Friday, August 11, 2017

My Father was a Songwriter

Copyright 1952

Yes, it’s true, my father was a songwriter. He wrote more than 80 songs, many of them with Tony Messina. Tony wrote the music, my father wrote the words. I tell a story about how, as a kid, I became curious about how they wrote songs. So I went downstairs, where they were working at the piano, to observe them in action.

As soon as I entered the room, they stopped. Tony spun around on his piano stool and asked me about school, my favorite subjects, my Boy Scout activities …. I realized they were not going to write songs while I was present.

So, I went back upstairs. And then, after considering the ethical issues, I sneaked into the stairwell, unbeknownst to them, and I heard how they wrote songs. It’s a good story. I’d like to tell it to you sometime. Stay tuned.

For now, I’d like to focus on the ending of the story. In the past, I ended with their song, Bright Tomorrow. It’s a good song and a fitting conclusion.

But, it’s not their best song. Recently, at Caffé Lena, I concluded the story with this one. I think it is perhaps their best:

The Worm is Gonna Turn On You, Music by Anthony Messina, Words by Samuel Schuman, Copyright 1952.

As I listen to that recording—I'll admit it deserves a better rendition—I think I like my father’s version better!

The Worm is Gonna Turn On You, performed by Samuel Schuman.