A-Z of Dead Man Singing: L

A-Z of Dead Man Singing: L

50 days ago

L is for ‘Let You Go’: the one Dave Masters original song that exists as more than just a title, the one that I actually wrote some lyrics for. I did so with some trepidation – I’m not a songwriter – but I knew what I needed the song to be for the role it plays in Dead Man Singing. It was Dave’s big hit single in the early 80s, although the synth-drenched production and the story behind him writing it makes him hate having to play it night after night on stage. The song also changes meaning for Dave over the course of the book, but you’ll have to read Dead Man Singing to find out how.

As I said in ‘E is for’, my original title for Dave’s unwanted legacy song was ‘Running On Empty’, until I discovered that Jackson Browne beat me to that particular song by 45 years or so, forcing a rethink.

My next attempt at the career millstone took a different direction, shedding light on Dave’s inadequacies in relationships rather than his artistic struggles. That kick-started another strand of the plot, and also lent itself to the reinvention later in the book, as Dave’s experiences give him a new perspective on his life. I think it adds a lot of emotional heft to the story and makes the book a much more satisfying read (although, of course, you’ll be the judges of that).

As I said before, ‘Let You Go’ is the only original song in Dead Man Singing where I’ve attempted to write actual lyrics. In my wilder daydreams, I like to imagine a day when someone wants to make a film or TV version of the book, and some A-list legend is recruited to oversee the music. ‘Let You Go’ would then become a real published song, credited to (for example) Couch and McCartney. What do you say, Sir Paul? I’m game if you are.  

What are the songs that have changed their meaning for you over the years?

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