I was watching an interview. A sweet young thing asked how could he have written hit after hit without experiencing depths of emotions. His reply was earnest. Song writing is like acting – it is cerebral. It is a calculated way to trigger an emotion in someone else. It could be a singer, it could be a listener. It’s a technique that can be learnt – there is no expression of emotion in a song writing. I enjoyed all his songs but the later ones, the ones with years of ability to con listeners all condensed into a few minutes, felt most powerful.
He reminded me of Graham Greene – his ability to reach the reader and his bottomless need for female companionship even when he was very old.