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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 13, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST

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tavis: good evening from los angeles. tonight come a conversation with grammy-winning singer steve gyro -- steve tyrell. the songs of semicon. he will perform two of the most endearing. glad you have joined us, conversation from steve tyrell coming up right now.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: grammy winner steve tyrell is introduction to popular moves -- popular music started at age 19. burts already working with bacharach. he went on to work with bonnie raitt before striking out as a performer in his own right. his latest cd is called "it's magic, the songs of semicon.
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kohn."ammy a little sneak review you did to this before the record even drive. >> last year. it was this semi-con -- it was the sammy kohn centennial. he was a great writer. nominatedll, he was 27 times for the academy awards, which is unbelievable. people wouldthat ask him what comes first, the music or the lyrics? he would say the phone call. [laughter] that is where he got his inspiration. five golden globes, just an amazing lyricist. year.xtending that this i am about to start my ninth year at the café carlyle. last year, i did sammy's theme all year. willl call my word -- i
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call my show "wordsmith." tavis: run some names. >> hal david, nobody talks about how david game one of the points -- about how david. david.l one of the points i want to bring out is that most of the time the writers are overlooked or they get confused as to who did what. i am going to do a couple of songs from my friend carol king. people will say she wrote the best female songs of all- time. ♪ you make me feel ♪ you make me feel like a natural woman ♪ ♪ will you still love me tomorrow? ♪
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her husband wrote those lyrics. she wrote the music but he wrote the lyrics. dorothy fields was fantastic. she wrote "the way you look tonight." she wrote like 400 songs or something. so i will get into all of that this year. and then there were some people who wrote both, like cole porter. wasn't born ine a poor family in the lower east side or in brooklyn. was from indiana. >> you messed up my joke. [laughter] i was going to say that he is from peru, indiana. tavis: i know the cole porter story. michael jackson, of course. >> indiana got some good something out there. tavis: good water.
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great artists who perform this stuff but don't necessarily write it emma since you mention sinatra, con -- necessarily write it, since you was hisd sinatra, khon muse. he sang 87 songs from the same guy. >> one thing i can say about frank sinatra which white -- which i will say in my show is that he always acknowledged to the writers. if you ever notice in his live performances are you see -- or you hear a live album, he always gave them credit. tavis: and you do the same thing. i have seen you everywhere but the carlyle. this season, hope to get there and see you. i saw bobby short there when he was holding court for 30 some years.
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years and iere 36 have been there nine. i have been there every year since he passed away. by the time i catch him come i will be am a 60. [laughter] , i haveelieve that [indiscernible] mike is on the way over to brooklyn. tavis: you love that room. >> i was honored to be asked to do that. know, i got a call that bobby had passed away. he always did that holiday season. now i am doing what he also did. he would come back in may for a couple of weeks every year. he used to play the holidays and new year's eve and come back in may. i am flattered and honored to have had that gave all this time. tavis: what is it specifically about the writing of sammy kohn that turns you on as an artist?
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>> he said that he wrote words that sang. there is something to that. it is poetry, but it is poetry that sings. my friend burt bacharach, we are l david, two. ha bert would always tell me how the words hit the notes that he was writing. i do know. there's just some talent that these guys had, that they know how to write, rhyme and roll it emotionalke great sense, but they hit the melodies. it is not like writing poetry. , you know,ng is married to the music. tavis: let me ask you an impossible question, a strange question. do you think that, if you live -- we were talking earlier about how long you're going to -- or how many years you have to catch up to bobby short at the carlyle -- if you live to be 900
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something years old, do you think that the songwriting could future, match up to what is in the past? >> i think that the songs that i have been blessed to, you know, sing and discover, they were my parents' music. rod stewart was the same way. music.our parents' when she get into these songs you go, my god, these things are incredible. i don't think we will ever match that. there was a thing that went on in those days that was kind of wonderful. songwriters wrote. singers sang, you know. then it went kind of into the singer-songwriter with some really great people. he saw james and carol kane -- well, she was a songwriter first peer you know, paul simon and
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elton -- songwriter first. you know, paul simon and elton. they sang their own songs. before that, anybody sang their songs. net king cole didn't write a song, not that i know of. tavis: that is where the money is, you know. >> yeah, i mean, i don't know. sinatra did all right. doinga streisand isn't too bad. elvis did pretty good. [laughter] tavis: but if you can write and perform. >> i think that is somehow where things get a little diluted. because it works both ways. probably, if cole porter had to sing his own songs, maybe he wouldn't have had some a great songs. it is two different talents. a used to be more separate back in those days. and the songwriters would get in there and write songs and that
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was their craft and the singers would just knock them out. billie holiday didn't do too bad either. all these people, there were two different things. they didn't write those songs. she did write a couple very tavis: i find myself always -- she did write a couple. tavis: i find myself always coming back to this. what do you think about the invisibility or the absence of melody these days? >> it's a shame. i think the technology in the technical world that we live in has contributed to that. because you couldn't go to a piano back in the day and just tell it to play two cords over and over again like you can ande we started sampling putting in a computer. i think it is great and a lot of created -- it is also ike that is our version of jazz or something. but the actual learning of how to be a musician is kind of a
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lost art. people, they were like these incredible chords and melodies and sophisticated yet simple complex -- i mean, soulful yet sophisticated stuff it has they knew how to play. a lot of them, you know. they understood harmonies, which is kind of lost with this new music. tavis: i always look forward to any new project from you and i'm glad you did this one, the songs of sammy kohn. will do not one song but two songs force later in this program. two songs for us later in this program. herepeople see you are your name, they think of a live performer. what is it you love about the actual -- >> like talking to you.
