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Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: proudmary ()
Date: April 10, 2011 14:25

Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists chosen by SIR TIM RICE
By TIM RICE
Sophisticated lyrics from The Rolling Stones frontman to the musical visionary of a sixties icon who realised how important rock music was, SIR TIM RICE on the ten songwriters who have inspired him

1. MICK JAGGER


Mick Jagger was writing stuff like Play With Fire, about an heiress from St John's Wood, and Mother's Little Helper, all about women taking pills, in his early twenties

Jagger's underrated as a lyricist because he's such a brilliant performer. The Rolling Stones, probably because they came from the London area, were much more sophisticated than all the Northern groups in their lyrics. Of course, the others soon caught up. Mick was writing stuff like Play With Fire, about an heiress from St John's Wood, and Mother's Little Helper, all about women taking pills, in his early twenties. His songs were brutally realistic: 'Don't want you out in my world/Just you be my backstreet girl.' More recently he's written a lot of stuff that could almost be described as sentimental, but which still has a cutting edge.

2. DON BLACK
The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Black was brought up in Hackney before entering the music business as a song-plugger. As personal manager to the Sixties balladeer Matt Monro, he wrote English lyrics for European songs Monro recorded, such as Walk Away (the first pop lyric that made me identify with a love situation). He wrote the lyrics to several Bond songs, including Thunderball and Diamonds Are Forever, which I think is his greatest work: 'Diamonds are forever/Hold one up and then caress it/Touch it, stroke it and undress it/I can see every part/Nothing hides in the heart to hurt me.'

3. COLE PORTER
Porter was born into a wealthy family in Indiana. He wrote student songs at Yale and graduated to Broadway shows in the Twenties. I was introduced to his songs through my parents' High Society soundtrack, one of the great scores of all time. The duet Well, Did You Evah? is kind of a list song, and the genius of list songs, which he was really good at, isn't necessarily the list itself, but the idea of the list. It's a wonderful musical evocation of a cocktail-party conversation. One of his best repeated rhymes is from the song I Get A Kick Out Of You: 'Flying too high with some guy in the sky/Is my idea of nothing to do.' Porter also wrote incredibly moving ballads and love songs. I came to a lot of these songs via pop cover versions. For example, Elvis Presley did rather a good version of True Love.

4. JERRY LEIBER
Jerry Leiber and composer Mike Stoller wrote numerous 'crossover' hits. For example, Hound Dog was a hit for the black artist Big Mama Thornton in 1953 before Elvis made it his own in 1956. They had success with the Coasters, the Drifters, the Clovers; they wrote tons of stuff for Elvis; they wrote Stand By Me with Ben E King, and On Broadway with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. They also wrote for Peggy Lee: I'm A Woman and Is That All There Is? Leiber produced one of my top three rock couplets of all time, in Love Potion No 9: 'I told her that I was a flop with chicks/I've been that way since 1956.'

5. ALAN JAY LERNER
He came from New York City and was educated partly in England.
Teaming up with Frederick Loewe in the Forties, he produced a string of Broadway musicals, including Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady and Camelot.
You can enjoy his lyrics as a child because on a very simple, surface level they describe something appealing and entertaining. But then, as an adult, you realise there's another level.
In You Did It he produced this brilliant rhyme: 'Every time we looked around/There he was, that hairy hound/From Budapest/Never leaving us alone/ Never have I ever known/A ruder pest.'

6. BOB DYLAN
There's no one like Bob Dylan around today (apart from Bob Dylan). He wrote many of his songs at a time when it seemed possible that protest songs might actually change things. He was a musical visionary in that he realised, even before the Beatles and the Stones, how important rock music was - everybody else still thought it was a branch of show business. I was particularly impressed by the lyrics for It Ain't Me Babe. It was an original thing to say in a love song, that I'm not good for you - especially when you're a young man and in 1964. His love songs, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, are often stronger than the political ones, which can get a bit preachy. In Positively 4th Street, an angry one, he wrote, 'Yes, I wish that for just one time/You could stand inside my shoes/You'd know what a drag it is/To see you.'

7. HERBERT KRETZMER
One of Kretzmer's earliest hits was a wonderful comedy song for Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren, Goodness Gracious Me, which contained the following lines: 'From New Delhi to Darjeeling/ I have done my share of healing/And I've never yet been beaten or outboxed/ I remember that with one jab/Of my needle in the Punjab/How I cleared up beriberi/And the dreaded dysentery/But your complaint has got me really foxed.'
For several years he collaborated with Charles Aznavour, for whom he wrote She, a big hit.
Kretzmer was already nearing his sixties when he wrote the lyrics for the stage show Les Misérables, the longest-running musical in the world.
It's never too late to have your biggest hit if you're a lyricist.

