Miles Davis turned to Nancy Reagan and said...

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66 Responses to “Miles Davis turned to Nancy Reagan and said...”

  1. Bob Webb says:

     You’ve got to admit this about Miles Davis: he sure did blow his own trumpet.

    wah wah waaaaaaaaah

  2. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

    To her credit she did say ‘NO’

  3. niktemadur says:

    Ooooooh ZING!  But yeah, he did overstate matters a bit, I’d say he did it twice (Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew).
    Which is kind of like the guy playing chess with his dog, somebody walks up and says “That’s incredible!”, the guy says “Not really, he only beats me once every ten games or so.”

    • chris jimson says:

      Well, he may be taking some credit for bebop (he was there at the beginning, though it wasn’t his baby), plus the “Birth of the Cool” album which was another direction too. And arguably he was doing the same stuff as Ornette when he recorded the “Lift to the Scaffold” soundtrack, but unlike Ornette he thought it was a musical dead end.

      •  1) His pre-LP work with Charlie Parker (1945). Donna Lee, etc.
        2) Birth of the Cool (1949). Also pre-LP, but later released as an album.
        3) First quintet (Cookin’, Steamin’, Workin’ etc.) Early 50s.
        4) Kind of Blue (1959).
        5) “The Quintet” (early/mid 60s).
        6) The Gil Evans collaborations — Sketches of Spain, etc. (60s)
        7) Fusion — Filles de Kilimanjaro thru Big Fun (incl. Bitches Brew).

        I used to say, “It’s no accident that  Alan Freed invented Rock ‘n’ Roll at precisely the moment that Miles Davis stopped smiling.”

  4. This is why, if you were to ask who my heroes are, I would put Miles as #1. Because of statements like this and 1 million other things and then also the small matter of some of the greatest music ever.

    @niktemadur I think he prob changed music 5x with Bitches Brew alone…

    • niktemadur says:

      I think he prob changed music 5x with Bitches Brew alone…

      Kind of like the german band Neu! with their first album, but c’mon dude, each album counts once.

      But you know who I’d put as my #1?  John Coltrane, I play “A Love Supreme” slightly more often than “Kind Of Blue” (on which Coltrane also played, WTF).  Oh, and “Coltrane’s Sound” when I get the itch for that classic bebop.

      The other Miles Davis album I absolutely love is “Sketches Of Spain”, another work of insane genius. I’ve also got, but haven’t yet gotten around to listening to, “Filles De Kilimanjaro” and “In A Silent Way”.

  5. Dan Warren says:

    That may be the best thing I ever read.

  6. bbctol says:

    I’ve heard a couple versions of this story, usually one where he says to an anonymous white woman “I’ve changed the course of music 2 or 3 times.  What have you done, besides be born white?”  So… not sure if legit.

  7. irksome says:

    Fucking Reagan; a dirty job but I guess someone had to do it.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Having seen Nancy Reagan close up, I’d be surprised if she had spoken to him in the first place.

    • robcat2075 says:

       And it’s a story in the UK Guardian.  Is there any more automatically doubtful literature than British newspapers?

      • Steve Taylor says:

         That’s true for British tabloids – but UK newspapers cover an incredible spectrum of quality. Guardian’s ok.

      • Joel Phillips says:

        I’d take most British broadsheet over most American ones.  Three reasons: 

        a) There’s no pretense at political impartiality, so you know where you are.
        b) They don’t feel the need to start otherwise perfectly interesting articles with a report of someone’s personal experience.
        c) If they start an article on the front page, they often finish it there too.    

  8. franko says:

    true or not, it fits. what makes it extra delicious is that he’s saying it t Nancy Reagan!

  9. If peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis.

  10. Good a time as any to wheel this one out;  Nancy Reagan and Mr T:

  11. PaulDavisTheFirst says:

    Really unfortunate that Cory did not read the comment thread on the Guardian article, in which this particular urban legend is partially (but thoroughly) debunked, c/o Mile’s own autobiography.

  12. Mark_Frauenfelder says:

    Totally unfair to Nancy Reagan, who was also an accomplished blowjob queen.

    • Steve Taylor says:

      Strange stuff in that Village Voice article:

      (speaking of oral sex)
      “Those who perfect their technique are considered to have a power lock on men, despite–or because of?–the act’s association with homosexuality.”

      What?

    • Steve Taylor says:

      Strange stuff in that Village Voice article:

      (speaking of oral sex)
      “Those who perfect their technique are considered to have a power lock on men, despite–or because of?–the act’s association with homosexuality.”

      What?

    • Repurposed says:

      It sounds like the US isn’t so averse to monarchs as I thought, just their selection criteria…

  13. timquinn says:

    What he actually said was “My policy, when asked if I am a heroin addict, is to just say ‘no.’

    The rest is history.

  14. Yeah this is quite inaccurate, the real quote isn’t hard to find and involves a much better dissection of privilege. Also, isn’t a funny coincidence that the fake quote is the one that makes the black man seem angry, crude and threatening to white women?

