Monday, November 7, 2016

Life and times of a songwriter

Carole Bayer Sager is in the Songwriters Hall of fame for co-writing such songs as "Everything Old Is New Again" (used in a wonderful dance number in All That Jazz), "Heartlight," "That's What Friends Are For," "Arthur's Theme," "Don't Cry Out Loud," and "Nobody Does It Better." But to me, Sager is the woman who sang the quirky little song "You're Moving Out Today" back in the 70s, and who co-wrote some wonderful songs on Melissa Manchester's first few albums (especially "Midnight Blue," "Just You and I," and "Come In From the Rain").

This light and fluffy memoir is fun and easy to read, but it dissipates quickly. She's actually at her best when writing about the songwriting process, but let's face it, many readers will be looking for juicy tidbits about the men in her life, primarily Marvin Hamlisch and Burt Bacharach, and she does drop a few gossipy items about both--I had always assumed that Hamlisch was gay and that he and Sager were just good friends, but that appears to be false--though they never married, they were in a full-fledged relationship for years. Though both men were disappointments to her, she avoids making either one a villain--well, Bacharach comes off as quite a jackass, but maybe that's the price of musical genius. She also writes about friends such as Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Allen, drops a couple of gossipy tidbits about Dionne Warwicke, Bob Dylan (yes, she wrote a song with him!) and George Lucas, and it sounds like her relationship with Melissa Manchester may have been a bit strained. I enjoyed reading this but the writing is rather pedestrian, and, as I noted, its contents leave the mind fairly quickly. Still, I'd heartily recommend this to readers of celeb bios.