Who's Online Now
8 members (MFB III, Roy Cooper, Sunset Poet, VNORTH2, E Swartz, Everett Adams, 2 invisible), 341 guests, and 44 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Register Today!
Welcome to the Just Plain Folks forums! You are currently viewing our forums as a Guest which gives you limited access to most of our discussions and to other features.

By joining our free community you will have access to post and respond to topics, communicate privately with our users (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other features. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free; so please join our community today!
Comment Guidelines: Do post respectful and insightful comments. Don't flame, hate, spam.
What's Going On
No Where Else To Go
by MFB III - 09/30/22 10:14 PM
Biologic Capital
by MFB III - 09/30/22 10:11 PM
Cinderella Ball
by MFB III - 09/30/22 10:09 PM
America Is Free
by MFB III - 09/30/22 10:04 PM
Just A Friend.
by MFB III - 09/30/22 09:59 PM
Summer Sheep Meadows-Remastered
by MFB III - 09/30/22 09:57 PM
San Francisco Philharmonic
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 10:54 AM
Joe's on Weed Street, Ryan Griffin Sept 24, 2022
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 10:46 AM
West Virginia Symphony Orchestra
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 09:19 AM
Vicious Kitty
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 09:14 AM
Bogart's, Cincinnati, Ohio
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 09:10 AM
Kendall Planetarium, Portland, Oregon
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 09:00 AM
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/30/22 08:48 AM
Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 09:19 PM
Del Norte Tacos, Godley, Texas
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 09:15 PM
Stinky's Bait Shop, Santa Rosa Beach
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:57 PM
Kemba Live
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:50 PM
Opus Concert Cafe, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:40 PM
Lori's Roadhouse, West Chester, Ohio
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:24 PM
Austin City Limits Music Festival
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:14 PM
Platform, Des Moines, Iowa
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 02:05 PM
Whisky A Go-Go, Hollywood
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 01:56 PM
The Kentucky Theatre, Lexington, KY
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 01:29 PM
Together we'll find our way
by ckiphen - 09/29/22 11:21 AM
Stuart's Opera House, Nelsonville, Ohio
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 07:27 AM
The Blue Light Live, Lubbock, Texas
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 07:24 AM
Lucius Q
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 07:02 AM
The Big Stomp
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/29/22 06:39 AM
Platforms, Providence, Rhode Island
by Gary E. Andrews - 09/28/22 11:07 PM
The Crimea Cotton
by Alek - 09/28/22 04:51 PM
Top Posters
Calvin 19,853
Travis david 12,195
Kevin Emmrich 10,938
Jean Bullock 10,330
Kaley Willow 10,240
Two Singers 9,649
Joice Marie 9,186
Mackie H. 8,991
glynda 8,683
Mike Dunbar 8,574
Tricia Baker 8,318
couchgrouch 8,070
Colin Ward 7,909
Corey 7,357
Vicarn 6,811
Mark Kaufman 6,588
Wyman Lloyd 6,578
ben willis 6,113
niteshift 5,827
Lynn Orloff 5,788
Louis 5,725
Linda Sings 5,608
KimberlyinNC 5,210
Neil Cotton 4,909
Derek Hines 4,893
DonnaMarilyn 4,667
Blake Hill 4,528
Bob Cushing 4,389
Roy Cooper 4,268
Fdemetrio 4,260
Bill Osofsky 4,199
Tom Shea 4,195
Cindy Miller 4,178
TamsNumber4 4,130
nightengale 4,096
MFB III 4,048
Caroline 3,865
beechnut79 3,845
Kolstad 3,844
E Swartz 3,730
Dan Sullivan 3,710
Dottie 3,427
Sunset Poet 3,416
joewatt 3,411
Bill Cooper 3,279
John Hoffman 3,199
Skip Johnson 3,027
Pam Hurley 3,007
Terry G 3,005
PopTodd 2,890
Harriet Ames 2,870
Nigel Quin 2,868
MidniteBob 2,761
Nelson 2,616
Tom Tracy 2,558
Polly Hager 2,526
Jerry Jakala 2,524
Al Alvarez 2,499
Eric Thome 2,448
Hummingbird 2,401
Stan Loh 2,263
Sam Wilson 2,246
Judy Hollier 2,232
