Category: Music

Patti Smith Set to Receive PEN America Literary Service Award

Punk poet laureate Patti Smith is set to receive the PEN America Literary Service award at this year’s PEN America Literary Gala. Since the seventies, Smith has had a way with words, writing books, poems, and songs. Her work became widely recognized and she soon became a role model for many. She will receive this year’s Literary Service award for her contributions to the literary world and her influence on those who admire her to experience the transformative experience of reading and writing. 

 

PEN president Jennifer Egan writes of Smith in a statement to the press, “In all of Patti Smith’s thrilling incarnations – rock goddess, poet, eloquent witness to the Bohemian New York of her youth – she has testified to the transformative power of literature in her own life, and used her stardom to encourage reading and writing in the legions who revere her. A polestar of my own teenage years, she set an example of badass female artistry, coupled with deeply principled humanity, that I’m still trying to live up to.” Patti Smith has been highly influential in both the literary and music world and has been recognized for her contributions among both, often fusing the two together in her work. In 2010, she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. Later that year, she was number forty-seven in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. 

image via The Guardian

The PEN America Literary Gala will be held on May 19 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The PEN America Literary Awards honors those with outstanding voices in literature across a variety of genres including fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, and drama. The awards celebrate freedom of expression through writing and its power to shape human values. 

Smith follows in the footsteps of last year’s Literary Service award recipient Bob Woodward, one of the main reporters who helped to expose the Watergate Scandal in 1972.

 

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 Featured image via Vanity Fair

 

 

Do You Know the Story Behind Your Favorite Song?

Happy National Jukebox Day everyone! We all know that songs are are used to tell stories of the past. From tribal chants that tell tales of ancient civilizations to even nursery rhymes that describe the horrors of the plague that ravaged Europe. So let’s take a look at five songs that are either inspired, retell or based on a written story. 

 

5-Love Story by Taylor Swift

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Image via FLICKR 

 

We can’t make a list without discussing Taylor Swift Love Story. Taylor sings to the boy she is pining after that all he has to do is “just say yes,” even though its against her dad’s wishes because it’s a “love story.”  The song is re-imagining of William Shakespeare’s most famous play Romeo and Juliet. Taylor envisions herself as Juliet Capulet and her star-crossed lover as Romeo Montague try to begin their love story despite their family’s long standing blood feud. Even in the video she portrays herself as a princess in a castle waiting to be saved by her prince.

 

4-November Rain by Guns N’ Roses

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IMAGE VIA WLUP.COM

 

November Rain is one of Guns N’ Roses most famous songs within their amazing catalog of music. Its music video depicts the story of a musician (played by Axl Rose) who’s lifestyle leads to the death of his wife (played by then girlfriend Stephanie Seymour.) Interestingly, this larger than life song is based on the short story Without You by Del James within his book The Language of Fear: Stories, a story about alcoholic and drug addict musician Mayne Mann, lead singer of a band named Suicide Solution, whose lifestyle causes the deterioration of this relationship with his wife. I won’t spoil the end of the story but I recommend reading it!

 

3-Xanadu by Rush

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IMAGE VIA PINTEREST

 

Rush’s song, Xanadu to one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s three great poems, Kubla Khan or a Vision in a Dream. The poem was written after Coleridge had an opium-influenced dream after he read a work that describes a man named Kubla Khan that travels Xanadu and found a fantastical amount of wonders. Xanadu was the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China, Kublai Khan. The song categorized as progressive rock that, spends approximately five of its eleven minutes with instrumental filled with synthesizers before getting to a retelling of the poem where a man who describes himself as a “mad immortal man” that waits for the world to end that came to Xanadu because he searched for immortality.

 

2-For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica

 

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IMAGE VIA YOUTUBE

 

The song For Whom the Bell Tolls, written by Metallica, is not retelling of the story of For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, but it does describe the process of modern warfare as does the book that takes place during the “Spanish Civil War” which is viewed as the ‘dress rehearsal’ of World War Two. The song mainly borrows from chapter twenty-seven when the scene of five men are obliterated by the airstrike, as they wait for their death. The book follows Robert Jordan an American Spanish Language instructor that volunteers and involves himself with a Republican Guerilla Group.   

