The Lifespan of Creativity

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Harvey Harvey
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The Lifespan of Creativity

I was thinking about musical artists tonight. It seems that many that have produced great music have a streak of incredible work and then it stops.  I think of the Stones as having incredible longevity and their greatest work spanned maybe 20 years.  With 50 records maybe Miles Davis exceeded that time frame.

Is an artist no different than an athlete?  A friend of mine loved baseball and statistics determined that 28 was, on average, the peak year for a ball player, when the combination of knowledge an fitness were maxed.

Do you know examples of artists who produced great work over their entire life, or even very late in there life? Do you get a finite burst of creativity in your lifetime to use up, or is creativity a talent that you never lose?
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
MC2 5678F589 MC2 5678F589
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I like some of Bob Dylan's newer stuff. Not quite as angry and cynical as his older stuff, but still good writing (as you'd expect).

I don't know man, I just think the public (as a mass) craves originality. Artists with a new or different sound are celebrated more than artists with the same sound, even if they get better and better at what they do.

The Stones have always just fitted their sound to the currently popular sound at the time. When they first came out, they were original, but their music in the 80s sounded like the Stones doing 80s music, that music they released in the 90s sounded like U2, etc. Hell, they even put out a country album (which sounded like the Stones doing country). One way to longevity is just to adapt your music to the current sound (speaking of U2, they did that same thing with that album they released with all that electronic music on it). Another example of this is Santana, just adding guitar licks to the popular music of the time & just recording with the popular artists and producers of the time.

I think the longevity of someone like Miles Davis or BB King (who never really changed their sounds, just came up with new and interesting ways to do their thing) might be more impressive (I even liked that BB King/Clapton album because I thought it was a good combo of their styles). I prefer it when artists "remain true to themselves" or whatever, but they never achieve the popularity of the shapeshifters, because they don't draw in as many new fans.

Generally, I think that every artist (every person?) has a voice. The masses like certain voices as originals, and they like certain voices because they mirror the popular voice of the time in some way. I've always appreciated the originals more. I think the Beatles drove the currently popular sound at the time - leaders, not bandwagon jumpers. I think John Lennon would have kept doing that if he lived.

Okay, with that, I'm off to Okemo.
warp daddy warp daddy
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Re: The Lifespan of Creativity

It strictly subjective and in the eye or in this case EAR of the beholder ..

Technically there is only so much you can do with music . oh yeah you can morph rhythm and to some degree sound with EFFECTS generators , but progression is still somewhat limited to interpretation.

As an example as a guitarist i can add / subtract multiple or  stand alone or co generated guitar  Effects , morph rhythm , add syncopation   But that is not limitless ...   I

Strictly a guess but the. Greats have a style of playing or a timbre of voice that simply with minor adjustments over time using the latest in " technical " enhancements or as i call them " trick boxes" to alter sound "  withstands the skitzophrenia  of the market 😈 .

But then again what the hell do i know !!!!.. I can tell ya this tho there are often fantastic street musicians or subway buskers who would be awesome IF DISCOVERED AND HYPED !

What does my man ithe drummer in the Catskills think? Cmon D  you guys been gigging for decades
Harvey Harvey
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Re: The Lifespan of Creativity

In reply to this post by MC2 5678F589
Even thought I didn't mention him, Lennon was on my mind when I posted this.  He was a force to be sure.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
D.B. Cooper D.B. Cooper
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I was once told that music changes every 5 years.  It's roughly the length of a high school career as kids of that age are the ones who buy the most records (or at least did).

Some great albums, in my mind, that were made when singers/bands were "older" include Paul Simon's  Graceland (mid 40's), Blackhawk (country band/early 40's), Buena Vista Social Club (Cuban) and anything Springsteen, especially the Wrecking Ball (aged 53) and The Rising albums (aged 42).

Also, having worked in a startup once, I was told that 29 was the ideal age to start a business.  Supposedly it's the ideal point between having enough life experience but not having too many commitments.
Sent from the driver's seat of my car while in motion.
timbly timbly
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I think you may be confusing creativity with popularity. Lots of bands come and go, but many musicians keep on keeping on long past their peak popularity. Think about how many bands become the "voice of their generation", make a lot of money, then turn everyone off with their albums that fail to capture the teen angst/zeitgeist that made them popular--they grow, mature, play music, produce other artists, but they never make the top 40 again.
Lots of visual artists are creative throughout their lifetimes, too.
At least, that's the way I see it.
Brownski Brownski
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I think creativity might come in waves for some people and others might just run out of it after a brief burst when they're young but for most people (normal people maybe) it's something that has to be developed and maintained over time like a muscle. If you don't actively practice and foster it, it's gonna disappear.
"You want your skis? Go get 'em!" -W. Miller
campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Re: The Lifespan of Creativity

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Harvey wrote
 

Do you know examples of artists who produced great work over their entire life, or even very late in there life? Do you get a finite burst of creativity in your lifetime to use up, or is creativity a talent that you never lose?

I can't speak from experience because I'm about as creative as a doorknob. That said I can tell you about a friends experience in the music industry. He's been playing/singing/performing his entire life. Started in his teens. It wasn't until he reached his mid 40's when his career as a musician truly took off for him with a Grammy Nomination. From there it's been nothing but great things for him. I think he'd tell you the same thing that it's more about being in the right place at the right time. It's not that he got any better, rather he finally got noticed and took full advantage of it. Luckily for all of us he's still just a good ole country boy  

campgottagopee campgottagopee
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Oddly enough I watched the documentary, RUSH - Time Stand Still last night. I admit that I'm 100% biased as RUSH is my fav rock band of all time. Their career/creativity spans 40 years, no band has played as many live shows as they have not to mention to a sold out crowd. In the documentary the band gives all of their success to their fans. I guess having incredibly loyal fans will directly effect the lifespan of creativity.

I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of music to watch the movie.

Harvey Harvey
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I never knew anything about Geddy Lee until I saw this recently. Sitting in for Chris Squire who passed.



I think Chris would be pumped.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
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