"In and through the personal rediscovery of the Great, we find that we need not be the passive victims of what we call "circumstances", but that by linking ourselves with the Great we can become freer- freer to be ourselves, to be what we most want and value." -W. J. Bate "The Burden of the Past"
In the world of songwriting, the names Alan and Marilyn Bergman are synonymous with terms describing the highest achievements of lyric craft: grace, simplicity, deeply personal, and at the same time completely universal. As husband and wife lyric-writing partners for over fifty-years, they've been honored with too many awards to mention here, including sixteen Academy Award nominations for their work in film.
Like Johnny Mercer (Alan Bergman's teacher and mentor), their songs are weighted heavier on the lyric side. The music seems to be of service to the words, like a meal presented in a fine serving dish. Their lyrics remain conversational, while still achieving a poetic depth that's uniquely their own. They have said,
(I love you...)
Why, I can hardly say "goodnight."
If I can hardly take my eyes from yours,
How far can I go?
(I'll Never Say Goodbye)
(Life is a mystery...)
It's not the springs we've seen,
But all the shades of green.
It's not how many summertimes
We had to give to fall.
What matters most is that we loved at all.
(What Matters Most)
(It's almost over...)
And baby, I remember,
All the things you taught me.
I learned how to laugh, I learned how to cry,
I learned how to love, even learned how to lie,
You'd think I could learn how to tell you Goodbye,
'Cause you don't bring me flowers anymore.
(You Don't Bring Me Flowers)
So many habits that we'll have to break,
And yesterdays we'll have to take apart.
One day they'll be a song or something,
In the air again,
To catch me by surprise,
And you'll be there again.
A moment in what might have been.
(Where Do You Start?)
(and "There is hope"...)
Beneath the deepest snows,
The secret of a rose, is merely that it knows,
You must believe in spring.
Just as a tree is sure it's leaves will reappear,
It knows its emptiness is just a time of year.
So in a world of snow,
Of things that come and go,
Where what you think you know,
You can't be certain of,
You must believe in spring and love.
(You Must Believe In Spring)
...like no other lyricists before them.
Do yourself a favor- listen to the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. As writers, you are guaranteed to "fail better" next time.
"Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labor." - T. S. Eliot