Newsletter for September 2019



Donnie Fritts passed away August 27, 2019. Donnie had open heart surgery back in May and had been at UAB hospital recovering. He was inducted into the BRC Music Hall of Fame in 2013. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Part of the singer/songwriter group that came out of Muscle Shoals during the 60’s, Donnie wrote or co-wrote songs such as ‘Choo Choo Train’ (Box Tops), ‘Breakfast In Bed’ (Dusty Springfield), ‘We Had It All’ (Waylon Jennings), ‘Easy To Love’ (Joe Simon), and ‘Rainbow Road’ (Percy Sledge). Donnie would form a relationship with Kris Kristofferson and play keyboards for him for over 20 years.

Meeting Donnie for the first time was like seeing an old friend again. There was nothing fake about him and he made you feel at home around him. Donnie and his wife, Donna were together for over 50 years. BRC has lost a friend but we will always remember him.


About 3 years ago at a monthly club meeting I met a guy who said he was a BRC member from way back. After talking to him it turned out he had been with the club from the beginning. His name was David Harper. He was as friendly as he could be and was excited to be back at a club meeting after a long absence. I told him I would have to get him a membership card made up. The next month I handed him the card and you would have thought he had been given a key to a new car. That afternoon I checked my emails and he again was thanking me for the membership card. After that he would drop into a meeting to say ‘hello’ and he would always send me emails with songs he wanted to share and articles about personalities from the music business. A while back he sent me one about songs that were recorded in Muscle Shoals that I have planned on using in this newsletter. Watch for it soon. David was found dead at his house and it was ruled a murder – possibly a home invasion. I am so glad I got to meet David and that we became friends. I will always remember his enthusiasm for music and sharing it with me. Wish I had known him years ago.


We just completed our 35th annual Record/CD show and again it was a success. Thanks to everyone who helped make it a success. The dealers, the customers, the volunteers, the BRC members, the Gardendale Civic Center staff all did a great job. We now take time at this month’s meeting to review and see if there are some suggestions, ideas, changes that could help next year be even better. If it’s not broken don’t fix it but as always there are some things that could use an adjustment. So be with us this month and brain storm with us.

We had 34 new members join – 18 one-year and 16 lifetime. I encourage those new members, especially those in the B’ham area to drop in this month or in the coming months and let us meet you and you meet us. We had people join from places as far away as Ohio, West Va, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, California, Tokyo, Sweden,the UK and many cities from all over Alabama. And we are encouraged to see so many below the age of 50, especially those who came that are in their 20’s and 30’s. Vinyl is still a music format that people enjoy and want.


I think we all wonder sometimes if a song was written because of a particular event in a writers life or maybe for someone they knew. One of the more intriguing songs people wondered about was Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’. She has stated that one verse of the song is about Warren Beatty but that the song was written about three men and not just one. It is fun to question and speculate about a song’s background, if any. Let’s take a look at a few I came across recently.

Carly wrote ‘Anticipation’ for another guy. She was set to do a show at Carnegie Hall along with Cat Stevens in the early 70’s. Hoping to get to know him better she invited him for dinner at her apartment. He never showed. Thus, ‘Anticipation’. She would say later during a concert that she didn’t know ‘he was a flake’.

Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ – Written after seeing a picture of a young Caroline Kennedy. He completed the song in 1969 when Caroline was 11 years old.

Toto’s ‘Rosanna’ – Steve Pocaro of Toto was dating Rosanna Arquette. His bandmate, David Paich wrote the song using the name Rosanna since it fit the melody so well. Arquette had another song written about her four years later when Peter Gabriel wrote ‘In Your Eyes’. They were dating at the time. She convinced Gabriel to let the song be used in the movie Say Anything making the scene it was used in iconic.

Paul Simon’s ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover’ – Simon had just gone through a divorce with his then wife, Peggy Harper. He detailed ways to end a relationship.

U2’s ‘Angel Of Harlem’ was written by Bono in tribute to Billie Holiday.

Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors LP included many songs about Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham’s time together and their breakup. ‘Go Your Own Way’ written by Buckingham was in response to Stevie leaving him. The lyrics included ‘packing up, shaking up’s all you want to do.’ Stevie wrote ‘Silver Springs’ in response to the song. Stevie wrote ‘I know I could have loved you/But you would not let me.’ Although “Silver Springs was not included on the Rumors LP it became the flip side of ‘Go Your Own Way’. If you aren’t familiar with ‘Silver Springs, the title taken from the city in Maryland, give it a listen. One of their best that never ‘made’ it.

Written by Dolly Parton, ‘I Will Always Love You’ was not written about about a break-up but a fond farewell. Dolly had decided to go solo after being with Porter Wagoner over seven years. This song was dedicated to Porter and a thank you for all he had done for her.

Joni Mitchell wrote at least three songs about her exes. These include ‘Talk To Me’, written about the quite Bob Dylan. Jackson Browne supposedly stood up Joni so he was written about in her song, ‘Car On A Hill’. ‘Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire’ which was about heroin addiction was written for James Taylor.

On the cover of Bob Dylan’s LP, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, he is pictured walking with a lady who was actually his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. About a year later their relationship would be ending and Dylan would write ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ for her.

When John Lennon and his wife Cynthia divorced it was kind of a sad time for Paul McCartney who had become very close to Cynthia and Julian, John and Cynthia’s son. While driving to visit Julian and Cynthia, not comfortable with the thought of the two not being part of his inner-circle as much, Paul wrote the song ‘Hey Jude’ showing concern for the five year old Julian. First written as ‘Hey Jules’, Paul changed the name to Jude because it sounded better. The song would be the first release on the Beatles new Apple label.

Speaking of Paul McCartney, he wrote three songs for model Jane Asher whom he was dating during the mid-60’s. These were ‘And I Love Her’, ‘Yesterday’, and ‘I’m Looking Through You’.

And most of you probably know the story behind Neil Sedaka’s, ‘Oh! Carol’. He had dated a girl in high school named Carol Klein. Klein would be changed to King and so you had Carol King. The two were friends during their days as writers at the famous Brill Building song factory. Later, Carol along with her then husband, Gerry Goffin would write an answer song entitled, ‘Oh! Neil’. ‘Oh! Carol’ would go on to become Sedaka’s first Top 10 hit. Carol’s answer would basically never see the light of day but would become a collectors item bringing $400-500 for a copy.

Well, song writers have for ever written songs about their experiences and it’s fun to check them out and see what may have influenced them – some good experiences, some not so good.


Don’t forget to check out all the new internet radio shows the club has on its website. Go to and click on ‘RADIO’. New shows added weekly.


Choo Choo Train
The Box Tops (# 26 – 1968)
(Donnie Fritts & Eddie Hinton)

We Had It All
Waylon Jennings (# 28 – 1973)
(Donnie Fritts & Troy Seals)

Breakfast In Bed
Dusty Springfield (# 91 – 1969)
(Donnie Fritts & Eddie Hinton)

Memphis Women & Chicken
Donnie Fritts (singing live – circa 2014)
(Dan Penn)

See ya,


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