(A recent response of mine regarding the classical music works of Paul McCartney…)
Classical music listeners AWAKE! If you can’t find “it” in the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, and all the artists before, after, or in between those I just listed, you probably won’t find “it” at all. One thing is for sure – you will NEVER find “it” in the over-indulgent, “classical” works of rock artists – not even in the works of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (who I greatly admire).
And now, for a bit of a diatribe…
Unfortunately, when many artists become well-known, famous, sell a lot of wares (whatever those wares may be), they sometimes become a little too over-confident that their gifts will automatically transcend into ALL areas of the fine arts. Across the board, actors become musicians, musicians become actors, painters become authors, and authors begin to paint. There are WAY too many examples of this to list here.
It also happens when successful artists in one area of music try their hand in another. One of the most infamous examples was when Garth Brooks released that Chris Gaines album. Was it successful? Eh…yes – financially. But the album came out at a time when people would have paid money to see Garth Brooks stand alone on stage, reading from a dictionary. Artistically, the album is tripe.
How about that foray Harry Connick, Jr. took into the world of rock? That worked out about as well as Pat Boone’s heavy metal album. Ouch.
How about the current trend of talented legends performing old standards. Come on, guys – really? Double-ouch.
This happens even in the sports world. Remember when Michael Jordan woke up one morning and decided that he was a great baseball player? Triple-ouch.
My beloved Beatles are not immune. To this day, there are people who absolutely believe that John Lennon was a great artist in drawing and painting. He absolutely WAS NOT. To say otherwise would be like saying that artist/painter Stuart Sutcliffe was a great bass player! Drawing on your own, in your spare time for fun or as a stress release is one thing, but to pretend even in your own mind that you are rock and roll’s answer to Picasso is just plain silly. It’s just about as silly as the Merry Widow authorizing lithographs of your noodlings to sell to the masses at overly inflated prices.
Paul McCartney, who stated to Musician Magazine in 1980 that he would never “bore myself stiff” writing a classical piece of music seems intent on doing just that. Only it is the public who he is boring, not himself. To quote another fairly famous musician remarking about McCartney’s quality of work when he wasn’t really trying, “The sound you make is Muzak to my ears.”
One last thing –
Paul, dear Paul:
- Stop feeling the need to constantly justify yourself publically regarding your role in the music world. All those efforts are not needed, and are a huge waste of your time. You’re one of the greatest artists of the last half century, if not all time – act like it;
- Do what you do, and do it well;
- That doesn’t mean that we want you to write or re-write us another Band on the Run, or Venus and Mars, or Tug of War, or even another Hey Jude. We don’t need new ones – we already have the originals, which are perfect. Just keep writing and recording what you do best. It’s okay – get back to where you once belonged. The well isn’t dry yet, is it?;
- For the love of God, will you finally stop obsessing with misplaced anxiety over your errant thoughts of believing that the public feels that it was always LENNON and McCartney, and never McCARTNEY and Lennon?! We’re not idiots. We all know who did what, and other rabid Beatle fans like me probably know those things better than you remember them happening!;
- Last, and most importantly, BE HAPPY!
The above represents only my opinions. I reserve the right to be wrong.
I mean, what do I know? I’m 47 years old and still struggling through my own Hamburg days to get to the next level. But, hey – I’m having a blast doing it!
With Peace and in Love,