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Lamont Dozier, June 16, 1941 – August 8, 2022

In Memory of A Beautiful Soul
& True Genius of Songwriting

Lamont Dozier at the 2007 ASCAP POP AWARDS, Beverly Hills, California.

Words & Photographs by PAUL ZOLLO

Two days ago, on August 8th, the legendary and beloved Lamont Dozier left our world to start his next great adventure.

Unlike multitudes through the ages who depart after bringing havoc to the world and often worse, he  left this world a better place than when he arrived. Because, on his own and with the enduring musical brilliance of Brian and Eddie Holland, his Motown songwriting-production partners, he injected our lives with joy. The real-time, inspirational, romantic, danceable, soulful and glorious joy instilled in all of their songs is alive and more powerful than ever in their songs, all of which are modern standards. 


He was born on June 16, 1941 [a birthday he shares with Tupac Shakur, Stan Laurel and Geronimo]  in Motown itself – Detroit, Michigan. He died on August 8, 2022, though the news didn’t emerge until yesterday, August 9. 

Lamont wrote an astounding bounty of great songs, including fourteen songs which became Billboard Number 1 hits. Fourteen! Ten of them were all with one group.  Led by Diana Ross, who became a star and then an icon, soaring on the wings of his great songs, they were The Supremes.

Lamont’s Fourteen Number One Hit Songs:

  • “Where Did Our Love Go?” The Supremes, beginning Aug. 22, 1964 (two weeks at No. 1)
  • “Baby Love,” The Supremes, Oct. 31, 1964 (four)
  • “Come See About Me,” The Supremes, Dec. 19, 1964 (two)
  • “Stop! In the Name of Love,” The Supremes, March 27, 1965 (two)
  • “Back in My Arms Again,” The Supremes , June 12, 1965 (one)
  • “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” Four Tops, June 19, 1965 (two)
  • “I Hear a Symphony,” The Supremes, Nov. 20, 1965 (two)
  • “You Can’t Hurry Love,” The Supremes, Sept. 10, 1966 (two)
  • “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” Four Tops, Oct. 15, 1966 (two)
  • “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” The Supremes, Nov. 19, 1966 (two)
  • “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” The Supremes, March 11, 1967 (one)
  • “The Happening,” The Supremes, May 13, 1967 (one)
  • “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” Kim Wilde, June 6, 1987 (one)
  • “Two Hearts,” Phil Collins, Jan. 21, 1989 (two)
The Supremes, “Where Did Our Love Go,” 1964, bt Holland0-Dozier-Holland.

He was also a great singer and artist, and he recorded two top 40 hit songs as both the artist and songwriter. both in 1974: “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and “Fish Ain’t Bitin’ ” 


I was among the many very lucky songwriters and music people who got to know and even work with Lamont. How sweet it is, and always will be, to have connected with his gentle, joyful soul in all of these songs. It’s a body of work unified by the word which recurs most in his titles and life: love. Because Lamont loved life. He also loved songwriting – and his great fortune at becoming one of the world’s most successful songwriters without diluting ever, even slightly, the beautiful purity of his immense heart and sweet soul. 

The Supremes, “Stop In The Name of Love,” 1967.

He was always an authentic and generous man. That generosity is something I got to know first-hand. I was editor of SongTalk, the journal of the National Academy of Songwriters, for more than ten years. NAS was a non-profit organization created to provide songwriters with information, protection and inspiration. During my first years, Lamont became the Chairman of the Board of the academy. It was a position which came with much effort and little glory. Yet he took it on with the purity that he brought to everything in his life – work, friends, family and faith.

I asked him if he would consider writing a column for each issue of SongTalk to share his wisdom on the business and art of being a songwriter. He was an honest guy, and didn’t want to make any promises he didn’t feel he could keep. He told me he would like to do that, but knew he didn’t have either the time or the knowhow to do it well.

Of course, I understood. And, of course, came up with a solution. How about if I were to interview him every week or so about certain songwriting issues, and then I would remove the questions, and form his column out of his answers. He immediately agreed. This was thrilling for me – I was still new to this job, and I had landed Lamont Dozier as a regular columnist! 

Lamont in 2010 at the opening of the 2 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame wing of the Grammy Museum 
in downtown L.A. Taken on Tom Petty birthday, October 20, 2010.

We started a series of phone interviews in 1987 that worked even better than I had hoped, providing the perfect mix of Lamont’s humble wisdom about the business and the art, as well as golden tidbits about the iconic songs and records. All of which served to provide ample and genuinely insightful, practical wisdom and advice for songwriters, as well as very engaging stories of his songs and success.

Also he was a man that people could trust. His Motown success was immense, after all. That alone, separate from the timeless beauty and enduring greatness of the songs and records, was more than enough to garner great respect for him in the industry itself. Commercial success does always create more revenue than artistry. But those who could do both – write great songs and also create astoundingly dimensional and powerful records that were instantly loved upon release yet never shed their greatness, evolving into standards – those songwriters have reached the “toppermost of the poppermost” as the Beatles used to call it.

Their songs did everything that songs can do, and have never stopped. Like the greatest songs through our modern times, his songs expand in time. It’s not that they still sound good. They sound greater than ever. And we carry them not only in our physical world and experience them again in real-time every time we hear them, we carry them in our hearts. They are parts of us. With good reason. 

Tribute to Lamont Dozier

When Lamont stepped down as chairman, replaced first by John Bettis and then Jeff Barry, the column by him was done. I reconnected them all, and put the questions back, so that I could include it in the first volume of my book Songwriters On Songwriting. 

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, “Two Hearts.” By Lamont Dozier & Phil Collins.

Lamont delivered a lot of wisdom in his columns, and in the world. Not only about life – and about the vagaries and victories of love – but about songwriting itself. He recognized the unbound potential of the song itself to speak to our hearts and our minds at the same time. He also realized he was given a whole lot of musical talent, and for this he remained always grateful. He knew that to whom much is given, much is asked. It was a fair deal to him. Yes, he and the Hollands and everyone at Motown had to literally compete with each other to get their songs recorded and released there. It wasn’t easy at all, and required real diligence and dedication both. Many times some of the greatest songs didn’t get chosen as the next record for a great Motown act, though they all knew that had it been selected as the next single for The Supremes (who recorded many of their songs), or Marvin Gaye,  or other Motown icons, it would have been a hit like the others on their long hit list. 

The Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’On” Written by Brian Holland,Lamont Dozier,and Edward Holland Jr.(Holland-Dozier-Holland or H-D-H). Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, 1966.

