Friday, June 4, 2010

Hot (Historical) Musicians

Today, I hope you'll all help me welcome Carrie Lofty to the lair. Carrie's latest release, SONG OF SEDUCTION from Carina Press sounds fascinating.

In 1804 Austria, a widowed violin prodigy begins a steamy affair with the enigmatic Dutch composer she's idolized for years--only to learn that he stole his most famous symphony.

Welcome Carrie!

If you look objectively at most male musicians, you must admit what I long ago discovered: they're not an entirely attractive bunch. Sure there have been Elvis-level heartthrobs through the ages, and most pop singers are made stars specifically for their polished, packaged look, but I'm talking about musicians. Robert Plant? Bono? Eddie Vedder? They aren't bad looking, but neither are they pretty pinups.

Musicians are the ultimate bad boys. Take an ordinary
man. Make him the master of his chosen instrument. Stick him onstage...and for two hours he becomes a god.

Bruce Springsteen once said that he wanted his concerts to resemble a place of worship. I truly believe music has that power, connecting hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of people to one another through the songs they all know by heart. Nothing outside of spiritual revelry has that degree of power.

No wonder, then, that musicians can seem inordinately attractive. It's not just their physical form, but how they swagger, how they pose, how they connect.

This phenomenon is not limited to the age of rock'n'roll. In some places Franz Liszt was banned because girls became so overwrought by his tremendous piano-playing skills that they tossed their bloomers on stage. Women swooned and the police were brought in!

Shall we take a look at dear old Franz?

I see potential there--diffident posture, exaggerated features, smoldering intensity. Put him in front of a piano and yes, bloomers would go flying!

Even earlier than Liszt's mid-19th century exploits, people understood the power of music. Duri
ng the late 18th century Regina Strinasacchi was also criticized. In an age when most women studied piano--if any instrument--she dared to become a violin virtuoso. Standing up during her performances meant exposing all of her female curves to the scrutiny of audiences enraptured by her vigorous swaying and pulsing. Scandalous!

Of course I had to tap into this maelstrom of sexual potential. The hero of SONG OF SEDUCTION ( is a piano player and composer--one part Liszt, one part crochety ole' Beethoven. The heroine is a violin virtuoso, all shades of Regina Strinasacchi and her ground-breaking fame. I imagined them as the rock gods of their day, which made for two terribly fiery romantic leads! I hope you'll check them out.

Which musicians strike your fancy? Are they model-caliber hotties, or are they men made extraordinary by their music and performances?


flchen1 said...

Musically inclined heroes and heroines? Ooh!

flchen1 said...

Hmm... I'm kinda un-hip to a lot of music, but I think the appeal of musicians is kind of that universal appeal of someone who's in his/her element--the allure of skill and competence is undeniable! And when you throw in passion, which many musicians have in spades, that makes for an irresistible combination :)

Congrats on Song of Seduction, Carrie--I'm very much intrigued!

Helen said...

Well done Fedora have fun with him


I love music and this book sounds really good I have added it to my must have list I love adding books LOL.

My favourite musician is Rod Stewart I have seen him in concert every time he has toured Australia and would never miss one of his concerts I love his music and yep there is just something about him that I love maybe the voice I don't know LOL.

Congrats on the release

Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

Hi Carrie! Welcome to the lair!

I so agree with you about the appeal of the whole musician package. I think it's all about confidence. People are drawn to others who exude confidence, in any form. Someone up there on stage, performing skilfully--it doesn't much matter what they look like if they know how to strut their stuff!

Love the sound of Song of Seduction. No pun intended! Congratulations on the release.

Fedora! You got the bird, well done!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Carrie, I LOVE the sound of the new book! I learnt piano for most of my life - even started a music degree - and Liszt is still one of my heroes. People tend to concentrate on the bloomer throwing years (snort!) but he did an amazing amount for other musicians and he was way ahead of his time. And his piano music is amazing and while it's difficult, it's sooooo idiomatic for the piano, it's just perfectly written for the instrument. And yeah, I think he had potential - apparently he was absolutely magnetic when you saw him play. He was tall and thin with long, very graceful hands and they used to just power up and down the keyboard. Oh, be still my beating...sustaining pedal!

