I know Throwback Thursday on social media is supposed to feature a picture from way back but I thought it might be fun to find a picture and a story to blog about on the odd Thursday. I have plenty to choose from but the one that popped to mind first was Paul Carrack.
If you don’t know Paul you’ve definitely heard his voice. If not the radio then in every grocery store or mall you’ve ever been in. Thats him singing “How Long” with Ace, “Tempted” with Squeeze, “Living Years” with Mike and the Mechanics, and so many more.
In 1995 Paul was signed to IRS, Miles Copeland’s label. My buddy Torquil Creevy was running Bugle Songs and asked if I might be interested in writing with Paul.
At the time Brenda Russell and I had been writing a bunch as a team so I set up camp at the Ma Maison Hotel in LA complete with laptop, loops, keyboard and guitar. Brenda and I wanted to get a bit of a head start which is always a good idea with an artist.
I had a start on a keyboard riff and a bit of melody, Brenda jumped in with a title and more melody and by the time we heard a knock on the door we had something we hoped Paul would like. He came in and it was like three people who had known each other for years. No egos, no role playing, just three kids going “wow, what’s that?” “How about This?” It was so fun and then there was the fact that that voice was coming out, singing words that we were getting down as fast as we could. We went on to write two songs for his upcoming album called “Blue Views”. That day we wrote “Always Have, Always Will” and later after we all met up in England we wrote one called “Only A Breath Away”. Brenda and I ended up at Paul's house to get the final demo and his vocal on it. Two of my favorite co-writes ever.
Aside from the songs, there was something else I always remembered about the experience in LA. After working with Paul for a couple of days I answered the door to find Paul standing there kind of sheepishly. He asked if I would mind going shopping with him. The Beverly Center was across from our hotel and he needed a few things.. We went into some sort of ultra hip clothing store both feeling a little intimidated when suddenly “Tempted” comes over the pre-set music . I couldn’t resist and looked at our previously too cool clerk and said… “Hear that”? She said “I love THAT”..I said “THAT’S him”! That started a love fest in the store. Same thing happened in a coffee shop later in the day. It’s good to be Paul. It was good to be WITH Paul ;-)
Photo: Mark and Paul in Chorleywood, England '95
P.S. Dedicating all my blogs this year to the memory of John Braheny. I still ask every songwriter or artist I coach to pick up his book before we start talking.
There is also a college scholarship in John's name, through the California Copyright Conference (John was a past president)...here's the link:http://www.theccc.org/scholarship