Monday, May 29, 2017

Burt Alone

The opening line from a blurb in the LA Weekly:

Burt Bacharach is one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century, responsible for four dozen top 10 hits and nine No. 1 singles, from amongst the hundreds of songs he composed with writing partner Hal David.

Hits make him successful, and perhaps talented, but why say "influential"?  That's a good word to describe lesser-known artists who had or have a big effect, but is it the best word for people who are famous on their own?

In general, I don't like stressing influence when talking about someone good.  Influence is fine, but it shouldn't be the main thing.  A influences B who influences C who influences D and so on.  Fine, but when do we get to the good stuff?

And in Bacharach's case, this isn't even correct, it's just lazy thinking.  He had a particular style--both in songwriting and producing--that virtually no one else copied.  His sound reminds one of the 60s, but even then it sounded like no one else.

So for all his hits, he had very little influence.  I'd like to see that in a blurb.


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