Music News

Songwriters ladle up "Chicken Soup for the Soul"

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - In the latest addition to the popular book series “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” music fans can satisfy their curiosity about the origins of their favorite songs.

“The Story Behind the Song” features a diverse lineup of songwriters, among them Hal David and Kanye West, who share the personal stories behind 101 classics. The Simon & Schuster book, edited by veteran publicist/talent manager Jo-Ann Geffen and “Chicken Soup” co-founders Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, hits stores Tuesday (November 10).

As Geffen recalls, the project started as “a fluke of good fortune.” In Las Vegas attending a PR powwow for a hotel chain, Geffen heard an unrelated presentation by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing president Robert Jacobs.

“I began to think about stories I’d heard or experienced in my career and asked Bob if they took outside ideas,” recalls Geffen, whose clients have included the Commodores and who still operates her own Los Angeles-based publicity firm, JAG Entertainment. “I started a list the same night. People on the plane started chiming in; it was like a scene from a movie.”

Casting a wide net in terms of genre and age, “The Story Behind the Song” encompasses pop, R&B, hip-hop, country and rock (including classic, alternative and punk rock) as songwriters reveal the insightful, funny and sometimes sad moments that inspired some of their classic hits.

Among the songwriters sharing their experiences are Paul Anka (“My Way”), Christina Aguilera (“Fighter”), Melissa Etheridge (“Come to My Window”), Ryan Tedder (“Apologize”), Diane Warren (“Because You Loved Me”), Richie Sambora (“Livin’ on a Prayer”) and Sean Garrett (“Yeah!”). Each story is accompanied by the song’s lyrics. Lamont Dozier, a member of the prolific Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, wrote the book’s foreword.

In his entry about the Supremes’ 1965 hit “Stop! In the Name of Love,” Dozier recalls that he was arguing with a screaming girlfriend at a “no-tell motel” he had been visiting with another woman when he asked the girlfriend, “Why don’t you stop in the name of love?” The next morning he told Brian Holland he had a great title for the hook Holland was playing. “Ca-ching,” Dozier writes. “I definitely heard the cash register.”

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)