Wendy D 2,226
JAPOV 2,203
Erica Ellis 2,202
TrumanCoyote 2,096
Marty Helly 2,041
maccharles 2,014
DukeWill 1,988
floyd jane 1,985
Clint Anglin 1,904
cindyrella 1,888
David Wright 1,866
Clairejeanne 1,851
Cindy LaRosa 1,824
Ronald Boyt 1,675
Iggy 1,652
Noel Downs 1,633
Rick Heenan 1,608
Cal 1,574
GocartMoz 1,559
Jack Swain 1,554
Pete Larsen 1,537
Ann Tygart 1,529
Tom Breshers 1,487
RogerS 1,473
Tom Franz 1,473
Chuck Crowe 1,441
Ralph Blight 1,440
Rick Norton 1,429
Kenneth Cade 1,429
bholt 1,411
Letha Allen 1,409
in2piano 1,404
Stan Simons 1,402
mattbanx 1,384
Deej56 1,383
Jen Shaner 1,373
Charlie Wong 1,347
KevinP 1,324
Vondelle 1,316
Tom W. 1,313
Jan Petter 1,301
scottandrew 1,294
Gerry 1,268
DakLander 1,265
lane1777 1,260
PeteG 1,242
Ian Ferrin 1,235
Glen King 1,214
IdeaGuy 1,209
AaronAuthier 1,177
summeoyo 1,174
Diane Ewing 1,158
IronKnee 1,155
joro 1,082
BobbyJoe 1,075
S.DEE 1,040
yann 1,037
Tony A 1,016
9ne 1,015
argo 986
peaden 984
90 dB 964
Wolvman 960
ckiphen 926
Jak Kelly 912
krtinberg 890
Drifter 886
Petra 883
RJC 845
Brenda152 840
Nadia 829
ant 798
Juan 797
TKO 784
Dayson 781
frahmes 781
teletwang 762
Andy K 750
Andy Kemp 741
tbryson 737
Jackie444 731
3daveyO3 704
Dixie 701
Irwin 697
Joy Boy 695
Knute 686
Lee Arten 678
Moosesong 668
Pat Hardy 667
Katziis 652
quality 637
CG King 622
douglas 621
Mel 614
R&M 612
NaomiSue 601
Shandy 589
Ria 587
TAMERA64 583
qbaum 570
nitepiano 566
Tink2 553
musica 539
deanbell 528
RobertK 527
BonzaiWag 523
Roderic 522
BB Wilbur 513
goodfolks 499
Zeek 487
Stu 486
Steve P. 481
KathyW 462
allenb 459
MaxG 458
Philjo 454
fanito 448
trush48 448
dmk 442
Rob L 439
arealrush 437
DGR 436
avweek 435
Stephen D 433
Emmy 431
marquez 422
kit 419
Softkrome 417
kyrksongs 415
RRon 408
Laura G. 407
Debra 407
eb 406
cuebald 399
EdPerrone 399
Dannyk1 395
Hobart 395
Davyboy49 393
Smile 389
GJShades 387
Ezt 384
tone 380
Marla 380
Ann_F 379
iggyiggy 378
coalminer 377
java 374
Alek 371
spidey 371
sweetsong 370
danny 367
Jim Ryan 360
papaG 353
Z - man 350
JamesDF5 348
John K 348
Jaden 344
ddreuter 341
TheBaz 340
Steggy 339
leif 339
tonedeaf 336
rickwork 334
Eddie Ray 332
Johnboy 328
Bob Lever 328
Helicon1 327
lucian 326
Muskie 321
kc 319
Z. Mulls 318
ptondreau 313
Chris B. 310
trush 304
ed323 297
Ellen M 294
markus-ky 292
lizzorn 291
nicnac49 290
Char 286
ktunes 285
mastrose 280
pammie 279
Top Likes Received
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
#1010386 06/01/13 03:51 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,471
Likes: 4
Top 10 Poster
OP Offline
Top 10 Poster
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,471
Likes: 4
Welcome to Just Plain Notes
Just Plain Notes: Volume 2.009, May 31st, 2013
Written by Brian Austin Whitney
Visit the Website: www.jpfolks.com
Mail CD's @ 5327 Kit Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46237
Copyright 2013 Just Plain Folks Productions.
Just Plain Folks Member Population: 50,072
Just Plain Folks on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JustPlainFolks
Brian on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Austin.Whitney
Brian on Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Would you like to join the JPF Networking Message Boards? It's quick and easy. Just click the link and choose a password and user name and you'll be posting in no time! We'd love to hear from and about you. You can get peer feedback on your music or lyrics, find people to co-write with, get answers to just about any music related question and promote yourself and your gigs on the appropriate boards. It's a very friendly place where over 20,000 of your peers hang out!

To register: (It's a separate registration from JPF membership):
Just Plain Quotes:

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric." -Bertrand Russell

"Sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will break our hearts..." -Robert Fulghum

"Life continues to be good and worth living!" -Alan O'Day

"Music is the last thing that connects with people late in their life, transporting them to times both happy and sad but also meaningful and moving." -Brian Austin Whitney

My Take:

My lifelong muse Alan O'Day passed away on Friday, May 17th.