    • corydodt says:

       Sigh. No. It’s the one that’s funnier.

    • Albie Farinas says:

      The fake quote is totally apropos……  I’m so tired of the expectation of deference and fealty and the sanctimonious indignation when it is not expressed….  Nancy Reagan was a bitch….! 

  15. Mighty Blowhole says:

    Soooo close to the actual quote… but not quite.

    Still gotta be Reason # Infinity + 1 for loving Miles Davis…

  16. Paul232 says:

    Does “what have you done with your life to merit an invitation” sound like a likely sentence to be spoken by a first lady, or anyone?  More likely “so who might you be”. But awesome story anyway since he was mean to an old white Republican woman, I guess.

  17. Tim Drage says:

    Looking forward to a misspelt version of this, incongruously made using a ‘keep calm and carry on’/demotivational poster parody generator, being shared 12767313 times from a facebook account called ‘ITS NOT PC LOL FUNNAY PICTURES BECAUSE ITS TRUE’ or some such. (-_-;)

  18. Tom Mandel says:

    Judging by the experience of a friend of mine (told to me first hand) Nancy’s question is not an uncommon one among ‘first ladies…’ He was at the Bushes (bush 1) for a bar-b-q, i think in Maine, cuz he was mixing sound for some big artist, and Barbara looked at him (a long haired roundish asian) and asked him, “And what do YOU do?” 
    Inexplicably, he didn’t lose his appetite, and he also said he thought she was nice. Go fig.

    • chgoliz says:

      How a privileged person speaks to someone else is an immediate indicator of their assumptions about that person.  They judge instantaneously, then they modify their speech to match.  How you dress can be enough to throw their assumptions off.  This is something I play with, and find the results to be quite informative.  (It’s like going undercover to find out what kind of person they really are.  Very useful.)

      Your friend may have been socialized to believe that a powerful person even noticing he existed as an individual was a positive thing.  Which is sort-of true: it’s better than not even being noticed, let alone spoken to.  There are many political functions these days where that would still be the norm.  So…glass half full.

  19. D3 says:

    Within ten seconds anyone with half a brain would know that this story is made up. Apparently that doesn’t matter to Cory, or some of the commenters.

  20. Mitch Furman says:

    Cory: can you source this piece of apocrypha? I realize it wasn’t your article to begin with but it is being widely debunked around the web (after your post made its rounds) via Miles’ autobiography.

  21. When Richard Nixon honored Duke Ellington at the White House, Duke greeted him by kissing him twice on the left side of his face and twice on the right.  Nixon was puzzled and asked, “Why four kisses?”  Duke answered, “One for each cheek.”

    • C W says:

      These legends are silly, but this one moreso, why wouldn’t he be having Nixon kiss ~his~ ass instead of kissing Nixon’s ass?

  22. wwy says:

    A paraphrase of a misquote from an autobiography. Read pp. 378-381 of Miles’ autobiography http://www.amazon.com/dp/0671725823/ . He said something similar to this, but not to Nancy Reagan. Why the author of that Guardian piece would misquote things like that when the story — or at least a first-hand version — is widely available, who knows. But it’s pretty sloppy journalism.

  23. chris jimson says:

    To be fair to Nancy, she also fucked the Governor of California and a famous actor.

  24. Patrick Pine says:

    In the vein of just making stuff up – here is my modern version – at a Romney fundraiser, Ann asks one of the chauffeurs/limo drivers “What do you do???”  After a pause, he responds: “The same thing as you, I drive Cadillacs…”

  25. Rusty Stardust says:

    Just a day after I saw the Reddit post of Miles Davis & John Lennon playing a little b-ball. He just gets cooler, and more badass, each day.

  26. snagglepuss says:

    I was sitting outside an Orlando water park about 10 years ago, wearing my Miles Davis t-shirt (A picture of later-day day Miles, holding one of his fingers up to his lips in a ‘Shhhh’ position), when a vacationing British family wandered by, single file.

    (I assume they were British, based on their coarse jabbering and their accents)

    They made me think of the Simpsons, only Cockney. Black sleeveless t-shirts with knockoff Disney characters on them, weird floral swim trunks, black socks and black sneakers, with the limbs alternately flashing bone-china white or lobster-red, depending on which side of the sunburns I was seeing; Exhausted Father, Mother, oldest daughter, middle daughter trudging along – And then the son, about six years old and looking like a pee-wee cross between Junior Samples and  Eric Cartman – Who stopped dead in his tracks, eyed my shirt and yelled “Bloody ‘Ell – That’s Moiles Dayvis !”

    I was speechless. Shit, what would you have said ? I finally said “Right! Well Done, Young Man!”, and he ran off to catch up with the rest of his family.

  27. Stephan says:

    Story is not true.
    But who cares if its against Nancy Reagan which Miles Davis liked according to his biography …

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