By Brian M. Howle
Too often, we hear of the tragic results of those afflicted with the horrors of alcohol and other drug addictions, and shake our heads as to what we could posssibly do to help.
Fortunately, there are those who have faced those demons and survived, who then find a way to get that help.
And legendary performeer Paul Williams is, thankfully, such a person.
Williams’ benefit concert for the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS takes place July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Foster Theater) in Cleveland, Ohio.
This special event stars Hall of Fame songwriter, Paul Williams. Paul is an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner. He is President & Chairman of the Board of ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. performing rights organization, representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works and is the only U.S. performing rights organization owned and governed by its nearly 400,000 writer and publisher members.
This is an exclusive concert to celebrate and support the work being done at The Association of Recovery Schools. ARS advocates for the promotion, strengthening, and expansion of secondary and post-secondary programs designed for students and families committed to achieving success in both education and recovery. Too often, students in recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions return to their former school and are faced with the same environment that lead to their addiction. ARS exists to support such schools which, as components of the recovery continuum of care, enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs and working a program of recovery.
As a bonus, after the concert, you will have access to all seven floors of the 150,000 square-foot museum and exhibits (a $22 value).
Benefit tickets are $75, and include the private performance by Paul Williams plus access to the museum/exhibits after the show.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.
Paul Williams: A Short History
Recognized as one of America’s most prolific and gifted lyricists and composers, Paul’s standards have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah McLachlan, Johnny Mathis, Jason Mraz, The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Willie Nelson, R.E.M., Diamond Rio, Anne Murray, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Diana Krall, The Dixie Chicks, The Scissor Sisters, Gonzo, and Kermit The Frog.
“The Rainbow Connection”, from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, is one of two Paul Williams’ songs that grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top movie songs of all time; the second, “Evergreen,” is from the award winning remake of A Star Is Born. Additional song scores include the cult favorites Phantom of the Paradise and Ishtar, as well as The Muppet Christmas Carol, Bugsy Malone, and Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, the latter of which has now been adapted for the stage. His recent work has remained wonderfully diverse, from creating the story and writing the songs for Disney’s Emmy nominated A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa and penning the music and lyrics for Garry Marshall’s theatrical sensation Happy Days, to writing with the Scissor Sisters and Daft Punk.
Although most people came to know the witty Mr. Williams as one of Johnny Carson’s recurring favorites on The Tonight Show, or as an actor in dozens of films, television comedies and dramas, it is his musical legacy that continues to inspire. “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Rainy Days and Mondays”, “You and Me Against the World”, “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and “Let Me Be The One” all remain pop classics and are performed by Paul in venues from New York to the Philippines.
While publicly lauded for his work as a songwriter, performer, actor and humanitarian, Paul predicts he’ll be remembered for playing Little Enos in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and for his lyrics to “The Love Boat” theme, although it is the lyrics from Bugsy Malone, recast for a recent Coke commercial, that aptly sum up his philosophy: “You give a little love and it all comes back to you; You’re gonna’ be remembered for the things that you say and do”. As a devoted husband to writer Mariana Williams and proud father, Paul considers his son Cole, and daughter Sarah, to be his best work.
After therapy and achieving sobriety, Paul wasn’t sure whether he wanted to (or could) write again. In 1995, he was invited to Nashville to participate in Tin Pan South and appear at the Bluebird Cafe. Paul credits that visit to Nashville with re-igniting his passion for songwriting, as well as his career.
While he was in Nashville, he arranged for a co-write session with songwriter Jon Vezner. (At that time Paul didn’t know that Jon was also a recovering alcoholic.) The result of their collaboration was “You’re Gone,” a song that reflected upon their relationships during their years of addiction. It was a hit for country group Diamond Rio. He continues to write for other country artists, toured with Melissa Manchester a few years ago and performs solo around the world.
In 2009, Paul and Jason Mraz released a duet of Paul’s classic “Rainbow Connection.” His CD/DVD, I’m Going Back There Some Day, features a guest appearance by Willie Nelson singing “Rainbow Connection.”
The Association of Recovery Schools is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Ticket purchases are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
For more information on this event, visit http://arsconcert.weebly.com/ .