It’s a nasty business

“The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.” ~ Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

In later years, this bit of Gonzo wisdom was rewritten to denounce the music industry, and I suspect that’s fine with Kim du Toit:

It is a fact of life in the music business, where creative people are happy just to get an opportunity to create music, make albums and perform at concerts for their fans; while in the background the loathsome accountants and managers collect the money, demand more and more “product” from the artists, and try to justify their greed and rapacity by pleading that they “invest” in the artists and are therefore entitled to a return on their investment.

I recently watched the biopic of the late Amy Winehouse, the British jazz singer and ultimate Train Smash Woman, on Netflix. I would urge everyone to watch it — if you can stomach it all the way through — to see exactly what I’m talking about in the previous paragraph. All Amy had was boundless talent; all she lacked was maturity, common sense, guidance, protection and security, and nobody ever helped her by giving her any of it. Instead, her life was one long catalog of exploitation, enabling and vampire-like sucking of everything she had, with the predictable outcome. And she didn’t deserve any of it. To say Amy was vulnerable would be guilty of gross understatement, and her world treated her like a sadist would kick a newborn puppy, just because the squeals sounded good.

The fourth single from Back to Black, “Tears Dry on Their Own” owed a lot to Motown, and specifically to Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, whose “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” in the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version, lurks inside the rhythm section.

1 comment

  1. Marvin Gaye would have been 80 | Ramblin' with Roger »

    30 March 2019 · 9:42 am

    […] 4. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (with Tammi Terrell) (3 for three weeks RB, 19 pop, 1967); Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse leans heavily on this version of the Ashford/Simpson hit 3. Piece Of Clay – described here 2. […]

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