I first heard Alan's songs "Easy Evil" and "Angie Baby" as a little boy sitting in the backseat of my Mom's car and instantly became mesmerized and haunted by it to my soul. I would get lost in it like the characters of "Angie Baby" got lost in the radio. The music moved me.

Then as a 12 year old, when "Undercover Angel" played every hour on radio and I had moved to a new place, working alone that summer in an old barn in rural Indiana and letting my mind daydream to another place and life. I always knew from an early age I would find my calling one day outside of that world and once again Alan's work gently pulled me towards that future.

In the late 90's, I had finally locked on to that life full go. When I made my first official trip to Los Angeles with Just Plain Folks, the music org. I had created in college. It had percolated for many years before erupting and depositing me one night at Ghenghis Cohen's where I would finally be delivered directly to the force which had gently pulled me; Alan O'Day, in all his splendor. He graciously performed Undercover Angel and Angie Baby, dedicating it to me. It was the wondrous moment that made me aware I was now the person I had always wanted to be. Alan was the muse, in living flesh, which had pulled me all my life to where I needed to be; surrounded by a room full of people who today I count among my closest friends. I can close my eyes and put myself right to that place, on that night which changed everything for me. It was both destination and starting point and there was Alan at the start/finish line to greet me and see me off.

Over the years Alan would help out with Just Plain Folks, bringing his knowledge, experience and warm heart to the cause. I remember walking the halls of a nursing home in Los Angeles with him and some fellow members playing music room to room, the people in those rooms having no idea a Pop star was among them, but instead, they sparked with the recognition of the various tunes he'd play from their youth and happier times. Their eyes would light up with recognition, drifting towards memories of their life which music so plentifully provides. After visiting those too ill to leave their beds, he set up his keyboard in the public room where they wheeled in those healthy enough to join us for a little concert. Alan played all sorts of songs that day and even played his hits, and I marveled how willing and eager to give back Alan was and how much he enjoyed seeing people respond and most of all, how completely devoid of ego he was. I asked him about it later and he explained it was an honor to play for those folks, something that was important and meaningful to him. Of course. My muse continued to enlighten.

I felt a connection to Alan I never lost. My great fortune (and destiny in my view) was to become a real friend of Alan's and to have him in my life for real as I spent my time helping artists felt all the more meaningful knowing his music called out to me and planted the seed which led me to do it. I remember the phone ringing countless times where he'd announce "Hello Brian, this is Alan O'Day" as if I didn't know.

My last visit with Alan was in the hospital on my recent trip to LA. Alan had been reaching out to me in the preceding weeks because he knew how down I was with the loss of our mutual friend John Braheny and several other friends and family members in the past few months. He also knew I was down because of my own health challenges, and he was nurturing towards me until the very end. He knew I was coming to Los Angeles for John's memorial and we had planned to spend some time together, something I was so looking forward to. Little did I know that Alan would have his own health crises and I'd be seeing him for the final time. I could tell he wasn't doing well, but his eyes lit up, a huge smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye that said to me "Hi Brian, this is Alan O'Day, contrary to the situation, I'm still here with you." He did speak with us, making us laugh several times, always the ham, always the mood lifter. I asked him if we could get a photo together and he enthusiastically agreed, hamming it up for the photos. I asked him if he'd like me to post it on Facebook and he said "Of Course!" with a big smile on his face to my wife Linda. As fate would have it, those was the last thing he ever said to us. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and in my heart I knew it would be the last time I would see him. Yuka, his wife, was relentlessly by his side. We gave her a big hug and I said my final goodbye to Alan.

Since then I have tried to keep a positive attitude, thinking maybe a miraculous rally would see him with another window of time but it was not to be. When I woke up this morning, I learned he had passed. I got my phone to look up his phone number and I noticed a saved message that I hadn't seen before and clicked it and sure enough here were these words which were music to my ears and a final lesson from my Muse:

"Good morning, this is Alan O'Day... I hope you're well. Life continues to be good and worth living!" Life continues to be good and worth living. Truer words were never said. From now on, that is my mantra. And for my friend and muse Alan, that band from his song "Rock and Roll Heaven" just got a new Keyboard player, vocalist and hit songwriter. You know they've got a hell of a band!

