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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Modern Music
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0389.  Thursday, 27 March 1997.

[1]     From:   Jim Williams <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:57:04 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[2]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:00:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[3]     From:   Jurgen Pieters <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 15:10:05 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[4]     From:   Richard A Burt <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:17:41 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[5]     From:   Sam Schimek <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:22:53 -0700
        Subj:   Sh. Mod. Music

[6]     From:   C. David Frankel <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:31:06 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[7]     From:   James Marino <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 07:45:56 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Shakespeare in Modern Music

[8]     From:   Douglas M Lanier <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:58:07 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[9]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:31:01 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[10]    From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:51:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[11]    From:   Edward T Bonahue <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:58:27 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Shakespeare in Music

[12]    From:   Rob Kirkpatrick <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 11:30:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[13]    From:   Jay T. Louden <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:48:30 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare in modern music

[14]    From:   Miles Edward Taylor <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:13:56 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

[15]    From:   Jean Peterson  <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 17:57:36 +0200
        Subj:   Singing Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Williams <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:57:04 -0800
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

"Romeo and Juliet" - Dire Straits

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:00:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Actually the Indigo Girls song is a cover. It was originally written by
Dire Straits (same words, different tone).

Annalisa Castaldo

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jurgen Pieters <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 15:10:05 +0100
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Ad Georgianna Ziegler's query: Elvis Costello has a song on his album
Spike that is about Lady Macbeth

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A Burt <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:17:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

To Georgianna Ziegler:

There's a Lou Reed song on _New York_ (the first track, I believe) which
mentions Romeo and Juliet and Dire Straits also does a song about Romeo
and Juliet.  I take it you are excluding musicals.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Schimek <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:22:53 -0700
Subject:        Sh. Mod. Music

The song by the Indigo Girls is originally by Dire Straits.

Elvis Costello frequently refers to Shakespeare. "Mystery Dance" is a
scene between Romeo and Juliet and "Crimes of Paris" is arguably an
allusion to the same. Also the album with the Brodsky Quartet "The
Juliet Letters" was inspired by the fact that someone in Verona answers
letters written to Juliet.

Maybe I should say he frequently refers to R&J.

Sam Schimek

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. David Frankel <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:31:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Dire Straits have a song entitled, I think, "Romeo and Juliet" which
begins "A love-struck Romeo sings a street-suss serenade. . . ."

cdf

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Marino <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 07:45:56 -0700
Subject:        Re: Shakespeare in Modern Music

Add: Dire Straits' *Juliet*

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas M Lanier <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:58:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

The list of Shakespearean references in pop songs is long.  The favorite
point of reference is, not surprisingly, *Romeo and Juliet*.  Some
possibilities:

Sammy Hagar, "Rock 'n' Roll Romeo"
Tom Waits, "Romeo is Bleeding"
October Project, "Ariel"
Tragically Hip, "Cordelia"
Barclay James Harvest, "Lady Macbeth"
John Cale, "Macbeth"
The Eagles, "Get Over It"
Sting, "Nothing Like the Sun"
"What a Piece of Work is Man" from the musical *Hair*
Loreena McKennitt, "Prospero's Song"
Blue Oyster Cult, "The Reaper"
Dire Straits, "Romeo and Juliet" (written by the Indigo Girls)
Tonio K, "Romeo and Jane"
Lennon and McCartney, "I am the Walrus"
Melissa Etheridge, "Juliet, Where's Your Romeo?"
Elvis Costello, *The Juliet Letters* (sort of classical, but appropriate
to this list because of Costello's pop-rock background;  he also
recently released an album of Shakespeare settings with John Harle, the
classical saxophonist)

A couple of the songs from Baz Lurhmann's *William Shakespeare's Romeo
and Juliet* set Shakespeare's verse to music-the soundtrack album is
full of Shakespearean references.  And there are several rock opera
settings of Shakespeare (most notably *Catch My Soul* [on OTHELLO] and
*Beach Blanket Tempest*).

Cheers,
Douglas Lanier

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[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 09:31:01 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Georgianna Ziegler's request for references to WS in modern music must
surely generate plenty of responses.  I'm currently trying to put off
finishing a conference paper, so I'll play.

There's the Indigo Girls' CD/concert tour called "Swamp Ophelia"-I think
it's a line in one of the songs therein, but can't seem to find it right
off.