Of course, it could be heartbreaking and maddening, after investing so much into the writing and arrangement of a song, to see it cast away.  (Many castaways did eventually get recorded, and joined the others in Lamont’s songbook of soul standards.) But that experience of being jettisoned from the perpetual Motown roller-coaster of triumph and tribulations derailed great songwriters for decades. But Lamont was never derailed. Never did he give up hope, or abandon ship.

To the end of his 81 years, he beamed with that calm  joy  which distinguishes his music. Rather than ever feel entitled in any way by his talent and success, he felt grateful. And any sorrow inflicted by a song’s reception was more than compensated by the real pride and joy of being a songwriter – and a successful beloved one – in these modern times. He never took it lightly. Writing a song – any song – he knew was a triumph. Writing ones which become beloved by millions over many decades was beyond triumph. It was a serious blessing, and one for which he never took for granted. 


Nor did he take the artistry of songwriting and record-making lightly ever. To him songwriting called on our better angels, as it is a creation which can bring hope, healing and harmony to lives forever darkened by racism, poverty, dissonance, intolerance, hatred and everyday brutality. Like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and others, Lamont felt the airwaves were a sacred trust – a direct pipeline to the people at all times – and that songwriters had a responsibility to bring songs to the world which lifted our hearts and eased our minds with positivity. And to avoid the opposite.

“I no longer think in terms of good days or bad days,” said Lamont. “There are good days and learning days. If you woke up today, that’s a good day. And when things don’t work out your way, there’s always something to learn.”

Lamont Dozier, “Fish Ain’t Bitin’, ” 1973.

And he knew well, as do all songwriters, that those songs which lift the spirits of others first lift the spirit of the songwriter himself Much in the way ancient scriptures tell us that when man writes songs, and creates a “joyful noise,” that it makes God happy. The songwriter, like the creator of all songs and author of all books, feels forever blessed when one of his own kids – a song – becomes world famous. 

Lamont’s  lifetime as a songwriter – first as a dreamer, then aspirant and ultimately one of the great geniuses of modern song – was a true journey of joy for Lamont, and he shared that joy freely with the world. Always the man was always generous. With kindness, compassion, time and love. Which made him happy. It’s why his autobiography is named after the single song he wrote which sums it all up: “How Sweet It Is.”

That book, which he composed and realized as beautifully as one of his miracle songs, reflects his richly reverential, generous spirit. Not only does he share with us all the telling, poignant, sad and triumphant details of his life, he also shared with all songwriters a great gift: a lexicon of the ample wisdom about songwriting he’d accumulated throughout his lifetime. He called it his “Guiding Principles of Songwriting.”

He generously allowed me to reprint this section in a series of articles I wrote then about him and the new book in 2020. Those principles will be reprinted here in Part II of our Lamont celebration.

Lamont knew well that it takes a whole lot more than talent to both write good songs as well as propel them into our world, full-blown. It’s the writing, but also the diligence in never giving up until the song is right, and also educating one’s self always on the elements which combine to create not only a great song, but one which will resound powerfully through the culture at that moment and beyond. Always the songs were both timely and timeless, about that which was then, and that which is forever. 

With love and thanks to God and the universe for bringing Lamont’s soul into our lives within his beautiful songs, we will bring you his principles of songwriting in Part II of this tribute.

Many Holland-Dozier-Holland gems.

Ringo Celebrates 82nd Birthday with Love & Peace

RINGO’S 82ND BIRTHDAY
7.7.22 BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
USA
Photos by Paul Zollo

& with a Little Help from His Friends
& Family

Ringo Starr on his 82nd Birthday, July 7, 2022.

Words & Photos by PAUL ZOLLO

LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2022. In what has become one of L.A.’s most beloved and joyful traditions, Ringo celebrated his birthday on this past July 7th as he has since 2005: gathered with a big gang of friends, family and some lucky members of the press, he celebrates another year on this planet by inviting friends nearby, as well as all around this world, to join together in a celebration of peace and love at 12 noon Pacific time.

Though this event was inaugurated in Chicago, fortunately for us Angelenos, it’s mostly been held here, and usually outside the iconic Capitol Records tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. ***

Ever since the pandemic & lockdown, however, with ongoing Covid caution, they have maintained the tradition but held it away from Capitol at a different location unannounced to the public. This year it was at the Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills, which is already famously distinguished by its monumental Ringo connection: it’s there that stands an immense and shining eight-foot tall,  800-pound steel sculpture of his own design of his own hand giving the peace sign.

He donated the sculpture to Beverly Hills, which (after initally rejecting it, before coming to their senses) installed it here across the street from their City Hall. 

“Peace & Love,” by Ringo Starr.
Ringo’s luminous vision of peace is now a beloved and historic artistic addition to Los Angeles. It’s an 8-feet tall, 800-pound polished steel monument of his hand making a peace sign. He first created it years ago in bronze. Like everything that emanates from this man’s loving spirit, it shines always.
Ringo with Steve Lukather & Greg Bissonette


Friends and luminaries in attendance included many of the great members, past and present, of his All-Starr band, including  Steve Lukather, Greg Bissonette and  Edgar Winter. The legendary drummer, Jim Keltner was also there (who is the only drummer, except for Ringo and Pete Best, to have played with all of the Beatles), and Ringo coaxed him up onstage to join the others.
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The great photographer and beloved friend Henry Diltz was there, and received a shout-out from Ringo, onstage. “There’s Henry Diltz,” he said, “still standing!”

Henry Diltz. Who is, according to Ringo, “still standing.”
(In fact, he’s doing more than standing. He is dancing through life. Kind of like Astaire, but better..)
Two of the best better angels together: Henry Diltz & Elizabeth Freund


Also present were Diane Warren, Linda Perry, Richard Marx, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Matt Sorum, Ed Begley Jr, Roy Jr. & Alex Orbison, Randy Lewis, the photographer Jill Jarrett, and others.

This year Ringo’s global message of love was sent even farther than  usual:.

The Artemis Music Space Network, through the International Space Station (ISS), brought Ringo’s message out to the galaxy.  At noon he signaled their Mission Control Center in Houston to beam his message & music (his 2021 single release “Let’s Change The World” and his “Star Song”)  to the International Space Station.

From there it was sent into orbit around the Earth, passing over many countries and much of the Earth’s population and beaming back down messages of peace and love while also traveling out to distant stars.

Before this commenced, two great performers –  Langhorne Slim and Sawyer Fredericks – performed many of Ringo’s great songs with infectious joy.

Henry Diltz & Langhorne Slim

As Ringo greeted the press before noon, I had the chance to ask one quick question. Captured on video (see below), it is preserved. It starts with another press guy asking about Boris Johnson, who resigned days earlier. Ringo’s shakes off that question. Then you hear Elizabeth sweetly exclaim, “Paul!!”