Learn, Succeed and Thrive. We're all in this together!
Table of Contents: (After his official OBIT, I have decided to include 3 of the articles Alan wrote for our newsletter over the years. You can learn a lot from a guy who not only wrote 2 overall Billboard #1 songs, plus an all time classic and a myriad of other hits and cuts by major stars, but who also performed and wrote until the end of his life. I hope you enjoy them as I know Alan always enjoyed offering help and support to all of you! This is an all text newsletter. Please use the scroll bar if you prefer Twitter. )

03. THE STORY OF “ANGIE BABY” by JPF Mentor Alan O'Day
04. 2013 Just Plain Folks Music Awards Entry Information
05. Singing/Acting Opportunity for JPF Members!
06. Just Plain Folks finally has a Facebook Page!

Note About Our Website: We are working on a brand new website which we can use to feature your videos, bios and music files. Don't be fooled by the outdated home page which shows our 2009 Award winners. It's simply a placeholder until we launch a new site. The JPF message boards linked near the top of this newsletter are very active daily with thousands of your peers! Please join us there!
2013 Just Plain Folks Community Partner Sponsors!

TAXI: The world's leading independent A&R company, has been successfully helping Songwriters, Artists and Composers get their music heard and signed by top Publishers, Major & Indie Labels, and Film & TV music supervisors since 1992. TAXI, is your best bet! See them at www.TAXI.com.

CDBaby: The best place to sell your CD's or music files on line. They also have the best on-line hosting service called Hostbaby. Nobody else even comes close. See them at www.CDBaby.com and www.Hostbaby.com.

Los Angeles, CA – May 17, 2013 – We are saddened to announce the passing of Alan O’Day, dear friend and creative contributor to the music world. Alan lost his battle with cancer at his home in Westwood surrounded by friends and family.

As we mourn the loss of Alan, we also celebrate his remarkable life. Born and raised in Southern California Alan’s love for music started young when he began composing melodies on a xylophone at the age of six. Predominately a keyboard player, Alan was an awesome harmonica player and also loved the Ukulele. In high school Alan was in several bands with friends “The Shoves,” “The Imperials” and “The Rene’s.” In 1971 O’Day signed with Warner Brothers Music. Alan’s song writing talents lead him to work with some of the greatest names in the music and entertainment industries. He wrote “Train of Thought” recorded by Cher, “Rock and Roll Heaven” recorded by the Righteous Brothers, and “Angie Baby” recorded by Helen Reddy, which went to #1 in 1974. In 1977 Alan took the opportunity presented by Warner Brother Records to record and release a solo effort on the Pacific label titled “Undercover Angel” Produced by Steve Barri and Michael Omartian which also became a #1 hit.

Alan’s career has also brought him international fame with "Skinny Girls" which reached #11 on the Australian Singles Chart and "Your Eyes" with singersongwriter Tatsuro Yamashita, which became a hit in Japan. In 1983 O’Day teamed up with Janis Liebhart to co-write almost 100 songs with for the animated television series Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. O’Day was also a co-writer of"There's Only One Ariel" for the Disney’s ‘Little Mermaid’.

In 2008 O’Day released a solo album titled ‘I Hear Voices’. In February 2013 Phase Records country-recording artist Paul Scott released his debut album Make Me Believe featuring two new original songs co-written by O’Day, “NASCAR
Crazy” and “Uh-Uh” (What She Wants). Additionally, Alan O’Day songs were recorded by; Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, Three Dog Night, John Kay, Dave Mason, Johnny Mathis, The 5th Dimension, Larry Carlton, Captain & Tenille, Tom Jones, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, John Travolta, Dusty Springfield, Bobby Sherman, David Clayton Thomas, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Paul Anka and Gene Pitney.

Alan continued to write and perform until his last days. Alan was a generous man who gave his heart and soul to the music industry.

Q: As someone who has had great success writing solo and writing with a co-writer, can you tell us the pro's and con's to each method, and is one approach generally better than the other?

Thanks for your question. I feel honored to be among the JPMentors! In answering, I'm using P & C for pro & con. You can also take them as "point & counterpoint", or even two songwriters named "Patty & Chuck"!

Let's look first at the WRITING SOLO situation:

P: MONEY! If your song generates income, & you are the only writer, you obviously get more of the pie! You retain the writer's share & sometimes all or part of the publishing, depending on your circumstances. You also may be able to keep your copyright to the song, which gives you some control over how & when it is used.

C: 100% of nothing is still nothing! Also, are you prepared to SPEND the money & energy to get your song properly demoed & marketed by yourself? Will the song be the best it can be without benefit of a co-writer? Read on!

P: MORE CREATIVE CONTROL. By this I mean that you may have a particular vision for the lyrics, music, & feel of your song. And sometimes there's no one else available, or willing (or weird enough) to see it as you do! In this situation, a co-writer might dilute your point of view, or your style.

