Friday, November 13, 2009

Name-Droppers: Reverse Chain Letter Edition

Bob Dylan: Song to Woody


So here we have three songs written from an artist to one of his influences. Bob Dylan's "Song to Woody" is the most direct of the three: it's a love song to Woody and his songs. It was one of only two self-penned songs on Dylan's eponymous debut, and he nicked the music from Woody's "1913 Massacre". It's obvious Dylan sees himself as the next link in the chain here, and he wants his listeners to know that, too.

David Bowie: Song for Bob Dylan


Nine years later, David Bowie, of all people, picks up the chain and writes "Song for Bob Dylan" for his Hunk Dory album. It's still written in the form of a letter from artist to inspiration, but it's a bit harder to follow the narrative. Who exactly is "the same old painted lady from the brow of the super brain"? I have no idea.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: (David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six


Twenty-Five years on, the Brian Jonestown Massacre find themselves conjuring up one of their influences in "(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six". This is not a gushing fan letter. The lyrics don't even mention Bowie. But the title and the borrowed melody leave no doubt about who they were thinking of.

I don't know (yet!) of any songs written to the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

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