Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Story of The Right Place

So I thought I had read everything that had been written concerning Taylor Hicks’ debut album “Taylor Hicks”. I had however missed something. I just stumbled on it today. Jim Vallance co-wrote the song The Right Place with Bryan Adams over 20 years ago. Yes I had already heard that part. I however heard it was written for Ray Charles but he had died before it was recorded and then it was given to Taylor Hicks. That isn’t the whole story.

Here is the rest. “In March 1989 Bryan Adams and I wrote a song for Joe Cocker, called "The Right Place". Joe asked us for "something that sounds like Ray Charles" ... and that's exactly what we wrote. But Joe decided "The Right Place" was the "wrong song", and he didn't record it.

So we sent the song to Ray Charles himself, but Ray didn't record it either (I was never able to confirm if Joe and Ray actually heard the song, or if it was rejected by their "handlers" before it reached their ears).

After that, we gave up, and "The Right Place" collected dust on my shelf for nearly 20 years.

A year later, in September 2006, when I heard that Taylor was recording an album, I remembered what Randy had said, and it made me think of "The Right Place". I knew the song wasn't a "hit" in the traditional sense, but I thought it might be a perfect vehicle for Taylor to channel his "inner Joe and Ray".

I contacted my publisher, Ron Moss. Ron agreed the song was an appropriate "pitch", and he sent it to Pete Ganbarg, the independent "A&R man" who was assembling material for the Taylor Hicks project.

At first, Pete and producer Matt Serletic didn't think "The Right Place" was exactly right for Taylor. They liked the song, but they wanted us to "re-harmonize" the B-section.

With that comment in mind, Bryan and I traded a few emails. But we were at a loss. We really wanted to "deliver" for Pete and Matt, but we didn't know where to go with it, what changes to make. It looked like the song might spend another 20 years on the shelf.

But then something unexpected happened. During the next week or two the song started to "grow" on Pete and Matt, and presumably on Taylor and Arista chief Clive Davis. They decided to record the song after all, without the requested "re-harmonization".

I was thrilled!

Bryan sang beautifully on our "home demo", but I was equally impressed with Taylor's performance. I was also very happy with Matt Serletic's production and arrangement, especially the use of bass, drums, guitar and gospel backing vocals (our original demo was very sparse ... just me on keyboards and Bryan's vocal).

On July 17, 2007 Taylor performed "The Right Place" on the popular morning television show, "The View". It was "back to basics", with Taylor on vocals and harmonica and Loren Gold on piano, similar to the way the song had originally been written and demo'd.

It was apparent that Taylor had developed an affinity for the song in the ten months since he'd recorded it. On "The View", his vocal performance digs even deeper than it did on the recorded studio version, and Loren provides solid support on the piano.”

And then this part of Jim’s comment really pleases me.

“For anyone who ever doubted the legitimacy of his American Idol success, this performance proves, beyond a doubt, that Taylor Hicks is the "real deal".

To read the rest of what Jim Vallance had to say about Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Simon Cowel and more go to his site

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