Another case where the solo route may be preferable is where the WRITER is also the ARTIST. He/she wishes to take chances artistically; maybe break a few rules & create a piece that skews in a certain unique, provocative direction. For the studio-savvy, this process may include production elements interacting with the writing process (loops, effects, synth programming etc.). In a sense, these "turn ons" can almost function as co-writers!

C: EGO. Each of us has one, but there are times when you need to ask it to wait outside, as it can wrongly influence these decisions. Many of us want to perform our own material. That's great! But adopting the "I'm an artist, I must be freeeeeee!" mentality can lead us to break some of the basic rules of songwriting before we really understand them!

Personally, I was a staff writer. I had the benefit of years of writing for other artists before I had success as an artist myself. I learned about the BIZ, & I learned the CRAFT. And that's why now, years later, while I'm "in between hits" as an artist, I still make my living as a songwriter.

Getting back to creative control: The flip side is, without considerable experience & the judgment that comes with it, the do-it-yourself route can shut you off from valuable help & interaction that may hone your work into a brighter & better finished product.

There is a pervasive disease in our community called "SONGWRITER'S MYOPIA". This means we get so into the minute details of our little jigsaw puzzles that we can miss glaring errors. An example: I recently showed my lyrics of a chorus-in-progress to eight different friends (I thought it was pretty good already) for their reactions. The first seven liked it. Great! Number eight asked me a question about my "story" that pointed up a possible problem with the clarity of one line. So, on a whim, I went back to the first seven & asked them about that specific issue. Turns out every one of them had misunderstood my intended thought! Therefore they liked the chorus for the wrong reasons. Just when we think we know everything, SM strikes again!

Several rewrites later, I am confident that I have fixed the problem. But had I been working with a co-writer, I might never have encountered it. (OK, Alan, so why didn't you co-write the song?) Because it's for me as an artist, for my upcoming CD; and I want to take chances artistically, maybe break a few rules...

So now let's look at CO-WRITING option.

P: As you may have guessed by now, I am a fan co-writing, especially with the right co-writer (more about that below). My co-writer on most of the material for Muppet Babies & National Geographic's Really Wild Animals has been Janis Liebhart. For me, she represents darn near perfection in this regard. She's equally comfortable with lyrics or music (as am I), & we both sing. She really listens to my ideas. She pushes us to keep trying beyond a lyric line that "works OK". Her personality is naturally upbeat & funny. Plus her musical tastes & ideas often made our work more contemporary & groove oriented. Over the years, we have learned how to compliment each other's writing abilities instinctively, so we work very well on tight deadline projects.

So the advantages of co-writing can be: Two (or more) creative heads are better than one. They "fill in" your weak spots & bring out your best (often one writer excels at lyrics, the other at music). Another point of view you hadn't considered. Bouncing ideas back & forth. Additional instrument and/or voice for demos. Sharing expenses. Helping each other with contacts. And finally, IT'S MORE FUN!
C: But all this goes with a CAVEAT: If co-writing is like a marriage, there needs to be a dating period first, to determine if you are a good match! Unless you are at the level where you just name each other a few of your hits, you may have to go through a few frogs to find a prince.

P: However, you can minimize frustration by using a few guidelines:

1) It's usually better to choose from candidates who are at your "level" or a little ahead of you in experience and/or success. This is admittedly rather nebulous & easily misconstrued; but let's just say you don't want to have to be constantly explaining the process of songwriting while co-writing. On the other hand, you need to have a safe space where you can both be open to new ideas, & make mistakes.

2) On a first meeting, it's probably better to share things each of you have already written alone, learning about each other's style & ability in a supportive atmosphere. That way, if it doesn't work out, you haven't made any commitments to feel awkward about, yet you haven't burned any bridges (no pun intended).

3) Don't make decisions based on physical attraction. Keep your professionalism. What do they bring to the table that compliments your own talent? What are their goals, their plans, their availability?

4) Before beginning to co-write, make sure you have an understanding about the percentages you will share of the finished product (usually equal amounts, regardless if one writer contributes more). Also, in the event that one of you brings in a portion of a song to co-write, & ends up unhappy with the contribution of the other co-writer to that song, the original portion should revert back to the writer who brought it in.
In closing, is one approach to songwriting generally better than the other? While each case is different, I feel that one's growth & opportunities as a writer can be helped immensely by the process of co-writing. The trick is building a relationship with the right partner or partners. As opposed to solo writing, co-writing involves sharing creative control, & sharing possible financial gain; it also involves give-and-take & a modicum of patience & people-skills. But these are not really disadvantages.