8. JOHNNY MERCER
Mercer brought a Southern folksy inflection to many of his songs. I first consciously encountered him with Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Mercer had two number ones in the UK within 12 months in 1961-62, with Moon River (a new song) and I Remember You (an old song from 1941, revived by Frank Ifield). The latter is a wistful tribute to a former love with a lovely, simple lyric: 'When my life is through/And the angels ask me to recall/ The thrill of it all/Then I will tell them I remember you.'


9. MICHAEL FLANDERS
He first collaborated with his composing partner Donald Swann for a school revue at Westminster in 1940. Reunited after WWII, they started writing comic songs for revue artists, and in 1956 for themselves as performers, with Swann at the piano and Flanders, a polio victim, in a wheelchair. Their show At the Drop of a Hat ran for two years in the West End. Flanders influenced me more than any other lyricist, because I encountered his songs when I was a child - classics such as The Hippopotamus Song: 'His inamorata adjusted her garter/And lifted her voice in duet.'

10. SAMMY CAHN
Towards the end of his life, I became good friends with Sammy Cahn and his wife, Tita. In his early years he was in demand to write 'special material', and, as he put it, 'Many might have written these lyrics better - but none faster!' Sammy wrote a lot of Sinatra's hits, such as Love and Marriage, All the Way and Come Fly With Me: 'Come fly with me, let's float down to Peru/In llama-land there's a one-man band/And he'll toot his flute for you.' In terms of records sold, he was the most successful songwriter, in words or music, for the period from 1940 until the beginning of the rock 'n' roll era in 1954.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: April 10, 2011 14:30

Jagger's underrated as a lyricist

Hey that's the truest thing I've read all year .........



ROCKMAN

Re: Jagger/Richards
Posted by: with sssoul ()
Date: April 10, 2011 15:27

Jagger/Richards are underrated as lyricists is considerably truer

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: marvpeck ()
Date: April 10, 2011 16:23

Bob Dylan at number 6?

Well, to each his own

Marv Peck

Y'all remember that rubber legged boy

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Tumblin_Dice_07 ()
Date: April 10, 2011 18:05

I think this was just a personal list for the guy writing it. But I would agree and have stated many times before that Jagger is extremely underrated as a lyricist.

The Stones often get compared to Zeppelin around here because they were both huge in the '70's but that's one area where I think the Stones were much, much better than Zeppelin.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: 1963luca0 ()
Date: April 10, 2011 18:08

Where's Patti Smith?

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Thricenay ()
Date: April 10, 2011 18:13

Some of the lyrics in 2000 Light Years are wonderful. "Freezing red deserts turn to dark..." Was that Jagger?

"Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields" is the best opening line in rock 'n' roll, in my opinion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-04-10 18:14 by Thricenay.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: letitloose ()
Date: April 10, 2011 18:17

Quote
1963luca0
Where's Patti Smith?

A better question would be "where's Leonard Cohen"?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-04-10 18:17 by letitloose.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: slewan ()
Date: April 10, 2011 18:56

Jagger as a serious lyricist???? Oh, come on. He might be a great performer, but a poet? HAHHAHAHAHA!

Except for Dylan nobody on that list can stand any kind of comparison with any real poet like Rimbaud, Brecht, Beckett etc

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Harlem Shuffler ()
Date: April 10, 2011 20:28

Quote
Thricenay
Some of the lyrics in 2000 Light Years are wonderful. "Freezing red deserts turn to dark..." Was that Jagger?

"Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields" is the best opening line in rock 'n' roll, in my opinion.

"I was born in a cross fire hurricane" isn't bad either!

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: KillRill ()
Date: April 10, 2011 20:41

"More recently he's written a lot of stuff that could almost be described as sentimental, but which still has a cutting edge."

One time you were my baby chicken.
Now you've grown into a fox.
And once upon a time I was your little rooster.
Am I just one of your cocks?

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: The Stones ()
Date: April 10, 2011 20:45

"Feel the hot cum
Dripping on your thigh from it" from Tie You Up (The Pain Of Love) ain't too bad either.....

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: sweetcharmedlife ()
Date: April 10, 2011 20:51

Oh goody....another list.eye rolling smiley

"It's just some friends of mine and they're busting down the door"

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: JJHMick ()
Date: April 10, 2011 21:38

The unbeatable line in music lyric's history definitely goes to Mick Jagger:
"You look like a leper, dressed as Sergeant Pepper"

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Midnight Toker ()
Date: April 10, 2011 21:38

Whre is ....

Neil Young, John Fogerty,Springsteen, Henley and Frey, Tyler?? Ooops forget Lennon/McCartney.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: loog droog ()
Date: April 10, 2011 21:41

Quote
letitloose
Quote
1963luca0
Where's Patti Smith?

