Clive James and songwriting 2

As a response to Clive James and songwriting another Midnight Voice suscriber,  Richard Bleksley, writes: 

My assumption that popular music could be dragged towards literature was fundamentally wrong-headed. It was a sure-fire formula for creating unpopular music.
I don’t think Clive needs to be too hard on himself. In retrospect he may be right, but you need to look at it in the context of the times in which the idea was conceived, the late sixties and early seventies. I was student-age then (if not actually a student), just the right age to appreciate what was going on, and I remember the period with considerable affection. Music has never seemed quite so exciting since.
For this was the time before the word “progressive” acquired its connotations of derision and parody, when you could apply the word to rock music and mean it. There was a vast ferment of new ideas, an explosion of creative energy. Boundaries were being pushed back in all directions, and almost anything seemed possible. Lyric writing had not long previously undergone a revolution (usually credited to the influence of Bob Dylan, and who am I to argue?), and in that time of experimentation and innovation who was to say it couldn’t be taken another step or two further? At least it must have seemed worth trying.
Yes, a lot of the ideas of those times turned out to be blind alleys, and yes, perhaps Clive’s was one of them, but at least it’s left a wonderful collection of songs for us to treasure, and that have enriched our lives.  


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