When I was a child in the 1950’s you could get a song sheet for 5 cents at the corner candy store with the lyrics to tunes on the Hit Parade. My dad, whose natural tenor voice was always bursting into song, would give me a nickel each week when the new ones came out. Together we learned songs like “Secret Love”, “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?”, and “Oh My Pa-Pa.” These were some of the happiest moments of my childhood.
Those songs were my constant companions. I overheard my first grade teacher complaining, “If that child doesn't stop humming I will go crazy.” I hummed the tunes and memorized the words, which spoke life’s truths to my little heart. I knew for a fact that love is a many splendored thing, that Davey Crockett was king of the wild frontier, and that when you load sixteen tons all you get is another day older and deeper in debt. My musical tastes may have broadened, but to this day I’m drawn to the simplicity of a song that makes me laugh or cry or wonder about something that rings deeply true.
Songwriting came to me half a lifetime later, after spending decades immersed in the human condition as a psychologist and a parent of three children. To my surprise I found myself humming tunes I’d never heard before and giving voice to things that welled up in me.
With every song I write I’m grateful to the people who trust me with their vulnerabilities and joys, to my children who made me understand love as never before, and to my dad who brought those wonderful songs into my young world.