"I love every experience we have had together," King says in a trailer for the film, alluding to the songwriters' longstanding musical relationship. The trailer also features archival photographs of King and Taylor's first live performance together in 1970 at the Troubadour in Hollywood, as well as footage from the pair's 2007 and 2010 Troubadour reunion tour.
"In 1968 I always used to say that I wanted to make records they would still play on the radio in ten years," Creedence Clearwater Revival architect John Fogerty told Rolling Stone in 1993. Try 50 years. CCR were the catchy, hard-driving dance band amidst the psychedelic San Francisco ballroom scene of the late Sixties, scoring 12 Top 40 hits during their run while releasing an incredible five albums between 1968 and 1970. Fogerty's songwriting process reflected the blue-collar worldview of a guy who wrote his first Top 10 hit (1969's "Proud Mary") just two days after being discharged from the Army Reserves: "Just sitting very late at night," he said. "It was quiet, the lights were low. There was no extra stimulus, no alcohol or drugs or anything. It was purely mental. . .I had discovered what all writers discover, whether they're told or not, that you could do anything." Fogerty later admitted to envying the critical adulation received by Bob Dylan and the Band, but he tapped the tenor of his times as well as anyone, whether on the class conscious Vietnam protest anthem "Fortunate Son" or "Bad Moon Rising," which channeled America's sense of impending apocalyptic into two-and-a-half choogling minutes.
The first time most people heard David Bowie, he was playing an astronaut named Major Tom, floating through space, completely cut off from civilization. Within a couple of years Bowie was channeling that sense of cosmic alienation into albums like 1971's Hunky Dory and the 1972's classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, emerging as one of the most creative (and unpredictable) songwriting forces of the 1970s. Early on, Bowie specialized in offering an indelible vision of the Seventies glam-rock demimonde. Lyrically, his use of William Burroughs-style cut and paste made for fascinating, if at times, baffling flows of image and ideas. "You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects creating a kind of story ingredients-list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix 'em up and reconnect them," he once said, describing a process that sometimes involves literally pulling phrases out of a hat. "You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this." Bowie is also one of rock's great collaborators, whether he's working with Brian Eno, Mick Ronson or Iggy Pop. On timeless songs like "Life on Mars" or "Changes" or "Heroes," his ability to combine accessibility and idiosyncrasy makes for music that marries art and pop and transfigures culture itself.
"Hag, you're the guy people think I am," said Johnny Cash to Merle Haggard, whose life and lyrics intertwined magnificently. Among Haggard's 38 Number One country hits, signature tunes like "Okie From Muskogee," "Mama Tried" and "Sing Me Back Home" mixed autobiography and attitude with a honky-tonk spirit in the tradition of Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams. As he told American Songwriter in 2010, "Sometimes the songs got to coming too fast for me to write, and sometimes they still do." The prolific Haggard, who once released eight albums in a three-year period, is an icon of country conservatism thanks to his hippie-baiting classic "Okie From Muskogee." Yet, his music directly influenced rock touchstones like the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead and the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet, and Hag has been influenced right back. "I'm a rock & roller," he recently told Rolling Stone. "I'm a country guy because of my raisin', but I'm a Chuck Berry man. I love Fats Domino just as much as I like Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell."
Neil Young's epic career has veered wildly from folk-rock to country to hard rock to synth-driven New Wave pop to rockabilly to bar-band blues. "Neil doesn't turn corners," Crazy Horse guitarist Frank "Poncho" Sampedro once said. "He ricochets around them." And while he's disappointed more than a few bandmates and fans with his at-times baffling career choices, his songs are always pure Neil. Young's creakingly lovely acoustic ballads and torrential rockers draw on the same ageless themes: the myths and realities of American community and freedom, the individual's hard struggle against crushing political and social forces, mortality and violence, chrome dreams, ragged glories and revolution blues. Young has released an astonishing 36 solo albums, five in the last two years. His best work ("Ambulance Blues," "Powderfinger," "After the Goldrush") may have come in the Sixties and Seventies, but every single album comes with more than a few amazing moments. Songs like the 1970 soft-rock classic "Heart of Gold," his only Number One single, have led to an image of the tireless 69-year-old legend as a lonely troubadour, but Young insists that's deceptive. "Something about my songs, everyone thinks I'm kind of downbeat," he said at his 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "But things have been good for me for a long time. So if I look kind of sad, it's bullshit. Forget it. I'm doing good."
Leonard Cohen was a dark Canadian eminence among the pantheon of singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties. His haunting bass voice, nylon-stringed guitar patterns, and Greek-chorus backing vocals delivered incantatory verses about love and hate, sex and spirituality, war and peace, ecstasy and depression, and other eternal dualities. A perfectionist known for spending years on a tune, Cohen's genius for details illuminated the oft-covered "Suzanne" and "Hallelujah." "Being a songwriter is like being a nun," Rolling Stone reported him saying in 2014. "You're married to a mystery. It's not a particularly generous mystery, but other people have that experience with matrimony anyway." In 1995, Cohen appeared to reject the worldliness reflected in songs like "The Future" and "Democracy" by putting his career on hold and becoming an ordained Buddhist monk. But he relaunched his career at age 74 and has continued to tour the world and make sensually luminous albums into the 2010s. At 80, he's still our greatest living late-night poet.
Well then they better find out who they're worshiping. Let's see if they can take it. Let's get real.' So I wrote Blue, which horrified a lot of people, you know." Mitchell's run of albums from 1970's Ladies of the Canyon to 1974's Court and Spark, on which she perfected a jazz-bent studio pop, rival any streak of record-making in pop history, and her lyrical depictions of the ecstasy and heartbreak that came with being a strong woman availing herself of the sexual independence of the Sixties and Seventies offer a unique emotional travelogue of the era. "I had no personal defenses," she said of her writing at the time. "I felt like a cellophane rapper on a pack of cigarettes."
Since then, he's released more than 20 studio albums, appeared in dozens of films and was immortalized in the Songwriters, Nashville Songwriters and Country Music halls of fame. His prolific writing, willingness to directly address topics some other songwriters glossed over (Kristofferson's "Sunday Mornin' " lyric "I'm wishin', Lord, that I was stoned" raised some eyebrows when Johnny Cash performed it on his television show in 1970), and forthright delivery have influenced countless artists across the globe. 2b1af7f3a8