Copyright

Copyright: (n) the exclusive right to make copies in music

I had just turned nineteen years of age when I was sitting in the back area of my mother and father’s loan company which they had opened in our small town, and for some inexplicable reason, there was a piano situated in one of the corners.

I don’t know how it got in there. I don’t know whether someone was unable to pay their loan and offered their piano as penance—but it was there.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I was also present—with my new wife, whom I had only been married to for about seven months, but we already had a first son. (You do the math.)

Long story apparently being made longer, I decided to walk over to that piano and write a song. I had sung songs for years. I had done my karaoke versions of popular tunes long before the “Kary” came from “Okie.”

I don’t know what gave me the idea that I could write a song. Maybe it was because I was nineteen and pretty convinced I could do anything. Somewhere in the expanse of the next hundred and eighteen minutes, I wrote two songs. I had no idea if anybody would think they were good—I was so damn impressed with them that the notion of seeking another opinion seemed redundant.

I did not know if I would ever write another song, so I immediately wanted to make sure these two songs were not only recorded, but copyrighted—to make sure that no less-talented individuals would steal them, attaining great notice and gain.

There were two ways to copyright my songs. I could make original copies of the lead sheet and words, and mail them to myself, and never open that envelope because it would have the stamped date on the outside from the official Post Office.

This did not sound dramatic enough to me.

So instead, I pursued the other avenue, which was to contact the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C, and receive innumerable forms, which I filled out, paying a small price for each composition. From that point on, once it was cleared that my songs were indeed original, I would have a copyright for all time.

My God. Who could resist such majestic red tape?

I went through the entire process, and even today, somewhere buried deep in a box in one of my closets, is a certificate informing the whole world that my two songs made a visit to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and returned home again—sanctified.


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Contract

Contract: (n) an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.

Two hours after I wrote my very first song, I was already thinking I needed a contract.

I had visions of Grammy Awards, fame and thousands of record sales to reinforce my sheer joy of being a musician and simply composing songs.

Nothing happened after my first song, but along about my fifth or sixth tune, opportunities did float my way.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

What I learned very quickly, in my Midwest innocence, was that life and death lie in the wording of a contract. Someone saying they want to “sign your song” or “promote your music” does not mean your song is actually signed or that your music will be promoted. Sometimes it’s just means they’re securing that song, in case they want to use it, making sure nobody else can get it.

On occasion, it’s a deal where they plan to use the song but want to give you the lowest possible percentage of remuneration.

But one word always came to the forefront: exclusive.

What that meant was they wanted me to sign a contract saying I would not work with anybody else, while they determined how much they really wanted to work with me.

I grew up quickly.

Even today, when I hear someone utter the phrase, “Well, we need to draft a contract,” I immediately know there’s something they don’t want to say to me—that they want to hide in a contract, in a very small point size and a near-unreadable font.depressed, angry adolescents.


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Cinnamon

Cinnamon: (n) an aromatic spice

Neil Young, in a burst of creative brilliance, wrote a song entitled “Cinnamon Girl.”

Many of you will not know who Neil Young is, but you certainly know what “cinnamon” and “girl” are. Let’s deal with that.

When he wrote this song, I was so impressed, because envisioning a woman as food is just divinely inspired.

Matter of fact, every time I hear the tune I imagine a lovely lass who looks and tastes like cinnamon toast–and if I lick her, I will get the sensation of great pleasure and oodles of flavor.

Genius.

Not in the sense that Neil is a genius–but anytime we can connect human appetites with human feelings, to create human understanding, we are on the Road to Glory.

I’ve never had the courage to ask a woman if I could smear her with butter, cinnamon and sugar, to fulfill Neil Young’s recipe.

But believe you me, if I ever do run across a cinnamon girl, and it’s obvious that the tastiness awaits, I may not be responsible for my actions.

 

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