Appointment with songwriter #1.
I showed up to write with writer #1 and he invited me into his office and I noticed on the wall were about 10 gold records. A wall like that looked like a Christmas tree to me. I knew this writer’s work. He had a great run of hits for about ten years. I sat down on the piano, ready to start. And writer #1 asked me point blank “You’re not one of these new pop writers, are you?” “Because this crap on the radio today ain’t music.” Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to say. So, I said, “Well let’s write some real music then.” But the whole time we wrote he complained. He complained about radio. About how no one today can sing. Songs aren’t any good. They all sing the same stuff. I finished a decent song with writer #1 that day and played the song for my publisher whose response was that it was an okay song. I agreed.
The next week was my appointment with songwriter #2.
I agreed to meet him at his home studio. As I walked into his recording studio/writing room, there were no gold records on the wall. I know he’s had a ton of hits. We sat down and started talking and he was excited about 2 new singles he had coming out in the next few weeks. He then asked me if I had heard this new young artist that just got signed to Sony. Writer #2 loved how this new kid was gonna change everything. How he doesn’t sound like anything he’s ever heard. I thought to myself, writer #2 wrote classic songs I grew up listening to as a kid. He’s been in the Hall of Fame for years. And he likes this new kid that’s gonna turn music upside down? Wow. We sat down to write. The whole session he was focused on writing something fresh. If a line sounded like it’s been said before, he wanted to figure out how to say it in a new way. And boy did he love writing. It showed in the song we came up with too.
My publisher was jumping up and down with excitement when I played him the work tape. And eventually the song did get recorded. The more I wrote with writer #2, the more I learned about his positive and humble attitude. He took a songwriting class the month before. Really? A Hall of Famer? He preferred working with young writers who could teach him new tricks. Every day was a chance to grow and take chances. And I also found out that he had written hit songs in 5 different decades. Whoa, now that’s incredible.
The one thing I NEVER heard writer #2 say, in all the years I wrote with him- “Today’s music sucks.