From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song


A songwriter has many reasons why he or she writes a song. Sometimes the idea for the song comes to you in a melody, or sometimes the idea comes to you in a lyric. Many times songwriters collaborate on their songs, which then involves two or more songwriters contributing to the art of the song.

Many times you hear someone speaking and if you’re a good listener, you can pick up on a great title or story and run with the idea. I always refer to my ideas as coming to me from my Muses.

I have used the above-mentioned ways throughout my life, and then of course there are those songs that come from personal experiences. And sometimes I believe that those are the best songs that I’ve written.

Many of my own songs have come out of my memory bank where first impressions and feelings have been stored for years. A simple touch or softly spoken word can trigger my feelings and then a new song begins for me. I can remember special events by songs I’ve heard in my life. I believe that a song marks history just as much as a political event or birthday celebration. Why is it that we can hear a song and remember exactly where we were at the time we first heard the song and the feelings we were experiencing at the time, or see a face from the past? A song can evoke all of these memories and feelings in each and every one of us and that stays with us all forever.

When Jo-Ann Geffen told me her idea for writing this book, I was instantly excited that the Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers were going to publish a book that would give insight into the songs that have shaped all of our lives in one way or another.

I was thrilled to add my little stories to this impressive group of songs and authors whom Jo-Ann has assembled with such grace. The stories behind the songs are often just as poetic as the songs themselves.

The music industry is one that is filled with so many ups and downs, so much rejection and so much hope. When a songwriter finally decides on joining the melodies and the lyrics together to form a new song, not only does the marriage have to be perfect for the feeling of the song to stick with the listener, but also the art of expressing oneself in this manner takes courage and faith. Each new song and songwriter has at one time felt these feelings and expressed them to someone. The songwriter has exposed a little of their own individual soul each time they write a song, and allowed their emotions and feelings to leak out for public consumption and very possibly rejection. Rejection from a person they really love or from an artist who does not want to sing the song happens all the time. But this “intellectual property,” as a song is often referred to, is already alive. It is too late for the songwriter to take back the song as it has happened already.

The one hundred and one songs that are included in this book are written by some of the world’s greatest songwriters of contemporary times. I am a fan of each and every song and songwriter you will read about.

Jo-Ann Geffen is the perfect author to be able to convince the songwriters to give their own personal stories about the songs they have written, thus the “story behind the song” is a private insight into each contributor’s life experience.

I am honored to be included in this book, and honored that my good friend for so many years, Jo-Ann Geffen has asked me to write this foreword to a book that I know will be special to everyone who reads it.

~Lamont Dozier

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