see that they had been influenced by Rhythm and Blues music but it had its own distinctive sound. Strange as it might seem, it seemed to be a mixture of R & B, British folk music and skiffle. I have never heard Lennon and McCarthy admit to this but I think they had probably been influenced by the records of Lonnie Donegan.

The Beatles were one of the acts supporting Roy Orbison. I am sorry to say that Orbison completely overshadowed the Beatles. Orbison lacked charisma and was one of the few rock stars that you never wanted to be. He stood in the middle of the stage with his guitar and sang such songs such as Only the Lonely, Running Scared, Love Hurts and Crying. It was magical. The quality of his voice was truly amazing. So was his ability to convey raw emotion. At that time I had never experienced a broken love affair. Orbison obviously had and was able to communicate that to his audience. It was like reading a great book. I was taken into a world I knew nothing about.

I never bought any of Orbison’s records. At the time I was a terrible snob who was only willing to buy music performed by black Americans. However, that night, I knew I was in the company of a great artist. He died a long time ago (1988). However, when they play his music on the radio, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up in recognition of that night I spent with him in Romford in the summer of 1962.

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I had the pleasure of seeing the Beatles ...Their performance was amateurish and the reaction from the audience was not very good (no screaming girls at this stage of their career)....

John:

A bit off topic, but that's what happens at parties, no?

Orbison: If you haven't got it, I heartily recommend Orbison's "Black and White Night" CD -- better yet, get the video of the concert from which the CD is made. It's a marvelous session, reprising most of his hits, with a back-up crowd of such up-and-comers as Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang and others...An absolute necessity for an Orbison fan.

Beatles: When the boys made their first American concert tour (1964 was it?), I was a reporter for United Press International, and assigned to follow them for a while when they invaded mid-America. At Red Rocks, a natural amphitheater in the foothills west of Denver, we in the press were told to stand at stage right, not 30 feet from Ringo's drums, under a gigantic speaker. The set was embarrassingly short (I'm not sure they performed more than seven or eight songs), but, by that time, the lads definitely had their act together, and the girls did nothing BUT scream. My primary memory of the moment was not the music; it was the fear that would surge through my system each time the Beatles would hit one of those famous licks, or take a step forward, or two steps back: We on the stage could literally feel the crowd on the verge of moving toward us, ready to break free and engulf the stage. At those moments, a line of cops, kneeling shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the stage, would rise to their feet and quell the impending surge.

Nothing, not even the cops, could have stopped the audience from visiting us on stage had it chosen to do so, and there were fleeting moments of definite concern for our physical well-being.

I would guess that this was a common occurence at many of those Beatles concerts in those days, and I've often wondered if the boys in the band didn't occasionally experience the same moments of fear...

Bob

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And with all this talk about Bobby Darin, let's not forget the team of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

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Hi all

I endorse the choice of all the artists so far mentioned. Several more outstanding songwriters to add to the mix--

David Bowie, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Lou Reed

And might I recommend the autobiography Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Eric Burdon (Thunder Mouth Press, 2001) for some wild stories from the Sixties music scene and onward... one teaser from which being that Burdon claims he was the "Egg Man" referenced in Lennon and McCartney's "I Am the Walrus."

All my best

Chris

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Guest Stephen Turner

Elvis Costello "Shipbiulding"

Ray Davis "Waterloo Sunset"

John Lennon "Working Class Hero"

Bob Dylan "Lay Lady Lay"

Jimi Hendrix "Purple Haze"

Joni Mitchell "Big Yellow Taxi"

Marvin Gaye "Whats Going On" Picket lines, and picket signs......Oh the humanity...

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Guest Stephen Turner

Elvis Costello "Shipbiulding"

One of the greatest anti-war songs ever written.

Another Costello song I love is "Tramp down the dirt" one of the greatest anti Thatcher songs ever written, along with Ghost town, by the Specials

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