Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back in the New York Groove

From the Nobody Ever Tells Me Anything Dept.: Did you know that three of the songs on Kiss' dreadful 1981 album Music From "The Elder" were co-written by Lou Reed? According to Kiss legend, Reed contributed the line "A world without heroes is like a world without sun" to the song "World Without Heroes," which was the album's first (and only) single. But the album credits claim that Reed co-wrote "Mister Blackwell" and "Dark Light" as well.

That's not the most bizarre songwriting collaboration out there, though. Not until someone shoots down the story that Bob Dylan co-wrote "Steel Bars" with Michael Bolton. I can't verify the provenance of this, but this quote supposedly comes straight from Bolton:

"We're planning on writing some more songs together. He's kind of hungry to get back out there and wants to work with a few contemporary hit song writers. Someone who works with Dylan called me up and said 'Bob Dylan would like to write with you.' I was awed. I told him, 'I don't even know how I could write a lyric when working with you ... I'm too intimidated.' But then we started messing around with some chords and wrote 'Steel Bars,' a song about obsession. It took us two sessions to write, and when I left, I was told, 'Bob likes you and he wants you to come back.'"

10 comments:

Rob said...

this is totally true. "Steel Bars" was a funny song. I bet Oil Can Dylan was responsible for the line "What can livin' mean / When time itself is so obscene?"

A big fat radio hit, but not eligible for the Hot 100 because Bolton didn't release it as a physical single--an unusual move at the time. More intrigue: Bolton also co-wrote Kiss's final pop hit, "Forever."

T. Nawrocki said...

Yeah, it's one of those things that I know is true, but I'm praying somehow it will turn out to have been a dream. Like Godfather III.

Gavin said...

Bolton also cowrote Cher's "I Found Someone," I learned while doing the 1988 countdown.

Kinky Paprika said...

My bet for most bizarre songwriting collaboration:
"The Trembler," co-written by Ravi Shankar and Duane Eddy.

George Harrison (who knew them both) took a song-snippet from Ravi and a song-snippet from Duane and stitched them together.

The song appears in the movie "Natural Born Killers."

Rob said...

I never knew Bolton wrote that Cher song... but Cher dated Gene Simmons! It all connects!

to complete the circle, Paul Stanley should cowrite a song with Dylan. (The first song on Paul's solo album was "Tonight You Belong To Me," which kinda pseudo-quasi-combines two of my favorite Dylan songs, but I can't claim it could pass for a collaboration.)

T. Nawrocki said...

I always thought "Idiot Wind" was about Peter Criss.

Rob said...

Excellent point on the Criss/Dylan connection! in fact, "Beth" and "Sara" are practically the same song-- staying up for days, far apart from your lady, because you're busy writing a song for her, although Sara's was "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" and Beth's was probably "Room Service" or something.

T. Nawrocki said...

The first draft went:

"Beth, I hear you callin'
But I can't come home right now
Me and the boys are
Stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again"

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