Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let’s party like it’s 1199

Richard Thompson is currently touring his show 1000 Years of Popular Music in which he performs songs from, yes, the last 1000 years. The first track on the DVD is “Sumer is Icumen in” from c1260, but this one (filmed illegally on a phone on a week ago, on 3 February to be precise, at the Barbican) may be even earlier:

It was written by King Richard I. You know, the Lionheart, the one in the Robin Hood stories. Later songs are by Trad, Purcell, Gilbert and Sullivan, Cole Porter, the Kinks, the Who and Britney Spears. Here’s what Daily Telegraph critic Neil McCormick had to say about the show:
Taking us on a journey from Richard The Lionheart’s simple (and actually rather drab) lament “Ja Nuls Hom Pris” (circa 1119) to Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” (circa a couple of years ago), Thompson has considerable fun with the notion that there has always been pop music. Styles may change, but the core song form of verse and chorus remains remarkably consistent, as does the essence of the experience: rhythm for dancing, melody for carrying the emotional spirit, lyric for engaging mind and heart. It is a history lesson as a gig, light hearted yet (in its sense of humanity’s connectedness) profound.
Here is Thompson doing “Oops I did it again” on some UK TV show, with a bonus snippet of him with ex-wife Linda in their heyday in the 70s. It’s a seven-minute clip: after an excruciating interview (“I live in California for the culture and come to London for the weather”) the good stuff kicks in at about 5:00.

No comments: