Authenticity Of Authenticity

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TA: Clare Neil Since the 1960’s there has been an emergence of prolific singer-songwriters who dominated the charts and record sales. These artists utilized the unique ability to write about issues that were a concern to their audiences as well as themselves. With the strong emergence of singer songwriters, the question of authenticity comes into question. For the artists who do not write their own music, are they simply performers? This essay will analyze the question of authenticity between the singer-songwriter and those who rely on performing material from songwriters. The essay will discuss two artists from 2 different generations; one being the Supremes, the interpreter, and the other being Bruce Springsteen, the singer-songwriter. The Interpreter Rock criticism has played a significantly harsh role in the careers of artists and musical groups who do not perform their own written work. Rock criticism has labeled their music ‘inauthentic’ due to the fact that the artists are simply interpreting someone else’s work. The Supremes were one of the most successful music groups to emerge from the 1960’s rock scene, however they performed songs that were written by other writers. The Supremes are without question the most successful musical act to come from the Motown label. The Supremes were formed in 1959, however the version that received critical praise and the ultimate success was formed in 1962 with 3 African American female singers: Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross.1 As Motown’s reputation slowly grew, however they quickly garnered critical success in 1963, with the Supremes hit “Where Did Our Love Go” and the their follow up “Baby Love”, both written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. Under the guidance of ... ... middle of paper ... ...en the solos so common Motown singles are totally lacking spontaneity.”11 With Gordy behind the scenes controlling every aspect of the Supremes career, the ability to be authentic is never present. The Supremes and Bruce Springsteen reign in each of there respective generations. The Supremes dominated the 1960’s with hits such as ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Stop In The Name of Love’. This all female group was a definitive powerhouse for the Motown label, however they did not write their own music, simply interpreted them. In contrast, Bruce Springsteen remains one of the rock music’s most inspirational and powerful singer-songwriters. With songs such as ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Born To Run’ he defined not only a generation, but also the voice of the working class. Springsteen’s songs and performances are legendary, spontaneous and emotional, the definition of rock authenticity.

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