♫ Rainy Days And Mondays ♫

Given the fact that it’s Monday, I thought I’d play Monday, Monday by The Mamas And The Papas, but a search of the archives shows me that I just played that in July!  How do I forget these thing so quickly???  Anyway, the next ‘Monday’ song that came to mind was this one by the Carpenters, and it actually seems more apt today anyway.

Paul Williams wrote this with Roger Nichols. It was an early effort for the duo, who went on to write hits for Three Dog Night and separately wrote popular TV themes: Williams for The Love Boat and Nichols for Hart To Hart.

Sometimes song lyrics are written on the fly, and that was the case with a line in this song. Says Williams:

“On ‘Rainy Days And Mondays’ Chuck Kay, who was head of publishing at A&M, said, ‘That’s a perfect song for The 5th Dimension, let’s play it for them.’ I said, ‘Well, there are a couple of lines that aren’t done yet.’ He said, ‘You’ll finish it in the car.’ So in the car going over there, I came up with a fill line, which was ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ I didn’t have that line done yet, so I wrote it as just a quick fill line, because I wanted to mention the blues, but it was such a hackneyed expression, ‘I’ve got the blues.’ So I just wrote, ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ And it actually became my favorite line in the song. I think it’s the best line in the song. I met Johnny Mercer once at A&M Records, and he sat down and I introduced myself, ‘Paul Williams,’ and he shook my hand. And he walked back into the studio where he was mixing, then he stuck his head back out into the hall and he went, ‘Paul Williams, ‘what I’ve got they used to call the blues,’ that Paul Williams?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ It was funny. It was one of the great moments of my life, to meet Johnny Mercer, who I think was the lyricist’s lyricist.”

The 5th Dimension passed on this song, but the Carpenters picked it up, giving them their second hit written by Williams and Nichols, who also wrote We’ve Only Just Begun. Williams’ acting career took off as he landed roles in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes and Smokey And The Bandit. He also appeared in The Muppet Movie and wrote songs for the film, including the classic Rainbow Connection.

Rainy Days and Mondays
The Carpenters

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
Walkin’ around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me (the one who loves me)

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out (talk it out)
We know what it’s all about
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do (only thing to do)
Run and find the one who loves me (ooh)

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out (to talk it out)
We know what it’s all about
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
Hangin’ around (hangin’ around)
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get
Me down

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Paul H. Williams / Roger S. Nichols
Rainy Days and Mondays lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ You And Me Against The World ♫

Sometimes, I push myself too hard, I care too much about … well, everything.  And when that happens, I fall into a dark hole I call, for lack of a better term, the ‘rabbit hole’.  Often, whether intentionally or not, my music selections reflect that state of being, that dark rabbit hole.

This was the first song that Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams wrote together. They teamed up again to write the Oscar nominated score for the movie A Star Is Born, and the song Rainbow Connection for The Muppet Movie. Says Williams …

“We went to England to do a television show, Kenny was a member of my band. And when we got there there was a problem with the work permits, so the guys in my band couldn’t play. I had to use local musicians. So Kenny’s sitting around with nothing to do in a hotel in London. So we’re sitting there, and we’re having a few drinks, because that’s what I did in those days. I’m 17 years sober (2007), in those days I drank. We’re sitting around and we’re talking about writers, and we all love Cole Porter and a certain kind of writer and all. And we started talking about Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. I loved Harry, but every time I tried to tell Harry how much I loved his songs, he would always tell me, ‘No, here’s the great writer,’ and he’d play me Randy Newman, who I also loved.

So Kenny and I wrote this little song, ‘Do you love me, babe, do you love me not? Let’s decide in the morning, not now. Boy, you don’t like Shuman, or Randy Newman, Nilsson ain’t your cup of tea. You think Van Heusen is a shirt worth choosin’, but you’re still undecided ’bout me. Bo-wo do you love me, babe, do you love me not, let’s decide in the morning, not now.’ It was really kind of a cute little song.

And Kenny’s sitting at the piano, turned to me, and he said, ‘If that was on an album…’ and he played, ‘bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp.’ He played the intro to what became ‘You And Me Against The World.’ And I just looked at him when he finished the intro and sang, ‘You and me against the world,’ and he hit another chord, and I went, ‘Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world.’ And we went on from there. It’s the first song we ever recorded, and God bless Helen Reddy, she had a big hit with it.”

There are more … professional versions of this song, but … as  I am a huge fan of Kermit, then it can only be this one tonight …

You and Me Against the World
Helen Reddy

You and me against the world,
Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world,
When all the others turn their backs and walked away,
You can count on me to stay.

Remember when the circus came to town
How you were frightened by the clown,
Wasn’t it nice to be around someone that you knew,
Someone who was big and strong and looking out for

You and me against the world,
Sometimes it seems like you and me against the world
And for all the times we’ve cried I always felt that
God was on our side.

