Best lyricists of all time?

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geoff85
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:55 pm

Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

For me I am going to have to go with Jimmy Webb's vivid imagery(Magic Garden, Sunshower), Laura Nyro(entire career), and Mariah Carey who is often known more for her vocals and looks and not giving her due recognition as an amazing songwriters having written all her songs except for the remakes which has to make her obviously one of the best songwriters of all time since she has more no 1s than Elvis.

This autobiographical song reflecting on her growing up in a biracial family having a black father white mother shows her talent as a true lyricist. The name of the song is called outside.


I also feel her song Butterfly from the album of the same name shows true poise as a songwriter that can rival any of the greats that came before or after her. The actual video was very well done and shows Mariah at her most beautiful

I have learned that beauty has to flourish in the light
wild horses run unbridled or their spirits die

that might be one of the most beautiful lines in any song ever.
Last edited by geoff85 on Sat May 17, 2014 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

geoff85
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

I am leaning towards posting more modern contemporary artists because I know you guys will have the whole Lennon/Mcartney scene covered. I always thought Solange Knowles Beyonces little sister famed for attacking her husband Jay Z recently is a damn good songwriter and singer in her own right. This autobiographical song she ponders thoughts of her early teenage pregnancy cleverly using the acronym T.O.N.Y the title of the song which represent THE OTHER NIGHT Y(WHY)? I like how she channels the 60's and girl group look in the video. I love the line " today tommorow told me thats where i should be." That may be too deep for some you guys lol.


Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

I think a familiar and understandable error has seeped in with the conflation of pre- and post- rock era lyrics. The two "sets" if you will are not comparable in either craft or intention.
Gershwin, Rodgers/Hart, Lerner/Loewe were not doing what Mariah Cary or Beyoncé does
Are Jagger/Richard classics "songs" or performances?
Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell were masters of language, but their very solipsism sets them apart from their natural parents.
There`s no going back and I`m not in nostalgic reverie (at the moment).
I just think it`s clarifying to recognize the differences.
The inuit language has a (contested) number of words for snow. We should probably have a few more for song.
Too many apples, oranges and just burnt toast are being equated.

geoff85
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:55 pm

Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

Blair N. Cummings wrote:I think a familiar and understandable error has seeped in with the conflation of pre- and post- rock era lyrics. The two "sets" if you will are not comparable in either craft or intention.
Gershwin, Rodgers/Hart, Lerner/Loewe were not doing what Mariah Cary or Beyoncé does
Are Jagger/Richard classics "songs" or performances?
Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell were masters of language, but their very solipsism sets them apart from their natural parents.
There`s no going back and I`m not in nostalgic reverie (at the moment).
I just think it`s clarifying to recognize the differences.
The inuit language has a (contested) number of words for snow. We should probably have a few more for song.
Too many apples, oranges and just burnt toast are being equated.
You sure do have a way of saying things yourself. Now which one of my submissions are the burnt toast?

geoff85
Posts: 270
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

I have often heard Joni's name pop up when best of songwriters are discussed. Alot of her songs are very free form and lack memorable melodies imo but she did get a few songs really right. Help me comes to mind i heard it first as a child and hunted it down years later on my own. Can someone point me to similar Joni songs. I still think Laura takes the cake tho when it comes to female songwriters of the late 60's early 70's over both Joni and Carole King.

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

You owe it to yourself and Joni to listen to her albums at least through Hejira.

Ken Miller
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Ken Miller »

Rupert Holmes

blueonblue
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by blueonblue »

Hal David.

"blue"

geoff85
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

Ken Miller wrote:Rupert Holmes

seriously?