I seem to gravitate toward writing alone when the song might be for me as an artist, and co-writing when it's an assignment. But every song I write is helped by my previous experiences in co-writing. Either way you choose, best of luck!

Q: Your songs are filled with originality and even some subject matter risk taking. (i.e., Angie Baby). How do you keep your lyric writing from falling into cliches or well-worn writing traps? Is this through rewrites, or simply good up-front planning?

Thanks for your question & compliment! I am intrigued by the TWISTS in stories, & in life. Whether it's deep & spiritual, as in the parents who conquer hate with love by befriending the jailed killer of their child, or playful & snappy, like the left field punch line in a good joke (I'll spare you any examples), I love the freshness of the unexpected.

In critiquing my lyric drafts (and others'), I have developed a kind of warning light in my brain. It blinks when a lyric is stumbling toward a point that I've already guessed, or when I hear a wimpy "cop out" rhyme. It used to blink whenever I heard imperfect rhymes as well, but I've come to accept their legitimacy when they really nail the thought. It blinks when nothing has made me care about the characters. Mostly it blinks when I start to get BORED!

That's where REWRITING comes in! Like the trapeze artist who tries to make it look effortless, I sometimes spend hours juggling verses, lines, phrases, & individual words; attempting to maximize their impact without making them feel labored.

To put it another way, I like to either tell an unusual story; or if I'm telling a familiar story I strive to tell it in an unusual, stimulating manner.

I started writing "Angie Baby" after being inspired by the Beatles' "Lady Madonna". I wanted to create a normal young woman facing the trials & stresses of modern life & love. But despite several attempts in this direction, my heroine was boring. After a little time to recover from my frustration, I began making this normal character ABNORMAL. And the weirder she became, the more interested I became in the outcome of my own story!

At one point I had indicated by my lyric that she was retarded. I actually took my draft to a psychologist, who offered the insight that the complex interactions I was describing didn't ring true for someone "slow". It was at that point that I decided to skew her (pardon the expression) more toward either crazy or mystical. That was a breakthrough.

As I've said before, I spent about three months on the lyric of "Angie Baby", but when it hit number one, that didn't seem long at all!

I would love you all to think of me as a brilliant songwriter. But again, what often looks like the result of inspiration is largely the result of perspiration! For instance, I tend to write "cleverly". That's not always the best route. What comes harder for me is emotional writing. Sometimes I find it difficult to describe emotions in an emotional way.

So after I have been at a lyric for awhile, I may step back & pretend I've never heard it. I'll read it, or play back a cassette & listen as a semi-interested bystander. Does the telling of the song "story" make me feel anything? Do I care? If the answer is "not much", then I look at places where I can tug at the heart, not just the intellect. Suggestion: A good friend can also offer helpful feedback, just make sure you don't explain the song before sharing it. Unless it's "special material" (theatrical, part of a larger body of work, accompaniment for a video or movie), the lyric should stand on it's own.

By the way, although this is about lyrics; keep in mind that tempo, feel, chord patterns, melody & arrangement are all factors in making the song more emotionally effective.

As to up front planning: I do more of that when the song is a project for hire; meaning someone is paying me/us to create special material that accomplishes certain things: ("We want a 1 1/2 minute up-tempo tune describing animals in the zoo. It will accompany these video clips of the following seven animals doing the following things, which we'll edit to your lyrics"). This may involve sketching out ahead of time how long the chorus can be (if there is to be one), discussing a working title, looking at the video so as to describe the actions better, & playing experimental pieces of music & lyric ideas for the producer as the writing progresses.

But with the songs I write "voluntarily", I leave parts unplanned. I may write out a sketch in prose (this is very helpful), but I try to allow room for accidents. I don't lock in the ending, just in case a wonderful twist comes along & changes everything. Often I'll spend time on one title idea, which leads me to a better title idea, with a couple of extra ideas flying out of my brain at the same time, which I scribble on a separate sheet of paper to come back to. The trick for me is riding this "wave of creative chaos" without stifling it. I can always clean things up later!

I'm sharing these thoughts because I know some of you will see yourselves in my descriptions, or define your strengths & methods as different than mine. Either scenario is fine. I think it's important to learn about your own internal mechanisms as a songwriter. And let's face it, is there anyone more fascinating than you?

Back in 1974, I was trying to write a song loosely based on the character in the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”. My “heroine” was initially a typical modern woman, dealing with the complexities of juggling family & work. Now when a writer is at the beginning stages of a project, gut-level feelings are sometimes all you have to go on. And my “gut” told me that the character I was creating had a major problem: she was boring!

