3 Killer Songs About Vincent van Gogh

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Did you know that Vincent van Gogh has inspired (at least) three great songs? The first I want to share with you is by Jonathan Richman with the Modern Lovers backing him up (iTunes link), and it's really sweet -- smart, funny, and even moderately educational. Here's a music video a fan made on YouTube:

"Vincent van Gogh" - Jonathan Richman w/the Modern Lovers

Some sample lyrics:

Have you heard about the painter Vincent van Gogh,
Who loved color and who let it show.
Now in the museum...what have we here?
The baddest painter since God's Jan Vermeer.
And he loved, he loved, he loved life so bad,
His paintings had twice the color other paintings had.
So bad so bad that the world had to know,
The man loved color and he let it show.

"Vincent" - Don McLean

But there's more van Gogh action where that came from. Don McLean included a track entitled "Vincent" (iTunes link) on his famous American Pie album. It's sometimes misreferenced as "Starry Starry Night" as those are the opening lyrics. And guess what, there are fan videos for that one too....

Here's a truly powerful live performance from 1972, live on "Sounds for Saturday":

Sample lyrics:

And now I understand what you tried to say to me
how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they did not know how
perhaps they'll listen now.

Read tons more about "Vincent" via Wikipedia, including a list of dozens of covers -- everyone from NOFX to Chet Atkins covered it. (Okay, okay, here's the NOFX cover and the Chet Atkins cover for the curious.)

"Vincent van Gogh" - Bob Dylan (Live w/Rolling Thunder Revue)

This one speaks for itself. Never officially released, it was written sometime in the '60s and available on various live bootlegs, primarily from the '70s. Here is one such performance:

But Wait, There's Even More

If that's not enough for you, check out Wikipedia's list of Cultural Depictions of Vincent van Gogh (Musical - Popular). If you find any other Vincent van Gogh related gems, please post links in the comments!

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September 14, 2009 - 4:01am
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