Ken Miller
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Ken Miller »

Seriously!
"The first time we heard 'Widescreen', our ears snapped to attention. Rupert Holmes is an original: a unique songwriter (his songs are like one-act plays), a wonderful orchestrator, a writer of Broadway Musicals (who won three Tonys for his Mystery of Edwin Drood), a novelist whose first book has just been made into a film - if he finds the cure for cancer, we wouldn't be surprised" - Marilyn and Alan Bergman

"Rupert's talents are awesome and humbling. I've been a big fan for many years" - John Kander

"I don't think our generation has produced a multifaceted artist to compare with him. The artistry of Rupert Holmes is there in every one of his songs" - Alan Menken

"Rupert Holmes not only can sing and arrange, but write melodies that range from the rhapsodic to the whimsical and produce lyrics that ask the listener to look at certain life situations from an entirely different perspective." - Richard Carpenter

"Rupert Holmes has chosen to carry the torch high when writing either pop songs or for the musical theater. Strong melodies and carefully crafted lyrics are celebrated in his songs. I am proud to call him my mentor and honored to call him my friend." - Melissa Manchester

"Rupert Holmes is one of the great talents of our time. Always writing with intelligence and heart, his creations have lasting power." - Barry Manilow

"When I first heard Rupert's album 'Widescreen', I was immediately struck by the originality of his songs and the wonderful arrangements he brought to his recordings. So much so that I asked him to produce my 1975 album Lazy Afternoon. I genuinely admire Rupert's unique talent." - Barbra Streisand

"A wonderful writer, Rupert has a natural gift for storytelling. It's not surprising he's expanded his pallet to include the novel. Bravo Holmes!! It's clear you can do 'everything'!" - Paul Williams

"I discovered his music to be truly inspirational, wonderfully crafted, and a rich tapestry of musical ideas. Throughout the years, the music of Rupert Holmes literally has been timeless, a mark of true genius, and touched many people across the globe." - Geoff Downes

"If he had done nothing more than write 'The People You Never Get To Love' I would be his most devoted fan. I think Mr. Holmes may be a genius" - Rex Reed

"Rupert Holmes is an American musical treasure. His songs are timeless" - Scott Shannon

"One of our finest storytellers in song" - New York Times

"Capturing small moments in time, even his most lovely songs, colored by his dry wit, are miniature plays to music, underscoring the consistency and quality of his work" - The New York Post

from "Cast of Characters - The Rupert Holmes Songbook"

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

Yeah, well, as Clive Davis once told Barry Manilow: "If you were Irving Berlin, we`d have known it by now."

Ken Miller
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Ken Miller »

Blair, I think you would really like Rupert Holmes' songs. He has more in common with the pre-rock era songwriters. His albums, except for Widescreen are hard to find but you can hear a lot on YouTube. His musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is marvelous too.

geoff85
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by geoff85 »

Ken Miller wrote:Blair, I think you would really like Rupert Holmes' songs. He has more in common with the pre-rock era songwriters. His albums, except for Widescreen are hard to find but you can hear a lot on YouTube. His musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is marvelous too.

Please do post something noteworthy. All i know of Rupert is the pina colada song and him which i actuallly do like but not noteworthy for lyrics.

Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

I know I`m old (into my seventh decade - and how did that happen?) but...not a single mention of Leonard Cohen here?

Ken Miller
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Re: Best lyricists of all time?

Post by Ken Miller »

Blair,
Rupert Holmes' solo career was marred by a few shortcomings. He's doesn't have a great voice, although he interprets his songs with lots of emotion. Secondly, he doesn't have a unique "sound" which was a requirement for stardom in the 70's. His songs are pop, but a little too much for the pop audience. Somehow Bacharach was able to pull that off very well, probably because he had Warwick. I always hated the Pina Colada song because the music is so repetitive, although the lyrics have been used as a model in several books on songwriting. That is an anomaly for Holmes. Usually his songs are quite developed. Here are a few examples. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODNnyQby8ws
This is actually two songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf7lnKdx_Xw
This was a minor hit for Dionne Warwick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErA4pSulJ0I
Also a minor hit for Rupert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaDGjAVMudk
one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzQH31ml99U
and one last: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_klQNiYhNA

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