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Thread: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

  1. #71
    Stuck on the Border EaglesKiwi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    This is fascinating reading. HH, you have done an awesome job with your notes!

    I particularly like that Glenn was so respectful to both Randy and Felder. (Did Bernie get any mention?).

    Wish I'd been there to see Nancy's face at the origin of Steely Dan's name.


    Interesting comment about Felder's songs not having space for lyrics. All I can think of is that maybe they built a certain momentum that lyrics would interrupt... but then, Joe's warm-up lick turned into LITFL. Maybe because it was shorter?

    Could they have picked up parts of Felder's compositions and dropped them into the middle of something else, as a guitar solo? Or would that just not have worked... (I know we can't really answer the question, I'm just speculating here!).
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    This is really very interesting! Thanks guys for getting it all down so completely!

    I would have loved to have heard Glenn tell all this in person!
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  3. #73
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    This is fascinating reading. Thanks for all your hard work, HH and Soda!

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    Stuck on the Border Henley Honey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    From this point on in the lecture, it was very difficult to hear the questions, but you can kind of tell what was being asked from Glenn's answers.

    He was asked about the impact of Hotel California -- how it was used as a metaphor for the lifestyle.
    Glenn talked about HC being their second concept album. How it could have been called Tales from the Dark Side or The Underbelly of Fame.
    "We were writing about ourselves. We were rich and famous and we were dealing with how it's not all its cracked up to be. Where is the meaning here? What was fluff? What didn't mean anything?" He talked about how if he wrote something & Don like it, then he thought everyone else would like it too.

    In the same vein, he was asked if he was surprised that all this "overlay meaning" appeared. Glenn said: "God yes. Televangelists would be on and they'd hold open the fold out of HC -- it was sort of our Sgt. Pepper -- we'd gathered a whole bunch of wierd people and people we knew in a hotel lobby and they'd go up and point to a shadow of a woman up in the balcony and say -- this woman is a satanist, she is a devil worshiper, a witch. It was just some girl we'd said to dress in black and stand over there. But that song is the perfect example of letting your audience's imagination bring the meaning to the song. So it means what it does to you."

    They went back to the discussion of Cover Songs. They played a portion of the Gypsy King's version of HC. Glenn said: "That was good" and did a little chair dance to the mexican/raggae beat.

    Then they played a long portion of a truly horrific cover of HC by Nancy Sinatra. (Horrific is my word -- not Glenn's -- but he seemed to cringe as well.)

    Glenn was asked about the periods of time after HC where they didn't release a record and if writer's block was an issue.
    He replied: "Certainly. I would never trade the experience of having HC as a huge selling album and then going in and trying to make a record after that. As Bob Dylan said 'They deceived me into thinking I had something to protect'. That's basically what happened."
    He talked about how Saturday Night Fever & Rumours both outsold HC that year, but that eventually HC probably surpassed them in sales.

    "When we went into the studio to record The Long Run we were pretty uptight about just how great everything had to be now. I wish at the time we could have taken a little bit more of a European view of our career where things happen in peaks and valleys but we were sort of in this arc going up. It was like how do we beat ourselves? How do we do better? The LR was a difficult record to make and it took a long time."

    He talked about how he truly loved some songs on the album - in particular the song they wrote for Timothy. "It took a long time and part of the reason too is that words are not a replenishable resource. We had already used the moon, the sky, the wind, the desert, the ocean, the sea, the night, the stars. We sort of used all that stuff up in our songs and then what do we do next?"

    He mentioned that the title track -- The Long Run was one of his favorites and that is was a R&B song. He mentioned ICTYW, HT and a song they wrote for a hollywood producer - The King of Hollywood. He also talked about Those Shoes being the only song he'd ever heard with two guitar talk boxes playing together.

    Again, I could not hear the question, but they started discussing Timothy and his "pure voice". Glenn mentioned how Timothy had played in Poco and they sang kind of "happy, happy tunes" and how the Eagles were "really not into happy". He said Tim had a great falsetto voice like Smokey Robinson and that they should write something like an Al Green song for him. "So that's how that started. I went to the piano -- like I'm gonna do now -- and this will be bad cause it's in Timothy's key (D major 7)."
    Glenn starts playing and singing ICTYW. (I think VA and Soda sighed simultaneously.)

    He was asked about how the Eagles didn't do "happy" but how they still got emotions "melancholy pathos" into their songs. Glenn said: "I just think bittersweet is way more interesting that just sweet. I think there needs to be a little tension. It just makes the story you're telling in the song more interesting, so that was something Don and I always had in our minds." He used Wasted Time as an example. How its the story of a love relationship that is struggling. BOML - same thing and uses the line "That same old crowd was like a cold dark cloud that we could never rise above."
    as another example of melancholy pathos.

    We are getting near the end of the lecture, but there will be one more (maybe two) transcriptions to come . . . . .
    Last edited by Henley Honey; 10-28-2011 at 11:05 AM.

