In about 2005 or so, I was talking with my friend Gerry Beckley, one of the founding members of the band America. I was telling Gerry that whenever I heard Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley sing "My Way," that line that said "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention" really stuck in my craw. It felt then like whenever I looked back at my life, all I had were regrets. I told Gerry that he needed to write a new song for me called "Without Regrets."
"I even have the chorus," I told him. "'Without regrets, I'd have no memories at all. Without regrets, there'd be no lifetime to recall.'"
Gerry laughed and said "You've got a good start. Why don't you finish it. Write it yourself."
"But I'm not a songwriter," I protested. "I haven't written a song since the second grade talent show when I performed my original tune, "I Love the Spring, A Ring A Ding Ding."
But Gerry dared me. So I sat down and wrote a bunch of lyrics I thought were pretty funny. I sent them to Gerry and asked him to put them to music. He sent me a few music samples to ask what kind of music I thought the song needed. I told thim that I was hearing it in my head as "a bluesy romp."
"Well," Gerry said, "you have a guitar and a 4-track recorder, don't you? Do it yourself!"
Dammit. He'd dared me again.
So I worked up a guitar part, recorded some rhythm and a few lead licks, then sent the tracks to my brother, Tim, in Nashville. He sent me back some piano, bass, and drum tracks. I mixed them all together, and voila! I'd created a song.
I sent the mp4 to Gerry, telling him that I was submitting it for consideration on the next America album that Sony Records was preparing, "Here and Now." Of course, I was joking. But months later, Dewey Bunnell (the other co-founder of America), revealed to me that Gerry had played my tune for the Sony execs as they were selecting songs to record. Gerry said, "Yeah, they listened to the first few seconds and said 'No. Next." Dewey leaned over and put his hand on my shoulder and said "They do that to a lot of my songs. Don't feel bad."
Feel bad? I felt mortified that my stupid little song had been played for Sony record executives, even if only for 10 or 15 seconds. But I also felt pretty proud that Gerry had thought my little funny ditty was good enough to stick in the stack of submissions to actually play for them.
So, here is my song, "Without Regrets." You can listen to the whole darn thing. Or you can listen to a few seconds and say "Nope. Next." Just like a real record exectutive.