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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Bob Dylan's Birthday: Are Rock Lyrics Poetry? (243 comments)

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  •  Patti Smith should have been fit in your poll (12+ / 0-)

    since she really does qualify as both

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:10:01 PM PDT

    •  It's hard to measure them fairly as pure lyricists (7+ / 0-)

      because we know their work with music attached. Bowie's one of my favorite songwriters. But he may be more clever than smart: he'll have some very catchy lines ("Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?"), and weave a strong emotional mood, but he often doesn't bother to tell a story. Somehow, with the music, he suggests a story.

      I find Patti Smith's work generally very powerful, but I don't play it that often. Are there any particular songs you'd point to and say, that's one of the best lyrics in rock?

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri May 24, 2013 at 06:31:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Radio Baghdad (18+ / 0-)
        Suffer not Your neighbor's affliction
        Suffer not Your neighbor's paralysis
        But extend your hand Extend your hand
        Lest you vanish in the city And be but a trace
        Just a vanished ghost And your legacy
        All the things you knew Science, mathematics, thought
        Severely weakened Like irrigation systems
        In the tired veins forming From the Tigris and Euphrates
        In the realm of peace All the world revolved
        All the world revolved Around a perfect circle
        City of Baghdad City of scholars
        Empirical humble Center of the world
        City in ashes City of Baghdad
        City of Baghdad Abrasive aloof

        Oh, in Mesopotamia Aloofness ran deep
        Deep in the veins of the great rivers
        That form the base Of Eden
        And the tree The tree of knowledge
        Held up its arms To the sky
        All the branches of knowledge All the branches of knowledge
        Cradling Cradling
        Civilization In the realm of peace
        All the world revolved Around a perfect circle
        Oh Baghdad Center of the world
        City of ashes With its great mosques
        Erupting from the mouth of god Rising from the ashes like
        a speckled bird Splayed against the mosaic sky
        Oh, clouds around We created the zero
        But we mean nothing to you You would believe
        That we are just some mystical tale We are just a swollen belly
        That gave birth to Sinbad, Scheherazade We gave birth
        Oh, oh, to the zero The perfect number
        We invented the zero And we mean nothing to you
        Our children run through the streets
        And you sent your flames Your shooting stars
        Shock and awe Shock and awe
        Like some, some Imagined warrior production
        Twenty-first century No chivalry involved
        No Bushido

        Oh, the code of the West Long gone
        Never been Where does it lie?
        You came, you came Through the west
        Annihilated a people And you come to us
        But we are older than you You come you wanna
        You wanna come and rob the cradle
        Of civilization And you read yet you read
        You read Genesis You read of the tree
        You read of the tree Beget by god
        That raised its branches into the sky Every branch of knowledge
        Of the cradle of civilization

        Of the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates
        Oh, in Mesopotamia Aloofness ran deep
        The face of Eve turning What sky did she see
        What garden beneath her feet The one you drill
        You drill Pulling the blood of the earth
        Little droplets of oil for bracelets Little jewels
        Sapphires You make bracelets
        Round your own world We are weeping tears
        Rubies We offer them to you
        We are just Your Arabian nightmare
        We invented the zero But we mean nothing to you
        Your Arabian nightmare

        City of stars City of scholarship
        Science City of ideas
        City of light City
        City of ashes That the great Caliph
        Walked through His naked feet formed a circle
        And they built a city A perfect city of Baghdad
        In the realm of peace And all the world revolved
        And they invented And they mean nothing to you
        Nothing to you Nothing

        Go to sleep Go to sleep my child
        Go to sleep And I'll sing you a lullaby
        A lullaby for our city A lullaby of Baghdad
        Go to sleep Sleep my child
        Sleep Sleep...
        Run Run...

        You sent your lights Your bombs
        You sent them down on our city Shock and awe
        Like some crazy t.v. show

        They're robbing the cradle of civilization
        They're robbing the cradle of civilization
        They're robbing the cradle of civilization

        Suffer not The paralysis of your neighbor
        Suffer not But extend your hand

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:01:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I couldn't vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht

      There were too many omissions, and it's hard to pick just one as the "greatest" in any case.

      As for the diary...

      Poetry that lives only on the page is boring unless you're e.e. cummings.  A great poem is always better read aloud.  The whole tradition of poetry began as a way to pass history and mythology down through the generations and likely predates the written word by many thousands of years.  Just my opinion, but I usually find poetry written to stay dead on a page to be pretentious and boring.

      A great poem makes me want to read it out loud, the same way a great song makes me want to sing along.  So I'm going to say that, yes, rock lyrics (and hip-hop lyrics and folk lyrics and country lyrics, etc.) are poetry -- lyrical poetry.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:09:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome to pick 5 or 10 favorite writers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Monsieur Georges, dharmafarmer

        If I spent a week working on it, I could come up with a list of 100.

        My poll question, Which of these is the greatest lyric writer?, actually just asks which is the greatest "of these". As my diary states, I think Dylan's the greatest of all, but he's not on the list.

        You make a good point, but it's not the whole story. e.e. cummings is a fine example of a poet who played both to sound, and to sight. He put so much play into how precisely he arranged the words on the page. So an essential part of experiencing his poem is how it reads when you look at it.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:08:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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