There’s a saying – “You can pick your friends, you can’t pick your family” As many will testify after weddings or funerals, that’s true, or of course in laws! Another saying, – “Look at the mother and that’s how your wife will turn out! No comment.
We’ve often talked about how we will be if we ever get rid of the kids and they get married. I think men with daughters is the hardest. I’ve always said I don’t care what my daughter’s partners do – accountant, drug dealer, whatever, or what background, race or religion they are, as long as they treat her properly and with respect and I mean that; it’s not a parent’s place to interfere with their children’s partners, it will only lead to heartache and arguments.
What amazes me is on my guilty pleasure, Judge Judy; the number of people who sue family members – mothers suing children, siblings suing each other and of course exes suing each other, usually for revenge!
Their partner has moved on, got someone new, and suddenly they remember the ten dollars they owe them from five years ago!
Bands become like family and families do fall out. A recent example of this was a couple of years ago when three members of Spandau Ballet sued Gary Kemp, claiming that they deserved a share of the songwriting publishing, which is where the real money is. Martin Kemp did not get involved, supporting his brother.
Gary is a fine songwriter, True will always be a classic, and quite simply the other three did not deserve a penny from his talent. He was the songwriter, what they did was help with the arrangement and production, and that’s different, but again the songwriting is where the real money is.
McCartney is said to have earned $30 million dollars from Yesterday alone, there are over five thousand covers of it.
In a documentary a few years ago VH-1 I think it was tracked down the members of East 17. Two of them had gone back to their normal jobs, and Brian Harvey was busy running himself over with his own car, playing at small clubs and living in a small flat, but the group’s talent, the songwriter Tony Mortimer was sitting nicely in his mansion with his garage full of classic cars.
That’s why so many artists demand writing their own songs or at least a credit on the song. Elvis never wrote a note or a word of Heartbreak Hotel, Mae Axton wrote it with Tommy Durden but gave Elvis a third of the royalties if he released it as the first single for RCA.
This practice continues in Nashville and music today, songwriters giving percentages away to big artists if they record their song. It’s a dilemma – do you hold on to your song, for it never to be recorded, or get your name noticed by giving away ‘points’ on your song?
I know of one person who sold the rights to his song a few years after it had been a big hit. It got twenty five thousand for it, thinking it had lived it’s life and that he’d got a great deal. The song has since been covered by many artists, featured in films and is played continuously on television and radio – he has probably lost five million pounds – but is he bitter?!? Damn right he is, but it was his doing, no one else’s fault.
I know of another artist, one of the finest singers in the business, who insisted on writing his own songs after having massive success with a number of covers. Now, a great singer he was, and is, but a songwriter he wasn’t, or isn’t, and his career nosedived, dropped by his record company and he now goes out for a thousand pounds. The moral? know what your talent is. An old friend was a great drummer, I mean a great drummer, but he insisted on being the front man, the singer, and twenty five years on he still plays at local bars.
When it comes to covers I always prefer the original, even the demo sometimes by the original writer, they know why they wrote it, what inspired them, so they can put the true emotion in, rather than technique perhaps. My favourite example of this is the Carpenters and Paul Williams. Karen Carpenter possessed a God given voice and their records, so well produced and arranged by her brother Richard, are of course excellent and successful, but listen to Paul Williams’ versions of We’ve Only Just Begun, or I Won’t Last A Day Without You, even the theme song from A Star Is Born, Streisand of course is the best, but when his voice gives out, breaks, in the song, wow!
Paul Young had a massive hit with a Daryl Hall song, Every Time You Go Away. Paul’s version is great but listen to Hall and Oates version. The first time I heard this song was in a different life when my band and I opened up for Hall and Oates in Santa Barbara. I was standing in the wings. They had just released Voices, a big hit for them. I remember we were specifically told by their tour manager we had forty minutes, and one encore. Well the problem was we used to finish with a song of mine, Santa Barbara – “Every morning I wake up to the sound of the sea, Santa Barbara is the place for me and there’s no place I’d rather be” Now, sing that to a few thousand Santa Barbarians and you’re going to get another encore! Their road manager was mad with us, literally shouting at me in the wings, but Daryl Hall stepped in and told us to get back on for another encore.
So I am biased, but he does possess the finest white, soul voice in the business. Here’s a great video from their performance at the Apollo, backed by the Temptations, of Every Time. http://youtu.be/NR54rkz1sek
And to be fair, here, for me, is Paul at his finest, Ann Peebles Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down – http://youtu.be/YTWt_pKiMl4 Love the hair and clothes! But listen to the voice!
Paul now plays with his Tex Mex band Los Pacaminos but just imagine, a Paul Young solo album recorded in Nashville? We’ve actually just approached him and he’s apparently interested so watch this space.
Finally back to Daryl. This is why he blows people away, Someone Like You – http://youtu.be/3Jkqql_EhQA and featuring superb guitar solos.