Sunday, 13 January 2013

Barry - this week's deliberate mistake


Have just listened to the second episode of They Write the Songs, on Cole Porter, currently on BBC iplayer here.

As with last week's programme about Jerome Kern, you get to hear most of the composer's best known songs (usually in the most Radio 2-friendly versions), some basic information (in Porter's case: lots of hit songs but fewer hit shows), and at the end Barry sings snatches of some Porter songs he didn't have room to include, so there's no doubt he owns the material he's presenting, and if the effect of the programme might be to turn more listeners on to Porter, that can only be a good thing.

So what have I found to complain about this week?
Well, let's leave aside Baz's cruel-to-be-kind suggestion that Marlene Dietrich might need a bit of Auto-Tune on her voice as he cuts off her recording of You Do Something to Me in favour of "the right one" (Sinatra's). 

Again, it's a small detail but it's one which I'm pretty certain Benny Green would have seized upon. And to honour his memory and the lasting effect on me of his Sunday afternoon programmes, I maun record Barry's words, which would have pained that broadcaster for more than one reason. Regular listeners to those Sunday shows are advised to place their cups of cocoa or other caffeine-based drink on some hard surface before reading on.

Ready?

Barry introduced Be a Clown as "one of his funniest, most unique and wittiest songs."

Beat.

Next week's programme will be on Harry Warren. Do the aural equivalent of keeping 'em peeled. I know I will.



9 comments:

  1. What a ridiculous and childish post, mocking someone who is only trying to restore this once popular music to the people. If you had one iota of the warm-heartedness of Barry, whom you childishly denigrate with over-familiar diminutives, you would respond to the intention of the show, but this whole blog appears to be an exercise in "Oh look at me I'm so drily clever" type of wit. Anyway, what you are saying doesn't even make sense. Cole Porter wrote Be a Clown. If someone copied it that doesn't detract from Porter's achievement, does it? Idiot. Just leave Barry and his programme, which I rather enjoy, alone. They're obviously not for you with your supposed knowledge, which we actually see very little sign of here, so just stay away and keep boring people about Ben E King and the Flamingos or whatever.

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  2. I'm sorry if my words have offended you. I have tried to stress in the last two posts that I do think the series is essentially a positive thing, but regardless of who composed what first, it did seem odd to hear him describe as song whose effect has been undoubtedly diluted by the fame of a similar number as "unique." And Benny Green would undoubtedly have had something to say about the notion of gradiations of uniqueness.

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  3. Yeah? Unique means something like 'distinctive' these days, is that so hard to grasp? You don't own language, anymore than you own exclusive rights to these great composers. Does it offend your public school sensibility or something? If you had something worth saying, which other people wanted to read, you wouldn't be writing in a blog anyway so I'm gonna - oh sorry, make that 'going to' - walk away before I do some serious damage. Barry rocks forever!

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  4. Sorry Mr Anonymous but I'm with Pismo on this one. You can't go around calling something one of the most unique. It's sloppy and it's just plain wrong. Sorry but there it is. And why did BM make fun of Marlene Deitrich? Sure, she couldn't sing but she definitely had something. Listen to her version of Honeysuckle Rose, for example. Pismo seems quite reasonable in what he said, and he didn't stoop to your level of direct insult. You're entitled to like Barry if you want, but Pismo's entitled to do a critique if Barry strays away from his loyal fans and presumes to address the whole Radio 2 listenership. And some of us readers here are also Russell Davies fans and have become used to a certain level of care in presentation. That's not snobbish in my book just courtesy to a listner. Okay, it's not for you but your bullying tone ("serious damage", indeed!) has no place in a blog I have come to enjoy for introducing me to a lot of different music or reminding why I like some stuff in the first place. I dont always go for his more way out would be humoros posts but the guys heart is in the right place, and he's giving you this knowledge for free so why not loosen up & give him a break?
    George N.

