The greatest poets of Rock & Roll

  • #1
3,106
4
In my opinion, Rock & Roll offers great music, but not so great lyrics. Who, like Bob Dylan, bucks the latter trend?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Simon is great, and I really love his integration of real-life African musicians for the "Graceland" album. Ironic, I think, that Art Garfunkle declared upon their break-up that Simon couldn't make it without him (same as Jerry Lewis said about Dean Martin).
I think that Springsteen nails down the vox populi better than any other North American balladeer. In olden times, Arlo Guthrie was pretty tuned in. Unfortunately, my knowledge of overseas music is virtually non-existent, so I can't comment upon that.
 
  • #4
150
0
Evenflow by Pearl Jam
 
  • #5
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,955
617
Simon is great, and I really love his integration of real-life African musicians for the "Graceland" album. Ironic, I think, that Art Garfunkle declared upon their break-up that Simon couldn't make it without him (same as Jerry Lewis said about Dean Martin).
I think that Springsteen nails down the vox populi better than any other North American balladeer. In olden times, Arlo Guthrie was pretty tuned in. Unfortunately, my knowledge of overseas music is virtually non-existent, so I can't comment upon that.

I love Graceland, brings back memories of Alaska, I listened to it a lot up there.

But I have to admit...

As if everybody knows
What I was talking about
As if everybody here would know
Exactly what I was talking about
Talking about diamonds on the soles of her shoes

...I have no idea what he was talking about.
 
  • #6
323
1
Don Henley in countless songs.

The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down
to the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
and my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore
 
  • #7
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Don Henley in countless songs.

The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down
to the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
and my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

For me, it was "Boys of Summer", because an incredibly gorgeous young lady, who was the keyboardist, bass player, and co-lead singer of a band used to sing it for me. That's not to detract from the fact that it's a damned good song, and I like the original Henley version.
 
  • #8
encorp
Leonard Cohen.
 
  • #9
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,082
21
I like a lot of Billy Joel's lyrics (in addition to those already named above).



There is, of course, the original poet of Rock & Roll: the Lizard King.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #10
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,842
997
Also, I would add Bernie Taupin, who wrote many of the lyrics for Elton John's stuff. For example, Candle in the Wind, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Love Lies Bleeding.
 
  • #11
daniel_i_l
Gold Member
867
0
As mentioned above, Billy Joel and Bernie Taupin have some amazing lyrics. For example, Billy Joel's "Angry Young Man":
...
I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage,
I've found that just surviving was a noble fight
I once believed in causes too, had my pointless point of view
Life went on no matter who was right or wrong.

And there's always a place for the angry young man
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
He's never been able to learn from mistakes
He can't understand why his heart always breaks
His honor is pure, and his courage as well
He's fair and he's true, and he's boring as hell
And he'll go to his grave as an angry old man.
...

and Vienna:
Slow down, you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
...
You've got your passion, you've got your pride
but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

In these songs and in many others he manages to express in a few lines ideas that'd take me a few pages to write about.

In addition, The Beatles have a few songs with great lyrics such as "Let it Be", "Across the Universe" and "She's Leaving Home".

The Grateful Dead also have some interesting, though somewhat cryptic, lyrics. "A Box of Rain" is one of my favories.

I'd also like to add the Eagles (Don Henley in particular). In my opinion, "The Last Resort" is particularly powerful:
...
We satisfy our endless needs and
justify our bloody deeds,
in the name of destiny and the name
of God

And you can see them there,
On Sunday morning
They stand up and sing about
what it's like up there
They call it paradise
I don't know why
You call someplace paradise,
kiss it goodbye
(The song is more about the environment then religion but those lines are my favorite)
 
Last edited:
  • #12
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Also, I would add Bernie Taupin, who wrote many of the lyrics for Elton John's stuff. For example, Candle in the Wind, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Love Lies Bleeding.

I disagree only in one regard... you discredited him. Every bloody song by Elton that is worth listening to was written by Bernie. "Love Lies Bleeding" is one of my absolute favourites, and is of course a companion to "Funeral For a Friend" (same idea as Queen's "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" going together). Come to think of it, I suppose that "Funeral For a Friend" has nothing to do with Bernie since it has no lyrics. Oh, well, I can't always be right.
 
