View Full Version : songs about art (proscrastination thread)

Tom Behnke
02-23-2010, 03:49 AM
Ok I am having real problems with my painting so I am jus going to stare at it for tonight and figure out where to start to fix it.

I am a writer primarily, then an artist (in that I seel to earn money through these endeavors as well as self expression). But imy first creative outlet was music. I stopped playing (ot tryinh to play) professionally long ago, but still NEED to play the same way I need to wrote or draw. But since I have had more success with writing and art, those are my priorities. And as I have a tandency to procrastinate, I have made playing my gtr, keybrd or bass is
A 'reward' for after I have finished my creative 'busines'. Right now I have three paintings I need to do, and I am working on two different writing projects, so haven't played music in a while and probably won't be able to for a few weeks.

But I still listen to it (next best thing, though poor substitute) and I am a big fan of the band King Crimson.

I know there are a few popular songs based on art (Vincent prob most famous)
But I wanted to post one that perhaps not a lot of people have heard of since Crimson is not for everyone, and this particular song was published in 1973 or '4.

I really like the creative domino effect of a great painting inspiring a great poem or song (btw if you have never read it read Ann Sexton's poem on Starry Night).

This one is called The Night Watch.

Shine, shine,
the light of good works shine
The watch before the city gates
depicted in their prime

That golden light all grimy now
Three hundred years have passed
The worthy Captain and his squad of troopers
standing fast.

The artist knew their faces well The husbands of his lady friends
His creditors and councillors In armour bright, the merchant men
Official moments of the guild In poses keen from bygone days
The city fathers frozen there Upon the canvas dark with age

The smell of paint, a flask of wine And turn those faces all to me
The blunderbuss and halberd-shaft and Dutch respectability
They make their entrance one by one defenders of that way of life
The redbrick home, the bourgeoisie and guitar lessons for the wife

So many years we suffered here our country racked with Spanish wars
Now comes a chance to find ourselves and quiet reigns behind our door
We think about posterity again

And so the pride of little men
The burghers good and true
Still living through the painter's hand
Request you all to understand

02-23-2010, 05:41 AM
Fraid I lack the poetic gene, so I'll destroy the lovely lyrical mood. :o

"I see a red door and I want it painted black..." :evil:

Not the jolliest song on earth...

Would "A Whiter Shade of Pale" qualify? :-) :angel:

Remember "Hooked on a Feeling" (oooga-chaka)? He wrote a song (in Swedish only), were the boy asks Michelangelo to paint his girlfriend, and then claims that Mona Lisa would asked to be taken down from the wall, as his lady love would, with freckles and all, become as famous. Now, if Leonardo painted... :lol: Always found that rather hilarious.

Which brings me to my point (finally). Rarely, if ever, have I heard a song that had any inkling of art. Some poems seem to, though, as the one you quoted. It is definitely burghers, and not soldiers, on that marvellous painting.


Tom Behnke
02-23-2010, 07:39 AM
I don't know if you know the singer who does this song (king crimson, the band only has one common member (Robert Fripp) throughout their existence from 1969 to present, with many gaps of years between 'incarnations' so the singers changed periodically).

Members of Crimson went on to forms or were in, Yes, Elp, Foreigner, Bad Company, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, and I am sure I am forgetting some.

The vocalist on The Night Watch is John Wetton. (Also a fantastic bassist). He was also in the bands UK, and Asia. (Super group lineup horrible band, lol). He has a very British, bass voice and the way he sings it suits the painting as well.

If we are naming songs with color in title there are so many, lol.

Vincent is the only one I know that is specifically about an artist or painting, although Counting Crows do mention Picasso in Mr. Jones.

I will paint my picture
Paint myself in blue, red, black and gray
All of the beautiful colors are very very meaningful
You know gray is my favorite color
I felt so symbolic yesterday
If I knew Picasso
I would buy myself a gray guitar and play

02-23-2010, 08:14 AM
.... She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain ....
Al Stewart: Year of the Cat. Did he ever sing anything else, I wonder?

02-23-2010, 08:18 AM
Or Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa?

02-23-2010, 01:48 PM
Joni Mitchell; I am a lonely painter and I live in a box of paints.

If I wasn't so lazy, I would find the album and song title. It's in the studio and it's one of the CDs in the 6 pack I listen to all the time when I am in there.

On another note, she is a painter as well if you want to google her work.

Tom Behnke
02-24-2010, 03:13 AM
Oh my god Terri, you just made me cry, literally. That song is so important to me. Special sad time in my life. .

The title is

A Case of You.

Oh I am a lonely painter I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened by the devil
And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid
I remember that time you told me,
you said"Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darling
I would still be on my feet

I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said"Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to bleed"
Oh but you are in my blood
You're my holy wine
You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
I would still be on my feet

02-24-2010, 11:51 AM
The version I have is on Both Sides Now, where Joni's voice is more mature and richer. I didn't realize how old a song that was until I heard it on CBC recently with her sounding 20 years younger.

Its imagery is very powerful so I can understand how strong memories could be attached to this song. I didn't intend to tug on your heart strings. Take care, Terri.

02-24-2010, 06:20 PM
Yes, I love Joni Mitchell, what a wonderful song! I'm also a musician, I play guitar, and have a few songs about painting in my repetoitre - Starry Night included.

How about "If I were a Painter" by Norah Jones. That is a great tune! And, I think Bob Dylan's song "When I Paint my Masterpiece" counts, too. :)

02-24-2010, 06:22 PM
PS You can probably listen to it on Pandora.com... if you haven't checked out that online radio site it is incredible! You get to create your own radio station.