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October 13, 2020 4:21 pm  #1

“Behind The Songs” Explains How Your Favorite Hits Were Written

I stumbled across a site called “American Songwriter.” A lot of what was on there wasn’t of interest to me, but there is one feature that they regularly run that is. It’s called “Behind The Song,” and it interviews the writers of some famous tunes we all know and explains what inspired them. Some of them are fascinating, while others contain just a few interesting tidbits. But they’re all worth a read.
In addition, there are also a couple of pages called “Demo-itis,” which lets you hear the original concept of a famous song and how it evolved into the version you know best.
I won’t get into the details of all of them here, but the links below will get you to some of the pages I enjoyed and you can find others using their search engine. But I do have to note that Dewey Bunnell, one of the founders of America, reveals in the story behind “A Horse With No Name” that he actually does own a horse. Its moniker? “Noname,” of course. Only seems appropriate.
Behind the Song: “Wooly Bully” by Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs
Behind The Song: The Rolling Stones’ “Time Is On My Side” by Jerry Ragovoy
Behind the Song: “Catch The Wind” by Donovan
Behind The Song: Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
Behind The Song: Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”
Behind the Song: The Eagles, “New Kid In Town”
Behind The Song: “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins
Behind The Song: John Mellencamp, “Pink Houses”
Behind The Song: Elton John, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
Behind The Song: Elton John, “Levon”
Behind The Song: Elton John, “Candle In The Wind”
Behind The Song: Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
Behind The Song: America, “Horse With No Name”
Behind the Song: “Ventura Highway” by America
Behind The Song: America’s “Tin Man” by Dewey Bunnell
Demo-itis 1: “Strawberry Fields Forever” by John Lennon & The Beatles
Demo-itis 2: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon
Search the site for more


October 13, 2020 8:57 pm  #2

Re: “Behind The Songs” Explains How Your Favorite Hits Were Written

OK, I've got to add just one more, because this blew my mind and I can't believe what I just heard. I know the Beatles did a number of songs in German early in their career, after their success in Hamburg. But up until now, I never knew The Supremes, of all groups, performed their first huge hit, "Where Did Our Love Go?" in that language. 

It is so bizarre to hear what has always been my one of my favorite Motown tunes of all time in another language, but with the voices of the original performers. Anyway here's the song the people over in Deutschland knew as "Baby, Baby, Wo Ist Unsere Liebe."

Behind The Song: The Supremes, “Where Did Our Love Go”

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October 14, 2020 8:31 am  #3

Re: “Behind The Songs” Explains How Your Favorite Hits Were Written

Thanks aflem, interesting. Don is still married to Linda which is fantastic. Don also said that he was sitting on the bluffs in St Ives and the wind was blowing strong enough to vibrate the strings so he "caught the wind."
As for Wooly Bully, I've always been a little amused that the new listeners to the song don't know the meaning of L7.


October 15, 2020 10:20 am  #4

Re: “Behind The Songs” Explains How Your Favorite Hits Were Written

Loved the "song" Wooly Bully & the Super Supremes right from day one

 Another great favourite of mine was the 1965 tune She's About A Mover.

Sir Douglas Quintet had to change the title from the original She's A Body Mover.

The original deemed "not appropriate"  in 1965 


October 16, 2020 4:47 pm  #5

Re: “Behind The Songs” Explains How Your Favorite Hits Were Written

I've been going through some of these pages over the week, but this one really stood out: the story behind Kenny Rogers & The First Edition's "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." Here's what amazed me. According to the article, one of the group's very first hits almost never happened. They were in the studio working on their initial LP and had 15 minutes of time left.

So the producer, not wanting to waste it, pulled out this tune composed by country legend Mel Tillis, and the band recorded it. If they'd run out of time, it might never have happened. 

As for the meaning of the tune, despite the fact there's a reference to that "crazy Asian war" and it was the early 70s, the song wasn't actually about Vietnam. 

“Ruby is a real life narrative about a soldier coming home from World War II in 1947 to Palm Beach County, Florida,” says Tillis, himself a Florida native. “The soldier brought along with him a pretty little English woman he called ‘Ruby,’ his war bride from England, one of the nurses that helped to bring him around to somewhat of a life.

"He had recurring problems from war wounds and was confined mostly to a wheelchair. He’d get drunk and accuse Ruby of everything under the sun. Having stood as much as she could, Ruby and the soldier eventually divorced, and she moved on.”

I love finding out new details about songs I've loved for years. 

Behind the Song: Kenny Rogers, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”    

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