November 5 2020

Power of A Song

Kent Blazy,  who wrote Garth Brooks’ first number one hit, “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” Is an Inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for 2020, as was announced, earlier this week.

Kent Blazy’s musical influences growing up were The Byrds, Rodney Crowell, and Joe Ely.  Growing up, Kent played for several local bands in and around his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. He later played for Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson.

It was Garth Brooks that gave him the idea for “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”

“If Tomorrow Never Comes will probably always be my signature song. I ran the idea for this by what seemed like a thousand writers and no one really seemed to understand what I was looking for.”

Garth Brooks

Garth first met Kent Blazy in the late 1980’s. The two were introduced by Garth Brooks’ co-manager Bob Doyle.

“I passed this idea by Kent and he had the first verse down within fifteen seconds. I could tell he just felt it.”

Garth Brooks

To me, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” is one of the greatest love songs, not only in my generation but ever. The heartfelt song is about what would happen if I were to die the next day? Personally, I hope and pray that I am showing this kind of love to my wife.  Will she know how much I loved her?

“If Tomorrow Never Comes,” Was released in August 1989. It was on the album simply titled, Garth Brooks. The song also appears on The Hits and Double Live. The song was Garth Brooks first number one single on the US Billboard Country charts. At the American Music Awards in 1991, the song was named as the Favorite Country Single.

Songwriter Kent Blazy has a total of seven number one hits to his credit. Besides writing for Garth, he has written songs recorded by Kenny Chesney, Diamond Rio, Terri Clark and Clay Walker among others.

For Garth Brooks, Kent Blazy has also written, “Ain’t Goin’ Down ( ‘Til The Sun Comes Up),”  “It’s Midnight Cinderella,” “She’s Gonna Make It,” Somewhere Other than the Night,” and “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)”

Kent Blazy also wrote for Patty Loveless, “Can’t Get Enough.”  This was her first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart.

I like a song that I can relate to. I like songs that tell a story. Kent Blazy is a storyteller in his lyrics.

I am now listening to Randy Houser’s “Power of A Song,” (also co-written by Kent Blazy.) I can see this scenario all over again.  I am the type of guy who relates to music, no matter what the genre. If I listen closely, I can find some similarity about myself. A place, a person, a feeling. My past present and future can all be found in music.

That’s the Power of a song

When It Grabs you by the heart

It’s gonna find you when it wants to

No matter where you are

That’s a miracle of music

 – Power of a Song – BMG Rights Management Songwriters: Corey Batten/Kent Blazy/Randy Houser

That’s a miracle of music

Pancho.

November 2 2020

Ode to Billy Joe

Earlier today, I learned that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was inducting Bobbie Gentry to the Hall of Fame.

Bobbie Gentry gained international fame in 1967 after composing and recording “Ode to Billy Joe.” The song spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It earned Gentry two Grammy Awards in 1968. Awards were, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. At the Grammy’s that year, the song was also nominated for Best Contemporary Single and for Song of The Year.

When Bobbie recorded the demo of “Ode To Billie Joe” for Capitol, she had an ambition to write songs to sell to other artists. She only sang the song herself on her demo,  because, she said it was cheaper than hiring someone else to sing it.

Capitol Recording Studio (Hollywood) chose to release Bobbie Gentry’s version of the song. Gentry signed to Capitol on June 23,1967. The single was released July 10, 1967.

Rolling Stone lists “Ode to Billy Joe” among it’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Following the single’s success, an album was quickly put together. On August 21 Ode to Billie Joe overcame the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, topping the Billboard 200.

We still don’t know what she threw off of the bridge that day. Bobbie Gentry states, “That doesn’t matter.”

In 1969 Bobbie Gentry would write and record “Fancy.”

“Fancy” is my strongest statement for women’s lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all of the serious issues that they stand for- equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights.”

Bobbie Gentry

Fancy” released November 3, 1969. (As I am writing this, the song released 51 years ago as of tomorrow.)

In April of 1970, Capitol would release the album Fancy. Most of the album was recorded at Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Album consisted of cover songs other than the title track. Fancy, was produced by Rick Hall.

The album peaked at number 37 in the US Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The song “Fancy” reached number 8 on the Billboard Top 40.

In 1991 MCA would release Reba McEntire’s version of “Fancy.” Her recording would also reach #8 on the Billboard Country chart.

Reba, who had wanted to record the song since 1984 refers to it as her “possible signature hit.”

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Reba wrote the song “Fancy.” It fits her persona so well. She performs the song to perfection and has definitely made it her own.

Because of the current health climate, the honors ceremony for this years Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame has been postponed until November 2021.

Other 2020 inductees are Steve Earle, Kent Blazy, and Brett James. All of these artists including Bobbie Gentry experienced their first Top 20 song at least 20 years ago. Hall of Fame Songwriters were selected by their professional songwriting peers.

Congratulations To All of You!

Pancho.