How does inspiration become a song?
Jean-Yves Ragot has an anecdote.
Here is the story of a song. We go back…35 years! Is it possible? January 1985…
Once upon a time… there was a dishwasher and a rhythm that was running through my head. So, I started to sing this rhythm by tapping on the tray of the dishwasher. I had fun re-enacting the moment…Come on, smile 😉
Then, little by little, I began to sing “in yoghurt”. Singing “in yoghurt” is a technique that consists of singing a little bit of anything to a melody when you do not yet have the idea of a text.
Wikipedia gives us this example:
During the composition of Yesterday, Paul McCartney had no lyrics and started by singing “Scrambled eggs…”. “(scrambled eggs)”.
There too, for my future song, I had fun reconstructing, with “yoghurt” which is meant to sound “English” 🤗 in
Once I had finished composing the music for the verses and the chorus, I had to replace the “yoghurt” with real words.
Ten years earlier, my sister had given me a huge, little book that had left its mark on me as it has on millions of readers all over the world: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, a descendant of the great Johann Sebastian.
It tells the story of a seagull that didn’t want to spend its life, like the others, watching for the fish it would eat, but that was constantly trying to go beyond its limits in ecstasies of gliding flights.
A small book of about forty luminous pages, a poetic parable and philosophical tale, full of quotations that have become classics such as: “You can rise even higher because you wanted to learn”. “You must strive to see the true gull – the good one – in each of your fellow creatures and help them discover it in themselves. This is what I mean by love”.
In my song lyrics, I then choose to highlight Jonathan’s determination to always start over, to try, to remain faithful to his deepest aspiration, even if it means being mocked by others – in the book he will be excluded from the clan.
At that time, with Michel Gangloff on keyboards and rhythm programming, and Claude Ruff on guitars and flute, we were giving concerts all over Alsace. Very quickly, the song became a key title in our repertoire. An unforgettable memory linked to this song. We arrived in the large hall – where the Haguenau Youth Forum was to be held – to settle down and adjust the sound. And there, on the doorstep, the three of us remain astonished and amazed: creative hands had secretly made an impressive seagull that covered the whole wall of the stage! May they be forever thanked!
And this song, we quite naturally placed it at the top of the B-side of our LP, released some time later.
A song that I have always kept in my repertoire. Like under this link, at the moment, with my accomplice Chris. Good listening!
So much for the story of a song.
Let’s move on to the announced BONUS, to make you, I hope, smile in these gloomy times.
Rémi Boos is a prodigious pianist – don’t hesitate to look for other videos on his channel – and a fabulous joker. He was my accompanist for a few years and he remains a friend with whom I sometimes cooperate on certain occasions. Four years ago, he came up with an idea for a children’s song (not especially for children) that would take the opposite tack to what we hear, and expect, most of the time. I wrote the text, he did the music and the arrangement. And he did the drawings and the editing for this video. As for the voice…it’s mine…yes, it is!
Good (re)discovery below!
Wishing you well.
And like Jonathan…