Henry Diltz & Elizabeth Freund II

Then I mentioned that last year I asked him how he looked so great at 81. His answer was “It’s because I don’t wear a hat,” pointing at mine.

This year I mentioned that answer, which caused him to laugh. (My first time ever causing a Beatle to laugh.) I then asked if there were any other reasons that in his 80s he looks so young and healthy. The video cut out here, but he said, “Well, you know I try to keep myself fit. You are what you put into the world.”

Edgar Winter. At the 2019 Ringo Celebration at Capitol Records

I asked if having a great marriage was part of it. “Yes, it is,” he said warmly. “She is my best friend. She is always with me. Yes, Barbara is a big reason I’m still here.”

Barbara & Richie Together
I took this photo last year, 2021. But as he wore the same jacket,
and since they both still look great and in love, it works.

Ringo’s Answer to Zollo’s Question







Video by Allison Johnelle Boron
Cohost, BC the Beatles podcast @BCtheBeatles

Henry Diltz, a man happier on the other side of the camera


*** Capitol, as you probably know, was the Beatles’ label in America, as part of the EMI label. And though the lads recorded famously at Abbey Road in London mostly, Capitol has been an American touchstone for them for decades. It’s there they famously charmed all the secretaries and everyone else when first visiting back in 1964. And it’s there, on the sidewalk in the front, where The Beatles’ star on the Walk of Fame is located, as well as their individual stars.

Henry Diltz & Greg Bissonette

Film Review

A Million Miles Away

Take Yes for an Answer

Fred Parnes’ documentary about Peter Case is a poignant tribute to this songwriter and to the artistry of songwriting


By PAUL ZOLLO

Bravo! Fred Parnes and his team have created a beautifully poignant, dimensional  and triumphant  film about the life and work of Peter Case. It’s remarkably intimate, told not at a distance from its subject but from its very core. With the great benefit of the artist himself being still with us and capable of telling his own story – plus a surprising bounty of sound footage found from his early days as a street-singer and with his first two bands, The Nerves and The Plimsouls – this is a film about a real songwriter unlike any other.

“I wanted to get out to California, where it seemed like people might understand if you were just gonna be a musician all the time,” says Peter in the film. “I clung to my guitar like a burning piece of wreckage on a sinking ship.” 

Peter Case, as many know well, has been wild in wreckage for decades – and also remarkably prolific – and has never gone down with the ship. Though various life events threatened to bring him down (heart surgery, Geffen Records), he prevailed. And steadily, through the years, while playing with his bands or solo, he’s been creating a beautifully expansive American songbook, distinguished both by its depth and diversity.

Like all of our greatest songwriter-artists, Peter’s had to endure all the anguish of being a unique artist in an industry. But unlike so many of the greatest ones, from Hendrix through Cobain and Amy Winehouse, he survived. And he flourished. Rather then ever be derailed or destroyed entirely, he was empowered and artistically unchained by each shift, and his songwriting deepened and expanded in every direction. 

By sharing Peter’s often rocky journey with such evident love for the unbound spirit of this man and his art, the film honors Peter in a way the world rarely honors songwriters. There’s a recognition of all that goes wrong behind anything that goes right, which is rarely because of the artist. This film resounds like a love-letter to songwriters and to the artistry of songwriting itself. It affirms that great songs still matter, and that real songwriters like Peter remain fully engaged in this ancient mission, connecting with their audiences despite all the old obstacles, and the new ones.

Parnes, a writer, actor and musician himself,  has a lot of insight into the dynamic of being an artist in the world, and avoids the usual simplistic depiction of the  music world as a complete racket run by execs no better than mobsters. Sure, that is part of the truth. But a larger truth emerges, which is that, separate from the music business is the music community, the musicians, songwriters, engineers, managers and all the others. And it is undeniable, and confirmed by this film, that those in the music community are bonded by an abundance of good will, gratitude  and real-time love.

This comes across in the reverent words of Peter’s peers, collaborators, friends and even music writers. Their love for the man and his music doesn’t diminish with passing time any more than the magic of the songs diminish. In fact, the opposite is true: awareness of this songwriter’s greatness, and the power of the songs themselves, continues to expand.

The most beautiful and genuine example of this is when Peter underwent emergency open-heart surgery, yet had no health insurance. Though his life was saved, he was unable to pay the astronomical bill. That’s when Van Dyke Parks stepped in, along with other fellow songwriter-artists including Joe Henry, T Bone Burnett and Richard Thompson, and held a benefit concert which raised substantial money.

As Van Dyke says in the film about this effort, “This is what we do.”

MusiCares, the charity wing of the Recording Academy, also helped Peter substantially as they have helped countless members of the music community since their start in 1983.

This truth is rarely expressed in such films. Though the corporate music industry might exploit and abandon musicians and songwriters, there is more love and support for musicians from fellow musicians and music folk than is known. Peter’s medical bill could have easily decimated a normal man with a regular family. Not so Peter, who was back on the road, in the studio, and writing new songs, soon as he was able.

Peter Case


Fred Parnes also made the great 1994 documentary on the Persusasions, Spread the Word: The Persuasions Sing Acapella, a film Peter loved and which he said warmed him to the idea of Fred making his movie.

Parnes lovingly relates Peter’s journey with much soul, laughter, music and visual grandeur as the artist drives all over creation from gig to gig. The lyrical editing by Kate Amend and Jordan Krause propel the film powerfully, and reveal the expansion of Peter’s songwriting with passages of many of his songs wed to visuals of the man almost always on the road, in motion.

This is a road story in many ways, a Homeric journey of the eternal troubadour, the true poet of the heart and soul; the brave, mystic jokerman escaping from the strictures of his home-town to join all the other black sheep of America and beyond with the limitless, playful, hopeful, and inspirational spirit of song.

All of this combines ideally into what is the most poignant, funny and beautiful filmic love letter to songwriting to come along in some while. It stands up beautifully with the two best so far – 2012’s AKA. Doc Pomus, about Doc Pomus, and 2010’s Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?  Both of these films pay tribute to great songwriters, and to the artistry of their work, which is why their songs still matter, and still move us.

Yet this film is different in many ways, the most prominent being that the songwriter is still alive and well. The present-day Peter becomes the film’s comforting nucleus, around which the film revolves. His real-time presence brings a great warmth, humor and intimacy to the film. Even when relating dark chapters of his life, such as his struggles with his father – and those with the music industry – he injects them with much levity, and usually aimed at himself.