Nancy said...

Fedora, congrats on the rooster. I agree with you on the allure of competence. I always admire skill.

Nancy said...

Carrie, welcome! I love music and wish the market were more hospitable to musical heroes and heroines (Kathleen Gilles Seidel's When the Stars Fall is a notable exception, and she followed it up--or maybe preceded it--with a book about actors, another difficult group to sell).

I've never had crushes on musicians, though. Just never worked for me, but I know many, many women who do go gaga for male singers.

(Just as an aside, I think it's time for Jagger to keep his shirt on. JHMO.)

I tend to prefer balladeers to hard rockers, and I'd put Bon Jovi and Springsteen in the former category. Their songs are _about_ something. So were Billy Joel's, and I hope he'll come out with another pop album someday.

Nancy said...

Anna, I didn't know you'd studied piano. We learn something every day!

I play--or used to--though not with anything approaching classical proficiency. My left hand always gave me trouble, but I could manage show tunes with the right.

We have a piano, an upright my grandfather bought used in the 1920s. It's oak and has a beautiful tone but needs tuning and, probably, sound board work. The pedals don't work especially well, either. Considering it's probably close to a century old, though, it's not doing too badly.

Christie Kelley said...

Fedora, congrats on the GR. Take care of him today.

Christie Kelley said...

Fedora, I think you're right about the appeal of musicians due to their passion. It's makes them rather irresistible.

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, Rod Stewart? Hmm, you are a very interesting woman :)

I do like his raspy voice. And I love the older songs he's doing now.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Christine, there is something about a person who exudes confidence and power. Especially in a man. Women love that.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, another pianist. Although, I haven't touched the keys in years.

I think you're right about Liszt having that certain something. You can kind of see it in the picture. He looks rather aloof. But I'll bet he was amazing on stage.

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, I almost spewed coffee at the keyboard when I read your aside. It's far past time for Mick to keep his shirt on and maybe even lose the tight pants. It's just wrong on so many levels now.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Fedora! That chookie's back with (one of) his true loves. Grins. (He's such a scoundrel!)

Welcome Carrie! Wha a cool thing to base a story on. Song of Seduction sounds really fascinating. I adore music, love to sing and all that. I read music, but I don't play anything anymore. Grins. Except the odds. Hahaha.

And Anna! Another Liszt fan! My long-time piano teacher was a big fan. I wasn't ever able to master the more complex stuff, just not good enough with the piano. But I do love to hear it.

Nancy, you very bad Bandita! I DID spew Diet Coke in regards to the Mick Jagger comment. SNORK!!! And OOOOHHHHH so true!

Louisa Cornell said...

He obviously couldn't stay away, Fedora. Make him behave!

Interesting premise for a romance novel, Carrie. God knows when it comes to passion musicians have more than their share. My late DH on observing my fellow musicians and me came to the conclusion that we were passionate about music, food and sex - not necessarily in that order!

As a classically trained musician I tend to be somewhat jaded when it comes to today's "musicians." While many are genuinely talented, there are just as many more that are "produced." With the right studio, the right back up musicians and a genius of computer mixing a very average voice can be made to sound spectacular. Unfortunately that doesn't often translate to a great live performance.

Instrumental musicians, however, are held to a higher standard. To quote a conductor I once worked with in a discussion about a great violinist we worked with "You can fake an orgasm, but you can't fake virtuosity."

I think it is the combination of competence and passion a real musician exudes onstage that makes them so attractive to an audience.

During the years that I sang professionally my Dh spent a lot of time backstage. He was always observing and sometimes making notes. One evening after a performance he came out to dinner with us and someone finally asked him what he was doing. As a psychiatrist he was fascinated by the human psyche and what made people desire to rise above the ordinary. When it came to opera singers he observed the following:

"Backstage, you people are a bundle of nerves and insecurities wrapped up in overdone costumes. I wonder that you are able to stand up at all you are so overwrought. The minute the orchestra begins the overture this amazing transformation takes place. And when you step onto that stage you become Greek gods - invincible, commanding, more certain of your superiority than any creature alive. The music makes you that way. I envy you that."

