Ten Contemporary Songwriters Who Got Major Help from Classical Composers

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(via purple clover)

by Kevin Haynes

“American Tune” (Paul Simon, 1973)

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Who says religion and politics don’t mix? Paul Simon’s somber ode to the immigrant experience and the decaying American dream is sung to a chorale from Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion,” first performed in 1727. Simon has always acknowledged the debt, but it turns out he was following Bach’s lead in more ways than one. The German composer apparently swiped the melody from a love song written at the turn of the 17th century by fellow countryman Hans Leo Hassler, “Mein G’müt ist mir verwirret.” Hymnist Paul Gerhardt later translated Latin words of praise to go with the theme; “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” has been a church favorite ever since…

Read more: http://www.purpleclover.com/entertainment/5562-classical-gas/

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