The following is true but written with intended humor.
Through the years I have written or co-written over 130 songs as a registered B.M.I., (Broadcast Music, Inc,), songwriter.
I’m not bragging or boasting although in my past I probably have been guilty of both. But my past is what “In a Small Pond” is about.
Last week I wrote about meeting Bix Carmichael, son of Hogey Carmichael, composer of “Stardust” and “Georgia” and umpteen smash hits now considered American Standards. We’re both songwriters and comparable, right? Hardly!
Although my songs were recorded by 22 different artists for 9 publishing companies, many recorded 3 or more times, one by over 10 different artist and on 16 labels, Hogey’s “Stardust” and “Georgia” alone have been recorded thousands of times.
Does being both songwriters make us (a) competitors, (b) equals, (c) rich?
Answers: (a) In my dreams, (b) Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho! LOL, (c) In a pig’s eye!
The only thing he is that I am not is dead … yet!
The ticket for the B.M.I. awards night I wrote about last week cost me $50. My B.M.I. income for that month in 1970 was $45, a negative income of minus $5. That kept me humble.
My songwriting peak was the sixties and seventies when I sometimes received over $300 a month from B.M.I. and record royalties. My B.M.I. statements indicated they played on AM/FM radio, TV, airlines, elevators, and Internet channels ITunes, Amazon, Pandora, and Sirius XM.
Some still are.
I haven’t written anything worthwhile for over 20 years so my total income from all musical sources in 2015 was under $1,000 and Hogey Carmichael’s estate took in over a million and he’s been gone over 40 years!
We’re songwriters literally and legally, but the comparison ends there. Mother Theresa and Bonnie Parker were both female and human beings, but comparable? Conclusion: There are songwriters and there are songwriters. (I hope my humor made you realize I’m not egoistic after all. Yeah! Sure!)
Crisis in Cuba
By the 1960’s, I was established in my job as Lafourche Parish Chief Deputy Assessor and my boss, Assessor Hubert P. Robichaux, trusted me to drive him to national conventions. His wife Tootsie wouldn’t fly and my children were too young for Dot to travel, so in 1962 I drove them up to Cleveland, Ohio.
We arrived October 14th. The 15th was mostly registration, receiving ditty bags, (notebooks, pens, desk calendars, key chains, etc.), meetings and a reception.
After the meal, Mr. and Mrs. Robichaux went to bed and the oil company representative and I went explore the city.
Even in Cleveland we found a country band and after my friends tipped the bandleader, I was called to sing. That was a typical night at an Assessor’s convention. No tax money was spent on extracurricular activities because we had sponsors, which was then allowed. That law has changed.
During my 47 years in office, I attended about 30 conventions, the last 10 much less lively than the first 10, which is understandable since time marches on!
The next day consisted of meetings and workshops which, believe it or not, I faithfully attended. Honest! The company reps took us out to dinner and that night we hit the hay early. During the day there had been news about President Kennedy being called back to Washington for serious business, so we kept watching the television.
It was about 3 a.m. when I heard a loud knock and my boss came in saying, “Leroy, get packed. We’re leaving because the Russians and Cubans are going to Atom Bomb us.”
His words, not mine. But he got my attention! We left about 6 a.m. and headed south, keeping the radio on full blast and our eyes on the southern skies. We repeatedly commented, “Look, in the sky ahead. Is that smoke?”
Every cloud was scary and every noise alarming. Like all Americans we were frightened and heading into a new point in time we would become very apprehensive about.
This was not a happy day for America.
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Posted on Tue, April 12, 2016
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer