Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by people who do it their own way. In Denmark theres a sort of pop music called Dansktop, which got really bad in the 80’s. In the 60’s and 70’s Dansktop consisted mostly of translated pop, jazz and country songs from overseas.
Teddy Edelmann’s translation of Ricky Nelsons “Garden Party”
Four Jacks’ translated version of the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie”
But in the 80’s most of the artists began writing their own songs, with extremely cheesy lyrics, similar to the German Schlager music. And with extremely ugly keyboard sounds and simple drums, Dansktop became disgusting to members of the music elite. That’s the Dansktop I got to know first. Kitschy people like Richard Ragnvald, Jodle Birge and Bjørn & Okay.
Bjørn & Okay
That, of all things was what got me interested in stuff, which was heard less than most other music. Later I discovered the true outsiders like Little Fyodor, Jad Fair, Wild Man Fischer and Daniel Johnston, but what makes Jodle Birge just as special to me, is that he does it in spite of criticism. Basically I discovered that, no matter how poppy the music is, it is always in spite of someone. Someone told all of us “You can’t do that”. Which is the most inspiring feeling I think. The feeling of “I’ll show them”. I think experimental artists share this with more people than we will ever know! Even in the so-called mainstream!
I’ll leave you with this translated version of “Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys”, by the truck driver turned singer, Mr. President, because being a Danish cowboy, he had plenty of criticism, but kept on keeping on!