Should be heard but not seen.

As superficial as it sounds, has seeing a performer live or on video ever diminished your appreciation for their music? A couple of examples:

  1. Joe Cocker. The man’s got a hell of a voice, but it’s almost painful to watch him flail around while he gets those notes out. He’s getting older now, so he’d better make sure he doesn’t break a hip while singing.

  2. Aaron Neville. Who would expect such a sweet falsetto out of such a big guy? His pants usually look a little too tight, so that may explain it. In live performance he looks like he is trying to pinch a loaf on stage.

You get the general idea. I think deep down we all have a picture in our minds of what a performer looks like when we hear their music, and it kind of shakes us a little bit to have our perceptions rattled.

Does anybody else have examples of artists that didn’t meet up to your mental picture of them? On the flip side, can you think of any artists that are easy to look at but should be rendered mute? (I think that there are more of the latter than the former.)

The Happiness Boys (Billy Jones and Ernie Hare). I’d pictured them as slick Arrow Collar men or at least Gibson boys. Then I saw a photo–they were both chubby, middle-aged banker types. Whatta let-down.

I’ve not seen them in person but I find watching Crosby, Stills and Nash excruciating. Not just because they’re old – they’re terrible!

I don’t think I would even care if “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” wasn’t my all time favorite song. I mean they could do good work once, why is it so hard to do even mediocre work now?

He that questioneth much shall learn much, and content much; but especially if he apply his questions to the skill of the persons whom he asketh; for he shall give them occasion to please themselves in speaking, and himself shall continually gather knowledge. But let his questions not be troublesome, for that is fit for a poser; and let him be sure to leave other men their turns to speak.
Francis Bacon

One singer who’s looks definitely don’t gel well with his sound:
Barry White
When I first got into Stevie Ray Vaughan, the first time I watched a video of him I thought “Man, look at this ugly motherf***** dressed like a cowboy making some of the ugliest faces I’ve ever seen” After seeing more and more concerts of his, I love how into the music he is while on stage.

That’s what it’s about, the music, so who cares what the people look like.

The opposite holds true for the likes of Brittany Spears, Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Lopez, etc. For them it’s all about the image, and who cares what the music sounds like.

Good Lord, I’m having Total Brain Meltdown here. Who was the guy who sung ‘Together Forever’ and ‘Never Gonna Let You Down’ in the '80’s? Rick somebody, I think. He had such a rich voice, and then, when I saw the first video – blam! Weenie Boy at the mike, very white, looked about 15 years old, and any remaining illusion was utterly blown when they made him dance. Excruciating!

Oh, the humanity!

Rick Astley.

The whitest black singer of all time!


I’m not a shrimp, I’m a King Prawn.
-Pepe the Prawn

Shantih, I believe that was Rick Astley (sp?). My first reaction when I saw that guy was that dog-head-cocked-to-the-side, “rahr?” Weenie Boy is a very apt description.

As well put by Mojo Nixon, Rick Astley is a Pantywaist

Elvis is Everywhere M. Nixon

Padeye! I’ve got a song on tape somewhere with that in it. I thought the song title was Debbie Gibson is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child. I don’t know where my tape is right now, though, so I can’t confirm. At any rate, it’s one of the funniest songs I’ve ever heard.

“Rick Astley is a pantywaist…match my butt, his face…”

Rick Astley! Thank you, Frankie and Cristi!

And now it looks like I’ll have to get hold of a Mojo Nixon CD just to read the rest of those lyrics!

Frank said:

The whitest black singer of all time!

Maybe it’s not what you meant, but I’ve always thought of Paul Young as the only white singer with a genuinely convincing ‘soul’ voice.

And isn’t it Rick Ashley ?


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

No, it’s Astley. He has/had a dance club named after him in England. (Earlstown, I think.)

Born O.K. the first time…

If you are born again, do you have two belly-buttons?

What? I’m going to be the first one to mention Boy George?

Cold -

It was Rick Astley…I had the biggest crush on him when I was younger. (First concert I ever attended.) And now having ADMITTED that, I’m off to hide in the corner…

“But I can cry until I laugh or laugh until I cry.
So cut the deck right in half, I’ll play from either side…”

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter


::Scratching my eyes out::

I don’t think of Rick Astley as a soul singer. Being a big fan of people like Aretha Franklin that thought actually hurts me. It’s kind of a joke in the states (maybe just my state, Maybe just me??) that he’s not really black although he has a voice that most people are convinced he is black.


I’m not a shrimp, I’m a King Prawn.
-Pepe the Prawn

I’ve got Mojo and Skid Roper’s Bo-Day-Shus around somewhere. I’ll have to dig it up now that I have a CD player in the truck.

“Don’t want no froo-froo haircut on my head” M. Nixon

The Beach Boys. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Beach Boys. But I saw them in concert years ago, and they sounded awful! It was the Beach Boys on stage (I know that, because I recognized them), but that godawful sound that was coming out of them was definately not Beach Boy like.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers. I like their CDs. Saw some of the live stuff on their CD plus, and I thought, Ooh, they have a pretty gutsy style when they play live. It’s really … free-willing and casual.

Then I saw them on TV, and I thought, Gosh this must not be one of their good nights. They were all over the place; they were never quite in the pocket; they never quite sang on key.

Then I saw them live, and I realized, Either they just suck the chubby donkey whenever they step out of the studio, or they are very sloppy. It didn’t seem to bother them, or the audience though, so maybe I’m just crazy.

I asked the folks I went to the show with, and they said they loved. Did they think the SNZs were sloppy? Oh, maybe, but it was still a great show. Go figure.

Years ago I went to see Chicago. Had to wait in a long line to get in. After about 3 songs, the crowd was booing with gusto. After another couple of songs, there was a traffic jam at the exits from people trying to get out.