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    Stuck on the Border TimothyBFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    Just spent the last 1/2 hour or so in this thread and all I can say is WOW!!!! HH & Soda, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

    Going on the record here, knew about Steely Dan's origin. We (especially hubby) are big Steely Dan fans. I've always gotten a kick out of it because I figured there were lots of people out there that were clueless to that unless you were a fan. And of course whenever we listen to The Royal Scam album by Steely Dan and hear Everything You Did, hubby sings that line really loud at me. Heaven knows, my neighbors have heard a lot of Eagles from our house.

    And if I'm not mistaken, on the Eagles Greatest Hits or Best Of album, isn't it in the liner notes somewhere how the "stab it with the Steely knives" being because of Steely Dan? Will have to double check when I get a chance.

    And on the "gushing about Don". I just don't see it as that way at all. I see it as more he's simply stating facts and how he sees it. I don't want to offend anyone, but I think he's pretty much on the money on it all.

    On that note, wouldn't it be interesting tho to have the exact same conversation with Don and hear his take on the same subjects?
    He sings it high, he plays it low

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    Stuck on the Border VAisForEagleLovers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    HH - And you didn't sigh??

    The key was too high for him, but he still sounded great. Of course, I'm just a bit biased.

    I think what's coming next, if I remember correctly, he talks about how they wrote the song. If I were a songwriter, I'm not sure if I'd find this discussion helpful or frustrating. All in all, his approach to songwriting was different with every song, it seems. Sometimes the title could come first and he'd write a song to match it. Sometimes a chord progression would interest him and he'd write some music and let Don handle the lyrics. Sometimes he'd set out to write a certain type of song. Sometimes he sat down at a piano and things flowed from his fingers, and sometimes he struggled with that. If I were a budding songwriter, I'd be happy to hear that it can word regardless of your approach, but I'd also want to hear a more methodical approach. I guess songwriting is like other art forms...it just happens as it's meant to happen. And really, that was the point he was trying to get across the entire evening. Don't push it, don't force it, keep it honest, and put yourself into it.
    VK

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  7. #77
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    I'll try to add a little more while HH takes a break!

    IMHO, they spent way too long playing that crappy Nancy Sinatra cover. You know, I couldn't help but notice that they didn't play a clip from an Eagles song GLENN sang one time! We heard clips from Desperado, OOTN, LITFL, and HC. Now, I can only surmise this is because Glenn thinks that those are the Eagles' best songs and he wanted those highlighted but still, I was kind of bummed. At least we got to hear him sing ICTYW and, of course, IYWN.

    He identified the "King of Hollywood" - apparently it was about a producer named Robert Evans. I had never heard that before!

    One thing that cracked me up about when Glenn was describing Timothy's days in Poco - he started singing a bit from Poco's "Hoe Down" - "Going to a hoe down! Kick up your heels! Woo-hoo!" Glenn sounded freaking hilarious trying to imitate them.

    To get more into detail as to how ICTYW was written.... he said that he came up with the opening chords on the piano and Don came up with the opening lyrics pretty much off the cuff. As far as how Glenn sounded - he actually did pretty good despite the fact that it was so high. I was indeed sighing, not cringing, lol.

    The interviewer complimented Glenn's guitar solo, calling it "wonderful," and Glenn told the tale about how he usually wound up playing lead guitar on the bass player's songs. He said that both Felder and Joe had tried playing lead on ICTYW but "they just didn't seem to play what I ended up playing, which was very melodic..." He then quickly added, as if afraid he were come off as bragging, "I'm not saying it because I played it, but it's a very melodic, memorable guitar solo. You can sing along to it, just like you can sing along to the rest of the song."

    After talking about bittersweet songs and BOML, the interviewer commented that many people thought BOML was a great love song. [Me, Nancy, I'm sitting there thinking, "Who are these people and do they not understand lines like 'We both see it slipping away'? Um, BOML is so obviously NOT a love song!"] But back to Glenn, lol.

    Glenn added that BOML was quasi-autobiographical. "Don and I were in the Eagles, and we were trying to have girlfriends, and the Eagles were more important than the girlfriends, and it put a strain on relationships. We just wrote about that. But we didn't write about it just for us; we wrote about it in a way that other people could relate to. Someone once told me that people didn't just listen to the Eagles; they did things to the Eagles. They broke up with their girlfriend, they got the nerve to walk across the room and ask somebody to dance, they got in a car and had a fandango and drove all the way across the United States smoking dope and listening to Hotel California...." [folks in the audience were laughing at this] "...which I took as a great compliment. And people have said that to me, too. Like, 'I was in the hospital undergoing surgery and I heard this song...' and those sort of things. And I think that's a good testimony to the songs."

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  8. #78
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    Next was a part I really appreciated as a professor of literature, and that was Glenn talking about the value of reading to songwriting. The interviewer stated, "I know you are an avid reader."

    Glenn replied, "Yes, and so is Don, and I think that is something I learned from Joni Mitchell. She was an avid reader and I met her around the time we were doing the third Eagles album, and she wrote words and taught me to write words. The best way to be a wordsmith is to be reading all the time. I don't think that that means you have to read just poetry. You can read stories; you can read a lot of things."

