A musical tribute to aging ‘budding artists’ everywhere

That sure was good news reported by MinnPost’s Susan Perry last week in her Second Opinion blog — encouraging word that there’s still hope for all of us (potentially) creative types who haven’t quite yet delivered that “masterpiece” we know must be somewhere deep inside us.

Perry quotes local writer and illustrator Eric Hanson, who describes a few examples of those “who produced some of their greatest works in their fifth decade — or beyond — from his own post-40 creative masterpiece, ‘A Book of Ages.’ ”

So in celebration of this ray of hope, I offer a pop music salute to all of us (rapidly) aging — but (potentially) budding — creative artists everywhere. Here’s a quick sampling of songs dealing — more or less — with a few of those artistic talents.  

Painting
• Don McLean’s moving “Vincent.”

• Nat King Cole’s classic “Mona Lisa.”

• Steve Lawrence’s “Portrait of My Love.”

• Gary Lewis & the Playboys’ “(You Don’t Have to) Paint Me a Picture.”

• Stephen Sondheim’s “Pretty Little Picture,” from the musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” 

• The Rolling Stones’ downer, Paint It, Black.”

• Mel Torme and Peggy Lee’s duet, “The Old Master Painter.”

We’ll wrap up our painting section with an artistic retrospective that first aired on the CBS’ “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1968. Accompanied by Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas,” it featured a three-minute video that’s been out of circulation ever since. (Williams explains it all here.) This is the only version of the actual video I could find. (However, there’s an independent “re-creation” of the retrospective here that attempts to capture the feel of the original.)

Stage productions
Two Shakespeare-themed songs:

• The Reflections’ “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet.”

• And “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” from Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” a musical adaptation of “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Ballet
• The Left Banke’s Pretty Ballerina.”

• Vaughn Monroe’s “Ballerina.”

Writing / Composing
• The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer.”

 • “I Could Write a Book,” the Frank Sinatra-Kim Novak duet from Rodgers and Hart’s “Pal Joey.”

• Johnny Tillotson’s “Poetry in Motion.”

• Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man.”

Musical compositions
• The Arbors’ “A Symphony for Susan.”

“My Heart’s Symphony,” another song from Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

• And Barry Manilow’s love-it-or-hate-it “I Write the Songs.”

Photography
• Ringo Starr’s Photograph.”

• Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome.”

 * * * * *

I’ll end with a certified multi-talented musical “over-achiever”: Johnny Crawford proposes an incredibly ambitious artistic agenda to celebrate “Cindy’s Birthday.” Here’s a sampling:

No time for the movie show, TV, or the radio
Gotta write a symphony, end it with some poetry
Tie them with a ribbon made of gold and give them to Cindy
Today is Cindy`s birthday

No time for geometry, ’rithmetic or history
Gotta write a song from my heart, then pick the greatest work of art …

No time to do the Twist, don`t mind all the things I miss
Gotta write a melody, write it from the heart of me
Tie it with a ribbon made of gold and give it to Cindy …

Maybe there’s a masterpiece in there somewhere.

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