by carl wilson

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Pop Montreal Edition

louis.jpg burt.jpg

Dear Pop Montreal, You know I love you. And I know you're excited to have such a very prestigious guest star this year. But this -

"To begin we have the insurmountable songwriting legend Burt Bacharach, perhaps the single most important figure in popular music of the 20th [century]."

- is just silly. Pop Montreal, sweetheart, may I introduce you to Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, John Coltrane, Bing Crosby, W.C. Handy, Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rogers, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Bo Diddley, Les Paul, Benny Goodman, Leonard Bernstein, Hank Williams, Howlin' Wolf, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Paul McCartney & John Lennon, Phil Spector, James Brown, Berry Gordy, Joni Mitchell, Chet Atkins, Lou Reed & John Cale, DJ Kool Herc, Rakim, Chuck D ... and the rest? Burt's an icon and he's written some terrific tunes that stretched some boundaries in pop songwriting. But runaway hyperbole is no one's friend.

That said, I'm excited about this year's lineup, which along with Burt inclues Irma Thomas, The Persuasions (!), Nick Cave, Wire, The Silver Apples - and several musicians actually under 50. (Just kidding, Pop Montreal; I love it that you scampy whelps are so much into giving recognition to historical figures. Even if you're sometimes shaky on the deets.)


General | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, July 29 at 3:38 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (10)



Runaway hyperbole is the publicist's friend.

I mean, clearly!

And "perhaps" is such a friendly, lenient, permissive word.

(Patti Smith, Johnny Rotten, Brian Wilson, James Jamerson, Walter Page, Baby Dodds, Irving Berlin, Mother Maybelle Carter, Sister Rosetta Tharpe . . . [mutter mutter mutter] . . . )

Posted by john on August 2, 2008 11:51 PM



I'd put leonard cohen as well as leonard bernstein down on the list. sure, he is already a montrealer, so he would technically be a local, but even so he would still be a bigger draw than bacharach AND david put together. (not quite sure if that even makes sense but it might). another omission would be jimi hendrix cause he was obviously more important than burt bacharach. ray davies also. maybe goffin-king. but the list ends there. bacharach was pretty darn great: his dad bert [not sic] wrote some important works on men's etiquette, kinda like emily post but cooler.

Posted by marco on August 2, 2008 7:53 PM



I wasn't making a list of musicians who were influential on *me*, Matt - just influential broadly speaking. I realize that naming a white jazz musician in that list can be a contentious thing, but "the king of Swing" was *the* leader of the big-band movement through the '30s and '40s (partly due to racist radio/stage structures obviously); was the one to bring jazz to Carnegie Hall, thus challenging the high/low divide in American culture (and he invited members of the Ellington and Basie bands to guest there); integrated his band a decade before baseball got integrated, a quarter-century before the civil-rights movement; hired the likes of Gene Krupa, Mary Lou Williams, Charlie Christian, Harry James, etc; inspired the Jitterbug; and was one helluva clarinet player.

He was also a bit of a prick in his later years, but I think the case for his historical importance is pretty solid.

Posted by zoilus on July 31, 2008 3:16 PM



Whoops- though I am tempted to suggest Carl was more influenced by Steve Allen's Benny Goodman than Benny Goodman himself.

As well, Chris, for those of us who were there, Elastica is not so easily forgivable.

Posted by Matt Collins on July 31, 2008 11:06 AM



"I all seriousness, though- you rank Benny Goodman in your list, but leave Duke Ellington and Count Basie out altogether?"

Not looking very hard, are you Matt? Duke's 2nd in Carl's list.

And we like Wire because Wire are good (were great), not for those who copied there sound (btw. influence is surely more than the obvious copying of sound. Mike Watt rates Wire's two first records among the Minutemen's biggest influences).

Posted by Chris M on July 31, 2008 6:40 AM



oh just realized. you forgot Stevie Wonder. Blasphemer!

Posted by deeselig on July 30, 2008 8:02 PM



I all seriousness, though- you rank Benny Goodman in your list, but leave Duke Ellington and Count Basie out altogether?

Posted by Matt Collins on July 30, 2008 7:59 PM



Is he, Carl? Wire are responsible for... Um... Elastica... and... Menswe@r...

Why do we like Wire, even?

Posted by Matt Collins on July 30, 2008 7:46 PM



I was being a little tongue in cheek, but Dan, the point is that while Burt deserves a spot in a list of big 20th-century pop figures, I don't think there's any question that he's very very far from "the top."

But he's certainly the single most important figure in 20th-century popular music who's playing Pop Montreal this year, I agree!

Posted by zoilus on July 29, 2008 7:35 PM



Hi Carl,
love you too. It did say "perhaps". it did not say "unequivocally" or "unparalleled". I'll give you all those names and probably a few more, but you can't argue that Burt deserves his spot at the top of that list. not only in terms of output and influence but also in the hits department!

Posted by deeselig on July 29, 2008 6:39 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson