Keats...hippy or poppy?

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Keats...hippy or poppy?

Postby Claire » Sun Nov 09, 2003 2:36 am

I read Despondence's post on Keats and Music...which got me thinking....who do you (all!) think would be Keats' favourite band If he was alive today....

Personnally I think it would be Led Zepplin :P and Sarah Mclachlan

Zepplin because they are like a hazy summers day that leaves you in a beautiful daydream and Sarah McLachlan because her voice is beautiful and hypnotic.

I can see him now with his headphones on and sitting in his local park!!!
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Postby Despondence » Tue Nov 18, 2003 10:27 pm

Dunno...guess that depends. If Keats was transported to the present, he'd probably be rather old fashioned, so then I still think he would have preferred Schubert... Otoh, if he'd been born to the present age, chances are he'd be jammin' in a garage band rather than drifting away with Chapman's Homer in the evenings.

But if we created a "Keats of today," you're right he might swoon for McLachlan, or McKennitt or Enya, or any of those ethereal ladies. Dunno 'bout Zeppelin though - perhaps an even more complikated vein, like Mike Oldfield? I personally don't think Keats had much of a musical ear (just a hunch), so he probably wouldn't be able to stomach such though...

Btw, congrats to servien, 100th member :D
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Postby TheLadyWithoutMercy » Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:43 am

I'd say Josh Groban.
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Postby Despondence » Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:37 am

Say who?

Mm - according to AMG, the dude sounds rather corny...like Helmut Lotti, or Kenny G.

Point.
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Postby Saturn » Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:23 am

I've just been getting into Nick Drake - I think Keats wold have loved him - the music just drips poetry.

Anyone who loves poetic lyrics and beautiful music has to check him out.

Also check out Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith - geniuses!!!
Last edited by Saturn on Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Junkets » Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:33 pm

Mmm, Nick Drake, how fantastic is he? I believe that Keats was an influence on Drake, as well as Shelley. Drake does err towards the moon/soon/June school of poetry, and although I have heard it said that Drake was lyrically 'sixth form' I don't agree. Sure, he was not the greatest lyricist of his generation, but a reading of the lyrics to Fruit Tree proves an ability to write well. I too recommend Nick Drake to all. He is utter brilliance personified and his guitar playing just leaves me amazed and aghast. He also revered as a modern Romantic due to his early death and spectral presence when he was alive. May I also recommend John Martyn, Nick Drake's best friend. He wrote a number of really good albums in the early seventies and Solid Air was written about Nick Drake.
With regard to the music Keats would like, Nick Drake is a fine suggestion, I also think that a few Donovan tunes would go down well. The fact that Romantic theory is a precursor of the hippy ideal leads me to believe that music of the late sixties could be something Keats could like. But then it has to be remembered that the majority of 'psychedelic' music was completely superficial and the purveyors of this pop didn't really have the depth of understanding of what lay behind the movement. Which is why I suggest Donovan, yes, I know that some of his efforts are terrible (namely that sickly Jennifer Juniper), but there are more 'experienced' tunes that are without doubt akin to Keatsian sensibilities, such as the majority of the Sunshine Superman album and other pastoral offerings. True, he did get a bit too flower power at times, but after he trotted off to India to see the Mahirishi with the Beatles et al he tuned in and was at the forefront of the psychedelic movement.
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Postby Saturn » Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:02 pm

Good call.

I have a few other suggestions, more modern ones - Damien Rice and Josh Ritter.

The former is as full of passion, beautifully delicate and at times intensely sad music, and the latter is more upbeat and Dylanesque if that's your kind of thing.

Just on Dylan - I like his music (he can't sing for toffee though) but all this stuff about him being a great poet is a bit too much - I suppose compared to most rock lyrics his are way above average, but when does music become poetry and poetry music?

Is there a line that separates the two? - Literary history would say not - the first poems were SUNG by bards remember.

What do you think - Dylan poet or songwriter??
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Postby Junkets » Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:02 pm

I can't see any reason for him not to be both. I'm no aficionado on Dylan; I've always prefered the covers of his songs by the Byrds than the originals, but his lyrics are significantly better and more 'poetic' than a lot of the dross that the vast majority of performers sing about. As a musician and aspiring poet myself I can say that the poetry I write is written completely separately from the music, and I never write words with songs in mind; the words and music are separate entities that I put together after both have been written. If singer/songwriters such as Dylan write 'lyrics' as poetry first and then put them to music then surely this would signify that he is indeed a poet?
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Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:01 am

Good point.

The Byrds' Mr. Tambourine man is better than Dylan's version.
Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower is superior to the Dylan original.
The Rolling Stones version of Like a Rolling Stone is more appropriate than Dylan's.

I write lyrics and play music also and have to say that I approach writing a poem and a song in a completely different way altogether.

If I wrote lyrics for a song in the same language and phrasing I write my poems in, it would sound very twee and unintentionally humorous.

There is a whole seperate diction and language for writing poetry and song lyrics, just as ballads are different from elegies, epics and all the other different types of poems.
Songwriting at its best can be a separate branch of poetry, which, in fact keeps poetry (of whatever sort) alive in the modern world.

When people speak of lyrics today, they don't mean poetry anymore, but pop songs so pop and rock songs are where the spirit of poetry lives on today.
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Postby Junkets » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:07 pm

I don't think I can agree with that, take a look at Scaffold and the Liverpool poets. I'm sure Roger McGeogh and the others would like to think of their lyrics as poetry, as would the fantastic Leonard Cohen; he was a published poet before he was a musician. But I suppose it is down to how you write. Some poetry lends itself well to music, but I can't imagine Beowulf sung over a modern 'popular' score.
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