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"The Good Old Days Myth"

The idea that it was easy 
to become a successful recording artist in the 1970's 
is a myth. 

A lot of potentially great artists were passed by 
even back then, in the Stone Age. 

When I arrived in Nashville 
as a writer and independent producer, 
the first words I heard from the "big" people were these: 
"You're too late to make it here, Jack. 
The business has changed. 
If you'd been here a few years ago 
you'd have had a shot. 
I don't mean to discourage you 
but you'd be smart to go home 
and try  something else." 

I heard that in so many words from famous names, 
names you would know. 

Sure, it knocked some of the wind out of me, 
but I always had the feeling 
that Misty and I had something unstoppable. 
That conceit may be what got us through. 

When we started to catch on 
and get some records out, 
I heard rumors that we were hard to work with. 
Translated, that means they couldn't make us do what they wanted. 

We always fought for artistic control of our sessions, 
and we knew that if we bombed, 
there was nobody to blame but us. 

We quit Mercury Records 
because they insisted on putting a house producer in charge. 
Producing our own music from the ground up 
was how we achieved the sound we're known for. 
A house producer would have changed that. 

We would never have had "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain", 
"There Must Be More to Life (than Growin' Old)", 
and a hundred others. 

We were in trouble for a couple of years 
after we left Mercury, 
but in the long run, it was worth it. 

But back to the legend of how easy it was in the old days. 
Not the old days I saw. 

I walked the streets around Music Row, 
trying to get our career going 
for six or seven years 
before we caught on. 

I rode from Miami to Nashville in freezing weather 
in cars with no heaters. 
The Interstates weren't complete then, 
so it was a trek. 

I know the business keeps changing for the worse, 
and it is tougher now, 
but I just want you to know this: 
It was no damn picnic back then. 

To young artists 
and those who are striving at any age... 
Believe in yourself and your music. 
There's nobody exactly like you. 

Copyright  March 13, 2005, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

 

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