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  5. SORRY HAVE I MISSED SOMETHING HERE? ISNT HE WRITING HIS STUPID BLOG EXPECTING A GRATEFUL NATION TO READ IT? SO I'M JUST AS ENTITLED, MAYBE EVEN MORE SO, TO EXPRESS AN OPINION IF HE'S MAKING IT PUBLIC AND STRAYS AWAY FROM HIS LOYAL BEN E KING OR DOOWAP OBSESSED FANS. WHEN I SEARCH FOR BARRY'S NAME I EXPECT TO READ STUFF THATS ACCURATE NOT A SELF INDULGENT LOAD OF CODSWOLLAP ABOUT HIS OWN OPINIONS WHICH ARE NOT FACTUAL. OVER THE LAST THIRTY EIGHT YEARS BARRY HAS SOLD 45 MILLION RECORDS. AND THAT IS REAL, NOT SOME IVEROY TOWER CRITIC THINK PIECE. YES I KNOW I AM SHOUTING BUT THAT IS THE ONLY WAY THAT *IDIOTS* LIKE YOU AND MR BLOGGER ARE GOING TO HEAR ME. WHAT KIND OF A NAME IS PISMO TALITY ANYWAY? THE LUNATICS HAVE TAKEN OVER CYPERSPACE RIGHT ENOUGH.,

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  6. On the quest "STUFF THATS [sic] ACCURATE" can I just point out that according to his official website Barry Manilow has "worldwide sales of more than 80 million records"? And if you'd read the "about" page here you'd know that Pismotality comes from The Letter by Vernon Green. An exponent of that little-known genre "DOOWAP." And this just in: blogs may contain traces of bloggers' opinions (collapse of stout party).
    much love,
    George N.

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  7. I'M NOT EVEN RESPONDING TO THAT I'M NOT RESPONDING TO THAT YOU TWO ARE OBVIOUSLY IN CAHOOTS. THAT LITTLE KNOWN GENRE SO WHAT IF I TYPE QUICKLY AND GET SOME TINY DETAIL WRONG ITS BECAUSE I'VE GOT A LIFE AND I AM NOT WASTING ONE MINUTE MORE OF THAT LIFE ON THIS TOTALLY POINTLESS TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO IS DETERMINED TO THINK HE IS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE "a certain level of care in presentation" IN OTHER WORDS EVERYONE ELSE IS THICK AND YOU "GEORGE N(OBODY) " HAVE GOT A SUIT OR A DEGREE OR SOMEHTING JUST LEAVE BARRY ALONE * LEAVE BARRY ALONE*

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  8. Glad to hear you have given up the battle; it must have been exercising your tiny brain. Normally I walk away from such pointless feuds but your ill grace is deserving of further remark. Clearly you are hung up on some perceived notion of lower origins but actually I came from Birmingham. Yes, I did achieve a degree, somewhat to my parents' surprise, but my father saw education as the golden key, unlocking possibilities. And for my part, I never forgot where I came from. But my point is that Radio 2 could do better than Manilow as a guide, and does so regularly with the likes of Russell Davies, who knows how to make music accessible without seeming to stoop down to do so. But I'm not responding to you anymore; it would be pointless. We clearly speak different languages. I enjoy this blog and I intend to linger here awhile; you, I daresay, will eventually get tired and fly off to visit your bile upon someone else. Pismo, I beg, please don't be put off by this nitwit's rantings. I, for one, wait to hear what you have to say on the Barry does Harry (Warren) prog.
    best,
    George N. (and it's Nobodaddy, thank you very much)

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  9. Think I must now call this impressive brain-barbecue to a halt; it seems like a natural break, anyway. I can only repeat to my anonymous correspondent that it's not my intention to offend but, like any other reader inclined to do so, he has the right to say whatever he wishes in the comments section; at least it's confirmation that someone other than myself is scanning these words. Thanks to my valiant champion George N., but it's probably better if both parties retire from the joust now. I will read any further comments for this post but don't think there's any point in publishing any more from either side. Let's look to the next post - whenever that may appear.

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