Music & Show Business Quotes

Phil Shaw - http://okshaw.com

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P QR S T U V W X YZ


A

Louis Armstrong:

Questioner: "What is jazz?"
Louis Armstrong: "If you don't know, I can't tell you."


B

Art Blakey:

"They see you before they hear you."


C

Johny Cash:

"Being rich means you get to worry about everything except money."

George M. Cohan:

"I can write better plays than any living danced, and dance better than any living playwright."

"As a composer I could never find use for over 4 or 5 notes in any musical number, and as a playwright most of my plays have two acts because i couldn't think of an idea for the third act."


D

Miles Davis:

(Asked John Coltrane why his solos were so long):
John Coltrane said, "I don't know how to stop".
Miles replied, "Take the horn out of your mouth."

"No drummer, no band."

(Asked by a young musician how to become a better trumpet player)
"Buy a piano."

Walt Disney:

"If I depended on critics and children to make a living I'd grow broke."

Bob Dylan:

"I'm determined to stand whether God will deliver me or not." (a phrase that struck him onstage in Locarno, Switzerland)

"My daddy once said, 'Son, it's possible to become so defiled in this world that your own mother and father will abandon you. And if that happens, God will always believe in you own ability to mend your ways.' " (acceptance remarks for Lifetime Achievement Award at 1991 Grammies)


E

Duke Ellington:

"I don't need time to write. I need a deadline."

Eminem (see also Trent Reznor):

"Remember how much fun it was to curse when you were in the first grade?"


G

Errol Garner:

"Nobody can hear you read music."

W.S. Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan):

"Posterity will know as little of me as I know of posterity."

Samuel Goldwyn:

Guideline for a successful production: "Start with an earthquake and work up to a climax."

Benny Goodman:

When Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra were both playing the Paramount theatre, Frank asked Benny why he always practised backstage between shows. Benny answered, "So when I'm not great, I'll be very good."

Dexter Gordon:

"Bebop is the music of the future (as soon as they learn how to play it)."


H

Yip Harburg

"Words make you think thoughts. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought."

Don Henly:

"Fortune smiles on some, and lets the others go free."

Vladimir Horowitz:

"If I miss one day of practise, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, everybody notices it."

Victor Hugo

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent"


K

Jerome Kern

"Musical numbers should carry the action of the play and should be representative of the personalities of the characters who sing them."


M

Dean Martin:

"It's Frank's world. We just live in it."


R

Trent Reznor (see also Eminem):

"I like the idea of irritating people. I like that your parents hate this music. They should hate it.

Buddy Rich (to Artie Shaw):

"You betrayed your talent."

Ned Rorem

"Minor artists borrow, great ones steal."

Gioacchino Rossini:

"Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour."


S

Artie Shaw:

"When I first met Benny Goodman he wouldn't talk about anything but clarinets, mouthpieces, reeds, etc. When I tried to change the subject, he said 'But that's what we have in common. We both play clarinet.' I said, 'No, Benny, that's where we're different. You play clarinet, I play music.'"

"Listening to Bennie [Goodman] talk about the clarinet was like listening to a surgeon get hung up on a scalpel."

(Responding to a fan who said he had once played clarinet but stopped for lack of talent): "Practice eight hours a day for ten years and then tell me about talent."

George Bernard Shaw

"...instead of Otello being an Italian opera written in the style of Shakespeare, Othello is a play written by Shakespeare in the style of Italian opera. "

Zoot Sims:

(speaking of Stan Getz) "...a nice bunch of guys."

(Asked if he knew Giant Steps): "Yeah, but I use my own changes."

Stravinsky:

"Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit." (Poetics of Music)


Z

Frank Zappa:

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."