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Old 08-06-2013, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 174,182 times
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What are some artists that aren't critically respected but are still popular? The only one I can think of right now is Billy Joel, referred to as "the Irving Berlin of narcissistic alienation" by Robert Christgau when he was in the early stages of his solo career (long before my time, I was born the year River Of Dreams was released). I can see "Irving Berlin". Billy Joel is a pianist who was mostly self-taught. He took twelve years of private piano lessons and can no longer read music, as opposed to Elton John who went through a conservatory and took lessons in composition. But "narcissistic alienation"? What does that whole phrase actually mean?

I have a feeling that he isn't the only artist to be in the position, so can anyone give me examples of artists that critics hate but are/were massively popular? I'm thinking the Beatles were once like this, but I'm not sure.

Last edited by Morwen Edhelwen; 08-06-2013 at 06:28 PM..
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:11 PM
 
Location: USA
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Probably, due to many reasons.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:12 PM
 
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critics HATED America because Horse With No name nudged Neil Young's Heart Of Gold right off the radio charts. They accused America of ripping off CSN&Y's "soft spare sound", hated "Muskrat Love" with a vengeance

some critics disliked the 70's band Orleans (Still The One, Dance With Me) called the band's founders John & Joanna Hall narcissists(I saw Orleans in 2007 and thought they were great)
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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...whatever I Berlin stood for plus I suppose their seeing Joel as self centered, shallow and out to make $$ off his material
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:17 PM
 
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I can also tell you that Rolling Stone HATED Glass Houses.
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 174,182 times
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@rlrl: What does CSN&Y stand for? Muskrat Love, btw, is pretty much always ranked pretty high on "worst song" lists.

Also, Irving Berlin saw songwriting as a business- a profitable one. He once gave Cole Porter some advice:

Quote:
Don't hate a song that's sold half a million copies.
He found hits important because they made him money, that said, he also wrote that a songwriter should:

Quote:
Try to write a great song, don't try to write a hit.
Considering that, maybe they're suggesting that Billy Joel likes hits because they bring in the cash as well and increase his popularity. "Piano Man" was his first major hit.

The only difference is that try to tell anyone Irving Berlin was anything less than a songwriting genius, and you'll probably get shock and blank stares, while you'll get approval from some people if you have a go at Billy Joel. Berlin's songs can be sappy too ("Always" reminds me of "She's Got A Way,"), but no-one I've read says that.

Last edited by Morwen Edhelwen; 08-06-2013 at 07:52 PM..
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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CSN&Y= Crosby Stills Nash and Young

Piano Man was his first hit but it was more of a theatrical show tune which made it different from it's late 70's runner-ups
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 174,182 times
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Quote:
CSN&Y= Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Thanks for the explanation.

RE Irving Berlin and Billy Joel: I've heard it said that Mr. Berlin was a Billy Joel fan. Another composer/songwriter from around the same period claimed to be a fan was Leonard Bernstein. Has anyone heard about it? (Incidentally, I'd like to hear a Billy Joel album of Irving Berlin songs. I'd think he'd be great doing "I'll See You In C-U-B-A", "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Always," "Blue Skies" and others.)

Also, were the Beatles disliked by the critics or were they always liked?

Last edited by Morwen Edhelwen; 08-06-2013 at 09:40 PM..
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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Beatles were loved by critics but they disliked Paul's early solo work until Band On The Run, they disliked John's Sometime in New York City, Georges Dark Horse and Extra texture and Ringo's late 70's stuff like Ringo IV and Bad Boy

I know Alexander's Ragtime Band. interesting thought

have you heard the duet with Ray Charles from 1986--Baby Grand? very much like NY State Of Mind from a decade before
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Sydney, Australia
159 posts, read 174,182 times
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Yeah, I've heard "Baby Grand."

BTW, there's a rumour that "Alexander" was written by a Black guy...

Last edited by Morwen Edhelwen; 08-07-2013 at 04:44 PM..
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