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    <span itemprop="name">The Singer-Songwriters…Volume One</span>




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  • The Singer-Songwriters…Volume One

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    The Singer-Songwriters

    Volume One


    TalkMusic is a unique anthology of the greatest songs of the last fifty years in the history of popular music. Each song profile will enable readers to learn what inspired the songwriter and the singer and what they thought about the composition, the unique aspects of the music and the recording, and the meaning and interpretation behind the lyrics. 


    Table of Contents 


    Ain’t No Sunshine

    Bill Withers



    Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

    Jim Croce



    Baker Street

    Gerry Rafferty



    Ballad of a Thin Man

    Bob Dylan



    Born to Run

    Bruce Springsteen



    Both Sides, Now

    Joni Mitchell



    Can’t Smile Without You

    Barry Manilow



    Carefree Highway

    Gordon Lightfoot



    City of New Orleans

    Arlo Guthrie




    Elton John



    Doctor My Eyes

    Jackson Browne



    Dream Weaver

    Gary Wright



    Drift Away

    Dobie Gray



    Father and Son

    Cat Stevens



    Help Me Make It Through the Night

    Kris Kristofferson



    Holly Holy

    Neil Diamond



    I Can See Clearly Now

    Johnny Nash




    Leonard Cohen



    Take A Letter, Maria

    R.B. Greaves



    The Ring of Fire

    Johnny Cash



    The Sound of Silence

    Simon and Garfunkel



    Sample Song Profile


    Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

    Jim Croce

    Released on his 1973 album Life and Times, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” spent two weeks at number one and was nominated for two Grammy awards.

    The track tells the story about a man from the South Side of Chicago who, due to his size and attitude, has a reputation as the “baddest man in the whole damn town.” One day, in a bar, he makes a pass at a pretty, married woman, whose jealous husband proceeds to beat Leroy brutally in the ensuing brawl.

    Croce tells a nearly identical story about a tough guy whom everybody fears is brutally beaten when he meets an even tougher guy for his hit single “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”

    He said his inspiration for both songs was a friend he met in his brief time in the US Army:

    “I met him at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He stayed there about a week, and one evening he turned around and said he was really fed up and tired. He went AWOL, and then came back at the end of the month to get his pay check. They put handcuffs on him and took him away. Just to listen to him talk and see how ‘bad’ he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.”

    The line “meaner than a junkyard dog” came to Croce when he and a friend were walking in Philadelphia and came upon a junkyard. The dog behind the gate started barking and going nuts when the two approached. Jim’s friend remarked something like “man, that’s one mean junkyard dog”.

    He remembers:

    “I got to know many junkyards well, and they all have those dogs in them. They all have either an axle tied around their necks or an old lawnmower to keep ‘em at least slowed down a bit, so you have a decent chance of getting away from them.”

    Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury cited Croce as one of his artistic inspirations when he wrote the song “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” for the band’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack, released a year after Croce died.

    In fact, Leroy Brown is bad because everyone thinks he is bad. He’s big and looks tough. No one had ever challenged him to a fight; they took one look at him and decided it was better not to risk it. It turns out that he was not as tough as his reputation. If Leroy Brown is so “Bad”….why does he get his ass kicked at the end of the song by some other guy.

    At the time “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was recorded, the US was in chaos and every other person on the street wanted to be a singer and make some great political statement. Croce was able to look past that and simply write about what he saw without pretending to change the political scene with a song. He was an artist in the most purest form.

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