A better question would be "where's Leonard Cohen"?


An even better question: where does Sir Tim Rice rank Sir Mack Rice?








Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: JJHMick ()
Date: April 10, 2011 21:48

BTW, Mick has written Highwire and a quarter of Bigger Bang about some certain wars now everybody claims to have been against then...

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Rip This ()
Date: April 10, 2011 22:41

no doubt Jagger has written some great lyrics...some of the best couplets...but he also wrote You Got Me Rockin'....and that alone takes him down 5 notches.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: cc ()
Date: April 11, 2011 07:05

Quote
JJHMick
BTW, Mick has written Highwire and a quarter of Bigger Bang about some certain wars now everybody claims to have been against then...

are you saying "Highwire" was against the Gulf War? There's no such statement in the song. Likewise, "Sweet Neo Con." At the most, these songs are cynical about wars, but not protesting them and not even willing to state they're wrong.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: AngieBlue ()
Date: April 11, 2011 08:00

Jagger is an under rated lyricist.

"I was born in a cross fire hurricane..."
True of being born in 1943 and true of being born the year he wrote it in 1968.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Come On ()
Date: April 11, 2011 09:27

From Sir Tim Rice's point of view can everything happen...but yeah, 'Play with Fire' is brilliant...

2 1 2 0

Re: Jagger/Richards
Posted by: marcovandereijk ()
Date: April 11, 2011 14:07

"SIR TIM RICE on the ten songwriters who have inspired him"

Everyone should consider this disclaimer before responding.
But I agree that Mick did write some of the best lyrics ever.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Erik_Snow ()
Date: April 11, 2011 14:13

Quote
cc
Quote
JJHMick
BTW, Mick has written Highwire and a quarter of Bigger Bang about some certain wars now everybody claims to have been against then...

are you saying "Highwire" was against the Gulf War? There's no such statement in the song. Likewise, "Sweet Neo Con." At the most, these songs are cynical about wars, but not protesting them and not even willing to state they're wrong.

Had the very same thoughts as you, CC

- also; most of sane folks were against those wars to begin with, so JJHMick's post is......well, it's just a lamp post, nothing more - or a "post of love to Mick Jagger.....nevermind any reasons apart from the "love" )



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011-04-11 14:16 by Erik_Snow.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: Big Al ()
Date: April 11, 2011 14:25

I've only heard of 5 people on this list - oh dear!

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: HalfNanker ()
Date: April 11, 2011 16:09

Ray Davies..anyone??

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: April 11, 2011 16:46

Quote
cc
Quote
JJHMick
BTW, Mick has written Highwire and a quarter of Bigger Bang about some certain wars now everybody claims to have been against then...

are you saying "Highwire" was against the Gulf War? There's no such statement in the song. Likewise, "Sweet Neo Con." At the most, these songs are cynical about wars, but not protesting them and not even willing to state they're wrong.

Apparently you need the lyric to be even 'more in your face'. You should be listening to Culture Club in that case:




Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: proudmary ()
Date: April 11, 2011 17:17

Quote
Erik_Snow
Quote
cc
Quote
JJHMick
BTW, Mick has written Highwire and a quarter of Bigger Bang about some certain wars now everybody claims to have been against then...

are you saying "Highwire" was against the Gulf War? There's no such statement in the song. Likewise, "Sweet Neo Con." At the most, these songs are cynical about wars, but not protesting them and not even willing to state they're wrong.

Had the very same thoughts as you, CC

- also; most of sane folks were against those wars to begin with, so JJHMick's post is......well, it's just a lamp post, nothing more - or a "post of love to Mick Jagger.....nevermind any reasons apart from the "love" )


most of sane folks were against those wars to begin with

If you have read The Life by Keith Richards you would know that Keith supported the war in Iraq. He even wrote to Tony Blair "to stick to his guns"

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: The Worst. ()
Date: April 11, 2011 17:21

Quote
letitloose
Quote
1963luca0
Where's Patti Smith?

A better question would be "where's Leonard Cohen"?

OR, where is Roger Waters? His lyrics on Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Where Here, Animals and The Wall should be enough to make it to the top 10 list.
Pete Townshend and Ray Davies also deserve a mentioning.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: mr edward ()
Date: April 11, 2011 17:28

Mick Jagger a great lyricist? Maybe a few decades ago. A Bigger Bang destroyed the last faith I had the last years in Jagger in that sense.

Even Laugh I Nearly Died, the greatest song since the 80's is Wandering Spirit 2.0 when it comes to lyrics.

Re: Mick Jagger to Bob Dylan: The ten greatest lyricists
Posted by: loog droog ()
Date: April 11, 2011 17:33

I think Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks are brilliant lyricists.

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