“Tawk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic.”

Here’s a quickie Coffee Talk question for you:

Why is it that in popular music the singer of the song is referred to as the author of the song?

For example, why is it on American Idol (not that I’m watching it or anything) you hear contestants say, “I’m going to sing ‘Oops, I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears.”

You never hear someone say, “I’m going to sing ‘Oops, I Did It Again’ by Max Martin.

Can you imagine if it was that way in the theatre?

“Hi , Simon, Randy and Paula.  I’m going to sing ‘This Is The Moment’ by Robert Cuccioli.”

Something tells me that Frank Wildhorn, who has been on both sides of this discussion (‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go’ by Whitney Houston) might have a problem with this.

Or what about, “Hi snotty British guy, big guy no one knows, and ex-80s star on too much prescription medication.  I’m going to sing “Pretty Women” by Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman.”

Sacrilege to our Shakespeare!

Our Authors get more respect here.  Because they deserve it.

And frankly, Max Martin deserves it too.  With all due respect to those battling mental craziness and psycho-pseudo managers (and also on too much prescription medication), he is more talented than the “artist” he helped create.

Ooooh, there’s another question!  Why are the performers called artists and the scribes called writers?  Aren’t the writers artists too?

There you go.  As Ms. Myers would say . . . “Discuss.”

Oh, and why are Simon’s teeth so white?  Every time he smiles I feel like that girl in Poltergeist and I want to start walking towards them!  (Ok, I am watching – but this is my first season!)

  • DaveBeef says:

    I have been thinking all night about this post and why I disagree with it. And I have come to a conclusion.
    I don’t disagree with it.
    I think the problem comes with it’s easier to associate the song with the performer than the writer in most cases. Max Martin isn’t selling out arenas.
    The best example of this I can think of is Elvis. He recorded about 1000 songs and is only credited with writing one, and that isn’t even confirmed. But very few people would refer to “Blue Suede Shoes” as a Carl Perkins song.
    If Max Martin wanted the attention that we give Britney, then he would have gone the Pop Singer Route, instead of the Producer/ Writer route. Hopefully he had good contracts for residuals.
    So while he sits at home and counts his millions, and no one knows his name on Idol, Britney is being chased by photogs that are driving her insane.
    One more thing about musicals. When you see Jekyll and Hyde there are about 30 other songs in the show other than “This is the Moment”. It is more apparent to the average Joe that maybe all 40 people singing Facade didn’t write it.
    This is the longest period of time that I have spent thinking about why an idiot on American Idol would say the performer and not the writer. I need to stop now.

  • Mary says:

    I just associate songs with whatever is easier to well, associate it with. Songs on the radio? Performer. Songs from theatre? The show. Songs that should never be heard of again? Well….
    For most shows, I wouldn’t even attempt to say who the performer is, because it’s not always the same performer. If I say “The American Dream” by Jonathan Pryce, someone out there is going to say to me, “But I never saw him sing that song” then I’m all turned around and the conversation moves to why not?
    Though, I just realized in reading this post, that I actually don’t usually refer to the singer of a song as the “artist” – I know, most others do. But I’ve always ever said “the singer.” Come to think of it, a lot of times (but never always), I’d say “Baby One More Time” sung by Britney Spears, though the term ‘sung by’ is up for debate, but that’s another conversation altogether.
    Yet, after this entire response, I think there is a new discussion that needs to start – why are you only starting to watch American Idol now? I stopped watching the past two seasons because I was incredibly bored. I guess you can’t get any better than Carrie Underwood as your winner though.

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