Podcast 410 – “pop music + distance = sadness”

In which we consider the melancholy of Abba (and find a 45 year-old bar of Abba soap), applaud the hidden message in Lee Perry’s Cow Thief Skank, wonder how Judee Sill would be marketed today, remember the Beach Boys’ purple patch and note the only two things of any worth ever achieved by Iron Butterfly.

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2 thoughts on “Podcast 410 – “pop music + distance = sadness””

  1. @David and Mark…I would love to be as optimistic as you both seem to be about the resonance of the Beatles over the next 200 years, but I have to drop a little reality on you. I’m a massive music fan and musician and I agree that they should be remembered for as long as humans walk the Earth or anywhere else, but I just showed my entire 8th grade (roughly 125 students) Mark Ronson’s highly recommendable Watch that Sound series of which Paul McCartney and John Lennon figure in and not ONE student knew who the Beatles were but they all know Katy Perry and Bruno Mars. Now people might recall a tune like Let it Be or a few others in the way that the priest in Amadeus knew a Mozart melody without knowing the composer but I’m afraid virtually everyone under 20 doesn’t know the Beatles . The idea that Judee Sill is making a comeback because maybe your son (the son of a music lover and distinguished journalist) knows her is a little thin. Music freaks and fans will always know the good stuff but that crowd is vastly diminished number. Now Abba….I agree, marvelous pop band but it was Mamma Mia that brought about their revival not some magical realization of their timelessness. . We that do know the significance of these artists should just feel lucky we do because young people for the most part just don’t and don’t care that they don’t.
    I love your podcast and have been a loyal listener for years and was a Word subscriber as well. …..PS. They may not remember 10CC but Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will keep I’m Not In Love alive for some more decades.

  2. Perceptive observations on Judee Sill. It is indeed odd that, although every music press interview, during her 1972 UK visit did refer, at length, to her life of crime and heroin addiction, it didn’t seem to be reflected in any wider publicised narrative of her having to “make a journey” as it might be now. Which may be why we don’t remember those 1972 articles.

    An extract from Rosalind Russell’s 8 April 1972 interview in Disc:

    “She married first when she was 17, but it wasn’t to last long. She split from her husband after a year. He died some time afterwards.
    “How did he die? You’re going to love this. I don’t mean to sound callous but somehow it always does when I see it in print. Larry was killed going down the Kern River rapids in a rubber raft, high on LSD. He was a Scorpio and real adventurous. He died as he lived.”
    “I decided to become a criminal,” she said. Her manner is so deadpan that I thought she was sending me up, but not so. “I was in the armed-robbery line with a partner. I was 17 and kind of crazy then I suppose. I just went out and did those bizarre actions, robbing liquor stores and the like. I robbed several stores, but I never hurt anyone. Anyway I was caught”.
    “I was only 17 when the robberies were committed but I was 18 by the time they came to trial. However, my father had left me some money, so I was able to get a real good lawyer, who gave extenuating circumstances and so on, and so I got sent to reform school instead of prison. I was there for a year”.

    Contemporary pieces by Chris Welch in Melody Maker, James Johnson in NME and Lon Goddard in Record Mirror are only slightly less explicit and actually have more about her heroin addiction. There seems to have no attempt by Asylum to suppress or, heaven forbid, exploit Sill’s disarming honesty. Things change.

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