Songwriting ability is a gift. After a while, you come to realize, "I've really been blessed. I can write these things and it makes me happy, and it makes millions of people happy." It's an obligation, it's bigger than you. It's the only true magic I know. It's not pulling a rabbit out of a hat; it's real. It's your soul floating out to theirs.
Well, I started out down a dirty road Started out all alone And the sun went down as I crossed the hill And the town lit up, the world got still I'm learning to fly but I ain't got wings Coming down is the hardest thing Well, the good ol' days may not return And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn I'm learning to fly but I ain't got wings Coming down is the hardest thing Well, some say life will beat you down Break your heart, steal your crown So I've started out for God knows where I guess I'll know when I get there I'm learning to fly around the clouds But what goes up must come down
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I've learned one thing, and that's to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does...
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I'm old enough to have lived in a country where, if you were willing to work hard, you could have a fairly nice life. You could support your family, and even get a shot at owning your own home. But you never thought you'd get a swimming pool. Now culture has hypnotised people into thinking they're really nothing if they're not wealthy and a Kardashian.
When I decided to be a musician I reckoned that that was going to be the way of less profit, less money. I was sort of giving up the idea of making a lot of money. It was what I loved to do. I would have done it anyway. If I'd had to work at Taco Bell I'd have still been out at night trying to play music.
You're dealing in magic-it's this intangible thing that has to happen. And to seek it out too much might not be a good idea. Because, you know, it's very shy, too. But once you've got the essence of them, you can work songs and improve them. You see if there's a better word, or a better change.
I didn't worry about my career ending, but there were days where I felt pretty beat up by it all and just pretty tired, because they didn't make it easy for me. And coming right off the last lawsuit, it was the last thing I wanted to get involved in. When it was over, we didn't really celebrate, we were just exhausted. I lost all interest in the record business and never wanted to do anything except hand in a record again.
When I met Elvis, we didn't really have a conversation. I was introduced by my uncle, and he sort of grunted my way. What stays with me is the whole scene. I had never seen a real mob scene before. I was really young and impressionable. Elvis really did look - he looked sort of not real, as if he were glowing.
When my record company rejected 'Full Moon Fever', I was hurt so bad. I was pretty far along in my career at that point. I'd never had anything rejected; I'd never really even had a comment. So when that happened, it was really just a board to the forehead. But then, finally, I picked myself up.
Making a record? You've got to have the song, then you create a record. I think it's the same with a live performance. If the material is strong, you're already 90% there. I always tell young people it's all about the music, the songs. Work on the songs, work on the songs, work on the songs.