Back in the early 80s, not long after I’d walked away from the proverbial limelight, I wrote a song entitled ‘Don’t Go Forgetting Me’. The protagonist was an old dude who sat in the park with only a newspaper and memories to keep him warm. At the end we discover he was once a musician.
I eventually released the song (one of a batch of high quality demos) on the album SHORT STORIES cunningly (not) released exclusively on vinyl just as CDs were hitting the market. Timing is everything.
The song was hardly autobiographical but today I discovered it was in some ways portentous.
I was recently sent a link to an online article written by one of my Facebook friends that spoke in particular about my song HIGHER TRAILS. This was the title song of an album I was particularly proud of. It won me my second ALBUM OF THE YEAR in a row and also had the songs LOVELY LADY and WINDSONGS on, both of which won APRA Silver Scrolls. (Bear with me, there is more to this than self-aggrandising.)
The writer went on to say, among other things, that it was a travesty that I did not get a single song into the official selection of NEW ZEALAND’S 100 BEST SONG OF ALL TIME. I’ve heard this many times before. And given that I won COMPOSER OF THE YEAR in the record awards three years in succession along with the aforementioned APRA awards it does lead one to wonder why I was omitted.
Nevertheless, I have aways contented myself with the certainty that my songs were part of the soundtrack of many people’s lives, some are still played on the air decades after being released, and some of my newer stuff is now finding airtime thanks to the support of music lovers on community radio stations.
For all of this I am grateful and comfort myself that in that sense at least I have left my mark.
But today, while researching something I’m working on, I Googled ‘New Zealand Songwriters’ and was surprised to discover that I could not find myself listed anywhere. Not even on the ubiquitous Wikipedia. (I’m there under my own name but NOT included in the list of New Zealand songwriters.)
I’m not on a single list of Kiwi songwriters that I could find — past or present. I was amazed. Does this mean I’m not considered a songwriter or is that I’m not considered a New Zealander? Or have I just been forgotten? Damn, my song came true.
Here’s ‘Don’t Go Forgetting Me’. it’s the last track on my retrospective AFTER THE DAM BROKE and this may be my last word about that release. Time to move on, methinks.
Better get back to my newspaper and memories.