Musical Oddities

Musical artists seek to express their thoughts, feelings, experiences, or whatever is on their mind through sound, especially song. Music only brings the general ideas of what inspired it. In some cases, what inspires the artist’s expression is something that deserves to be noted. A few notes are heard, but there was a countless number of unheard notes before it. Let’s look at the commonly unheard notes behind famous or notable songs or artists. 

David Bowie is undoubtedly an iconic figure in the music industry. So iconic, in fact, to the point where famous bands like Nirvana would cover his song “The Man Who Sold the World. There is an interesting story surrounding one of David Bowie’s most notable songs “Life On Mars?”.  According to an article by Joe Taysom, a writer from Far Out Magazine, the hit song “My Way” sung by Frank Sinatra and written by Paul Anka caused David Bowie’s hit piece to be made. Taysom explains that David composed lyrics to a French song “Comme d’habitude” by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. However, these songs were bought by Paul Anka, which allowed Anka to create “My Way.” Based on a video that compiles information gathered made by David Bennett Piano, a channel made by a professional pianist who seeks to teach music and its theory, Bowie was upset when he heard it on the radio that the song he worked on was used with different lyrics. Then the video explains that Bowie, small as he was at the time, wrote “Life On Mars?” to parody and get revenge on “My Way.” The structure, as Bennett explains, for both songs are even structural similar, but Bowie puts his own distinct spin in his song that would make it a classic to someAlthough it was relatively short-lived pettiness, that pettiness helped birth one of Bowie’s most iconic songs. It also fantastic to think that a future music giant wrote a song to just avenge himself against another music giant who did not really know what they did to him. The result was not as fruitless or negative as many other revenge stories as it created the famous, unique piece of “Life On Mars?”. The song would even go on to be used as a cover in the television show American Horror Show. The rock star went to bigger, stranger, and genre-bending things in his life.  However, this fits well into a life where he played many different, extreme characters in.  

Speaking of French music, I shall introduce Erik Satie. He was a pianist from Paris during the late 19th to early 20th centuryDespite not being as well-known as other musicians during his time, Satie has a very distinct flair. As the educational music YouTube channel known as Five Minute Mozart describes in their short biography of him, Erik Satie had a simple style of music that rebelled other contemporary forms. However, this was not the extent of Erik Satie’s odd place in music. Five Minute Mozart would also describe some of the titles to Satie’s composition like “Things Seen from the Left and Right, Without Spectacles (listen to playlist of this and more by Frank Glazer with this link). His story gets stranger than confusing the average consumer some confusion due to his nonsensical titles that he gives to his works. According to video produced by Youtube channel Weird History, Erik Satie would go on to join the Kabbalistic Order of Rosicrucian, a cult meant for various artists. Later on, as the video explains, Satie would form his own sect known as the Metropolitan Church of Art of Jesus the Conductor where he would be the only memberWeird History also states Erik Satie was eccentric in his daily schedule, such as his “healthy ride on my horseback from 1:19 to 2:53 pm.” The video also mentioned his odd diet, which was to only consume things that were “white.” The biography also goes into his odd “Velvet Gentleman” phase where he only wore velvet suits. Weird History’s video would then go on to describe that Erik Satie wrote a piece that lasted for 28 hours, known as Vexations (hear a shortened version of “Vexations” with this link). Although these odd stories tied to a singular song, Erik Satie’s eccentricity and eclectic nature gives much more color to the songs that may seem too repetitive for some, especially “Vexations.” His pieces are representations of a man who was far too brash in his beliefs but still strikes inspiration today. As Weird History would say in their video, Satie would inspire Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, and Bill EvansErik Satie the oddity is very much a distinct oddity as he took like to a weird extreme that I could never imagine. It almost would seem that he would be more of a cartoon or novel character, but he is as real as you are.  

David Bowie and Erik Satie both inspire their distinct works with flair and passion. The musicians take on to be distinctive in the face of contemporaries in sometimes odd ways or artistic ways. Their pieces are born from places of turmoil, whether that be petty or very questionable ideas. Even if David Bowie’s music and Erik Satie’s music are stylistically different, they both represent the expression of what the pride as an artist. That pride could be the vengeful response to “My Way” or just what they believe it means to be artistic. However, the pride brought music that is unforgettable to some, and bring light to stories that may be also unforgettable.