I suspect he was absolutely right.

Nancy said...

Christie wrote: maybe even lose the tight pants. It's just wrong on so many levels now.

Oooh, yes. What works at 20, or even 30 or 40, really, really doesn't work at 60+. I mean, I'm glad these rock acts are still going strong, but try for a little dignity, dudes!

Nancy said...

Apologies to Christie and Duchesse for the spew thing. *g*

Kate Carlisle said...

Welcome to the Lair, Carrie! Your book sounds fascinating and sexy. Congratulations on the release!

Jim Morrison was my favorite hot bad boy musician back in the day. I'm not sure anyone has every come close to matching the sexy quality of his voice.

In one of my many past lives, I worked on a TV show that had a house band. The drummer used to complain that bass guitar players always got the girl. I can see why, the way they use their clever fingers to pluck those fat strings and create that thrumming bass line. It's positively mesmerizing. :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kate said: Jim Morrison was my favorite hot bad boy musician back in the day. I'm not sure anyone has every come close to matching the sexy quality of his voice.

Oooh, Kate, so true! He had the most luscious voice. Of course, my fav song is "When You're Strange..." Grins.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Welcome to the Lair, Carrie! I love any discussion about music and writing. In fact, I listen to classic rock while writing. The more driving the beat, the better.

Two performers come to mind when I read you blog post. Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger. Talk about polar opposites.

One is beautiful with the heart of a poet and a seductive voice that had many a woman, (and quite a few men) stripping off their clothes in the spirit of free love. (Or at least that's what I read...they didn't let kids really know that stuff even in the 60's.) Unfortunately his self destructive life style silenced his Rock Star life much too quickly.

The other...well Ole Mick is not my idea of a pin-up in any fashion, the only person less appealing to me is poor Keith Richards. And Mick proves the point that you don't have to have a sexy voice or really good pitch to be a rock star. BUT a rock star he is.

And I love music by both men. They were both considered sex symbols in their day and both had bad-boy appeal to the masses.

(As usual, I have a limited opinion on this topic, hehehe)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Kate: I can see why, the way they use their clever fingers to pluck those fat strings and create that thrumming bass line. It's positively mesmerizing. ...

OOOOOOOOOoooooo Kate, can I steal this line sometime? please, please, please?

Virginia said...

Congrats flchen on the rooster!

Hi Carrie your new book sound fabulous! I love music but its the music of the 70's and 80's that I like. I don't care for most of todays music!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

when I was in college, I wrote an essay (that my professor encouraged me to enter into a contest at school) about Alice in Chains, back before anyone but me had heard of them, performing at what was then the Limelight in New York City. The Limelight was a converted church. The altar, the stage.

We truly are sisters, Carrie.

Christie Kelley said...


I hope you cleaned up your keyboard. She almost got me with the Jagger comment.

Another I don't play anything any more person.

Christie Kelley said...

Louisa, I loved your husband's comments about opera singers. It's perfect!

BTW, my husband produces local musicians at his home studio and he feels the same way about the lack of real talented musicians that make it today. Many of the regional musicians are so much more talented and never make it.

Christie Kelley said...

Kate said:

The drummer used to complain that bass guitar players always got the girl. I can see why, the way they use their clever fingers to pluck those fat strings and create that thrumming bass line. It's positively mesmerizing.

LOL Kate. Also, the drummers are always worn out after the show. Drumming is some serious aerobic workout. The bassist just has to stand there :)

Christie Kelley said...

Suz, you're limited opinion is always welcome :)

I love your comparisons between Jagger and Morrison. I was never a huge fan of either but if I had to pick one it would be Morrison.

Christie Kelley said...


I'm with you on the music of the 70s and 80s. I'm so sick of hip hop and rap. It's all you hear on the radio any more.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Susan, I have to admit, I don't think I know anything Alice in Chains has done. I'm going to go look them up.

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Carrie! The ugly/hot musician! Yes!

My favorite? The lead singer from the Black Crowes. So very...not hot and yet so Go figure. It's all about stage presence, I think. That howl & growl, the swagger & come on. Love it.

