Monday, June 17, 2019

Musical Geniuses

These two. Of course.
Bruce Figler -- outstanding DJ on The Peak (107.1 FM) and all-around good guy -- poses a question/conundrum every week. He calls it "Gimme Five," and he challenges his Facebook friends to name five...something.

This week, he offered: "...looking for 5 musicians who, in your estimation, qualify as musical geniuses. (dead or alive)"

I thought about it for a few days, and I think I've got my five. Two are obvious for me (and they're above), but let's list the five, all of whom are from basically the same era ('60s-'70s):

- John Lennon (Imagine and a whole lot of Beatles)
- Paul McCartney (Eleanor Rigby is just one example of his brilliance, besides the solo work)
- Brian Wilson (Good Vibrations, for instance?)
- Carole King (It's Too Late is just stunning)
- Joni Mitchell (Coyote -- especially this version from The Last Waltz with The Band

Side note (Lennon/McCartney category): The collective brilliance of the lads is just breathtaking. Best count-in? One-Two-Three-FAW! Best opening note? A Hard Day's Night. Best closing note? A Day in the Life (which many critics think is the best song ever from the best album ever). These were just things I was ruminating about today.

Any others?

Now, there is so much we can do with this. After a long conversation, we can certainly debate the brilliance of Bach (ahhhh Bach!), Beethoven, Mozart, Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, George Harrison, Johnny Cash, Elton John (but I feel Bernie Taupin, who wrote the words to Elton's brilliance, must be included), Barry Gibb, Barbra Streisand and a whole lot more. A lot of names were discussed, and I know I'm forgetting others.

Even Monkee Mike Nesmith (Papa Nez) and Huey Lewis came up, and while Huey is brilliant and extremely smart, I am not including him on this list. Just trying to be fair.

But I'm firm with my five. Personal preference and opinions all come into play with this, of course. However, unless I treat Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison as one entity (or John and Paul as one), there's no way I'm not including them. I don't think that's unfair.

The responses led to lots to consider, though you probably have to be one of Bruce's Facebook friends to see them.

So, friends, what do you have for me? Who are your five musical geniuses?

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