Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Pop Quiz

Irving Berlin, who knew something about the subject, offered the following advice (paraphrased) to songwriters:

"You should never be ashamed of writing a song that sold a million copies."

"The Greatest Love of All," which has sold quite a few more than a million copies, was written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and includes, among others, the lines
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

Should Masser and Creed take Berlin's advice?



FD13NYC said...

Never liked that song much, just as most of us don't like many songs that have sold millions, you have to be lucky little songwriters, get a break, crank out whatever is popular, make the bucks.

In my musical past I've written some good songs that I was never ashamed of. Trouble was, only a small circle of people heard them.

Believe me, if I could crap on a piece of paper and have it sell gazillions, I would.

The Phantom Creep said...

The authors of that disgusting piece of self-involved Yuppie narcissism deserve to rot in hell if you ask me.

But then again, it's just a song...

MBowen said...

I always thought that her follow-up single was going to be "Tomorrow Belongs To Me".

Sal Nunziato said...

Irving Berlin also said, "Pop music is popular because people like it."

Noam Sane said...

I still recall Hank Hill's reaction to Luanne's recitation of that "loving yourself is the greatest love of all" crap:

"No, that's not right. That's not right at all!"

Whitney Houston; so talented, at least for a while - and yet, not a single worthwhile contribution to the culture. Nothing. But. Crap. And now she's just a toothless joke.

As for the question you pose, regular, sizable royalty checks probably help one deal with shame very nicely.

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

Whitney THOUGHT she was singing about cocaine.

steve simels said...

I hadn't heard this in ages, and listening to it before I posted yesterday I thought -- jeebus, that woman can really, really sing -- beautifully, movingly even. But this is still the most reprehensible piece of crap I've ever heard.

big bad wolf said...

i have to think irving berlin might rethink if he had ever suffered through this nonsense.

TMink said...

Writing that kind of song is like writing a novel of popular fiction: popularity is the point. Nothing more, nothing less.

I think at that time in her career, when God was still a part of her life and she was not a street running junkie, she could have sung the phone book and sold a million.


Billy said...

Masser and Creed stole a part of Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" and were sued by Gordon. I never heard the theft until someone pointed it out to me.

Faze said...

I hear Kander and Ebb's "Maybe this Time". But, yeah, she can sing. Her voice is set much more bearably in "Dance with Somebody" and Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You."

Dave said...

Wow. Tough crowd.

Linda Creed wrote this song partially about her bout with breast cancer (she lost the battle and died at the age of 37. but it was written expressly (and commissioned) for the Muhammad Ali film, "The Greatest." It was sung for the film and later a hit for George Benson, a version I prefer to Houston's.

I've never been a big fan the song, but to deem this hackwork is wrong. Yes, the song may be "inspirational," but its message is unusually tough for the genre. Yes, "children are our future," but only because adults suck. It's more "The Little Prince" than "I'm OK, You're OK."

Linda Creed is an important figure in pop history. She co-wrote some of the greatest songs in pop history with one of the greatest producers, Thom Bell. Many of the Stylistics and Spinners best songs were her co-creations, and she co-wrote most of the brilliant "I'm Coming Home" album with Thom Bell.

Linda Creed was capable of writing sentimental lyrics, but when it's in the form of "You Make Me Feel Brand New," I'm all for it.

[Sorry for rant. I'm protective about Philly soul geniuses.