Songwriters and Performers

Periodically, I have written posts about the songwriters and performers who combined words and music so magically. The posts that have received the most notoriety on my blog are not necessarily the biggest names, although they are indeed popular.

The post on Bob Seger has been my most visited musical post. When I think of the line from the movie “Eddie and the Cruisers,” about the key to a great song is words and music, I think of a short list of names including Seger’s. “Rock and Roll never forgets” sang Seger. He is right .

The second most read, but with a bullet, is a tribute to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Four terrific songwriters and musicians in one group. This post may pass Seger’s soon, but in fairness to Seger it is four against one. Plus, the music of CSNY has a more cultural message. Their self-titled first album with the four of them with “So Far” tacked on the end of the title is one of the finest end to end albums ever, in my view.

The next in kind is the post about Gordon Lightfoot. He is indeed a troubadour, but his songwriting has been covered by many including Peter, Paul and Mary and Elvis Presley. He is still touring, so try to catch his laid back sing-a-long. He speaks about his songs and life, which are also poignant reflections.

The fourth most frequented post is by an artist who left us much too soon, Jim Croce. His music spoke clearly about loneliness, heartache, love, melancholy and relationships. Had he not died so young, he would be as popular as any song writer.

Below is a link to these posts. They may also link you to other musical posts, so please feel free to reminisce and share your favorites.

22 thoughts on “Songwriters and Performers

  1. They just don’t make them like that anymore. I love hearing the stories behind the song, especially by that generation of song writers. No studio, no big production companies, just a napkin and a pen to make the magic happen.

    • Lisa, I agree. The ones who still do it that way find it hard to make it on a large scale. Gordon Lightfoot told the story of how he sings his “Early Morning Rain” a little differently now, because Elvis changed a couple of words to make them more emphatic. That is a great story. Another like them, who often told stories between and during songs is Harry Chapin. Who are some of your favorites? Keith

      • I’ve been watching a lot of music documentaries recently, due to the recent loss of so many greats. Muscle Shoals is hands down one of the best. I also watched the very long one about the Eagles and was floored at the background stories of some of my favorite songs like Hotel California, but the most interesting was Steven Tyler’s autobiography “Does the Noise In My Head Bother You?” learning that he played in a Big Band with his father & grandfather, never had a music lesson and wrote Dream On at 17 years old changed my entire perspective.

      • Lisa, thanks for sharing these. I have not seen them and did not know that about Steven Tyler. Speaking of the Eagles, I read that Glenn Frey’s first professional music experience was playing guitar on Bob Seger’s “Rambling Gambling Man.” I need to look for those music documentaries. Ken Burns has done a series on the history of “Jazz” of which I caught the first episode. Fascinating as well. Keith

  2. Given the depth of my ignorance of these people, I have no comment! (It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Trump should bear that in mind!!)

    • Hugh, if you have thirty minutes on a rainy Sunday, check out these four songs:

      “If you could read my mind” by Gordon Lightfoot

      “Beautiful Loser” by Bob Seger

      “Lover’s Cross” by Jim Croce

      “Wooden Ships” by CSNY

      That will give you a flavor.

      You would never be accused of Trumping (a new word meaning speaking without thought).

  3. Music has so much to offer doesn’t it. It not only has the ability to reach emotions deep within, but it can also “anchor” you to a point in time. While I cannot remember some details of the late 60’s, I can remember so many artists and their songs. Listening to them at that time would evoked a certain response, but listening to them now is equally, or so much more, enjoyable because of the nostalgia (and all that entails) of those earlier times. 🙂

    • Colin, I love the use of term “anchor” as it is indicative. Certain songs bring back memories of various times like anchors or mileposts. Just yesterday, while driving back from Florida, I picked up several radio stations that played those kinds of anchor songs. I just needed to make sure I had cruise control on. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: I was thinking of one of the better, more unusual song lines ever crafted, courtesy of Jim Croce – “I’ve got those steadily depressing, low down mind messing, working at the car wash blues.” This is not unusual fare for Croce who also spoke of “my best old ex-friend Ray,” who ran off with his girlfriend or how there would be “one less pair of jeans on your door” as he left his girlfriend after they ran out of things to say to each other.

  5. Oh…music post…cut-out bin the politics and sing along with the Seger and Get Out of Denver and Smokin’ OP’s….let’s talk rock and roll and diss the polls and a tune up to the Hall Of Fame…and if you were a GOP delegate in Cleveland…would the home folk dog ya … for visiting the House Of Elvis and Hank Williams and Shake Rattle & Roll…. and proto rapper Chuck Berry…

    • Oh, they could learn a lot about collaboration going to the Rock and Roll HOF while there. My son and I went a couple of summers ago and the part I liked best was how you could listen to the artist and then listen to snippets of who influenced them and compare. Have you been?

      • Doug, also thanks for the Chuck Berry link to Nadine. The words and pacing of this song is Rock and Roll at its finest. “Campaign screaming like a Southern diplomat.” Gotta love it. Keith

  6. I was a Jim Croce fan. Interestingly enough, I unexpectedly came across his wife and son’s family restaurant in San Diego many years ago. I was delighted by the food, the ambiance, and the many tributes to Jim. I even bought Ingrid’s book, Thyme in a Bottle, that wove family stories around family recipes.

    • Linda, that is so cool. I love the name of her book. Interestingly, both Barney and Ray, have commented they have been to her restaurant as well. It must be a key meeting place on San Diego, perhaps a pilgrimage. Thanks, Keith

    • Music and Food makes total sense. There was this wonderful restaurant in Winston-Salem that let you meander downstairs to hear jazz over after dinner drinks. Wonderful experience.

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