Remember VH1 when they used to run pretty much non-stop music videos with occasional “specials” like Storytellers where a song or an artist would be featured? I love to learn the background of how songs were written and recorded. This CD from 2001 is a bit of a cheat. Yes, the artists do tell how their songs were created, but that information isn’t on the CD. It’s printed in the little booklet that comes with the CD case. The disc just presents the music, many from “unplugged” live performances on VH1.

If you’re intrigued by any of the songs on this CD, you’ll find out plenty of background information on them here. As far as I can tell, this is the only compilation VH1 CD although there are a series of VH1 Storyteller DVDs and CD devoted to individual artists. Are any of these artists or songs interesting to you? GRADE: B
1 China Girl (Storytellers) by David Bowie 4:41
2 Edge of Seventeen (Storytellers) by Stevie Nicks 6:53
3 Back On The Chain Gang (Storytellers) by The Pretenders 4:05
4 Rain King (Live At Chelsea Studios, New York/1997) by Counting Crows 5:53
5 Crash (Storytellers) by David Mathews & Dave Mathews Band 5:04
6 Who Will Save Your Soul (Storytellers) by Jewel 7:06
7 Stay (I Missed You) (Storytellers) by Lisa Loeb 3:08
8 Regarding Steven (Storytellers) by John Popper 5:05
9 Mexico (Storytellers) by James Taylor 3:04
10 Strong Enough (Storytellers) by Sheryl Crow & Stevie Nicks 3:21
11 Here Comes The Rain Again (Storytellers) by Eurythmics 3:54
12 Carnival (Storytellers) by Natalie Merchant 5:30
13 Jack & Diane (Storytellers) by John Mellencamp 5:56
14 Just A Memory (Storytellers) by Elvis Costello 3:57
15 How Deep Is Your Love (Storytellers) by Bee Gees 4:43

21 thoughts on “VH1 STORYTELLERS

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I like Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, John Mellencamp and The Eurythmics. Especially dislike Lisa Loeb, Jewel, James Taylor and John Popper. I think the Storytellers series are better viewed in their entirety than like this. The series still reruns a lot on cable.

  2. Deb

    Even though some of these songs are not to my tastes, I always find the story behind how a song was written to be interesting—as long as it’s not the old standby, “and then I grabbed a pen and a cocktail napkin and the song just poured out of me.”

    I haven’t watched VH1 in years, but I used to love “Behind the Music”—even if, as I said above, I wasn’t a fan of the artist/group being profiled.

  3. Michael Padgett

    I like some of these artists, but only Bowie and Costello would be in the top tier. VH1 never really appealed to me, although I did watch MTV from time to time, mostly between the mid-80s and the early 90s. Anyone interested in this sort of thing should see a fairly recent documentary called “Echo in the Canyon”, which was about the musical artists who lived in Laurel Canyon in the mid-to-late 60s. Lots of interesting stuff about The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, and many others.

    1. george Post author

      Michael, the only complaint I’ve heard about ECHO IN THE CANYON is that the music was performed by other artists, not the original singers.

      1. Michael Padgett

        The subjects of the documentary had their heyday 50+ years ago. Many of them are dead, and most of the others are inactive. There’s not a lot of live music in movie, just snippets mostly performed by other artists. David Crosby, looking every minute of his 78 years, seems pretty chipper, though.

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    Not really. Jimmy Buffett covered James Taylor’s “Mexico” on one of his albums and did it in concert a bunch of times.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        Definitely. “Edge of Seventeen” is a favorite of the “Dancing Stevies” you see at Fleetwood Mac & Stevie Nicks concerts. It was almost a total cliche. We went a decade or so ago to see Don Henley & Nicks, and there were these teenagers (mostly), too young to have even been alive when the song was new, in their long flowing dresses (and hair) twirling around.

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, my favorite cut on VH1 STORYTELLERS is the duet of Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks singing “Strong Enough.”

      3. Steve Oerkfitz

        A friend had free tickets to a James Taylor concert about 10 years ago. What a snoozefest. He was so laid back I was expected him to fall asleep while performing. I’ve been to some bad concerts over the years but never one so dull.

  5. Jeff Meyerson

    I think he’d prefer the term “mellow” but as Woody Allen said in ANNIE HALL, “I don’t respond well to mellow…if I get too mellow, I tend to ripen and then rot.”

    We’ve seen Taylor when he has been awake enough to provide an entertaining concert, but other times has been all but comatose.

  6. Rick Robinson

    VH1? It still exists? I never looked at it, so I don’t know a thing about it, but I’m amazed it is still around. Just all music videos, I guess. I want to LISTEN to the music, not “see” it.

  7. wolf

    Never seen VH1 in Europe but I like some of the artists featured here especially the women, underrated here in Europe.
    Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks and of course Natalie Merchant – never could see a Live performance, sad.

  8. Cap'n Bob

    I didn’t watch it the first time around and plan to keep that streak alive, despite liking many of the performers!

  9. Todd Mason

    About the only thing I’d watch on VH1 back when was Ben Sidran’s jazz series.

    These days, the kind of rock background information/interview programming is more a facet of AXS, the former HDNet. Dan Rather seems an odd choice to do so many rocker interviews, but that’s what’s happening.


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