Friday, May 04, 2007

BOOKS: Three Things I Didn't Know About Shel Silverstein

  1. Shel Silverstein shopped his now-classic children's story The Giving Tree around to dozens of publishers before he found one who would take a chance with this book, which was considered either "too short" or "too sad" by most.
  2. Shel Silverstein co-wrote a film, Things Change, with David Mamet.
  3. Shel Silverstein wrote the lyrics to the Johnny Cash hit "A Boy Named Sue" (which coincidentally also happens to be Sam's favourite Cash tune).
Did you know these things? I didn't! And now you can learn about them -- and more! -- at!

[Thanks to Rusty for the link, though he gives the credit to Metafilter.]


Anonymous said...

Well, I knew about the Cash thing, but only after being really surprised while reading the liner notes.

"Surely, that's just some guy with the same name ..."

"Two guys with the name Shel?"


And I never actually looked it up (because thinking that the man who wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends was much cooler than finding out differently), but now I actually know for sure. Thanks!

Soul Kitten said...

He also wrote and recorded a pretty hilarious epic poem about the "Great Smoke Off".

I only heard it once, but it's pretty funny and worth a google or two.

Bybee said...

I did a blog entry about Shel Silverstein back in 2005, I think. It all started with an early-morning earworm of one of his songs.

BabelBabe said...

i generally like Shel but I LOATHE The Giving Tree. It is almost as creepy as Robert Munsch's Love You Forever.

Andi said...

I'm with babelbabe, it is creepy. It's one of those picture books (along with Arlene the Sardine and Rainbow Fish) that I love to hate.

I'd heard the "Boy Named Sue" bit but didn't know the rest. Must hurry off to the site.

Anonymous said...

For some of his best work, see 'Different Dances,' out of print for years but recently re-released in a 25th Anniversary edition. Not suitable for children, dealing as it does with adult themes like homophobia and racism in graphic terms in its simple line drawings, but it's profoundly stirring. Doesn't seem to be listed on the website. Amazing book.

Tyler Caspar Mey said...

Allegedly, Shel Silverstein also took part in the writing of David Allan Coe's "Nigger Fuckers".

I've loved Shel Silverstein ever since I was a kid. This sort of news is difficult to swallow, especially after reading his "Different Dances".

I don't know the truth behind the whole ordeal, but it would depress me to find out he really did take part in that song...
...Maybe he just enjoys shocking society =O

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