- Nothing is capable of being well set to music that is not nonsense.
The Spectator no. 1 (21 March 1711) 1672–1719 English poet, dramatist, and essayist: in
- A bird doesn't sing because he has an answer—he sings because he has a song.
often wrongly attributed to Maya Angelou
A Cup of Sun (1967) 1926– American writer and illustrator:
- The exercise of singing is delightful to Nature, and good to preserve the health of man. It doth strengthen all parts of the breast, and doth open the pipes.
Psalms, Sonnets and Songs (1588) 1543–1623 English composer:
- He was an average guy who could carry a tune.
Crosby's own suggestion for his epitaph
Newsweek 24 October 1977 1903–77 American singer and film actor: in
- Every tone [of the songs of the slaves] was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.
c.1818–95 American former slave and civil rights campaigner: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) ch. 2
- Maybe the most that you can expect from a relationship that goes bad is to come out of it with a few good songs.
Faithfull (1994) 1946– English singer:
- If a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who should make the laws of a nation. 1655–1716 Scottish patriot and anti-Unionist: ‘An Account of a Conversation concerning a Right Regulation of Government for the Good of Mankind. In a Letter to the Marquis of Montrose’ (1704)
- A good lyric should be rhymed conversation.
Ira Gershwin (1966) 1896–1983 American songwriter: Philip Furia
- A wandering minstrel I—
A thing of shreds and patches.
Of ballads, songs and snatches,
And dreamy lullaby!
The Mikado (1885) act 1; see Shakespeare 1836–1911 English writer of comic and satirical verse:
- I only know two tunes. One of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the other isn't. 1822–85 American Unionist general and statesman, 18th President 1869–77: attributed
- Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought. 1898–1981 American songwriter: lecture given at the New York YMCA in 1970
- He did not see any reason why the devil should have all the good tunes.
The Rev. Rowland Hill (1881) ch. 7 1744–1833 English clergyman: E. W. Broome
- It's the only song I've ever written where I get goose bumps every time I play it.
of ‘Candle in the Wind’
Daily Telegraph 9 September 1997; see John and Taupin, John and Taupin 1947– English pop singer and songwriter: in
- You think that's noise—you ain't heard nuttin' yet!
in a café, competing with the din from a neighbouring building site, in 1906; subsequently an aside in the 1927 film The Jazz Singer
The Real Story of Al Jolson (1950) (later the title of a Jolson song, 1919, in the form ‘You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet’) 1886–1950 American singer: Martin Abramson
- Tenors get women by the score.
Ulysses (1922) 1882–1941 Irish novelist:
- Sentimentally I am disposed to harmony. But organically I am incapable of a tune.
Essays of Elia (1823) ‘A Chapter on Ears’ 1775–1834 English writer:
- Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom.
1886–1967 English poet: ‘Everyone Sang’ (1919)
- Nothing can be more disgusting than an oratorio. How absurd to see 500 people fiddling like madmen about Israelites in the Red Sea!
The Smith of Smiths (1934) 1771–1845 English clergyman and essayist: Hesketh Pearson