Greatest not obvious song writer ever

Clemenza posted:

Dolly Parton too obvious? Not many people think of her as a songwriter, but she wrote a lot of great songs.

Agree. She is a good tunestress. Excellent lyrics from Grammy winning 9 to 5. Ironically,  woman's work environment in the US  has not changed much since this tune was written in 1980.


Tumble outta bed
And I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch
And try to come to life
Jump in the shower
And the blood starts pumpin'
Out on the street
The traffic starts jumpin'
The folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

Workin' 9 to 5,
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I
Would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead
But the boss won't seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

They let you dream
Just to watch 'em shatter
You're just a step
On the boss-man's ladder
But you got dreams
He'll never take away
You're in the same boat
With a lotta your friends
Waitin' for the day your ship'll come in
'N' the tide's gonna turn
And it's all gonna roll your way

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind
And you never get the credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it
9 to 5, yeah
They got you where they want you
There's a better life
And you think about it, don't you
It's a rich man's game
No matter what they call it
And you spend your life
Puttin' money in his wallet

9 to 5, whoa
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin' and no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it


In the same vein, maybe Willie Nelson, too?  I did not know he wrote 'Crazy'. I thought Patsy wrote it.

Here are a few (some probably too obvious) that haven't been mentioned much so far:

Folk(y): Al Stewart, Eric Bogle (a bit of an acquired taste for most), Michael Chapman, Bridget St John, Louden Wainwright III , Judee Sill, Gerry Rafferty

Country/CR: JJ Cale, John Prine, Mary Gauthier, Gram Parsons

kuma posted:
Clemenza posted:

Dolly Parton too obvious? Not many people think of her as a songwriter, but she wrote a lot of great songs.


In the same vein, maybe Willie Nelson, too?  I did not know he wrote 'Crazy'. I thought Patsy wrote it.

Definitely Willie!

kuma posted:

Harry Nilsson

Another genius who died too young.

Richard Strauss
IMHO, His most beautiful work were  tunes. Not those bombastic orchestral scores he's most famous for. He was a pretty good song writer.

Kuma,

I gladly second your mention of Harry Nilsson, but with at least 8 major Operas and tenths of Lieder for voice and piano or orchestra on his shoulders, calling Strauss a pretty good songwriter sounds a little patronizing and shows a curious idea of music's history. And anyway, your opinion that his orchestral works are bombastic is just an opinion, a platitude that I wouldn't have expected from you. Among his Ton Dichtungen there are trivialities and sublime moments, but at least three of them are masterpieces. The world cannot live off Matthew Passions and Messiahs forever. Graham Gouldman is a pretty good songwriter. Strauss is a genius. 

Or you were being facetious, in which case I apologize for my Nth misunderstanding of the English language.

Max

Max_B posted:

Richard Strauss
IMHO, His most beautiful work were  tunes. Not those bombastic orchestral scores he's most famous for. He was a pretty good song writer.

Kuma,

I gladly second your mention of Harry Nilsson, but with at least 8 major Operas and tenths of Lieder for voice and piano or orchestra on his shoulders, calling Strauss a pretty good songwriter sounds a little patronizing and shows a curious idea of music's history. And anyway, your opinion that his orchestral works are bombastic is just an opinion, a platitude that I wouldn't have expected from you. Among his Ton Dichtungen there are trivialities and sublime moments, but at least three of them are masterpieces. The world cannot live off Matthew Passions and Messiahs forever. Graham Gouldman is a pretty good songwriter. Strauss is a genius.

Max,

Of course, R. Strauss was a superb orchestrator and composer. Not many can *paint* such a vivid pictures as Strauss. ( I do have to tackle his opera tho, at some point )

But it's more difficult to say more with less.  And his songs are so personal , they often  show a lot of sensitive human side of a composer.

Can't contribute much on symphonies.

 

Chuck Berry.   Poet Laureate of Rock 'n' Roll.  Might be obvious.  

To wit:  "You Never Can Tell".

t was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room Roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale
But when Pierre found work, the little money comin' worked out well
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all rock, rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, 'twas a cherry red '53
They drove it down to Orleans to celebrate the anniversary
It was there that Pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoDPPgWbfXY

 

 

kuma posted:
Max_B posted:

Just to keep the discussion interesting, what if I asked who's the greatest non obvious writer of symphonies? Would that make us reflect on the meaning of obvious?

Surely, Schubert would be one of them?

Yes. Perhaps, for once, the one.

M

I have seen mentioned a number of songwriters who are, in my opinion, very obvious songwriters (they do not anything else than write songs and sing them, safe for one who has very sparingly acted too), or songwriters who are famous for just one song or two (let's be honest) in spite of the fact that their albums are probably full of gems mainly for their connoisseurs (like, say, Gerry Rafferty or Harry Nilsson).

What I intended to say is that you probably can't be a great songwriter and, in due time, not become obvious. As far as I can tell from 50 years of experience, two generations max put any artist in his exact place in art history. See Bach, see Mahler. Not many great musician have remained obscure more than how many mediocre ones have resisted beyond the two generations law. 

So, my idea – badly expressed, probably – is that a non obvious greatest songwriter is a wrong concept and such a guy doesn't exist.

kuma posted:
Max_B posted:

Just to keep the discussion interesting, what if I asked who's the greatest non obvious writer of symphonies? Would that make us reflect on the meaning of obvious?

Surely, Schubert would be one of them?

Or Albert Roussel, a naval engineer, and Charles Ives, owner of an insurance company. Both great writers of symphonic music but their professional life really makes them non obvious.

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