A rebel from the start who always possessed a powerfully resonant singing voice, he was a kid who couldn’t easily fit into the world or even view it well – for awhile he saw everything flat, as in 2D, except for a few fully-dimensional friends. Yet in art – music, literature – he found his pathway, and by writing songs began to make sense of the world.

Always he was literate, funny, passionate and driven; much more a Lennon than McCartney, brilliant with biting wit, a resonant and passionate singing voice, and no phoniness. We learn of the ways his dad would denigrate him, often assaulting his open, artistic spirit by asking, “So, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“I had nothing to say,” Peter remembers. Which is how he felt until he started writing songs, which helped him to discover what he did have to say. “I was tongue-tied,” he said, “in the face of life.”

Songwriting – the merger of words and music – allowed him the means to ascend, and he started writing what he considered “sky songs, ” which relieved the constant burden of gravity holding him down. He also actively deepened his own songwriting well; like Dylan in his early New York days who spent hours at the NY Public library absorbing all the poetry, philosophy , and even newspapers from previous centuries, Peter read his way through the famous City Lights bookstore, where he often crashed for the night.

We see him through the stages of his emergence as a musical force. First came The Nerves, a punkish power-pop trio he formed with fellow songwriter Jack Lee and drummer Paul Collins. Lee’s presence in the film – both in current interviews and in footage from the past – is compelling. (As is the odd folly of their choice of wardrobe – two-piece suits in the punk era.)

The Nerves

When that band broke up, just as at other key junctions in his life, Peter wasn’t defeated but emboldened. He decided to make his own band and do only his own songs. That was the Plimsouls . And they were great. Peter crafted great rockers for the band, and they started ascending. It’s there he broke through with the great triumph of his infectious “A Million Miles Away,” a bonafide radio hit.

Their success – and popularity – as he explains in the film, wasn’t random. They worked hard and put in serrious time to develop the singular character of the band, defining their sound and refining their arrangements and performance. It worked. The Plimsouls became beloved almost instantly, and started selling out each and every L.A. show. Signed by Geffen to Geffen Records, they made one album, and had one hit. A big one.

The Plimsouls, “A Million Miles Away”


It became a hit, and more. Chosen for inclusion in the film Valley Girl, in which Peter and his Plimsouls are seen in a club performing, the song was propelled in a bigger way than any of his others. But one hit alone, unlike in previous eras, was not enough to inspire the label to sustain him. As detailed by Peter as only he can, after being signed to Geffen Records by Geffen, he decided to go solo and made a great album.

In one of the film’s most telling, tragic and comic scenes, Peter relates a meeting with Geffen which says everything about this business and these times, ending with the remarkable phrase which became the film’s subtitle, as spoken by Geffen to Case: “Peter, for once in your life, just take yes for an answer.”

But Geffen essentially abandoned him by offering little distribiution or promotional effort. As he says in the film, “I just wanted to get out, while everyone else just wanted to get in.”

He soon got his wish.

Peter Case on Alhambra Street, 2006
Photo by Paul Zollo

But, again, rather than being diminished by this struggle, as he film reveals, Peter was inspired by his ultimate liberation, and it deepened his artistic soul. He went acoustic, and evolved naturally from rocker into folkie.

The scope of his songwriting expression – which was already expansive, blossomed in new, unexpected, wonderful ways. Unchained from a major label, he wrote every kind of song there is, and each with soulful authority: bluesy epics, matched to great open-tuning guitar parts; beautiful, melodic ballads, great rockers , and those songs that are as great as great gets.

His albums were still wonderfully produced – the best of all worlds – and always featured great musicians, who were also his friends.

Peter, not unlike Elvis Costello and a few others, has created such a vast body of work and in so many styles, that it can be overwhelming. And people have a real hard time with anything overwhelming, as Dylan said while discussing Shakespeare. Because of this, the fullness of Peter’s body of work, although unified by his voice as a writer and singer, has rarely been appreciated by the world. His fans, and also fellow songwriters get it. It’s why so many legendary songwriters, such as Springsteen and John Prine, not only recognized his greatness, but spread the word. In this film Ben Harper proclaims that Peter is our greatest living songwriter. (Ben joined Van Dyke Parks, the late great Don Heffington and other luminaries onstage at McCabe’s for Peter’s great 65th birthday concert, portions of which are included in the film. )

Peter Case, “Beyond The Blues,” Live on Folkscene
Written by Peter Case, Tom Russell & Bob Neuwirth

But now, because of this film, that fullness of his work – his remarkable musical and stylistic range – is now being fully embraced. Parnes and his editors brought home this understanding by beautifully weaving a bounteous array of Peter’s lifetime of songs into the soundtrack, which veers through punk, power-pop, rock & roll, folk, blues and, as he wrote, much that is beyond the blues. Far beyond.

To bring home this truth, the film includes a wonderfully inspirational performance of Peter’s stunning “Two Angels” as a tremendously soulful and empassioned duet by Lady Blackbird and Chris Pierce. Produced live by Chris Seefried (who can be seen in the studio playing guitar along with Mitchell Froom on keys, and other luminaries in the band), it shows that Peter’s songs have a life far beyond his own recordings. “Two Angels” was previously covered by Alejandro Escovedo and was featured in HBO’s “True Blood.”

Peter Case, “Two Angels,” 1989.


As the movie progresses, we learn not only of the general resistance and anguish this songwriter – and all – must endure, but the bigger lesson: that for a songwriter to persist in modern times, and to remain plugged into that source from which the greatest songs come is more than impressive. It is heroic. It is, to paraphrase the great Van Dyke Parks, a triumph of the human spirit.

And just when we were about to give up hope, this happens. That Fred Parnes and his team honored this triumph with such a beautiful film is a great reason to rejoice.

Peter Case


In Memory of Human Sunshine:

Barbara Morrison

September 10, 1949
– March 16, 2022 


There was nobody else quite like her. Whether on the stage of a giant concert hall or a small club; whether performing solo with her band or backing up the countless giants with whom she harmonized, she always cooked up a mighty gumbo of jazz, blues and classic song, ladled out with loving generosity for all in attendance. Whether to a sold-out concert hall, or to more empty chairs than people, she sang with as much momentous spirit, love and delight as if she was at Carnegie Hall.

In fact, she did perform at Carnegie Hall many times over the years, solo and with others. But whether she was there, the Sydney Opera House, or the hip but decidely non-royal Pip’s on LaBrea, she never dialed down. That’s who she was. It didn’t matter who was in the audience, or if there was an audience at all. What mattered was the song. The music. And the bond between musicians.

Barbara Morrison, 2022.

