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“I don’t want to entertain people. I want to touch them!”

Sunshine On My Shoulders The Best Of John Denver Volt and Volume3The title of this blog is a quote by '70s singer/songwriter John Denver. I didn’t come across this quote until a couple of years ago, but it instantly resonated with me and still does. Why? Because I think it’s a wonderful and commendable quality in an artist to want to touch his or her audience rather than merely entertain them. Don’t you? I mean, it shows depth of character and artistic integrity. Also, it’s seemingly such a rare trait in most of today’s commercial artists and so contrary to what they seem to want first and foremost: fame and fortune.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that artists like John Denver and his contemporaries wanted fame and fortune, too, and that many of them needed the adulation as much as today’s commercial artists, but their creative and artistic aspirations largely resulted in much more ambitious, timeless, and classic works. Overall, the '60s and '70s gave birth to artists and songwriting of a deeper and emotionally more complex nature. In this day and age a similar quote by a contemporary, commercially successful artist would be a breath of fresh air and would instill a lot of respect in me. I mean, it’s extremely difficult imagining Madonna, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber saying:“I don’t want to entertain people. I want to touch them!”, let alone believing them.

Now, before I come off as a grumpy old-timer, I would like to add that I’m not one of those pessimists, who claim that “music just isn’t what it used to be” or worse still, that “all of today’s music is crap!”. In fact, it frustrates me to no end, when music lovers of a certain advanced age make these claims. But I’ll continue this discussion in my next blog entrance Music just isn’t what it used to be – or is it?

Read a review of the John Denver compilation Sunshine On My Shoulders: The Best Of John Denver.


Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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