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They're Playing My Song

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It took us a while to think of this title. How do you describe - in just a few words - what happens when you ask a songwriter the question, "Of the songs you have written, which one has had the biggest impact on your life?"

This new column is written by Bruce Pollock, who has been in the game since Keith Moon was trashing hotel rooms. If you've perused the music sections of your library or bookstore, you've probably seen some of his 11 books, including Working Musicians, In Their Own Words, and The Rock Song Index.

Bruce pulled out his Rolodex and found his first subject: Narada Michael Walden. Narada wrote and/or produced the biggest divas in the business: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Grace Slick (with Starship) among them. When Bruce asked about the song that changed his life, he had a quick answer:

"Freeway of Love" by Aretha Franklin.

The early '80s was a rough time for Aretha, who was dealing with the death of her father and had taken a few years off from recording. She sat out the disco scene and was looking for a contemporary sound that was still Aretha. She found it with Narada, who delivered her hit album Who's Zoomin' Who? and put her back on the charts where she belonged.

How Narada came up with these songs and coaxed the uncharacteristically fragile Queen of Soul into delivering her world-class vocals is quite a story, and one you can find here:

Narada Michael Walden - They're Playing My Song

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