Barbara Morrison. A champion of song, if ever there was. A vocalist of genuine soul and grace, unbound power, purity and passion. Born in 1949, she died two weeks ago on March 16, here in Los Angeles.

It’s also here in L.A. that she performed her final show. It was at Vibrato, the beautiful jazz club owned by Herb Alpert, which up at the top of Beverly Glen at Mulholland.

Although we hadn’t planned on it, my son Joshua and I were at that final show.

We had dinner at Fabrocini’s, the great Italian restaurant also up there in Beverly Glen Circle, just blocks from my beloved new home in Beverly Glen. During dinner I told Josh about how much I loved being so close to Vibrato, where I’ve come several times. Most recently to the great show givien by Paul Simon’s longtime African bassist of multitudes, the great Bakhiti Kumalo. So Josh suggested going in for a drink after dinner. We didn’t know she would be there.

I had never experienced the greatness of one of her live shows, nor did I know much about her. I knew the name, and knew she was an esteemed jazz singer and deliverer of standards from that Great American Songbook.

Yet it seems that Providence (or God, if you will) wanted my son and myself to experience this greatness first-hand, and guided us, gently, quietly, without our knowledge, to what was her final performance ever. It was February 13, 2022. Two weeks later she went into the hospital and her earthly life came to an end.

Yet we happened to be there for the last show, without even knowing of our great good fortune.

Was this an accident?

No.

A mere coincidence?

Nope.

Was it confirmation that our lives are never random, and as long as we keep our hearts open with loving trust, we will be guided to the exact right place and time?

Yes!

And that’s exactly what happened. Joshua, who is 22 now, a very recent college graduate and now a full-time producer-plus for Tom Segura’s great Your Mom’s House podcast, was back home after his recent move to Austin to work on YMH at their new Texas home. After dinner we walked over to Vibrato.

When we entered, there was a small crowd there, but it was mostly quiet. We got some good cocktails, and sat at the lovely bar feeling happy, as it’s hard not to feel happy there. Nobody was performing, and I figured there would be no live music on this night.

I was wrong. There’s music there seven nights a week. Suddenly a small ensemble took stage and readied their instruments: piano, bass, electric guitar and drums.

Then we heard the words which surprised and thrilled us:

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome – Barbara Morrison!”

“Barbara Morrison?!” I didn’t know this was her night, though I had noticed her name on their calendar regularly.

Suddenly she was rolled onto the stage in a wheel-chair. The joy she projected was monumental, though her physical presence had been diminished; alhough she beamed with tender joy and gratitude, her physical body was small and bird-like, and seemed incapable of containing such capacious, unbound talent. Her voice was still strong – and joyfully and poignantly expressive. Though illness had stolen much of her physical self, it didn’t steal the music in her, and her ability to share it with us.

She sang like someone in love with her fellow musicians, with songs, and with the songwriters who brought them to us. She felt every line, and we felt it, too. She sang in a voice was resonant and clear, and she delivered every melody note, and every lyric, with such absolute heart and soul, and with such engaged lyricism, that it was stunning.

Every song was a delight. But none was so powerful, beautiful and sad as when she sang what is perhaps Cole Porter’s greatest and most poignant song, “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Its poignancy was both sweetened and deepened immeasurably by a force we didn’t recognize then, but do now. Time. Her’ time here was coming to an end. It was her final show ever. Days after that performance she went into the hospital, and from there left this realm to start her next adventure.

But when she sang that song – and every song – it was genuinely beautiful. Only a smattering of audience members were still there, but that didn’t matter – she sang as if she was singing before a packed audience at Carnegie Hall. She so expressed the fullness of the lyric – the shared humanity of each phrase -, and always with a smile bigger than the whole room, as if to say: Listen now and hear me : this is what matters. Love. And it lasts forever. Yet while still in this realm, divided from each other in so many ways, it is easy to dismiss the fullness of our blessings, and the power of love which has enlivened us forever.

But she she sang those words, and with that singular soul of purity, and honored the songwriter, the song and all who could hear and feel its message of joy and sorrow forever entwined:

“Ev’ry time we say goodbye
I die a little
Ev’ry time we say goodbye
I wonder why a little…”


And then the great final verse, with its musical symbology in perfect rhyme and meter:

There’s no love song finer
But how strange the change
From major to minor
Ev’ry time we say goodbye

Barbara Morrison concert, streamed live on November 14, 2020

We knew that night how lucky we were to have walked in for a drink, not knowing she would be performing. But since then we’ve recognized it was more than luck they led us there on that night, the last show of her life; it was a blessing, and our gratitude has deepened.

I learned of her death from my old pal Sal Guitarez, a songwriter-musician-teacher and great dad (to musician-producer Jason Gutierrez) if he’d heard of her, in advance of relating my lucky tale of wandering in there with my lad just in time for her full set.

He said, “Yeah, sure. Barbara Morrison.” Then he added, “I heard she’s gone.”

“No, she’s not,” I said. “I just saw her last week–“

“No,” he said. “She is gone. She just died yesterday.”

Yesterday ? I was hoping he was wrong. He wasn’t.

I called Vibrato to ask if that was her final show that we saw. It was. I thanked them for that night, and every night of great, real-time music.

Herb Alpert’s Vibrato * 2930 Beverly Glen Circle
Los Angeles, CA 90077 * (310) 474-9400

Barbara Morrison, “I Love Being Here With You,” 2010

Her life reads like a good song lyric: Born in Ypsilanti , she was raised in Romulus. Which is Michigan, where she first emerged on September 10, 1949.


Her father was a professional singer, and she followed in his footsteps soon as she could walk. By ten she was already recording and performing, after making her musical debut on a Detroit radio station. She started singing and recording in the service of others singers. That long list of artists begins in 1977 with Johnny Otis, who featured her on many albums, as well as Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Count Basie Orchestra, Ray Charles, Etta James, Doc Severinsen, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Keb-Mo, Terence Blanchard, Joe Sample, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson and Joe Williams.

When she was 22, she moved to L.A., and joined the band of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s Band. Once she started, she never stopped. Till now.

She always let us knows that songs mattered. Lyrics when sung by others could seem hackneyed, and disconnected from real life. But from her deep soul, songs became real conversations with a friend. And no ordinary friend, but a spirited, inspirational friend, one radiating joy.

So direct onstage was her delivery that often she’d be answered, as when she lifted up a room already soaring on the combined energy of Santana and Buddy Guy by igniting Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler’s “Stormy Weather,” with her own brand of authentic soul. Written for Ethel Waters in 1933, she easily tapped into its timeless realm.

Barbara Morrison with Buddy Guy & Carlos Santana, “Stormy Monday.”

