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Music Quotes about & from Musicians & Composers - Page 1
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Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney, best known as the songwriter along with John Lennon or the Beatles, is considered the most financially successful musician who has ever lived.  He composes in rock, pop, classical, ambient and for films. He was knighted for his achievements and just received an honorary doctoral degree from Yale.

Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.

- Paul McCartney (1942- )


Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a swimming pool.'

- Paul McCartney (1942- )

All the Best CD

Someone like John would want to end the Beatle period and start the Yoko period. He wouldn't like either to interfere with the other.

- Paul McCartney (1942- )


I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.

- Paul McCartney (1942- )


I've got to admit it's getting better. It's a little better all the time.

- Paul McCartney (1942- )


It was Elvis who really got me hooked on beat music. When I heard "Heartbreak Hotel" I thought, this is it.

- Paul McCartney (1942- )

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Frank Zappa

Frank Vincent Zappa, wanted to be known, first and foremost, as an American composer, for which he excelled in both pop and classical music mediums, producing over 60 albums by his band, 'The Mothers of Invention'. He was also a vocalist, guitarist, conductor, film director, bandleader and a stellar example of entrepreneurial success. The musical genres he wrote in and performed with included rock groups, jazz ensembles, symphony orchestras, modern music ensembles, synthesizers, musique concrete and pieces utilizing sampled sources. He also worked in visual mediums creating short and feature-length films, music videos as well as album covers for his music. He toured extensively and enjoyed extraordinary notoriety in Eastern Europe, all the while merchandising his albums.

Despite what many assumed by his appearance, Zappa was a strong spokesperson for capitalism and business, did not use recreational drugs and strongly spoke out against their use. He unfortunately died too young from prostate cancer.

He is survived by his wife Adelaide Gail Sloatman and their four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Several of their adult children perform their father’s as well as their own music.

“A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.”


“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

“Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.”

“Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, uses that something to support their own existence.”

- Frank Zappa(1940-1993)

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Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland’s life and music spanned the 20th century and he was considered by most to be America’s most ‘American sounding’ composer. In addition to superb use of melody, open rich harmony and dynamic wide-ranging rhythmic interplay, Copland composed from the heart as well as with technical prowess.

When we hear his “Fanfare for the Common Man,” we can’t help but to feel deeply moved through the sheer beauty and heartfelt poignancy of his musical language. He championed performances of his own work as both a conductor and a pianist, appearing with a great many symphony orchestras throughout his long career. Even so, many other great conductors including Serge Koussevitzky of the Boston Symphony, Eugene Ormandy of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Leonard Bernstein of the New York Philharmonic often performed and recorded Copland’s music.

One interesting observation: Copland’s music, which for many evokes pastoral and patriotic American themes due to titles like Billie the Kid, Rodeo, Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man and Lincoln Portrait, Copland himself doesn’t fit the stereotype of the kind of man who would compose such music. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, lived most all his life there, was a Jew, was said to be a gay man, and was accused of being a communist (the accusation was eventually dismissed due to no evidence after 20 years of FBI investigation). For us, this goes to show that the shallow stereotypical notions of what an American patriot might look like can be wrong. It is good to remember this next time you are stirred with patriotic feelings as you listen to Aaron Copland’s music. His deeply moving American music was written by a true American, a Jewish, cosmopolitan, homosexual and politically left man, who may have best captured the spirit of America for all of us to appreciate... now and for generations to come.  

“You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down... some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.”

“If a literary man puts together two words about music, one of them will be wrong.”

“There is something about music that keeps its distance even at the moment that it engulfs us. It is at the same time outside and away from us and inside and part of us. In one sense it dwarfs us, and in another we master it. We are led on and on, and yet in some strange way we never lose control.”


“When I speak of the gifted listener, I am thinking of the non-musician primarily, of the listener who intends to retain his amateur status. It is the thought of just such a listener that excites the composer in me.”

“Listening to the Fifth Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for forty-five minutes”

“Inspiration may be a form of super-consciousness, or perhaps of sub-consciousness…  I wouldn’t know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self-consciousness.”

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.”

“So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.”

“The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, ‘Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes.’ And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be ‘No.’”

“I think that my music, even when it sounds tragic, is a confirmation of life, of the importance of life. If there is a unifying core in it all, it is a sense of affirmation.”

“Life seems so transitory! It is very attractive to set down some sort of permanent statement about the way we feel, so that when it's all gone, people will be able to go to our art works to see what it was like to be alive in our time and place - twentieth-century America.”

“I have never known a public concert of a variegated make-up that wasn't enlivened by ten minutes of controversial music. Even those who are sure to hate it are given something to talk about.”

“A great symphony is like a man-made Mississippi down which we irresistibly flow from the instant of our leave-taking to a long foreseen destination.”

- Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)

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Sheryl Crow

The American rock singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Sheryl Crow blends country, folk, pop and blues into a mainstream sound that combines sunny rock tunes with world-weary ballads. She toured with Michael Jackson during the BAD world tour in 1987-1989 and has played with such musicians as Sting, Stevie Wonder, Don Henley, and Sinead O’Conner. She has won nine Grammies for her eclectic sound and has written songs for other artists, notably, Celine Dion and Wynonna Judd. Crow recently added political activism to her credits, engaging Karl Rove in a heated exchange about global warming at the 2007 White House Correspondents Dinner. She had several high profile relationships which included Eric Clapton, Owen Wilson, and most recently Lance Armstrong, with whom she separated in 2006. Although she was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2006, but has had a prognosis for full recovery.

“Your art kind of changes as you get older, by nature of the fact that you’re hopefully gaining wisdom and you’re starting to watch things with a better overview.”

“You can’t be in the public eye without making mistakes and having some regrets and having people analyze everything you do.”

“I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies.”

“I have been around for a long, long time. I didn't make it 'til I was older. I went through the period when women were not getting signed, particularly if you were writing songs that were lyrically propelled.”


“Beck said he didn't believe in the theory of a song coming through you as if you were an open vessel. I agree with him to a certain extent.”

“More than 10 million Americans are living with cancer, and they demonstrate the ever-increasing possibility of living beyond cancer.”

“I am joining the more than 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. We are a testament to the importance of early detection and new treatments ... I am inspired by the brave women who have faced this battle before me and grateful for the support of family and friends.”

“A song that sounds simple is just not that easy to write.”

“The video forum for me has been a source of great consternation because once you start projecting a look to a song, it robs the listener of their ability to adopt that song and make the lyric their own.”

“The greatest hits in some weird way marks the end of something.”

“That feeling of freedom, open highways of possibilities, has kind of been lost to materialism and marketing.”

“Music really becomes the soundtrack to the major events to your life.

- Sheryl Crow  (1962- )

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