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[quote name='Stephen Turner' date='Dec 5 2005, 11:13 PM' post='47461']

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

Also "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello is an all time favorite of mine.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Leonard Cohen

Tom Waits

Bob Dylan

Neil Young

Nick Cave

Phil Ochs


John Lennon

George Harrison


Billy Bragg

Kevin Coyne

Joni Mitchell

Loudon Wainwright III

Kris Kristofferson

Richard Thompson


Ray Davies


Favourite cover: Neil Youngs' "Helpless" sung by Buffy St Marie.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Jacques Brel is another one who deserves to be considered one of the best modern songwriters.


I see the woman who inspired some of his best love songs, Madeleine Zeffa Biver committed suicide this week. It is causing some controversy as it was an "assisted suicide".


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In the early 1960s I became a fan of the soul/jazz singer Gene McDaniels. Like me, he became very political during the mid sixties. “Love Letter To America,” “Supermarket Blues,” “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse” and “Freedom Death Dance” made him a charter member of Richard Nixon's Enemies List. It destroyed his career and very people remember him now. In many ways, it was a great loss to music as he had a fantastic voice. In 1968 he wrote "Compared to What". I think it stands the test of time.

1. Love the lie and lie the love

Hangin' on, with a push and shove

Possession is the motivation

that is hangin' up the God-damn nation

Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!) Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

2. Slaughterhouse is killin' hogs

Twisted children killin' frogs

Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs

Tired old ladies kissin' dogs

Hate the human, love that stinking mutt (I can't stand it!)

Try to make it real — compared to what?

3. The President, he's got his war

Folks don't know just what it's for

Nobody gives us rhyme or reason

Have one doubt, they call it treason

We're chicken-feathers, all without one gut (God damn it!)

Tryin' to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me, now)

4. Church on Sunday, sleep and nod

Tryin' to duck the wrath of God

Preacher's fillin' us with fright

Tryin' to tell us what he thinks is right

He really got to be some kind of nut (I can't use it!) Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?

5. Where's that bee and where's that honey?

Where's my God and where's my money

Unreal values, crass distortion

Unwed mothers need abortion

Kind of brings to mind ol' young King Tut (He did it now)

Tried to make it real — compared to what?!


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There are a lot more names I cannot remember now, but some that I'll never forget are,

Matt Bellamy


Brett Anderson & Bernard Butler

Paul Banks (from the band Interpol, not from Shed Seven)

Tom Chaplin

Jonsi Birgisson

Jarvis Cocker

James Mudriczki

Teemu Brunila

Fran Healy

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From jazz and the American Popular Songbook (in no particular order of genre or preference):

Cole Porter

Harold Arlen

George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin

Richard Rodgers

Lorenz Hart

Oscar Hammerstein

Duke Ellington

Wayne Shorter

Horace Silver

Thad Jones

Pepper Adams

Jimmy van Heusen

Sammy Cahn (full disclosure: this lyricist, who put more words in Frank Sinatra's mouth than any other writer, was a dear and close friend)

Jule Styne

Tommy Wolfe

Fran Landesman

Henry Nemo (for one tune: "'Tis Autumn")

"Yip" Harburg ("Over the Rainbow")

For those interested in the subject, Alec Wilder's American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950is the most comprehensive and satisfying reference volume extant.

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