And when one of us is gone,
And one of us is left to carry on,
Then remembering will have to do,
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you,
Of you and me against the world.

Songwriters: Kenneth Lee Ascher / Paul H. Williams
You and Me Against the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

♫ Evergreen ♫

This song about new love was the theme to the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born. The film, which starred Streisand, was very popular and this song won the Academy Award for Best Song.  I knew I was in the mood to play some Streisand tonight, but I couldn’t decide between this one and Memories.

Paul Williams, who had written hits for the Carpenters and Three Dog Night, wrote this with Streisand. The songs for A Star Is Born had to be written before filming began, since they were performed on camera. When Williams signed on to the project, Streisand had the music and one verse for the song “Everything.” Over the next seven weeks, they wrote all the songs for the movie.  According to Paul Williams …

Paul-Williams“She sat down and played on a guitar, the melody for ‘Evergreen’ that she’d written. It was just such a beautiful melody. I said, ‘There’s your love song. There’s the big love song.’ I asked her for the melody. She put it on tape for me, and I took it home. I actually wrote that as the last thing, which I think bothered her. But all the Kris Kristofferson stuff was the first thing up on the shoot schedule. So I wrote the songs for Kris first.

You know, Barbra recorded two or three of my songs before we did A Star Is Born. People would always ask, ‘Were you nervous about writing the Streisand music?’ Of course, she’s an amazing talent. But to sit down and write songs and to play songs for Kris… I mean, this is the man who wrote ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down,’ ‘Me And Bobby McGee.’ It was wonderful. Kris was great about the songs. But the very last thing that I wrote was ‘Evergreen.’ I gave that to Barbra, and then hit the road and didn’t look back.

I actually wrote those first two lines in the opposite order. I wrote ‘Love, fresh as the morning air, love soft as an easy chair.’ I called Barbra as I was getting on a plane to go on tour with Olivia Newton-John. We were doing a 6-week tour, and Barbra was in Arizona getting ready to start filming A Star Is Born. I called her and said, ‘You know what, flip those two first lines, because it sings better.’ ‘Love, soft as an easy chair, love, fresh as the morning air.’ ‘Morning’ sang better at that point in the song. And I remember saying to Barbra, ‘They’ll probably laugh us out of the theaters for starting a love song with a line about a chair, but I think it works better that way.’ And I think it was the biggest-selling soundtrack album ever at that time, and of course the song won the triple crown: the Oscar, the Grammy, and the Golden Globe.”

Evergreen
Barbra Streisand

Love soft as an easy chair
Love fresh as the morning air
One love that is shared by two
I have found with you
Like a rose under the April snow
I was always certain love would grow
Love ageless and evergreen
Seldom seen by two
You and I will
Make each night the first
Everyday a beginning
Spirits rise and their dance is unrehearsed
They warm and excite us
‘Cause we have the brightest love
Two lights that shine as one
Morning glory and midnight sun
Time, we’ve learned to sail above
Time, won’t change the meaning of one love
Ageless and ever, evergreen

Songwriters: Barbra Streisand; Paul Williams
Evergreen lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Just My Imagination ♫

Released in 1971, this was the last single for the Temptations with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams in the group. Eddie started a solo career and in 1973 scored his biggest hit with Keep On Truckin’. Williams remained on salary as an advisor, but was plagued with personal problems – he was separated from his wife, owed back taxes and was being treated for alcoholism. He committed suicide in 1973 at age 34.

Motown writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote Just My Imagination in the late ’60s, but since psychedelic songs were popular at the time, they decided to wait a few years before releasing it. Whitfield pulled it out of the mothballs after the relative failure of The Temptations’ Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World), which hit #33 in 1970 (unacceptable by their standards). Whitfield felt they needed to change direction to stay on top of the game, so he steered Temptations away from their string of socially relevant songs and had them record this airy ballad. The strategy worked, and the song rose to #1 in the U.S.

Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)
The Temptations

Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by
I say to myself you’re such a lucky guy,
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true
out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me.
But it was Just my imagination,
once again runnin’ away with me.
It was just my imagination runnin’ away with me. Oo
Soon we’ll be married and raise a family (Oh yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country with two children maybe three.

I tell you I can visualize it all
this couldn’t be a dream for too real it all seems;
But it was Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.
Ev’ry night on my knees I pray Dear Lord, Hear my plea;
Don’t ever let another take her love from me or I would surely die.

Her love is heavenly, when her arms enfold me,
I hear a tender rhapsody; but in reality she doesn’t even know me.

Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.
no, no, no, no, no, no, no, can’t forget her
Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield / Norman J. Whitfield
Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC