You know it’s really funny how “rabbit holes” work. You’re search for one thing and go to this thing and pull up another thing and three hours later you’ve basically read an entire textbook and could probably write a bomb college essay on it. Well, this is what sort of happened with me.
First off, recently, the nominees have been released for The Songwriters Hall of Fame. At the top of the list leading the pack is Mariah Carey. I thought to myself, as did many others, IT’S ABOUT DAM TIME!!! Mariah is well known for her song writing skills 99.9% of her number one hits are written solely by Mariah, including her entire catalogue. That got me thinking of other song writers that inspire me. Well let me back up a bit. My very first inspiration to pick up a pen and be “artsy” came from Poetic Justice …………
Thinking back on it, I was waaaaaay too young to be watching a movie with all that cussing in it but when you have a big sister that was a movie buff well…..things happen! Poetic Justice is the reason why my favorite color has always been black. I thought Janet was so dope and deep with her poetry, I later found out the poems were really written by the great Maya Angelou!
So from the beginning of being a little poet dressed in all black came the idea of “HEY I want to turn these poems into songs.” Of course I never shared my work with anybody, my “childhood” didn’t allow having a heart and soul of a creative so I just kept everything to myself for a long time. As the years progressed I always kept my eyes out for the writers of my favorite songs. Yes, I was that nerd that studied the linear notes of an album, I was the one that unfolded the album cover/lyrics in a cassette and didn’t know how to properly fold it back. Have it looking misshapen and couldn’t close it back the proper way. Yup that was me. Thank god technology has evolved into what it is today, google has become my safe haven for things such as this.
Clearly as time went on my love for music developed. I stopped listening to the music O’ The Day and started studying the classics of yesteryear. I started searching and listening and fine tuning my ear and I found myself gravitating towards the Philadelphia sound (Go figure right?). The Stylistics, Teddy Pendergrass, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Patti Labelle and Phyllis Hyman. Even the newer artist that were coming out like Musiq and Jill Scott and Kindred The Family Soul and Vivian Green. But back to the older acts, There was always a common dominator amongst them all, I kept seeing the names Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Thom Bell and Linda Creed.
There’s no secret that Phyllis Hyman is my absolute favorite out of the bunch, my overall favorite period, so of course I ran through the credits of my favorite songs in her library. Two stuck out, Old Friend and Betcha By Golly Wow, and they were written by Linda Creed, a Philly native. Seeing her name on those tunes made me jump down that rabbit hole. I discovered hit after hit, classic after classic, jam after jam they all had her name attached. From People Make The World Go Round to You Make Me Feel Brand New to Betcha By Golly Wow she wrote them all. She also wrote the song The Greatest Love of All originally performed by George Benson back in 77 and later covered by Jersey’s favorite girl Whitney Houston.
Here’s Phyllis giving a brief rundown on her relationship and accolades of Linda Creed
Coming full circle with this post, on Mariah’s “comeback album” The Emancipation of Mimi she recorded a track titled Stay The Night. Lowkey this is the majority of Mariah fans favorite song on that album, that and Mine Again. Well Mariah sampled the Ramsey Lewis track Betcha By Golly Wow….which was written by Ms Linda Creed!
Mariah Carey – Stay The Night
Ramsey Lewis – Betcha By Golly Wow
Unfortunately Linda passed of breast cancer in 1986 leaving behind a great legacy but in 1992 she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her memory lives on through the wonderful musical and hits that she gave us, her eternal imprints of inspiration.
Check out this playlist of Linda’s classic tunes!