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Paul Williams and Me Against the World

Updated: Jan 30

By Bob Deakin


Movin’ right along with marketing of Unruly Mix (Tales of Music, Artist, Posers and Misfits).


It’s tedious work and I haven’t even launched the campaign yet. I’ve spent time writing more synopses of my book, as is requested with ads, etc. I don’t know how many more ways I can describe it. I thought I was done with descriptions after the dozen versions I wrote just to publish.


So it goes. I’ll keep you posted.


One of the enjoyable parts of the new release is contacting a few who helped me during the edit process. I mentioned Lee Cockerell in my previous post, who provided me with an interesting approach to productivity and working with others.


Another great source of inspiration is songwriter/actor Paul Williams. My story “You and Me Against the World” is centered around the great song he and Kenny Ascher wrote for Helen Reddy in the 70s. I contacted his agency after I finished the first draft to take a chance and see if he’d correspond.



It took some back and forth with an intermediary but I eventually received an email from him, which opened the discussion. We didn’t have extensive communication but I let him know what I was up to. He read the story, got back to me shortly afterward with some encouraging words and added fun to the discussion. He was a good sport about the story, in which I both scold and praise the songwriters for writing the song.


“Thank you for honoring [You and Me Against the World]… Wait, I mean for not honoring…” he wrote, in response to one of my lines in the story. “I am grateful for the kindness and for Kenny Ascher‘s beautiful melody. Good luck with the book. Happy to have the lovely story you wrote included.”


He added the following phrases at the end, which threw me at first.


“Good guys... flowers of the earth… who can even guess…”


Then I looked it up and they are lines from “We Could Have Been Anything” from the Bugsy Malone film. Are Paul Williams and I good guys and flowers of the earth? Who can even guess, but I’m honored just the same.



His reaction reinforced my decision to include references to actual works in my book, and the famous talent involved in their creation. It was a de facto approval - at least from one celebrity - and one of my favorites from childhood.


Paul Williams was also in the original Planet of the Apes film as Virgil, and it was fun to try to figure out which one he was under all that makeup. Then I’d see him on TV doing a duet with Marilyn McCoo or one of the Muppets. Whatever he was doing he looked like he was where he should be. Comfortable with a mic in his hand or a boom mic over his head. If he was a guest on Johnny Carson or Carol Burnett it was a must watch.


A few of his songwriting credits include “Evergreen” (Barbra Streisand), “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “We’ve Only Just Begun” (Carpenters), “Just an Old Fashioned Love Song,” “Out in the Country” (Three Dog Night), “Someday Man” (Monkees), “Movin’ Right Along, “Rainbow Connection” (Muppet Movie), and many film, theater scores and television themes.


I wouldn’t say I can call him a friend yet but who knows, I’m going to keep in touch. We’ve only just begun.

 

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