Today In Pop Music History (11-23-2015)


Ya gotta believe and ya gotta stick to your guns.

Bruce Hornsby, who turns 61 Monday, did just that. That’s just one example of why he’s succeeded as a successful pop and AC performer.
He once told writers Paul Zollo and Wesley Hyatt about the song he wrote which became his breakthrough hit. It dealt with people’s prejudices and racist views…and he didn’t get the kind of reaction he wanted at first from his wife, Kathy. When she heard the song, she responded by saying, “That’s pretty funny.” 
As Bruce recalled, “That lack of enthusiasm and saying that inexplicable statement sent me months into self-doubt about the song.”
The self-doubt never defeated him, though…as Casey Kasem pointed out in this story that climaxed the December 13, 1986 “American Top 40” show…
“Well now, we’re up to the band leader whose story has a morale right out of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’…’This, above all, to thine own self, be true.’ And therein lies the tale of 31-year-old singer and songwriter Bruce Hornsby.
“A few years ago, Bruce and his band, the Range, were trying to get a record deal in Los Angeles. And they were making demo tapes of the kind of music that they thought the record companies wanted. Bruce says, ‘I know a lot of people who just chase the trends around. And by the time they get the latest trend, it’s on to the next one. I tried that and it didn’t work for me. I was using synthesizers and that sort of thing and I realized, ‘I’m a piano player, not a synthesizer whiz. I’m not up on the latest technology or that latest sound. 
“So, Bruce came to a crossroads. He told writer Bill Forman, ‘I decided to just blow off the whole Hollywood music scene so to speak.  I made a purely honest tape with just piano, bass, drums and vocals plus a little accordion and keyboards.’ And he sent it to a small record label called Windham Hill. They offered him a deal…a deal he would’ve taken if his manager hadn’t teased giant RCA Records with the news. And RCA made an even better offer. 
“Bruce says, ‘It’s real funny. The moment I turned my back on Hollywood, that’s when they embraced me. The message is…Don’t follow others. Be yourself.” End of quote. Well, being himself, has taken Bruce and his band to the top (drum roll). The new #1 song in the USA is..’The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and Range
Bruce Hornsby and the Range have had least eight pop hits and even more on the AC chart with at least 10. He’s topped the AC chart not only with “The Way It Is” but also with “The Valley Road” and “Mandolin Rain.” Plus, Bruce and his brother, John, wrote the #1 song “Jacob’s Ladder” for Huey Lewis And The News in 1987.




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