Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Source: Musicians Who Write Poetry : Harriet Staff : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
Poetry evolved out of the lyric tradition. Musicians function best when they have strong lyrics.Lyrics are what make the best songs saturate our memories. Lyrics are the products of pain, pleasure, and pathos of each movement. The enslaved Africans sang spirituals. The oppressed were the audience for Motown's greatest hits. Sly Stone wrote Everyday People after experiencing discrimination in hotels.Woodstock was a declaration of generational freedom and Bob Dylan- an unassuming artist with superior words- became legendary. Great lyrics cross genres and ethnicities. I am a fan of Johnny Cash's country music songwriting, and although Whitney Houston had a voice of angels, Dolly Parton's lyrics, "Bittersweet memories are all that I'm taking with me" are as powerful as the singing. Love songs transport me back to people and places of ecstasy. If you do not have Teddy Pendergrass in your MP3 for certain romantic sessions, you and your honey are missing a treat.
It would seem to be a no brainer that many musicians would also be poets. The greatest songs have the gift to speak to us, sing for , through, and love with us. Singers and hip hop artists are carrying the tradition of those who spoke words unaccompanied by the lyre. Musicians moonlighting as Poets is another example of the power of poetry!
What is your favorite song? What are your favorite lyrics?