Our song began in 1971 when Hunter S. Thompson wrote about the end of the 60s.
He may as well have been writing about the end of a love affair.
“We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
You are free to use – or not use – words and phrases from that sad soliloquy at the end of a dream. But the song lyrics you are going to write won’t be about the end of the 60s. You are going to write a song about the end of a love affair.
Another group of possible words and phrases you might use popped into my head during a business trip to Las Vegas in 2010. I was passing through the casino as I headed back to my room after speaking to an auditorium full of strangers when I saw a pattern, thought a thought, and wrote it down before I fell asleep.
“Girls in black spandex pants, high-heeled boots and baggy leather coats punctuate Las Vegas. Vodka fumes trail like invisible puppies as they pass the dead-eyed, spent ones going through the motions of having fun without having any of it.”
But the most important part of this song that you – yes, you – are going to assemble from bits and pieces of these shattered memories will be the phrase that Brad Whittington scribbled down in 2012 as he was driving past the Mean-Eyed Cat, a famous dive bar.
“You’re just the one she hasn’t left yet.”
That’s the hook, the recurrent chorus. “You’re just the one she hasn’t left yet,” will show up repeatedly as you write this song that some lucky singer is going to make famous. That singer will tour and sell T-shirts and sign autographs and be famous. But you and me and Brad are going to reach into our mailboxes and pull-out handfuls of songwriting royalties.
Did you know that singers and their bands get zero money when their songs play on the radio? The only people who make money from airplay are the songwriters.
That’s going to be you and me and Brad.
Bernie Taupin doesn’t sing or play an instrument, but he has collected more than 70 million dollars in royalties from the lyrics of songs that play on the radio each day.
Brad and I feel the musicians and singers should get some money, too, but that’s not how the system works. Oh, well. Maybe they’ll get rich selling concert tickets and T-shirts.
Or maybe they should learn to write song lyrics.
To submit your song, all you have to do is follow these simple steps:
- Don’t worry about whether your song lyrics make sense. You’re not writing an essay full of facts. You’re writing a song full of feelings.
- Your song lyrics will need to have poetic meter, those wonderful rhythms created by the stressed and unstressed syllables of spoken words.
- You must repeatedly use the phrase, “You’re just the one she hasn’t left yet,” and you have to use a few of the words and phrases contributed by Hunter S. Thompson and me. You can decide which phrases you will use, and you are free to add words and phrases of your own, of course.
- Your song can be Rock, Yacht Rock, Folk, Country, Western Swing, Opera, R & B, Rap, Hip-Hop, Bluegrass, or some musical genre I’ve never heard of. Brad and I don’t care and Hunter S most certainly doesn’t.
- You have to send your lyrics and an MP3 recording of your song, with or without musical accompaniment, to email@example.com before midnight Sunday, April 30, 2023.
- There is a distinct chance that no one will ever hear your song except for Indy Beagle and Brad and me. But we are all going to have a wonderful time and that’s something in itself, don’t you think?
- Yes, I was serious about sending us a recording. We need to hear the rhythm and tempo and melody that you hear in your mind. You don’t need to write the music, you just need to sing it or have someone else sing it for you.
- No one cares that you can’t sing. This isn’t about the quality of your singing. It’s about the lyrics and rhythm and melody you hear in your head. Someone has to sing your song lyrics and send it as an MP3 along with your lyrics in a Word doc. You will list the copyrights as belonging to yourself, Brad Whittington, and Roy H. Williams.
- When you submit your song, don’t tell us the story behind the story. Your song has to speak for itself. Your lyrics need to break hearts, bring tears, and cause people to have vivid memories of things that never happened. It’s not about you. It’s about the listener.
- Twelve or fifteen of the best song lyrics and recordings will appear in the rabbit hole and a full-color, hardback Chatbook will be made and sent to each of the people whose work appears in it.
Welcome to the big leagues. You’ll find additional instruction and inspiration in today’s rabbit hole. Indy Beagle will tell you how to get there.
Now as Barry White would say, “Write on, write on, write on.”
Roy H. Williams
NOTE FROM INDY: If you’re listening to the audio version of this memo, you’re going to have to go to MondayMorningMemo.com if you want to enter the rabbit hole. When you have arrived at MondayMorningMemo.com, look in the archives for the MondayMorningMemo for March 6, 2023. Open it, then click the photo of the Mean-Eyed Cat at the top of the page. That will take you to page one of the rabbit hole. Each click of an image in the rabbit hole will take you one page deeper. Hang on, it’s going to be a wild ride. – Indy Beagle