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Robert Pollard: The World’s Greatest Living Songwriter

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Joe

Robert Pollard is the world’s greatest living songwriter. That may be a bold statement, but it is true. I have many favourite songwriters, James Mercer, Sufjan Stevens, Paddy McAloon, but none of them have the longevity and body of work that Pollard has.

Paul McCartney is obviously a challenge to what I’m saying, and I’m a huge fan of his work. I love the Beatles and anyone who had the misfortune to spend last New Year with me will testify to my overplaying of his solo songs and work with Wings. But he hasn’t produced a decent album since 1982, and his work in the 70s was pretty patchy. He was a spent force 20 years and two dozen albums into his career.

Check out http://www.gbvdb.com/ for an amazingly detailed look at his recording career.

Pollard has been recording for 23 years and must have released 50+ albums in his many guises. This year alone he has released 6 new albums (three of which are amongst his best) and has a three CD set of demos and outtakes ready for release.

He is an artist that isn’t ever likely to have mainstream popularity, but he does have an army of fanatically loyal fans. His more famous fan base includes Paddy Considine, Stewart Lee, Daniel Radcliffe and Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh is currently making a musical based on the life of Cleopatra with all the songs based on Guided by Voices originals.

The best way to understand the great man is to see him in action. First up is a rare TV appearance by Guided By Voices.  It was their first appearance, some ten years into their career, look out for the particularly rock n roll behaviour of guitarist Mitch Mitchell during the second song.

by Dorian Rogers,  Sept 2009

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