 

1-I am the Walrus by The Beatles

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IMAGE VIA NOW I KNOW

 

The song, I am the Walrus written John Lennon and Paul McCartney was a reference to ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter a poem written by Lewis Carroll that was told in his book, Through the Looking-Glass. The poem is about a walrus and a carpenter that trick a group of well dressed young oysters, so that the can eat them. The poem is recited to Alice by Tweedledee and Tweedledum. After hearing the poem Alice tries to decide which of the two characters were the more sympathetic. The funny part is that when John Lennon was asked why he used the Walrus, he admitted that he regrets using the Walrus because he didn’t realize that he was the villain of the story.

 

 

So next time you listen to your favorite song, take a look at the lyrics. Don’t be afraid to look up background information on the band as well. the You never know what story might find that inspired it.

 

Featured Image Via Now I Know

 

    

 

 


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Joni Mitchell Publishes Private Poetry from the 70s

Joni Mitchell, the esteemed singer-songwriter of the 70s, is publishing a collection of handwritten lyrics and artwork titled Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings. Though Mitchell is most well known for her music, this mysterious work has been a part of her unique character for decades.

 

Image via Amazon

 

Morning Glory on the Vine was originally created in 1971. Mitchell created 100 copies, including a personal signature with each one, before distributing the work to her closest friends. This will be the first time that the extremely intimate work will be available for public consumption.

 

 

Mitchell choose to publish Morning Glory on the Vine with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in celebration of her 75th birthday. In addition to Mitchell’s poetry and artwork included in the original version, the published version will also feature a new introduction written by Mitchell.

 

Joni Mitchell’s Art/Image via Canadian Art Junkie

 

Many of Mitchell’s pals are also included within the work, as the artist painted several portraits modeled after her famous friends. For example, Neil Young, Georgia O’Keefe, and David Crosby, all have portraits handmade by Mitchell herself.

Morning Glory on the Vine is available to purchase online and in bookstores now.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Pitchfork 

Beyoncé Turns 38! Here are 7 of Her Fiercest Lyrics!

Today, September 4th, is Beyoncé’s 38th birthday!

While Beyoncé is not an author, her lyrics have had an immense impact on the culture we live in. Back when Lemonade dropped you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing a reference to hot sauce or sneezing on the beat, and an impact like that is worth celebrating.

 

 

Here are seven Beyoncé lyrics that get the club jumpin’ jumpin’!

 

Image via Twitter

 

I am the dragon breathing fire/Beautiful mane I’m the lion/Beautiful man I know you’re lying/I am not broken, I’m not crying, I’m not crying – Don’t Hurt Yourself

 

Image via Algoa FM

 

Now you want to say you’re sorry/Now you want to call me crying/Now you gotta see me wilding/Now I’m the one that’s lying/And I don’t feel bad about it/It’s exactly what you get/Stop interrupting my grinding/I ain’t thinking ’bout you. – Sorry

 

Image via Perez Hilton

 

Ten Hail Marys, I meditate for practice/Channel nine news tell me I’m movin’ backwards/Eight blocks left, death is around the corner/Seven misleadin’ statements ’bout my persona/Six headlights wavin’ in my direction/Five-o askin’ me what’s in my possession/Yeah I keep runnin,’ jump in the aqueducts/Fire hydrants and hazardous/Smoke alarms on the back of us/But mama don’t cry for me, ride for me/Try for me, live for me. – Freedom

 

Image via We Heart It

 

Drop the bass, mane, the bass get lower/Radio say speed it up I just go slower/High like treble, pumping on them mids/Ya man ain’t never seen a booty like this/And why you think ya keep my name rollin’ off your tongue/’Cause when you want a smash, I’ll just write another one/I sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker/Yoncé all on his mouth like liquor. – Yoncé

 

Image via The Daily Beast

 

My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana/You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma/I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros/I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils/Earned all this money but they never take the country out me/I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag. – Formation

 

Image via Harper’s Bazaar

 

Ten times out of nine, I know you’re lying/But nine times outta ten, I know you’re trying/So I’m trying to be fair/And you’re trying to be there and to care/And you’re caught up in your permanent emotions/All the loving I’ve been giving goes unnoticed. – Love Drought

 

Image via Pinterest

 

Diva’s y’all help me sing the next verse?/Here we go/Since 15 in my stillettos, been struttin’ in this game/’What’s yo age?’ was the question they ask when I hit the stage/I’m a diva, best believe her, you see how she gettin’ paid? – Diva

 

 

 

Featured image via Vox