This frustrating observation led me to explore some “what if?” scenarios. What if the woman in my song was abnormal in some way? My thoughts went back several years to a young next door neighbor girl who seemed “socially retarded”. Very quiet, kept to herself. Although I hardly knew her, I liked to imagine what she thought about. And I also remembered my own childhood: I was sick often as a kid, and being an only child, many of my days were spent in bed with a radio to keep me company.

These thoughts germinated into an imaginary retarded teenage girl named “Angie Baby” (probably named from the Rolling Stones’ song “Angie”), and I began a lyric story describing her situation:



During this time I was seeing a therapist, & I decided to take my early lyric draft to her for an opinion. She “stumbled” on the word SLOW, explaining that Angie’s reactions later in the song were not those of a retarded person. After recovering from this injury to my inner rhyme (SLOW YOU KNOW), I changed SLOW to TOUCHED. And that’s when Angie started to get crazy & fascinating!

Mentally, she lived in a dream world of lovers inspired by the songs on her radio. Thus she appeared to be completely vulnerable to the prurient interests of her male neighbor. But the chorus leaves her true capabilities up to the imagination of the listener, when it says:


As the lyric progresses, we assume that the evil-minded neighbor will have his way with her. But that’s where the twist comes in: as he enters her world, i.e. her bedroom, it becomes a reality for him as well, with weird & unexpected consequences.

Without quoting the lyric further here, let me say that in my mind, as the writer, I knew exactly what happened to this horny little pervert! Angie, it turns out, had more power than he or the listener expected; she literally shrank him down into her radio, where he remained as her slave whenever she desired him to come out.

But interestingly, those details did not seem to translate clearly to some listeners. And the lack of clarity led to wild & creative speculation on the part of the public. The song was compared to Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe” (something was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge, but we don’t know what). And when “Angie Baby” was a hit in Australia, I got an unexpected 3 a.m. phone call from a disc jockey there, saying he had figured out the riddle of what Angie Baby did with the boy. Sleepy but wanting to be polite, I asked, “OK, what?” Triumphantly he answered, “She turned him into a disc jockey!” Actually, I wish I’d thought of that!

I would also like to claim that I intended to create “the ultimate Women’s Lib song”, as it was called. But I was only being influenced by the times (including, of course “I Am Woman”), and savoring the triumph of David over Goliath, the insane over the sane, & taking my audience on an dramatic ride. I was not consciously making a political statement, although I’m pleased in retrospect that my heroine was seen as “empowered”.

Certainly the song’s success was helped immensely by Helen Reddy’s public persona, and by her singing style, which gave the performance the feel of a subtle “in joke” being shared with a few elite friends.

One of my happiest stories about the song came in the form of a grateful letter from a mental hospital counselor in Hawaii. Seems she had a traumatized patient named Angie, who had been unable to talk for some period of time. She decided to play the 45 rpm single of Angie Baby, daily, for this unfortunate girl, to see if it might somehow help. The counselor wrote that this girl began making dramatic progress, and if memory serves me, was ultimately released.

As a songwriter, if one percent of your product is successful, you are considered a success. I am so thankful that I followed my bliss & have been able to survive & prosper. Helen Reddy’s single was Billboard #1 for two weeks, & eventually sold approximately two million copies.

And whatever you might say about Angie Baby, she’s not boring!

Thanks, Alan O’Day (No, THANK YOU Alan!)
2013/2014 Just Plain Folks Music Awards

We are still on hold figuring out details before opening digital entries via our long time Music Awards partners CD Baby. While we wait, you can enter your music right now for free by following the instructions below.

We are now officially accepting entries via CD directly to JPF. Send us any CD's released AFTER January of 2008. We expect to continue accepting entries through much of 2013 directly and will give you plenty of warning before we cut off entries. Much of it depends on our Digital Entry process. If you already have music ready to go, please go ahead and send us a CD copy. We accept ALL genres of music and last time around we had 100 different genres of music from 168 different countries submitted for the awards. The bar is set pretty high, but if you have what it takes, let's hear what you have!

Inside your package, please include ALL contact info including full name and position (singer, artist, drummer, manager, publisher, attorney, whatever), your full mailing address, your phone number and cell number, and if your CD case does not include a listing of all song titles and songwriters, including whether or not the song is a cover or public domain, you MUST include a listing of this information for your music to be considered in the awards process. In addition, please include your contact info on the physical CD's itself (meaning unwrap it and write it with a sharpie or in some other clearly readable way) because CD's are quickly separated from their cases in our screening process and if your CD has no contact info, band name, album name and song listing, we may not know who you are and would have no way to find you.
Once you've met those requirements, you may also include band bios or whatever else you want. (Press kits, T-shirts (3X is the size), Hats etc. as we collect them and if they fit, I wear them while attending events, showcases, tours, conferences etc. If we get enough cool shirts and hats this year, we may even have a category for best Promotional Item).

