Excerpt From the Songwriter MagazineInterview
We asked Alan if there was any discipline he followed to keep a steady flow of creativity going.
“That’s one of the things I’m least pleased with about myself. I will go for weeks sometimes without writing anything but when I do work, I work my ass off. I will be the first to say that I don’t write songs in any great degree by inspiration. I’ll get an idea for a title or a chorus line or a hook line that appeals to me, and I will try to discern what rhythm is implicit in that line of lyrics and at the same time, go to the piano with a possible rhythmic idea, and see if any melodic ideas develop. I’ll have pieces of these on tape scattered all over the place, and play them back and see if they still sound good and from then on, it is pure sweat.
“You know songwriting is a lonely business, and there’s always the danger of thinking your best things are the ones that made the charts. In some ways it’s true and some ways it’s not. But the tendency can be to try to mold your present efforts toward your past chart accomplishments which can really ruin your perspective.
Alan O’Day Credits
Undercover Angel (Alan O’day and features in Charlie’s Angels)
Rock ‘N Roll Angel (Righteous Brothers)
Angie Baby (Helen Reddy)
.Heavy Church (Alan O’Day, Three Dog Night)
The Drum (Bobby Sherman)
Caress My Pretty Music (Dewey Martin, David Clayton-Thomas)
Dirty Movies (Flash Cadillac)
Are You Old Enough (Paul Revere and the Raiders)
American Family (Larry Carlton)
Easy Evil ( 45 releases as of this interview)
Flashback (5 th Dimension, Blue Swede, Paul Anka)
House on Sunrise Avenue (Bonne Guitar)
Spin Away (Lettermen)
Train of Thought ( Cher)
Rock ‘N Roll A B C’s (Freddy Cannon)
Blue-Finger Lou (Anne Murray)
Alan has also written and produced songs for Jim Henson, Disney, and National Geographic Television
You gotta have heart – and luck! Besides your talent for writing songs, the last is indispensible, naturally, but while you are waiting for it to be discovered, you need heart to stand the disappointments and luck for the good vibrations.
Now a little about Mona Lisa (and an example of luck). It was written for a movie called O.S.S. But, after the song was accepted, the picture title was changed to After Midnight and Paramount requested that the lyrics and title be changed to this. We were devasted but we did it as we could see how a title song could be more valuable to them. Then we got lucky again! A little later the picture title was changed once more to Captain Carey, U.S.A . and since there was no title song in that our opus could go back to Mona Lisa.
But, we still had problems! Capitol Records hated Nat Cole’s record of it and were not going to release it. Finally, it came out as the “B” side of what the predicted would be Nat’s biggest hit, a song called The Greatest Inventor Of Them All. Only, it was Mona Lisa that took off and we won our second Oscar. We had two horseshoes on this one!