Her band was made up of four great musicians. Happy ones, even. Maybe not always, but on this night they were jamming like at a party. She encouraged this. Her patter between songs was less about performance and more about our great good fortune to hear songs at this level played by great musicians. Every song soared, and the band rejoiced in their recognition of her sheer candle-power. Her joy was infectious, and lit up every song she sang.

Her voice was always warm and friendly. Smiling, she’d bring the song with loving sweetness and generous clarity, like a great teacher sharing the most beautiful poetry of man to her students. She didn’t take liberties with songs, careful to deliver the beautiful lyrical wisdom and melodic beauty undiluted, while preserving the sanctity. In her singing there was always the undeniable bridge to the eternal.It was about now, but also always about forever.

Barbara Morrison, “What A Difference A Day Made,” 1986.
Written by Stanley Adams and Mariah Grever

Here in Los Angeles she devoted her life to enriching and expanding the musical community, and giving new talent a chance to develop and emerge. In 2009, she opened the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in Leimert Park. Two years later, she founded the California Jazz & Blues Museum in the same hood.

Barbara Morrison in concert at the California Jazz & Blues Museum, which she founded.
This is a full show which she gave on New Year’s Eve, 2021 to usher in 2022.

She also served as an associate professor of jazz studies at UCLA. The university recently launched the Barbara Morrison Scholarship for Jazz.

When sung by her, a song came alive in all its fullness and glory. All its aspects were celebrated in the heartfelt joy she’d bring to every melody note, and lyrical phrase. She sang the famous lyrics of standards with a an exultant authority, as if this was the premiere of this miraculous song. In every line, she sang with a depth of gratitude and adoration for the songwriter’s genius and deep artistry that allowed tsomething so brilliant and tender at once; an expression of love so sad and real, reflecting in its aching sweetness the eternal human conundrum, the soul’s journey of love eternal and unbound, though forever bound to a humble, human life, a “brief candle,” as Shakespeare wrote:


“…to the last syllable of recorded time,
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow…
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
and then is heard no more.”

But some voices are heard long after the singer is gone from our realm, just as some songs are sung and last forever, far beyond the life-spans of its songwriters and singers. Songs, when she injected them with her full soul power and love, were like lit candles that could burn brightly forever, illuminating our human hearts with everlasting incandesence.



There’s no love song finer
But how strange the change From major to minor
Ev’ry time we say goodbye

She is survived by her brother, Richard Morrison; two sisters, Pamela Morrison-Kersey and Armetta Morrison; and 10 nieces and nephews.

Flowers and donations will be received at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, located at 4305 Degnan Blvd. #101, Los Angeles, CA 90008.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Rescinds Bob Dylan’s Induction Due to Alleged Use of “Creativity-Enhancing Drugs”

APRIL 1, 2022 Edmund Martifice, spokesman for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, announced today that the 1988 induction of Bob Dylan into the Rock Hall has been rescinded permanently due to “alleged use of creativity-enhancing Drugs.”

All Dylan memorabilia, paraphenalia and assorted writings now in the museum’s collection, he reported, will be auctioned off, destroyed and/or “left out in front of the museum.” Mr. Dylan will be banned from the museum, as will any of his bandmates, collaborators, former wives, present and ex-girlfriends, children, grandchildren or lawyers. All his songs will be deleted from any museum-generated playlists.

The statement read: “Mr. Dylan has been involved in an illicit system of acquiring illegal and/or formally illegal substances, which he used regularly when writing his songs. Our investigation has revealed that many of his most famous songs were written when under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs, alcohol, caffiene and cough syrup.”

Dylan was also accused of providing drugs for other bandmates and/or friends.

We emailed Mr. Martifice at the Rock Hall for further details. He declined our request for a spoken interview, but did answer in email. Asked if other famous inductees were suspected of also using drugs to fuel their music, and in danger of being deducted from the Cleveland institution, he said he had to first confer with his advisors before responding. Six hours later we received his response.

“As far as we know,” responded Martifice, “no other Rock Hall inductees are suspected of drug usage. Fortunately, this sad and insidious scheme belonged only to Bob Dylan. All in a tragic attempt, evidently, to defraud the public into belieiving he was some kind of creative genius. Now, sadly, we know the truth.”

We contacted the Recording Academy to ask if Dylan’s ten Grammys would be revoked.

Their response was concise: “What? Is this some kind of joke?”

If only.

We also contacted the Nobel Foundation to inquire about the status of Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature. They have not returned the call.


Bob Dylan

the eternal wheat field

By John Kruth

a poem for vincent van gogh
on his 169th birthday

Vincent Van Gogh, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, 1887
Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Cypresses, 1889.

everything was alive

in your absinthe-green eyes

when only deep shades of blues

could still sooth your black moods

and red vineyards cloaked you

from the darkness

of the ever-encroaching winter

some say it was glaucoma or lead

poisoning that caused you to see

halos around everything

but maybe you were

just closer to heaven

than that drab bunch of potato

eaters who lived next door

everything you witnessed

breathed electricity

the shape of the wind

and clouds spinning in turbulent skies

as gray clouds like dark birds rose

from your pipe and sunflowers danced

with delight in the vase on your table

all the colors we knew

turned a different hue

when you painted them

and the wheat waved back in gratitude

so drop that pistol vincent,

the paintbrush will always love you better

nobody saw the world through your eyes

for another hundred years or so

and by that time, you were long gone

never knowing your paintings

— John Kruth, 2022

La Berceuse (Woman Rocking a Cradle);
A Portrait of Augustine-Alix Pellicot Roulin, 1851–1930) 1889

Vincent Van Gogh, Nursery on Schenkweg
April–May 1882

GREAT NEW SONG ALERT: The Black Keys, “Wild Child”

From the new album Dropout Boogie, out later this month.

By PAUL ZOLLO

A brand-new classic by the Black Keys – Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney – arrived on March 10, of this year (2022) – “Wild Child,” from their new album, Dropout Boogie, which will emerge on May 13.

The Black Keys are Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, two old tuneful pals from from Akron who teamed up in 2001. Similar to the way the duo of Becker & Fagen were Steely Dan, around which other satellites spun and which signified songwriting and record-making greatness always, Dan & Pat have united in a musical mission that has deeply enriched these times. Their songs and records shine always with the warm purity of two seriously singular songwriters in harmonic and spiritual sync with each other, and in love with the unbound power and potential of song.