  • #13
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Oh, well, I can't always be right.

WTF?! :eek:
Did I just post that?!
Ignore it... I was drunk... aliens took over my brain...
Of course I'm always right. I can't believe that I slipped up like that.
 
  • #14
187
1
In my opinion, Rock & Roll offers great music, but not so great lyrics. Who, like Bob Dylan, bucks the latter trend?

This is more along the lines of hardcore punk in the modern rock genre, not Bob Dylan.

Rise Against has some great lyrics.

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858735734/"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnbvOi4SpSk

Others by this band to look up: Hero of War, Audience of One, Paper Wings
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #15
Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Hendrix, Clapton, Incubus, ACDC, Deep Purple, Pearl Jam, A Perfect Circle (APC) all have some great lyrics. Slightly off genre, Tool (progressive metal) has some great lyrics. Tool also covered Imagine by John Lennon and imo, its much much better than the original.
 
  • #16
57
10
Very hard to beat the rolling stones when it comes to lyrics, guns n roses aint too bad either.
 
  • #17
marcusl
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,792
451
Ditto to all of the above. I'd add Jerry Garcia.
 
  • #18
Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,842
997
I disagree only in one regard... you discredited him. Every bloody song by Elton that is worth listening to was written by Bernie. "Love Lies Bleeding" is one of my absolute favourites, and is of course a companion to "Funeral For a Friend" (same idea as Queen's "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" going together). Come to think of it, I suppose that "Funeral For a Friend" has nothing to do with Bernie since it has no lyrics. Oh, well, I can't always be right.

Yep. As for Funeral for a Friend, those are the most ragged pages in my Elton John Complete piano book [or any piano book that I have]. Bet I've play that one a thousand times! Great stuff!!!

Okay, maybe not a thousand, but hundreds of times to be sure.
 
  • #19
495
2
Don't know if they count as Rock'n'Roll: But The Jam, especially 'That's Entertainment' and 'Underground'.
 
  • #20
turbo
Gold Member
3,147
53
Have to add Jackson Browne. He was writing songs for other performers before he got recorded. My favorite Browne tune is "For a Dancer".

 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #21
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
I don't think that one could consider him "poetic", but Warren Zevon definitely had a way with words. Also Frank Zappa. (Maybe I should just compile a list of artists whose name begins with "Z".) I wish that I could nominate Gordon Lightfoot, but he's a folkie rather than a rocker. The lines between genres get more blurred every day.
 
  • #22
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Have to add Jackson Browne. He was writing songs for other performers before he got recorded. My favorite Browne tune is "For a Dancer".
As with my response to Georgina, I agree with the choice of artist but have a different favourite song by him—"Running on Empty".
 
  • #23
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,955
617
  • #24
252
1
Simon is great, and I really love his integration of real-life African musicians for the "Graceland" album. Ironic, I think, that Art Garfunkle declared upon their break-up that Simon couldn't make it without him (same as Jerry Lewis said about Dean Martin).
I think that Springsteen nails down the vox populi better than any other North American balladeer. In olden times, Arlo Guthrie was pretty tuned in. Unfortunately, my knowledge of overseas music is virtually non-existent, so I can't comment upon that.

Arlo Guthrie hates me. :grumpy: I musta asked for his autograph too many times through the years.
I vote Michael Jackson for lyrics.
 
  • #25
Danger
Gold Member
9,647
252
Ivan's mention of Taupin made me realize that I have been in error throughout most of this thread, in that I've been guilty of the common lack of distinction between the singer and the song. Just because someone performs a work doesn't necessarily mean that he wrote it or even believes in its message. Sometimes the credit should go to the composer instead.
There are a couple of lads who I should have mentioned earlier due to their mastery of capturing certain aspects of "the human condition"—Don McLean and Meatloaf.
 

Related Threads on The greatest poets of Rock & Roll

  • Last Post
2
Replies
26
Views
4K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
75
Views
6K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
3K
  • Poll
  • Last Post
Replies
20
Views
9K
S
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
25
Views
5K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
26
Views
38K
Top