Latest From Rory: In Service of the Song: Networking for Songs

November 20th, 2009

In Service of the Song: Networking for Songs

When I first left my promotion job with Mercury Records to be a songwriter, I mostly wrote alone. The first time the I networked for songs was when I signed with Chappell Music (now Warner-Chappell). I met a fabulous writer named Johnny Wilson, and the two of us wrote some songs that were recorded. I knew Johnny wrote regularly with another terrific writer Gene Dobbins, and they had some songs recorded as well. Since we wrote so well in pairs, I wondered if the three of us could write together with any success.

Well we did, and we got multiple cuts including two of my all time favorite songs: “No Relief In Sight” and “It’s Too Late To Love Me Now.” “No Relief In Sight” has been recorded by sixteen artists, including Con Hunley, Ronnie Milsap, and Dawn Sears (of Time Jumpers Fame). “It’s Too Late To Love Me Now” has been recorded by six artists, including Jeanne Pruett, Dolly Parton, Cher, and Lorrie Morgan. I soon realized that if I could form more writing partnerships, I could increase my song output and help put food on the table.

My next combination started with Charlie Black (Hall of Fame Inductee). We wrote “Shadows in the Moonlight” and “Lucky Me” for Anne Murray. I knew Charlie had teamed up with Jerry Gillespie. So the three of us tried co-writing, and the result was “Do You Love As Good As You Look,” recorded by The Bellamy Bros.

Later, Charlie and Tommy Rocco wrote “Be There For Me Baby” for Johnny Lee and “Slow Burn” for T.G. Shepard. Charlie, Tommy, and I eventually wrote “A Little Good News” for Anne Murray. This is basically how I built a business of song.

The more combinations you can create, the better chance you of:
1. More songs
2. More hits
3. A quality catalog

The best part of having various co-writing teams is that in each situation you will be called upon to perform a different job in Service of the Song. When writing in combinations, your weakness might be someone else’s strength, and another person’s weakness may be your strength.

Get writing,


6 Responses to “In Service of the Song: Networking for Songs”

  1. David Seger Says:

    November 22nd, 2009 at 8:45 am

    There’s nothing like finding the right co-writer(s). Thanks for sharing this story!

  2. Mary Beth Stone Says:

    December 2nd, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I never looked at co-writing quite the way you’ve presented it. As co-ordinator of the New York City chapter of the NSAI, I will use this for our group–and for myself!


  3. Dan Taggart Says:

    December 2nd, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thought process which has proven very successful for you as well a your various co-writers. It certainly has me thinking a bit differently.

  4. Lance Carpenter Says:

    December 2nd, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I started out writing alone but the more I co-write the more I can clearly identify my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Once you truly know yourself, you can go out in search of potentially great co-writing partners and who knows what you might write. Also, with two people pitching the song, the chances of getting cut go up. Find writers that you work well with and begin to build that relationship…when it works, you’ll know it. This was a great article.

    God Bless

  5. Kristopher Lee Lear Says:

    December 2nd, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    It is always nice to hear another writer’s perspective. I find this to be valuable information and seems a good formula for success! I too co-write as much as possible but find it hard to find other reliable writers that I click with, but I’ll never stop looking ( : I hope someday I can have a fraction of the success you have had. Thank you for this article. God Bless. ~ K.L.

  6. Brent Baxter Says:

    December 3rd, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Rory knows what he’s talking about! I’ve had the honor of writing a handful of songs with him (and, yes, with a 3rd cowriter as well). He’s a pro, a gentleman, and a heck of a great songwriter. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Rory!
    God Bless,


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