Beck, welcome to the Ideasicle Podcast.
: Thank you.Well it’s great to have you. I have seenthe sampler of your new album, “SongReader.” But can you tell our listenerswhat Song Reader is in broad strokes?
It’s essentially a songbook. It’s a collec-tion of songs in notated form and sheet musicform. And the idea came about 15 years ago. Iwas sent a sheet music version of one of myﬁrst records and I was looking it over. The re-cord that I had recorded, I think it was Odelay,or maybe my ﬁrst one, had not been conceivedwith sheet music in mind at all. You know, therewas a lot of experimentation, noises, screeches,feedback, you know, sound collage. So the ideaof notating it just seemed kind of backwards. SoI remember looking it over and thinking, youknow, it’s a shame that we’re trying to ﬁt thesesongs into this notated form. It would probablymake more sense to do it the other way around.You know, where you write the songs for thebook. And so I had that idea sitting around foryears.I actually forgot about it for a long time, and thenabout ten years ago I was reading a book about jazz singers and jazz crooners, and they hadmentioned that a certain song in the 1930’s thatBing Crosby had popularized sold over 50 mil-lion copies of sheet music, in a time where therewas about 130 million people in the entire coun-try. And that number was just staggering to me.You know, the biggest phenomenon, musicalphenomenon, I had known in my life, wasmaybe Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and I thinkat the height it had sold maybe 15-20 millioncopies. So the complete, seemingly seismic,magnitude of the song “Sweet Leilani” was akind of a Hawaiian ballad that Bing Crosby
Ideasicle Podcast: The Beck Interview
“The idea came about 15 years ago.