Paul Williams Interview
Stephanie Berry-Trageser | 1/8/2019, noon
Paul Hamilton Williams came from simple means, becoming an icon in the music industry. Although he always aspired to be an actor he found that it was difficult to make a living at it. Unemployed with time on his hands he soon discovered other options. He seemed to possess certain instinctive song writing talents.
“I picked up a guitar and began plucking at it, writing simple melodies and what felt like much better lyrics”. He added “I never had the hand eye coordination to play piano, so once I'd written a song I couldn't really play it. At least not well enough for anyone to want to hear it twice.”
It was the late 60s when Paul's first collaborator Biff Rose was signed by A & M Records as a staff writer. Biff in turn introduced Paul to the publishers who would give him his first success as a songwriter.
Tiny Tim's iconic recording of Tiptoe through the Tulips featured the song Fill Your Heart on the B side of the single. It would also be recorded by a young David Bowie.
Several years later Paul was approached to compose a song for a bank commercial. Of all the ways to become established this song was to put him on his way ...The song We’ve Only Just Begun which he wrote and sang, was made most famous by singer Karen Carpenter.
Afterwards many artists were singing and playing his creations. If not familiar with his music, You and Me Against The World, Just An Old Fashion Love Song, rainy days and Mondays and we've only just begun are a few examples. In the 1970's, known for his stout, hyper stature, shaggy blonde hair and tinted aviator glasses (this was the 70's remember) he danced and sang enthusiastically. More like a caricature of himself then who he truly is. “Back then I was doing anything for attention”. In essence everyone knew when Paul was in the house!
Much of the behaviour came from another place. As the 1980's rolled in Paul virtually vanished. He had lived fast and hard, a bit recklessly, having travelled the darker alleyways of the entertainment realm. He had entered the abyss of addiction and the once bright spotlight had faded. The addiction now had become the king with the crown, as the devil drove the bleak realities of Paul's daily life. He conveyed “My turn around point was when I was in a blackout. I was in a blackout and called my doctor” his voice sounding a bit surprised and excited. It was then he began his way back with full sobriety”. It was not an easy task by any means however dealing with any demon is always a challenge. Now, twenty-eight years sober, he has reclaimed his life and has victoriously emerged with a second chance! Resurfacing in the 90’s, Paul, thinner, his hair spiked and cut short, donning round spectacles, no longer hidden behind long hair and dark glasses. His album Back To Love Again is brilliant! His latest recording, contributing lyrics to two songs and singing on Daft Punk's album "Random Access Memories" earned the 2014 Grammy award for album of the year.