And like Steely Dan – not stylistically, mind you, but in terms of their aim – their work is always reflects the ambition and diligence to make real-time, timeless, rocking records out of these songs. Classic, soulful, rock and roll, analog and digital both, dimensional, and expansive. Built to last,

They will embark on a new 12-show tour this year (see below). Like their legions of fans, I am thankful for each successive brand-new classis they’ve created over these past years. Somehow they remain plugged into the source, and connect with the real-time rock, roll, soul, whimsy, wisdom, irony, passion and fire. Few other bands, for this writer, consistently create new music that I genuinely want to keep listening to over and over. That’s what it’s all about. Their music makes me feel good. It feeds a hunger that very few new records ever feed. And they keep doing it.

And it is needed – and appreciated – now more than ever, as the foundational ideas which guide this kind of work have been dismissed, abandoned, forgotten and/or lost by so many.

And, like Tom Petty and others who kept doing it, they make it look easy. Also fun.

They also make compelling, unexpected and great videos like this one below, the official music video, starring Dan & Pat, of “Wild Child.”

The Black Keys, Patrick Carney & Dan Auerbach,
“Wild Child”

Black Keys forever, bitch.”

So ends this video with these words. We agree.

Forever. That’s what it’s all about.

On behalf of rock & roll and those who live in its forever realm, allow us to say to Dan & Pat: Thank you! This world would suck even more without you.

The new album, Dropout Boogie, Out May 13

“Wild Child”
By Daniel Auerbach & Patrick Carney

I’m just a stranger
With a twisted smile and I’m wondering, ah
Your heart is in danger
Come close now, let me tell you a lie

Wild child
You got me running through the turnstile
Baby, come with and I’ll make it worthwhile
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

You are a sweet dream
With a tender heart and beautiful smile
But things aren’t what they seem
So I’ll let you go and dream for a while

Wild child
You got me coming outta exile
Baby girl, you know I’m liking your style
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

I just wanna hold you at the end of every day
Girl, I wanna please you, oh, I’m needing you to stay
The sun is gonna shine if you would just come out and play
Baby, won’t you show me your wild child ways

Wild child
You got me running through the turnstile
Baby, come with and I’ll make it worthwhile
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

Wild child
You got me coming outta exile
Baby girl, you know I’m liking your style
You’re gonna get my love today, yeah

Wild Child lyrics © 2022 Wixen Music Publishing

The Black Keys have officially announced their 32-date Dropout Boogie North American Tour. Dropout Boogie Tour begins July 9 in Las Vegas with special guests Band Of Horses. Ceramic Animal, Early James, & The Velveteers for select dates.

Fans can join the FREE Lonely Boys & Girls Club for more.



Presale codes can be found once signed up and logged into your Lonely Boys & Girls club profile starting Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10 am ET.

A limited number of VIP packages will also be available starting Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 10 AM local time. VIP packages include premium seats, sound check visit, an autographed lithograph and more!

Great New Song Alert: Trombone Shorty, “Come Back” .

A brand-new timeless soul classic by Chris Seefried, Derrick Thomas, Sam Plecker & Trombone Shorty

By PAUL ZOLLO

It’s one of the most infectiously uplifting soul singles to emerge in a long time. If Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone, Isaac Hayes, all of Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Tower of Power horns were to team up to make one record, it might sound something like this. But maybe not as great.

From his first album in five years, Lifted, which arrives on April 29, this is Trombone Shorty with “Come Back.”

Trombone Shorty

The song and album were produced by Chris Seefried, who has written and produced great music for many bands and artists (including Andra Day, Lady Blackbird, Joseph Arthur, Counting Crows, Fitz & The Tantrums, Vintage Trouble). He co-wrote “Come Back” with Derrick Thomas, Sam Plecker & Trombone Shorty. Chris has been steadily establishing himself as one of the most soulful and savvy songwriter-producers making music now; like Mark Ronson, he ‘s got a gift for easily merging the real-time, soul magic of the analog past with the new sonics and grooves of our digital age. Usually a little more hip-hop than rock, these grooves propel timeless melodies that never fail to touch the heart, even while you are dancing.

Both romantically tender and anthemic, “Come Back” is built around an undeniably killer hook. It ‘s one of those which makes you feel happy the first time you hear it, and happier with each listening, as all its facets coalesce. It’s brand new and timeless at the same time, all about now but without abandoning those ancient elements which combine to make songs soar forever .

Since you've been away
I've been hurting
Since you've been away
Come back baby
Since you've been away
I've been hurting
Since you've been away
Come back and stay

Does it get better? This is new, true and it’s 2022.

“Come Back”
℗ Blue Note Records; ℗ 2022 UMG Recordings, Inc.
Released on 18 February 2022

Producer, Arranger, Composer, Lyricist: Chris Seefried
Mixer, Mastering Engineer: Mikael “Count” Eldridge
Background Vocalist, Trombone, Trumpet, Vocals: Trombone Shorty
Drums: Alvin Ford
Bass Guitar: Mike Bass-Bailey
Guitar: Pete Murano
Hammond Organ, Rhodes: Brandon Butler
Tenor Saxophone: BK Jackson
Baritone Saxophone: Dan Oestreicher
Background Vocals: Chris Pierce, Derek Thomas, Trombone Shorty
Recording Engineer: Charles Smith
Engineer: Seth Atkins Horan
Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman

Chris Seefried. Photo by Majoryabo

Great New Song Alert: “Magnificent Hurt” by Elvis Costello & The Imposters

From his new album The Boy Named If, which burst forth in January, 2022 (it didn’t simply drop).

It comprises a song cycle which, according to Elvis, spans from “the last days of a bewildered boyhood to that mortifying moment when you are told to stop acting like a child—which for most men (and perhaps a few gals too) can be any time in the next 50 years.”

This is the single, and is perfect for this series in which we celebrate great songs which are brand new. This is a brand-new brand-new classic, written by Elvis, produced by him with Sebastian Krys, and recorded during lockdown with The Imposters (AKA The Attractions).

This is new, this is timeless, also charged, passionate, fun, mysterious, visceral, danceable, delicious, in funkified, unbridled B minor, and delightfully delightful.


“Magnificent Hurt”
Words & Music by Elvis Costello

After talking in tongues, I began to preach
What falls from the branch is an apple or peach
Hold on to me, there’s a red alert
It’s the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt

I took a little walk, I took another stimulant
I shed a single tear for my predicament
Don’t act surprised or insolent
It’s the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt

When we first met, I knew you were beautiful
You fit like the seat of a blue mohair suit
And the pain that I felt let me know I’m alive
And I opened my heart
To the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt

I speak low and intimate
Like a cardboard sophisticate
What if this is true love?
Not some town hall certificate
It’s the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt

I stood at the door, and I almost went through with it
Tight as the angle of my amen
And I swore, there and then, as I feign and I flirt
I unbuttoned my shirt
To the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt
To the way you make me feel, magnificent hurt

Behind the Song:

“My Old Man,” by Steve Goodman

STEVE GOODMAN,
“MY OLD MAN”

By PAUL ZOLLO

When it came to writing a song about your father, even John Prine knew that nobody ever did it better than his pal, the late Steve Goodman. Prine had already written a great song about his own father, “Paradise.” It was a song that moved his father more than any he ever wrote. But that was about more than his dad. It was about coal-mining in America, and the little town of Paradise where it happened. It was about America, and how swiftly it has changed.

