Visual Sound: Songs About Art and Artists

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Rock Music
Tags: , , , , ,

Andy_Warhol    picasso

Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987)   and Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Composers have long been inspired by visual artists and tributes to them abound.   I’ve provided a few of my favorites here.  In many ways, the artists and the composers (artists, of course, in their own right) are cut from the same cloth.  An ability to see the world in a different light or the desire to push the boundaries are all shared characteristics.


Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

  1. Paul Cezanne” – 5 Chinese Brothers – an upbeat pop tune from this NYC-based band led by Tom Meltzer. Nicely done tribute to the “Father of Cubsime”.
  2. “Andy Warhol – David Bowie – From “Hunky Dory” this is spacey, hint of flamenco, acoustic tribute.  Legend has it that when Bowie played it for Warhol for the first time Warhol was silent for a bit and then said “I like your shoes”.
  3. “Magritte” – John Cale – Beautiful tune from the 2003 release “HoboSapiens”. The lyrics reference visual clues from Magritte’s works and address being consumed by an artist.
  4. Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)” – Don McLean – easily the most well-known song on this list. A big hit for Don and filled with visual references to Van Gogh’s works.  A bit overly sweet for my taste but I’m grateful when musicians educate the masses.
  5. No One Was Like Vermeer” – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – JR has always had a great way with lyrics and this is no exception. A beautiful tribute and a nice art compilation video.
  6. Art Teacher” – Rufus Wainwright – not exactly about an artist but there aren’t a lot of songs about teachers so this is a good way to wrap this up and offer a nod to something the world needs more of these days – art teachers.



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