Every song I have written has a story behind it. Not every song has an INTERESTING story behind itâ€¦but there is some sort of tale to be told for each song. Someday I will be putting all these stories into a book. Someday I will clean my gutters. Letâ€™s see which someday comes first.
In 1982 I was lying on my couch. My wife Sandy and I lived, with our two small children, in a house the size of my current computer screen. When I lay down on the couch to watch TV I could actually turn the channels with my toes. This was a teensy little house my Grandmother lived in till she passed away and my Mom sold it to us. I worked all day as an electrician and wrote songs at night and on the weekends. That night I was watching a ballgame with the sound down low and doodling on my guitar in search of something to turn into a song. Cause I really didnâ€™t want to be an electrician no more.
I heard the announcers have the following exchange:
â€œIf it was up to me I would â€¦â€¦â€
â€œWell, itâ€™s NOT up to you!â€
â€œWell, it oughta be up to meâ€¦â€
I perked up and said to myself…
â€Ought to be up to meâ€â€¦hmmmm. That sounds fun rolling off my tongue.â€
I have a friend who met John Lennon at a party (before he died) and John allowed him to ask one Beatles question. My friend asked â€œIn â€œI Am The Walrusâ€ when you sing â€œExpert texpert choking smoker donâ€™t you think the joker laughs at youâ€â€¦what did you mean?â€
John replied, â€œI didnâ€™t mean anything. It just felt good coming off me tongue.â€
As a writer I have always tried to be aware when something feels good coming off me tongue.
I tried to use it in the context I heard it but I couldnâ€™t find a song in that. I decided to split it up and end lines with them and find another phrases that also tripped lightly off me tongue. It turned into:
â€œIs it life lived separately?
Is life all it ought to be?
Oh if it were up to me
Iâ€™d make my life with youâ€
I slapped those bad boys onto a pop synth ballad and had me a song. Earlier that week I had sat on the swing set in the backyard and wrote half of a song called â€œLoveâ€™s Been A Little Bit Hard On Meâ€ (Only half cause I thought it was stupid and not worth finishing).
That song became my first song recorded by an artist and was a Pop hit that let us buy a nice big house with a TV the size of Kansas. The â€œOught to be up to meâ€ ballad became my first country number one when it was released by the Oak Ridge Boys. Because it was a big pop synth ballad.
I donâ€™t remember who won the game. Letâ€™s say Dallas.