Saturday, January 30, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
But he got over it pretty quickly.
Some years ago, while burning the midnight job oil at Tower Records in Nashville, I was often visited by Tommy who, by that time in his life, had begun the sad decline into poor health and depression that culminated in his suicide in 1994.
But I remember those visits as a great deal of fun, if only because this was one of the few who could back up his "been there, done that" attitude with an amazing list of the places he had been and the things that he had done.
For the back story, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyce_and_Hart
One story he told that remains my favorite to this day was how he was upset to learn that a song that he and Bobby had written especially for the super successful Paul Revere and the Raiders that had, in fact, already been recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders was going to be hijacked by a new, as yet, relatively unproven band.
Tommy's motivation for getting over it was that the song ended up making the top twenty of the U.S. pop singles charts and being prominently featured on the multi million selling debut album of the aforementioned unproven band.
The night Tommy told me the story I confessed to him that I had always preferred the Raiders version as the Monkees take was less edgy, the very cool guitar lick much less prominent.
Though he didn't say anything, I had the impression that Tommy was pleased that his belief in the Raiders version was being validated. So much so, that a few nights later, he came in and brought me an autographed photo of himself and Bobby and Mark Lindsay, et al hanging out at in an L.A. club.
All these years later, I think about those late night chats and, as a songwriter, can't help but smile when I realize that this was a guy who got the kind of "bad break" every writer hopes for.
Getting a song bumped by one successful group...
So that it can be recorded by an even more successful one.
Way to go, Tommy...and thanks for the nights.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Even if you know Jimmy Webb.
Pop music fans over the age of forty will, of course, know his work, ranging from "Galveston" and "Wichita Lineman" to "By The Time I Get To Phoenix"; from "MacArthur Park" to "Up, Up and Away".
The song I have included here was never a hit single for anyone, not a song likely familiar to any but the most ardent Webb fans.
And the video that I found on YouTube has its own charm, but that's not why I've posted this for you.
Close your eyes. Play the song. Listen to the song.
Without using anything but your ears....heart...and spirit.
Most especially to the bridge of the song.
The lyric that begins "if I could do it over..."
Trust me when I tell you that if you're over the age of forty, you're going to be, at least, touched and, possibly moved, by those few lines.
And the last two lines of that bridge...are genius.
Good songwriters speak about us.
Great songwriters speak about, and to, us.
Genius knows us.
You might not know Jimmy Webb.
But he knows you.