Send the package to Just Plain Folks, 5327 Kit Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46237.

We do NOT return CD's and we cannot offer direct feedback or critiques simply because we receive thousands of CD's a year and during the awards the numbers are much higher. But we do listen to all the CD's we receive in the order we receive them.
JPF Founder Brian Austin Whitney is working on a music/film/documentary project:
New Girl Group forming for possible indie film/TV series and live performances:

Female Vocalists of all styles: We need POWERFUL vocalists in all genres of music who can demonstrate the ability to harmonize with others across multiple genres of music. Preferred Age: 20-50. Acting experience a huge plus, acting talent required because you will be on film playing a musician. Size and looks less important but vocal ability is a must. You must have live performance experience.

Please email the following:

Contact Info, Links to: (no files please) Electronic Press Kit (if available), Performance Resume (including age and general music performance & acting experience), YouTube clip of at least one live solo/featured and group harmony performance, Links to 3 music tracks featuring your voice as well as at least one example of you harmonizing with others. We also need to see what you look like in at least 2 different looks as well as full body shots in everyday street clothes and make up so we can see how tall and heavy/thin you are. We need diverse body types and looks, so please show us who you really are so we can cast appropriately from among those who qualify vocally. Please DO NOT spend ANY money putting this together. This is simply a project in development. If you are missing any of the above, tell us about your interest and experience and we'll let you know what else we need if we're interested.

Place: Singing Project (along with your name) in the subject line and email it to jpfolkspro@aol.com.

This is NOT a reality show format. This is an album, film/TV and online project.

Note: We are now also looking for 2 male vocalists/actors and cast members to add to this project. One must be able to perform on an instrument, act and sing, the other must be able to perform on an instrument and act and can be older in the 35-65 age range.
Just Plain Folks (Finally) Has a Facebook Page:

Okay, so I avoided it for a long long time. But I finally gave in and dipped my toe into the Facebook world. I barely have my own page and the JPF page is mostly a stub so far but I'd love to have you join us. And, anyone who considers themselves a Facebook expert, please help us out to build a nice community page there! Like the page or better yet, join us there! Here's the link:

Official JPF Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JustPlainFolks
Copyright 2013 Just Plain Folks Productions

Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

[Linked Image]
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 6,113
Top 40 Poster
Top 40 Poster
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 6,113
Hey Brian, that was a good read. Condolences to you and Alan's other friends and family.

I remember "Angie Baby" well. It was an unusual song for the times. Early 70's pop music wasn't that deep. This song made the listener actually think. The song was like an episode from "CBS Radio Mystery Theater", which was pretty popular at the same time. What was also unusual was that Helen Reddy sang it, but she was on top of her game at the time and was very popular. In the long run, she was the best choice.

I was more into "album rock" when "Undercover Angel" was playing on the radio and remember being saturated by that song. I admit that I couldn't stand to hear it any more. Now the song is nostalgic.

"Rock And Roll Heaven" is a real classic. I think it was Alan's best.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,471
Likes: 4
Top 10 Poster
OP Offline
Top 10 Poster
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 19,471
Likes: 4
Well, Alan proved you didn't have to follow a format, trend or lyrical roadmap to have hits. He was completely original. And he was also a #1 artists, as a balding, short little guy right in the middle of his life. So he's proof that you CAN be an original and do it against all odds and all marketing rules.

There are some very interesting artists out there selling well and making original music of late. I think having the tool and distribution of music to the world at everyone's fingertips will lead to all sorts of opportunities for those who stop thinking about following someone else's rules and just makes art.


Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

[Linked Image]
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,014
Top 200 Poster
Top 200 Poster
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,014
A-frickin'-men to not follow trends, formats and the like.

Link Copied to Clipboard
Support Just Plain Folks

We would like to keep the membership in Just Plain Folks FREE! Your donation helps support the many programs we offer including Road Trips and the Music Awards.

Newest Members
Sixth_Sense, kieranmartin6223, idadalton, cecileemusic, uwehuber1988
21,364 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Most Online37,523
Jan 25th, 2020
Just Plain Quotes
"If you are stuck in your musical composing, be unreasonable. Change your environment. If you are stuck in your lyrical efforts, instead of forcing the same old words out, force yourself to do unreasonable things." -Brian Austin Whitney
Today's Birthdays
Steve Cooke (55)
Popular Topics(Views)
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5