[GUITAR] Top Ten Songwriters

Stavros Kouyoumtzis
Kouyoumtzis (well known for his collaboration with George Dalaras, the foremost Greek songster of his age) stands out amongst his contemporaries in '50s/'60s Greek popular music: more intense, more melancholy, and somehow more profound. Several of his opuses are guaranteed tear-jerkers around me, including my all-time favourite, Mi Mou Thimonis, Matia Mou (Don't Be Angry At Me, Dear Eyes). Kouyoumtzis himself is a shy bald man with dark glasses, and seems to let his songs do the talking for him.
Jimi Hendrix
There is a wildness and an aggression to much of Hendrix's work that makes him irresistable for Saturday night drives; but he was also a consummate craftsman, reaching a level of perfection few of his epigones have approached. Noöne has ever made the guitar soar so high, before or since.
Suzanne Vega
Vega's music, and particularly her voice, have a seductive hardness to them; and her earlier lyrics bear a single-minded pursuit of truth rarely heard in contemporary music. This is most starkly apparent in her debut self-titled album, is still present, if somewhat more diffuse, in Solitude Standing, and returns (in a transmogrified, Industrial-like way) in 99.9F. It must be a sign of the times that Vega subscribes to her own mailing-list...
John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Exaudere monumentum æri perennius. The Beatles created music that can never die (even if the surviving members do beat on a dead horse; there was little music in '95 more depressing than Free As A Bird...)
Yannis Markopoulos
Markopoulos spearheaded Greek art music in the '70s, particularly in his collaborations with Cretan singer Nikos Xilouris; his music marked out an era. It's just a shame that the era ended up being the betrayed generation. In the West, he is best known for the inevitable TV theme, Who Pays The Ferryman.
Mikis Theodorakis
Theodorakis (who did not just write Zorba's Dance) took the synthesis of Greek popular and art music to its highpoint, and wrote some of the best and most stirring songs of the '60s. Unfortunately he too belongs to the betrayed generation...
Ivor Biggins
British novelty record singer, with all the subtlety of Benny Hill and much more scatological, there is an unexpected majesty to some of Biggins' tracks. Then again, I'm just a sucker for a fart joke. (And I'll gloss over the unfortunate imagery there...)
Prince (as opposed to The Artist Formerly Known As, who's gotten just plain silly in his old age) crafted two great albums in Purple Rain and Sign O The Times; they're quirky, funky, and intelligent.
Steven Sondheim
The smartarse of Broadway, Sondheim can do no wrong with his musicals, all the way from West Side Story to Assassins.
Big in the late 14th century in Avignon, I learned Solage's songs through the thesis my friend Christina Eira did on them in '84 (then under the name Eira McCarthy). They are exemplars of a polyphony gone berserk in the Ars Subtilior; they routinely feature polyrhythms, polymetres, and are heavily intellectual. They are also a good deal of fun. (Note: renderings of music of the time differ in their Musica Ficta --- that is, how many accidentals they use to 'smooth' the music. Eira's version is 'smoother' than the MIDI version available above.
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Created and Maintained by: Nick Nicholas, opoudjis@opoudjis.net
Last revision: 1999-3-29