The Story Behind The Song

I was looking for a classical DVD when I chanced upon this book by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Jo-Ann Geffen of the Chicken Soup for the Soul seires. The 101 songs in the book are written by some of the world’s greatest songwriters who give their personal stories about the songs they have written.

There are many reasons why a songwriter writes a song. A song makes history; a song evokes memories and feelings. Here are a few extracts:

  • What The World Needs Now Is Love – lyrics by Hal David & music by Burt Bacharach. There are three ways this pair worked together: Bacharach had the melody ideas, David had lyric ideas; they showed each other what they had, pitched out what they both liked and worked on it together. This was the only David-Bacharach song that Dionne Warwick turned down.
  • One Voice – by Barry Mannilow. It is the oddest song written because Mannilow wrote it in a dream! The song woke him up from his sleep and he heard the melody and lyrics all done; ran to the cassette machine and recorded it half-asleep. The next morning, he woke up and had forgotten that he’d done this. Writing a song in a dream is the purest creation. Amazing.
  • Right Here Waiting – by Richard Marx. It was written in 12 minutes. Marx grabbed an envelope he found and wrote down the lyrics. His friend heard him sing and got a tape recorder. His only mission was to send it to his girlfriend (who became his wife) in South Africa to tell her how much he missed her.
  • That’s What Friends Are For – by Carole Bayer Sager & Burt Bacharach who were married to each other at that time. Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder recorded it. Elizabeth Taylor was there and this inspired Sayer to donate the proceeds to a charity. Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross and Elton John were involved in the project. It was awarded the Grammy song of the year.
  • My Way by Paul Anka
  • Fighter by Christina Aguilera
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice by Tony Asher
  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Roy Thomas Barker
  • Tell Laura I Love Her by Jeff Barry
  • Operator by Jim Croce
  • Ordinary People by John Legend
  • True Colours by Billy Steinberg
  • Because You Loved Me by Diane Warren
  • Welcome to Heartbreak by Kayne West
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