Re: somewhere formal

Larry Hewes (
Thu, 03 Jul 1997 10:35:44 -0700

David Labell wrote:
> At 04:40 PM 6/30/97 -0400, luke jaeger wrote:
> >>
> A great message, Luke....
> >1. It may be an urban legend that Paul McCartney couldn't or can't read
> >music. I don't know where this came from - some 1960s interview maybe?
> A 1990s interview, given on the occasion of a piece called, I think, the
> "Liverpool Oratorio."
> >Whether or not Paul McCartney can read music, don't forget that there
> >was an ace staff of music industry veterans like George Martin backing
> >up everything the Beatles did. Not to detract from the Beatles' real
> >accomplishments but these things don't happen in a vaccuum. It's a
> >mistake to compare this kind of music production with the "solitary
> >classical composer" model.
> You mean, like, Haydn, produced by a London impresario and employed by a
> Hungarian prince with a house orchestra? I'm trying to think of a solitary
> classical composer. Grainger comes to mind, maybe a few others, but history
> is full of George Martins, talented folks behind the scenes.
> >Please note that I'm not accusing you, David, or anyone else of
> >personally holding these views - but I feel this is the subtext of the
> >"Paul McCartney couldn't even read music" legend.
> Well, I didn't pick the song because of McCartney's illiteracy. I'm partial
> to "Hootchy Kootchy Man," too, but it's not the equal of "When I'm 64."
> >Anyway Paul McCartney probably isn't the best example since he's not the
> >most dazzling composer or instrumentalist that the school of hard knocks
> >ever produced.
> No, you're right. He doesn't hold a candle to IRving Berlin.
> The history of non-academic music is full of "illiterate"
> >players and performers - many of whom got their early musical education
> >in such un-credentialed institutions as the black christian churches
> >(Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, etc etc etc) or their
> >families' homes (Paul McCartney, Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix). It
> >generally comes from somewhere, even if it's not somewhere "formal".
> >
> Indeed, you speak the truth. I spoke up on this topic to promote Menuhin's
> idea of music as one of our natural human languages, which we learn when
> we're very young and all know quite a lot about.
> Good message.

David: I'm sure you are right, but I must say I have always (since the
1940s) found the music of Irving Berlin enormously overrated and a lot
of it awfully boring, while, among many others, I find the music of the
Beatles, including McCartney, wonderful. Still fresh and moving after
all this time, and many listenings.


Laurence I. Hewes, III		Phone (h): 202-829-1821
1821 Randolph Street, N.W.      Phone (o): 202-829-2600
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