“Tuning My Guitar”

Following on from yesterday’s Post, there was a young lady who felt inspired to write about her frustrations with the music industry, and one song in particular (“What have they done to my song, Ma?”) would seem to be a parallel story to Gordon Giltrap’s experience.Β  i.e. What he wrote and how he visualized it being performed, was rather different from how it was ultimately published.

Melanie Safka was, to me, the ideal “poster girl” for flower power! She seemed to represent all that was good in those “peace and love” times, and one of her initial impacts on me was her recording of “Alexander Beetle”! I have no idea whether she was really “pushing” the industry by writing a song about a beetle … but it seemed to work for her and, when my daughter was born, she was given the name Melanie. It just seemed so appropriate.

The song in the video would seem to be a very open and honest show of dismay with the industry, and also a show of strength that she is not going to give up her music. “I used to do it just for fun” (a line from the song) is a statement which I can imagine many musicians would relate to as they reminisced to when playing was fun .. before the music industry captured them and used their creativity and music skills to make huge amounts of money. Enjoy Melanie!

16 thoughts on ““Tuning My Guitar”

  1. I probably said this to you before but my husband is a very good musician. It paid for his college education. He used to write songs. When he was still in high school, he sold one. He was a rock person. They used it on the B side of a record and made it a country-western tune by change the tempo and adding a twang. Back then when you sold your song you had no rights. He was so annoyed he never sold another song. He got $50 which was good money in the early 60s. I remember Melanie. She is the ultimate flower child.

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    • Yes the music business has total control, and a musicians choice seems to be accept the terms or leave. Not a very amiable way to do business but, if you cooperate and basically sell your soul to them, you can become well known, I guess it comes down to how you value the potential benefits of fame and fortune, against a life in which you have control, and your material remains your property. Sadly, I think the greater proportion of individuals making that decision are too young to understand the potential ramifications of both positions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like her unusual and powerful voice. I imagine the musician’s life is about like any other job in a way. You have those in management pushing you, and if you don’t push back occasionally, they will take total advantage of you.

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    • Hi TG. I guess there are similarities re misuse of authority in all jobs, but the music business is a little different in the area of expectations. My obligations throughout my working years were to work pre-determined hours, and O/T as requested. I could generally plan around those expectations and enjoy a life away from work. The nature of the music business is to perform in the evenings and weekends when your “customers” are available; do interviews, rehearsals, new material and studio recording during the day. This leaves very little time for anything else. Many musicians have complained about aggressive show schedules (multiple performances per day), Both my parents were in the theatre business (before it collapsed as a result of television), and it was considered a lifestyle rather than a job, because you were always doing something that was work related!

      Liked by 1 person

        • The stress on any relationship must be huge, particularly if a partner was not in “the business”. Also probably explains the mental issues around self-image; the drug addictions, and various behavioural issues. I cannot imagine living at such a pace, and having no control over decisions which affect me but then .,.. I did not pursue that career option either! πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • When we were married for 6 months, Brad got laid off. His best friend from HS told us to come down to Tennessee to pursue music with him and his wife. Brad was involved in a small band in HS, they had made a CD and it was a dream of his to pursue music so we went down.
            Long story short, we didn’t end up staying, his friend did, but his wife left him. He didn’t make it in the music world. Ended up selling insurance.
            Its a really hard business to get into!
            Brad may not have had a full time career in music, but he hasn’t lost his love and passion for music at all! πŸ™‚

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