Andrae Alexander and I recording 4 songs for (hopefully) Patti LaBelle with vocals by Patrice CovingtonMarch 28, 2019
Andrae Alexander and I recording 4 songs for (hopefully) Patti LaBelle with vocals by Patrice Covington, Squeak in the Broadway revival of my musical, The Color Purple (written with Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray and Marsha Norman), and Mark Hood on the male duet part. I think we got four killers. Excellent spirit, vocals, and chicken wings all the way around!
A meeting of the hair and minds! Writing lyrics here in LA to the four songs Ben Jaffe, mighty leader of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and I started in New Orleans a few months ago. Four songs in two days, working around the inspiring and constant banging and screwing sounds (in the construction sense of the words) of the workmen right underneath the studio mounting my new air conditioning system to the ceiling. Plus the dulcet harmonies of the portable air conditioners in the room while it’s installed. And then there are the planes from the Burbank airport. A cacophony of sound floating in, out, around, and above Willis Wonderland. But we have our hair! BTW, I’m writing on my phone, not taking time to text. And please notice we are wearing four different colors of shoes.
TONIGHT, Sunday, though there will be much else to focus our eyeballs on, I’m on @axstv’s #TopTenRevealed again, ranking the best 60’s folk songs, all still especially relevant now. Set your DVR starting at 8:30/7:30c. #folksongs #top10folkies #protestsongs #axstv #songwriter#badeya
Elated to announce that The Library of Congress today named my very first hit, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, and 24 other recordings that are to be added to the National Recording Registry! These songs are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant aural treasures worthy of preservation because of their importance to the nation’s recorded sound heritage”. Other titles I‘m most proud “September” is among include Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” Ritchie Valen’s “La Bamba.” Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” the musical “Hair”; Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” Robert F. Kennedy’s Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., plus LPs like JAY-Z’s “The Blueprint,” and Cyndi Lauper‘s “She’s So Unusual”. Love you forever, my co-writers, Maurice White and Al McKay!
Girls lunch with two of my oldest, greatest friends, the esteemed Ms’s Pamela Des Barres and Cassandra Peterson a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress Of the Dark. None of us have make-up on and photos weren’t meant to be taken, but as an avid archivist I could not let this moment of supreme friendship pass without capturing it.
Great time popping out some demos for Patti LaBelle, who was the first artist to regularly sing my songs in 1978. Had she not started me off like that I’m sure it would have been a much longer road to Earth, Wind & Fire. She also put me in the studio with her friend whose name she didn’t tell me but thought I would make an excellent collaborator for. We were almost two hours into writing before I realized it was Herbie Hancock! Anyway, I had a ball recording Patti demos last Sunday night with (L-R) Jordn George, Andrae Alexander, and Drew L Green.
I wrote my very first song in 1972. The music was SO GOOD that year that despite not knowing how to play an instrument I just started writing because I was so inspired. My very first song was written to the melody of “Alone Again Naturally” by Gilbert O’Sullivan, one of the biggest records of the year and easily one of my all time favorite records ever. Then I called a friend who could play piano and he brought over the sheet music to “Never Can Say Goodbye” and played the chords backwards, from the end of the song to the beginning. I always could sing a melody to anything, the clock ticking, birds singing, anything that forms a rhythmic pattern. And so my first song, “Ain’t No Man Worth It” was born. Which got me a record deal on Epic for my one and only album, Childstar, the title of the second song I ever wrote. This Sunday on AXS TV‘s show The Top Ten Revealed we’re ranking the most epic songs of ’72! It’s an all-new episode starting at 8:30/7:30c.
More from Tuesday night’s Season 3 premiere of Pamela Adlon’s FX show Better Things. First photo’s with Prudence Fenton and our great friends, Monica and Phil Rosenthal. Phil was the creator, writer, and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond and Monica played Amy, Robert Barone a.k.a. Brad Garrett’s on again-off again girlfriend on Raymond. Phil’s also been instrumental in Pamela’s TV career, including coaching her on making this season of Better Things. which is BRILLIANT. And if you haven’t caught Phil’s PBS show I’ll have what Phil’s having, it’s one of the warmest, funniest and most charming food-themed shows ever. Second photo is me and Diva Zappa holding our name cards for photographers as we are about to alight the red carpet.