There must dozens of Romeo and Juliet references.  One that sticks in my
mind is Elvis Costello's "Mystery Dance," which begins:

Romeo was restless; he was ready to kill.
Jumped out a window 'cause he couldn't sit still.
Juliet was waiting with a safety net,
Said "Don't bury me, 'cause I'm not dead yet."

The song happens to be on my mind, as I used a different section of it
("I tried and I tried and I'm still mystified.  I can't do it anymore
and I'm not satisfied.") as scene change music in the last show I
directed, and I'm back in the finding-entr'acte-music mentality now:
this time it's Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Prokofieff, though.

BTW, one of my actors informed me confidentially that "Mystery Dance" is
"really about sex" (Imagine!  What a novel topic for rock-and-roll!), so
be forewarned!

More later if I think of them...

Rick Jones

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[10]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:51:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Georgiana,

        Here's a quick few songs before I leave for the SAA:

        "Cruel to Be Kind" - Nick Lowe
        Romeo and Juliet are mentioned in:

        "Cherish" - Madonna
        "Fire" - Bruce Springsteen
        "Let's Hear it for the Boy" - *Footloose* soundtrack
                                     (I can't remember the artist)
        "Mystery Dance" - Elvis Costello
        "Don't Fear the Reaper" - Blue Oyster Cult

The song "Romeo and Juliet" was first recorded by Dire Straits, and is,
in the opinion of many Shakespeareans, a superior version.  I like to
ask my students if they can come up with five pop songs that mention
Romeo and Juliet, and they usually can.

        Michael Friedman

[11]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward T Bonahue <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:58:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388  Shakespeare in Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Shakespeare in Music

Re Georgianna Ziegler's query about Shakespeare in modern music, Sting's
lyrics frequently quote and/or allude to Shakespeare, most obviously in
a late '80s album called _Nothing Like the Sun_.

Ed Bonahue
University of Florida

[12]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rob Kirkpatrick <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 11:30:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388 Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

In reference to Georgianna's question about musical allusions to
Shakespeare, there are songs titled "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits
and "Romeo had Juliette" (I think) by Lou Reed, on his NEW YORK album.
Also, lines from Hamlet are strewn throughout, of all things, the
original soundtrack to HAIR.

Rob Kirkpatrick
Binghamton University

[13]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay T. Louden <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 08:48:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Shakespeare in modern music

Dear Ms. Ziegler, Sting uses "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the
sun" in the song Sister Moon on his album Nothing Like the Sun and I
believe he uses another quote in another song but I can't remember where
right now. He was a high school English teacher before he became a rock
star.  Don Henley uses the phrase ...old Billy was right "kill all the
laywers . . . lets kill em tonight" in Get Over It on the Hell Freezes
Over CD.

Hope this helps,
Jay Louden

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[14]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Miles Edward Taylor <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 10:13:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0388  Qs: Sh. Mod. Music

Hey all,

Regarding Shakespeare showing up in modern music, here are a few
references off the top of my head.  First, there was a band in the 80's
called This Mortal Coil, from a line in Hamlet.  (There are  also a band
and a song by the Smiths called Shakespeare's Sister, but that comes via
Woolf.)  Stone Roses have an interesting tape loop song called "Full
Fathom Five."  There is also Lou Reed's great song on his album New York
called "Romeo had Juliette."  The Smiths also make reference to Antony
and Cleopatra in the song "Some Girls are Bigger than Others," on The
Queen is Dead.  Morrissey solo also has a song called "King Leer."  I
know too that Sting has a version of Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eyes are
nothing like the sun"), which I believe is called "Nothing Like the
Sun," but that's a guess at the title.  I think too that there are some
loops of dialogue from Henry IV playing over the end of The Beatles' "I
am the Walrus." It's interesting that with the exception of the Beatles,
these groups fall under the category "alternative" or the old term
"college radio."

Hoping to read more allusions,
Miles Taylor

[15]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jean Peterson  <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Mar 1997 17:57:36 +0200
Subject:        Singing Shakespeare

A small correction: the "Romeo & Juliet" song covered by the Indigo
Girls is by Mark Knopfler and originally recorded by Dire Straits.
Speaking of Elvis, don't leave out Elvis Costello's "Mystery Dance"

        Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill
        (I can't remember the next line)
        Juliet was waiting with a safety net,
        She said "don't bury me, 'cause I'm not dead yet!"

And then there's Sting, with both a song and an album titled "Nothing
Like the Sun."

Musically yours,
Jean Peterson
Bucknell University

Jean Peterson
Associate Professor of English
Bucknell University

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