Loudon Wainwright III and Philip Glass on NBC (1989)

August 14, 2007

I include this video as a kind of blog bookmark in my Rufus Wainwright research. It was captured by someone watching TV in a hotel room and filming it with a video camera. On the TV is Loudon Wainwright III on NBC, show not identified, playing with an unidentified duo (a black man on bass and a white woman on violin who he calls “boys” — oops) singing a protest song about Jesse Helms’s attempt to censor the NEA in 1989. The song is really quite strong and sung beautifully. Following this song Loudon introduces Philip Glass, yes, Philip Glass who plays his own “Metamorphosis II” on the piano. I had never seen PG play the piano, so this was interesting for me to watch.

The point of all this is that I’d be willing to bet that young Rufus Wainwright saw this show and some years later composed “The Art Teacher.” For those of you that know the song, combine the two songs on this video, and you’ll hear what I mean. For those of you that don’t know “Art Teacher” here is a lovely TV performance.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ComposerBastard August 14, 2007 at 4:13 am

Well, I have a different theory, that after hearing Philip Glass play the piano, Martin Scorcese wrote TAXI DRIVER, for as I have always said, with Philip Glass, the livery world lost an outstanding navigator, and the musical world gained a lousy composer…

Afterglow August 14, 2007 at 9:18 am

I certainly hear the similarity between the Glass piece and Art Teacher.

Had you by chance noticed the extreme similarity between the beginning of Nobody’s Off the Hook and Tori Amos’s Leather? I saw RW about 10 days ago and thought he was going to cover it (since I hadn’t heard Release the Stars yet and didn’t realize it was his own).

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