Adam Lambert: Let’s Talk About Respect

by on Mar.19, 2009, under All About Adam


by luv2laugh
I’ve been trying to understand why some people feel Adam’s performance of “Ring of Fire” was disrespectful to country music. American Idol determines the theme for the week… not the contestants. I’ve always felt that’s the price you pay to be on the show. We all know that in the “real world” artists are not expected to be able to sing songs from every music genre out there. Adam performed Dilana’s arrangement of “Ring of Fire”. It was better suited to Adam’s personal style and vocals. This is not the first time an AI contestant has performed an arrangement which was different than the original classic. Chris Daughtry sang Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line” using a rock arrangement and David Cook sang Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” with a rock edge flair. Neither Chris or David were criticized for being disrespectful of the original artist or the genre of music. So why are people talking about lack of respect now?

During the AI performance show last Wednesday, we all got to see some footage of each of the contestants working with Randy Travis. The key word here is “some” footage… AI decides what clips of the working session the viewing public will see. After watching Randy Travis work with Adam, we were all left with a feeling … what in the world is Adam going to do to the classic hit “Ring of Fire?” I am a fan of Adam, and even I was sitting in my family room holding my breath with anticipation of Adam’s performance. I was wondering why Randy Travis appeared to be so shocked and surprised. We didn’t get to see the whole working session with Adam and Randy… just the parts AI wanted us too… the parts that make for good television. Apparently, even Randy’s reaction to Adam’s black nail polish was pertinent to Adam’s upcoming performance.

After Adam performed, it’s time for the judges comments. Simon described Adam’s performance using the words “absolute indulgent rubbish and horrific”. We all know Simon doesn’t sugar coat his opinion and we’ve come to expect that from him. But Simon did something else… something I’ve never seen him do before. Simon said, “I would never go to Nashville if I were you Adam, because I think there are a lot of people throwing their televisions out the window at this point…” What an odd comment from Simon. Did Simon think Adam was striving to be a country singer? It was uncomfortable to watch. (Watch Simon’s critique here… at one point, even Randy Travis shakes his head) It felt like we were getting a message from AI that a line had been crossed and there was no turning back.

In the past, AI contestants have chosen different arrangements that suit their style and vocals during a theme week. Why is this not acceptable now? Did Simon start this whirlwind about respect by bringing up Nashville without even realizing it or is this about television ratings? I’ve seen reports that say AI ratings are down this year. Did you know that Adam Lambert’s name came up in 95% of all comments on the Internet yesterday? People are talking… people are talking about Adam Lambert and that means people are talking about American Idol.

by flynnsgirl
Much has been said about Adam’s performance being disrespectful to Johnny Cash or Country music in general, this opinion comes from no basic knowledge as to what Cash did to the song in the first place.

Ring of Fire was originally recorded by June Carter’s sister, Anita in 1962. Johnny loved the song because June had written it about their then forbidden love. Both Cash and Carter were married to other people at the time. Anita’s version was on the charts for 6 months and never became a hit so Johnny decided to record it. He added mariachi horns to the song, something he said he saw in a dream. This was a very bold move in it’s day, and wasn’t done. So basically Johnny Cash took a Country song, added Mexican horns to make the song his own. Isn’t that exactly what Adam Lambert did? Nearly 80 versions of the song have been done since Cash’s. Adam Lambert’s version is just another one on that list.


from mjsbigblog
Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:43 pm
For those trying to determine how Johnny Cash would feel about Adam’s performance or telling us that we cannot know how he feels, I might offer a little (very little) insight that most peeps don’t have.

I have worked with Mr. Cash (lol, how he would hate being called “Mr. Cash”) numerous times. I’ve partied with him after the gig.

Cash was one of the most “out there” of all of the country artists from the time he started (as a rockabillyish guy) till the day he died. Few people realize that back in the day, he was looked down upon by the country establishment for his “rock” take on music, for his refusal to wear sequined suits and big ol hats, for his excessive partying, drug use and drinking (that put the regular country drunks to shame) and his problems with the law.

Whoever said that he was “punk country” had it exactly right. He was waaaaay outside the envelope in his early days, and he never lost his sympathy and respect for musicians who take risks and who refuse to be put in a box. He always remembered how it felt to be excluded from the club and he always went out of his way to hold out a hand of friendship to those who were different.

He was an incredible artist, an incredible person and the world is much poorer for the loss of his ongoing talent. And he would have looooooooved Adam’s take on his classic hit, and he would have laughed his ass off at the way Adam consistently puts himself RIGHT IN YOUR FACE. He did that. He did that all the time. It paid off for him, and I hope it does for Adam.

Dilana Responds to American Idols Adam Lamberts Ring of Fire Performance

PRLog (Press Release) – Mar 18, 2009 – The entertainment scene is a buzz today over Adam Lamberts performance on last night’s show.

When asked today what she thought of Adam Lambert’s performance from March 17, 2009 of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire Dilana responded with, ” I am stoked that Adam Lambert from American Idol chose to use my version of Ring of fire on last night’s episode. It’s an honor knowing that my arrangement and “cashmere” version of the Johnny Cash classic “turned him on” to the point where he wanted to use it on the show.”

The people in Dilana’s camp also stated that she would love a chance to meet with Adam on the show and do a duet with him. Read more…

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Jean Borchelt

    Adam can sing any kind of song. He did Children’s Theatre where you have to become all sorts of characters. I think he did Big River where you have to sound country. He could have sung any country song and showed everybody up but he chose to be true to his style. Good job Adam but just be careful. Let them know one of these times that you can sing anything…even the phonebook as Paula says!

  • Lynn Hoskins

    I enjoyed your editorial, and was also stupified by Simon’s comment about going to Nashville. But not for the same reasons. Nashville is “the home of country music”… and it’s also where cutting edge alt and indie bands and artists (who are most certainly NOT country) come to record and perform. Simon sold Nashville AND Adam Short with that uninformed dismissive remark. As you said, it was an embarrassing exchange. Good for Adam for holding his ground.

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