    The interviewer then asked him about the importance of doing research for songs, and if he had rode out into the desert to write songs about the desert, etc., and introduced himself to new experiences in order to "shake it up."

    Glenn agreed. "Yeah, I think that's really important. You have to keep feeding yourself, nourishing your mind. What else are you going to talk about?"

    At this point, the guy read two questions from the audience. I was a bit disappointed that they only read two as there were many questions submitted, but I guess it was a time thing. Still, if they had spent less time playing Nancy Sinatra, maybe they would've had more time to read questions from the audience!

    At any rate, the first question was: "What do you do if your lyrics and chords feel cliche? How do you get off that plateau?"

    Glenn seemed a bit puzzled by this question. His answer: "Well, you don't use those!" That got some laughs. He continued, "That's a great thing about songwriting and it's a great thing about making records. It's not oil painting, where if you went to some color you screwed up the sky and now you have to throw the whole canvas away. This is songwriting! I mean, if you stay up all night and write some stuff, and you think it's great, and you wake up the next morning and it's bad, you throw it away. You say, 'Yeah, I wasn't very good last night. I thought that was great, but it sucked.' And then you just move on."

    He continued, "I've taught a songwriting class at UCLA about fifteen years ago; I've done some speaking about songwriting this year as well. The one thing you can't teach anyone is how to be clever, and the best songwriters are SO clever. James Taylor is SO clever. Paul Simon is SO clever. The way they can spin a tale... write a catchy tune. To be clever is a certain talent and I'm not sure how you can educate, I'm not sure how you can teach that."

    He came up with an example of not-so-clever vs. clever: "'My baby left me, I'm all alone, I sure am blue.' Now, that's not as interesting as 'An empty glass, an ashtray, a lonely room' - that's more interesting, but it's the same story. Again, it's about spinning a tale, casting a little intrigue out there. I mean, is there anything more interesting than the intro of Phil Collins' 'In the Air Tonight'? That intro comes on, and just the chords, and the dark pad, and you're hooked, you're there. It's not always the lyrics, sometimes it's the mood, but the whole idea is to draw people in. It has to be interesting. It can't just be slop. Like I said, if you find yourself writing cliches or hating the chords that you've written, well, then you keep working and find some good chords. You find another way to do these things. You just keep working."

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    Instead of going to another question, the interviewer asked Glenn to talk about his "rules" of songwriting, especially his most important "rule" which was "Be Honest."

    [Note from Nancy: I found this part to be the more revelatory of the evening.]

    Glenn replied, "Somebody once asked me in an interview back in 1973 why I was in the music business, and I looked her in the eye and said, 'For sex and drugs.'' [audience laughs] "But it was only because I felt that that person didn't deserve to know the truth. That's not why I was really in the music business.... which was because I had something inside of me that wanted to get out. I wanted to make people feel good. I wanted to communicate. Music goes so far beyond the spoken word. I was just watching the George Harrison documentary on HBO and Robbie Shankard (?) was saying, 'Music transcends all the speeches you can give about God and religion... it's a feeling; it's a language unto itself.'

    "The one thing I know about the Eagles and the one thing I know about myself is... whether you like the Eagles or you think we're pretentious country-rock snobs or whatever you feel, we have never spent a dishonest moment on stage, or in the studio, or sitting in my living room with two legal pads, Don and I staring at each other going, 'What do we do?' It's not something that I strive for; it's just the way we are. We have to be honest. And I think these things show through. I really believe we're transparent. I really believe that if you see somebody walk onstage and say, 'Geez, it's really great to be here tonight, ladies and gentleman! I wanna sing you a song that I really love. I wrote this a long time ago - originally it was called Brandy but Clive Davis told me to change it to Mandy, I really love this'... which he did...or so he says he did. But, you know, people can tell if you don't want to be there. People can tell if you're insincere. People can tell if you're fakin' it, if you're just going through the motions.

    "And it's about your reputation. It's about something you have that you don't want to soil. You want that to be part of who you are. Bob Dylan.. honesty. The Beatles... honesty. They're not trying to fool anybody. They're just doing what they do because they love it. I think that comes across; I really do."

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glenn to be Guest at Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Session at NYU

    His final bit was simply introducing IYWN. He told a story which he first mentioned briefly once back in 2007, and that was that the guy in the song was dying. Specifically, he said:

    "This song is very long and it has four chords. This song is very interesting to me... speaking of 'hidden, deeper meanings'... I was writing to Jack Tempchin, and I said to him. 'I've got a title. I've always wanted to write a song called It's Your World Now.' And so he said, 'Yeah, that's cool, that's a good title.' So then, a couple weeks later, he called me up and said, 'I've started some lyrics for It's Your World Now. You want to get together?' I said, 'Yeah!' So he sent me some lyrics and basically, on the surface, this is a song about a guy who comes to visit a friend, or a girlfriend, or a lover, and they spend the day together, and then he's got to go. The truth of the matter is, the guy in the song is dying... and I've never told anybody 'til just now." Then he went into the song and, despite a couple minor blips, it was magnificent.


    And with that song, the lecture was over. He said his goodbyes, blowing a kiss to Cindy on the way out.

    What a great evening!

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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