But this one. “My Old Man” by Steve Goodman. It’s a song long beloved as among the greatest ever written from a son to his dad. For so many reasons. But more than anything, because it’s genuine. From the heart. The son, the father, the love, the regret, the tune. All of it. When Stevie wrote a song, he wrote a song to be remembered. More than forty years since it first emerged, it still is pure and perfect.

Steve Goodman at Wrigley Field

It’s also a perfect example of the songwriting wisdom that the more specific a song is, the more universal. Although this is as specific as it gets, with the true details of the life of his dad, known as Bud Goodman, a used car salesman in Chicago, it’s a song about all dads, and all children of parents who have dealt with the grief of losing their own dads.

JOHN PRINE,
“MY OLD MAN” BY STEVE GOODMAN

Anthology: No Big Surprise
Steve Goodman
Buy from Amazon

“He wrote it for his father, Bud,” said John Prine, who has performed this song more than any other by Steve Goodman, his best pal, “It was after Bud died of a sudden heart-attack. Took about six months for it all to sink in, He kept telling me he was wondering when it would soak in, but he didn’t know it would turn into a song.”

Prine heard this one long-distance, and in the middle of the night.

“Usually when he finished a song he’d get on a pay-phone, wherever he was, and call me, and wake me up, and say, `Prine, I got one.’ That’s how I heard this one the first time. I always thought it was a really pretty one.” 

Steve Goodman’s dad didn’t work in a coal mine. He was a used car dealer. But as Steve sings in the song, never was there a more charming guy on this planet. Even when he’d look you in the eye and sell you a used car. And never was there a more sweet and poignant song about a father than this one. Written in 1977, it was on Steve’s album Say It In Private, produced by Joel Dorn.

It’s got his dad’s real character – the corny jokes, the cheap cigar, his greatness at selling used cars. But also the history – time in the war, marrying mom, and then, becoming a dad. Then the fights with Stevey and his brother. The guy was human, not a saint. And Stevey also was human, and hardly a perfect son – admitting to tuning out his father – and the regret:

“And I’d give all I own to hear what he said when I wasn’t listening.”

Plus the sad and ironic humanity of father and son reflected:

He was always trying to watch his weight/but his heart only made it to 58…”

And then the key line, which is about the songwriter, and about all humans having to somehow accept a loss so deep that it’s hard to fathom. Yet it’s a necessary acceptance, though heartbreaking, before singing the inevitable song of grief, the one which never really ends. But it begins.

“And for the first time since he died/late last night I cried/I wondered when I was gonna do that for my old man…”

In concert he introduced it with a smile, saying, “This song is for Joseph Bayer Goodman, my father. I asked my grandmother why she named him Bayer, cause there were no Bayers in the family. Anywhere. She said she had her reasons.”

He then shrugged to the audience, as if to say, “Who knows what that is all about?”

In 2006, Steve’s daughter Rosanna Goodman produced a tribute album for her dad called My Old Man, featuring many artists doing songs by Steve, and not the usual ones. But the highlight is her own beautiful version of the song. 

ROSANNA GOODMAN,
“MY OLD MAN”
Written by her old man, Steve Goodman

Like many songwriters, when I first heard Steve’s song about his dad, I abandoned any idea of ever writing one of my own for my father. Because he’d done it so well. It’s simple, funny, poignant and beautiful. It doesn’t get better really. After knowing this, what could I write? It’s a dilemma never resolved.

John Prine felt the same way. Usually it was Steve Goodman who sang John Prine’s songs, as he sang Prine’s praises to everyone and anyone who would listen. It was Goodman, and those in the know already know well, insisted Kris Kristofferson hear him, which led to Prine getting signed but Atlantic.

But of all the songs by Steve Goodman, this was one Prine performed more than any other. He knew Bud, Steve’s dad, so he could see into the song as if he wrote it himself. He also knew and loved Steve Goodman, who died at only 36 years old in 1984. John outlived his best pal by 26 years, and kept Goodman’s spirit alive always. Prine’s performance of this song was always poignant and great, paying tribute to his absent pal with this song Steve wrote about the death of his dad. He wrote as a way of making sense of his own grief, and poured into it the loving, gentle whimsy that was his essence.

STEVE GOODMAN. “THIS IS A SONG FOR MY FATHER, JOSEPH BAYER GOODMAN.”

My Old Man”
By Steve Goodman

I miss my old man tonight
And I wish he was here with me
With his corny jokes and his cheap cigars
He could look you in the eye and sell you a car
That’s not an easy thing to do
But no one ever knew a more charming creature
On this earth than my old man

He was a pilot in the big war in the U.S. Army Air Corps
In a C-47 with a heavy load
Full of combat cargo for the Burma Road
And after they dropped the bomb
He came home and married mom
|And not long after that
He was my old man

And oh the fights we had
When my brother and I got him mad
He’d get all boiled up and he’d start to shout
And I knew what was coming so I tuned him out
And now the old man’s gone, and I’d give all I own
To hear what he said when I wasn’t listening
To my old man

I miss the old man tonight
And I can almost see his face
He was always trying to watch his weight
And his heart only made it to fifty-eight
For the first time since he died
Late last night I cried
I wondered when I was gonna do that
For my old man

Steve Goodman & John Prine together

THE BEST STEVE GOODMAN BOOK EVER!!

For more on the timeless greatness of Steve Goodman, look no farther than Clay Eals’ tremendous book Steve Goodman: Facing the Music. It’s one of the best books ever on a songwriter. It’s a book as great as Steve was great, and as loving. It’s the comprehensive, untold story of a young man whose hilarious, touching and heartening music — “City of New Orleans,” “You Never Even Call Me by My Name,” “Banana Republics,” “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”, “Go, Cubs, Go” and many more stellar songs — uplifted millions.
All books ordered from this site will come with a special postcard, autographed by the author, and a CD (or CD-R) of 18 songs written after Steve’s death that pay tribute to him, and one track of interview clips with Steve himself.

Click here to purchase the book:



www.storerevenue.biz/clayeals/order.asp

Steve Goodman: Facing the Music
By CLAY EALS
Steve Goodman