If Shel Silverstein Wasn’t The Most Successful Songwriter In Country Music History, He Was Certainly The Most Creative
There have been many multi-talented people in Country Music history.
Artist's who were (or are) great singer/songwriter/entertainers. You know, those certain superstar's who could seemingly 'do it all'.
Shel Silverstein wasn't one of those people. Nope. Shel will never be remembered as one of Country Music's great singers. He won't go down in history as the greatest entertainer to ever hit the stage and stand in the spotlight.
But...and this is an important 'but'...
A lot of great artist's stood in that spotlight before thousands of people because of Shel Silvertein.
Well, before we get to the great songwriting, try this on for size:
Shel Silverstein's books have sold over 20 million copies. That';s right, over 20 million!
If you don't recognize the name, you probably remember some of the title's, books that were intended for children, but loved by adult's. 'Where The Sidewalk Ends'. 'A Light In The Attic'. Perhaps most famously, 'The Giving Tree' , as well as others. Oh and he illustrated them to. Yes, Shel Silverstein is a world famous illustrator and his drawings are coveted worldwide.
Oh...and a cartoonist, too. If you happened to enjoy Playboy magazine back 'in the day', yep...you probably saw Shel's cartoon work. His cartoon's were featured beginning in the late 1950's.
But for our purposes here, let's talk about Shel Silverstein, songwriter. Beyond country music, you may know Shel's work through 'The Unicorn' by many artist's, perhaps most famously by the Irish Rovers. Shel wrote most of Dr. Hook's most recognizable and famous pop/rock songs, including 'Cover Of The Rolling Stone' and 'Sylvia's Mother'.
And you've laughed and sung along with the Shel Silverstein all-time classic sung by The Man In Black....''A Boy Named Sue'.
For many years Shel worked with another Country Music Hall of Famer, Bobby Bare. I've stated elsewhere that, for my money, the greatest country album ever was Bobby's 1970's double album 'Lullabys, Legends and Lies'. Well, every song on that album was written or co-written by....Shel Silverstein. It included the only #1 hit Bobby had, 'Marie LaVeau'.
There's been so many more great songs Shel wrote, songs that made you laugh, cry, think, or maybe scratch your head. Shel passed away in 1999 at the age of 68. But thankfully we have his songs..his poems...his books...his cartoons.
Check out this film from 1973, with Shel narrating his 'The Giving Tree'. The quality isn't great. The story is.