Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Cars & Girls

Jeff Barry wrote teen classics like “The Water is Red”, “Leader of the Pack” and “Give Us Your Blessings”. In I Shot a Man in Reno he talked to me about writing “Tell Laura I Love Her”, a massive hit in 1960. I love this quote. It’s hard to think of a more succint summation of the changing mood of the times at the end of the 1950s.

“I didn’t even own a car at the time. I was most interested in cowboys and horses, and in the original lyric, instead of saying that Tommy saw a sign for a stock car race, he saw a sign for a rodeo. In the first version he got gored to death by a bull. But the publisher said, ‘No-one can relate to that anymore’. It was a songwriting lesson. So I changed rodeo to stock car race. He got gored to death by a Chevy!”

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