Below is a link to a great piece in the New York Times about the culture of music.
I think the callout on the side of the article explains it...
For centuries, black music, forged in bondage, has been the sound of complete artistic freedom. No wonder everybody is always stealing it.
The words "theft" and "music" in conjunction make me cringe. I would be proud, not angry, if my musical efforts inspired others to add or subtract or embellish. And I hope the artists who inspire me are pleased.
I always thing of Big Boy Crudup ....
“Crudup’s royalty checks rarely amounted to more than an occasional $10-$15 check. As was common at this time, Melrose listed himself, as well as, Crudup and also received a publishing royalty from the music. Melrose arranged a publishing contract for Crudup with Melrose’s Wabash Music Publishing Company.
Despite successful record sales of Crudup’s songs, Crudup would give up his music career due to financial instability. After unsuccessful attempts to obtain royalties from Melrose, Crudup would go back to manual labor, after recording for other labels, under other names. Many of his songs were successful and were being covered by other blues artists, including Bobby “Blue” Bland, Big Mama Thornton and B.B. King, but he was still not receiving royalties.
In 1954, when a young Elvis Presley recorded Crudup’s “That’s All Right”, Crudup again received national recognition, but still was not receiving royalties. Eventually, Presley would record three of Crudup’s songs; “That’s All Right”, “My Baby Left Me” and “So Glad You’re mine”. Many of Crudup’s songs would become blues standards after being re-recorded by the biggest names in blues and rock n roll, like Johnny Winter, Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat, Elton John, Rod Stewart among others.’ - American Blues Scene
Edited by - chuckv97 on 08/18/2019 18:02:09
Really? I guess Marion Anderson, the great black American opera singer was "stealing" European culture and music.
The irony is most blacks today want nothing to do with blues. It was whites who kept it alive, Stones, Clapton, SRV, etc. I grew up loving blues and still play fingerstyle today. i don't know, music is music - if it moves you, go for it, learn it. Albert King was my idol - no one plays like him - thought SRV tried. Albert King, Freddie King, BB King, Muddy Waters - they struck a chord in all people, regardless of color.
The problem was never that white performers were stealing black music. Culture is common to all people, and music is music, regardless of the source. The problem was (and still is) that white performers steal black musicians' MONEY.
In 1949, the top of the charts was the single "Tzena, Tzena," an Israeli folksong performed by the Weavers, which at the time included Pete Seeger. On the B side of that record was a performance, again by the Weavers, of "Goodnight Irene," which had been written by a black man, Huddie Ledbetter. The Weavers made plenty of $$ from that single; Leadbelly made none.
"Hound Dog" was a smash hit for Elvis, and contributed in no small way to his fortune; Big Mama Thorton, who had originally recorded the song, made only a fraction of the amount.
How much did Flatt & Scruggs pay Charlie Jackson's estate for "Salty Dog?" I don't know, but I'm betting it was zero.
We're all just "Earthlings" making music.
mayhem and pillage are what we're good at ,,, can't help it.
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