Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Monday, March 29, 2004

On Pirated Music

Not the RIAA this time; Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lileks bleats:
The score isn’t bad – better than the movie. But my ears perked up when the heroine is taken to her bedchamber by the Phantom, and the score turns moody and ominous. Sound familiar?

There it is: the most recognizable riff from the Andrew Lloyd Webber version. I have no idea how many houses that riff got him. And it’s not his. It’s Carl Davis’ notes. I googled around to see if he ever gave Davis credit; found nothing, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t admit it at some point. But even if the theater program gave Davis a nod it wouldn’t begin to describe the debt.
And whenever I hear Webber’s music – even that gorgeous Pie Jesu from his Requem – I always think “Nice tune. Where’d you get it?”

So what else is new? Ask any old-music buff, they'll tell you that in an instant. My kid brother, at seven years old or so, watched "Evita"; when they're calling her name ("Evita, Evita, Evita," on a three-note descending sequence), he piped up, "that's how they say 'Aurora' in 'Sleeping Beauty'!" Yup. Listen to "Girl of the Golden West," even if you've never heard it before, and you'll recognize quite a bit -- ALW copied tons from it. One of Elvis' old folksy songs (don't know which -- I heard it on a record in Germany in 1997) is nearly identical to "Any Dream Will Do." He doesn't write songs well; he adapts them well and sells them well, though.

The thing I like about Bombay Dreams (besides the fact that they're soon to come to Broadway) is that ALW admits to not having written the music. Ok, so I also liked seeing a Hindi movie fight scene on stage, singing along to all the music from "Taal," and seeing a West End musical about the way that Bollywood is run by underworld dons. What can I say? I'm easy to please.


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