I'll definitely pick up a copy of her latest--I have a soft spot for rock gods. :-)

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Musicians are wonderful people, and that passion and performance can make for amazing heroes and heroines.

A current WIP might not even have come to be had I not stumbled onto Right Said Fred's European releases. Singer Richard Fairbrass' swagger and showmanship brought a hero to life.

btw, you get extra points from me for having a Dutch hero.

Christie Kelley said...

Susan, there are a lot of musicians that are not hot but yet, they are. It's an interesting thing that you don't see in many other careers.

Nancy said...

Virginia and Christie--The boy does not consider much of what's on the radio today "music." He likes the Stones, the Beatles, Queen, the Who, and Springsteen.

When the dh and I went to a university function over the holidays, the music was techno-metal. I wouldn't say you could dance to it, but the kids were. We tried when something came on with an actual melody line.

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

Song of Seduction sounds intriguing. I'm another who would like to see more musicians in romance novels. Kathleen Gilles Seidel's When The Stars Fall, which Nancy mentioned, is high on my list of all-time favorites. Laura Lee Guhrke's His Every Kiss with its composer hero is another favorite. And I loved Karina Bliss's recent What the Librarian Didwith its rock star hero.

I have a vested interest in the issue too. My complete mss has a country music singer/songwriter hero, and my WIP has a bass guitarist as hero. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Janga, I loved Karina's book. It's my Second Helping review on the Romance Dish on the 24th where I have a bit of a rave! Love you to swing by - your comments are always so perceptive!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Anna,

Interesting how you used that showmanship for a hero. Is your hero a musician?

Anna Campbell said...

Snork! Kate Carlisle, you're a very, very, very naughty girl! ;-)

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, my oldest is into speed metal where they start screaming. It's very irritating to me. But my younger son loves techno and hip hop. Yuck! Where did I go wrong?

Christie Kelley said...

Janga, I haven't read many books with musicians heroes (or heroines). I'd also like to see more of it. I'll check out the books you recommended.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I actually wanted to make music my career - not sure in what sense, I always knew I wasn't good enough to be a concert pianist, but I loved to accompany. There's something wonderful about making music with other people. I was a victim of small pond syndrome - I actually counted as the musical talent at my school. Then I went to uni to study music and met genuinely talented people and I just couldn't cut the mustard.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, it's incredibly thrilling when you get someone who can really play doing those big Liszt pieces! As exciting as any rock music!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, what a fascinating insight! Actually most artistic people I know are an interesting mixture of ego and completely devastating insecurity. No wonder so many take to the drink!

Karyn Gerrard said...

Great post, all the best for your release, Carrie!

I do love all types of music, but my fav is hard rock. I love these guys that can just stand there and wail and roar with multi-octave voices, talk about giving me chills up and down my spine, and other *ahem* areas.

Myles Kennedy from the rock group Alter Bridge has a three-octave voice, and reaching into the past, Queensryche's Geoff Tate had a 4 octave voice, he could have sung opera his voice has such range.

Love classical music as well, how's that for two ends of the spectrum!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Okay....Freddie Mercury of QUEEN. That was a voice! Talk about sex symbol for both sexes...a bad boy if ever there was one. But boy could he sing...

Suzanne Welsh said...

Another sexy man who isn't a cover model..........Steven Tyler. Sexy voice in the hard-rock-bad-boy-can-sing-or-scream-it division.

Nancy said...

Christie, I don't think you made any mistakes with the music thing. The boy takes guitar, and his first teacher was the son of some friends of ours, a young man whose musical taste had been shaped by his father. His teacher now is a boomer and so naturally likes those older rock groups.

Nancy said...

Anna C., I've actually plotted a musical heroine who plays the flute, as I always wanted to, but my mom pushed me to clarinet. My heroine can sing, too, 'cause, again, I always wished I could.

Well, I can. Just not in key for very long. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Suz, I sometimes make the dh stay up until the opening credits of Highlander on SyFy so I can hear the them (by Freddie Mercury and Queen).

