Monday, May 18, 2009

The Song Or The Singer?

I once read an interview with B.B. King wherein he was asked about "bad songs." His response was that he'd never heard any bad songs, just songs presented badly. The interviewer thought that this was a very mature and understanding response. I thought the same thing and it's always in the back of my head anytime I hear a song I don't like. You see, "presented" could mean many things. It could mean the actual perfromance and accompanying musicianship, or it could mean the arrangement. Furthermore, the arrangment can vary in many ways: tempo, harmony, instrumentation etc. Anyway, I was first aware of how much difference an arrangement can make when Big Sugar's version of Dear Mr Fantasy started getting radioplay. Up until that time I had hated the song (I don't mind it now) by Traffic. The Big Sugar version was appealling to me though and has remained one of my favourite songs.

What got me thinking about this enough to write it all down was my coming across, on YouTube, Los Straitjackets doing My Heart Will Go On. Quite something. Also, arrangements were on my mind anyway as I've been working on turning Weezer's Pork n Beans into an all guitar instrumental....

Last week I heard Crying by Honeymoon Suite and thought it might sound good as Rockabilly. I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this......

I guess it comes down to this: Do you want to listen to the song, the arrangment or the performer? :-)

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