Adrian Paul with a katana has nothing to do with it. Nothing.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I'd love to be able to sing! I have a good friend with the most beautiful voice - just comes out of her like she's a bird or something. Um, she's not a bird - although people have been talking about me and the budgie from my interview video ;-)

MariElle said...

As a musician I am always entranced by stories that authentically capture the angst of the music world- it's always a bit 'more' when artists are the protagonists- they wear their heart on their sleeves more, feel more deeply, express more dramatically- love them! Can't wait to read Song of Seduction!

catslady said...

Like my reading, I like a variety. Anything from classical to pop rock, country etc. Musicals seem to compare the most to reading - such passion with a story.

Mitzi H. said...

I always thought Elvis Presley had that extra (something) that others didn’t have. He can’t stop from moving while he sings his songs….he feels the beat….and in turn, we feel the beat.

Parents at the time thought he was obscene because of the way he moved his hips to his music…but he couldn’t help it…and when I listen to his music I can’t help but move my hips too….It’s contagious!!!

It seems the creators of change are both condemned and revered….but then that is why they go down in history as the one that brought about said change…is it not???

To answer your question…I think Elvis was both. He was a hottie and was made extraordinary by his music and performances.

Congrats on your new release!!!

Carrie Lofty said...

Sorry about coming late to my own party, ladies! End-of-the-year mommy duties are now dispatched. Bring on the hot rock gods!

I agree with all of you who said it's about competence. If you watch "So You Think You Can Dance," which I do obsessively, you know what it is to watch a man or woman who isn't the prettiest in the world...and yet they create magic when they move. Competence is so sexy! I loved exploring that contrast in SONG OF SEDUCTION, by sticking my poor hero into situations where he was on the back foot. He's a Dutchman in Salzburg, which means he's a foreigner. He's reclusive and surly. He has a slight tendency to drink too much when he's nervous. But as Louisa's husband explained, the stage transforms people! Arie becomes a singular magnet when he conducts or plays piano.

I'll be around all weekend if anyone has specific questions about SONG, Austria, or maybe the time I danced on stage with Bono of U2...

Carrie Lofty said...

If we compiled a list of all the rock stars mentioned here, we'd have the who's-who of "ugly sexy"! I think Jim Morrison and Elvis are about the only ones who were genuinely attractive on their own, but then add their sexual stage presence--no wonder they're legends! Young Elvis was so damn hot. This isn't to say that cute guys can't be serious musicians--and in fact, they must struggle, in some instances, to be taken seriously--but attitude and charisma can make homely men into heroes.

As for all of you who play instruments, I have a touch of envy. I never learned and no I regret that lack of training and skill. But as Jennifer Ehle's Lizzie Bennett said, "I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising." I relied on a wonderful music course from The Teaching Company to help lend authenticity to SONG OF SEDUCTION. If you've ever had the desire to learn more about classical music, I highly recommend this series!

Laurie said...

I always thought that Paul McCartney and Justin Hayward lead singer of The Moody Blues were both talented and good looking. Chris DeBurgh and Dan Fogelburg too. I'm in awe of talented guitarists like Leo Kottke & Casey James on this years American Idol.

I love music but unfortunately have no sense of rhythm or the ability to hear a note and know that's a c or an e note. I took piano and guitar and I was awful at both.

Heather Graham had a book with a rock star and Barbara Delinsky with a pianist. Susan Mallery had a musician, a pianist in her Bakery series recently.

I enjoy reading about talented musician. I know I'd enjoy your book!

Laurie said...

I always thought that Paul McCartney and Justin Hayward lead singer of The Moody Blues were both talented and good looking. Chris DeBurgh and Dan Fogelburg too. I'm in awe of talented guitarists like Leo Kottke & Casey James on this years American Idol.

I love music but unfortunately have no sense of rhythm or the ability to hear a note and know that's a c or an e note. I took piano and guitar and I was awful at both.

Heather Graham had a book with a rock star and Barbara Delinsky with a pianist. Susan Mallery had a musician, a pianist in her Bakery series recently.

I enjoy reading about talented musician. I know I'd enjoy your book!

Carrie Lofty said...

Laurie, I was always more of a George Harrison girl, myself. Hope you enjoy the book!

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