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it is a communication. there is an honest. it is a totally different thing. been most of my life a record producer. like a new director in a film. you make it. you do another take. you put it together. a lot, man, you've got one take and you have to communicate to the people and you are looking at them, you know. i have a new dvd that is coming out that i am very proud of. finally, after 10 albums, i am doing a dvd of my live performance that i did in this historic -- is called "coming home" and it will be out in a month or so. i did it -- tavis: back in galveston. >> it is intercut with interview stuff of my life and stuff. so, you know. it will be the first time you can see me live on a dvd. tavis: you have such a wonderful way with the audience.
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it helps when you will be a live performer to have a rapport with the art is a you have developed after years of doing this. >> i don't know. if you say so. [laughter] comfortable talking to each other. i like people. you know, i think -- first of all, i am very appreciative that they are there. they certainly could be somewhere else spending their money, you know. and people come back year after year after year and i really appreciate that, make a little thing about going to the carlyle in the holidays. i am playing in l.a. this week at that same place. i pretty much have this kind of performing career where i go back year after year. tavis: when did you know, even though it wasn't heart of your plan for say, when did you know that you had turned the corner from being -- you always will be a record producer. you did rod stewart's great up on that got him so many awards and accolades.
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he did a great job during american songbook. >> i am having dinner with him tonight. tavis: take me, take me, take me. >> you guys would love each other. and he isa real guy. an incredible artist. he sold something like 250 million albums. he has been making hits since, yeah, the 1960s and the late-19 70s. he comes up with new things and he is a great performer. i have learned a lot from rod. to when you getting knew that you knew you made the turn from being a record producer, from being the guy behind the scenes to the guy out front? >> i did not even know i was making a turn. everything my life kind of has happened. i don't even know why. everything is backwards. you don't get a job working in
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new york city in the real building when you're 19 years old. but i did. you know, everything is backwards. and that is usually when you're trained to be an artist. i had no desire or an idea to be an artist. when "father of the bride was quote happened, or saying, man, you should go on the road. highlighted "the great american songbook." "the way you look tonight" started the whole thing. michaelblueberry -- play has done incredible. rod has done incredible. tony has never gone away, but i really do think these are the songs that are america's greatest contribution to the arts. and as long as somebody sings them, they will last forever, you know. tavis: with frank songs, whatmy kohn
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was the process for figuring out which ones you were going to record? >> the hardest things was figuring out which ones i was not going to record. he has so many good stories. i know his family and. tina -- not tina -- nancy sinatra wrote the liner notes. and peter kohn is my friend. so their stories and it influenced some of the songs. like the song he is most proud of is a song called "call me irresponsible." and the reason he is is because it dealt, as a lyricist, with five syllable words. he said it was a five-syllable song from a guy that was from a one-syllable neighborhood. [laughter] you never think about that. he was a genius. tavis: i have to get out of the way of your performance.
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you will do to songs force tonight and i will ask you to say a word about each, why you love the songs so much. you're going to do "come fly with me. >> i was a song he wrote for bright -- or frank that was the title of his album. that song is in the consciousness of america. it's an commercials, everything you can think of. written for at movie. >> the other son you're going to do for site is "the tender trap o." movie with the same name. tavis: all right, let me shut up and make way for these great
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performances to come in 20 seconds here. the new project from steve tyrell is called "it's kohn."the songs of sammy i will see you in l.a. and i will see you at the carlisle in winter. tavis: from his new project, here is our friend steve tyrell performing "the tender trap" and "come fly with me." enjoy. as always, keep the faith. ♪ you see a pair of laughing eyes and suddenly you are signing ♪
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you think there is something wrong ♪ you string along, board, then snap ♪ ghs ♪se eyes, those si ♪ their part of the tender trap ♪ ♪ your hand in hand beneath the trees ♪\ ♪ and soon there's music in the breeze ♪ your acting kind of smart ♪ ♪ until your heart goes wap ♪ those trees, that breeze ♪ they are part of the tender trap ♪ ♪ some starry night ♪ when her kisses make you
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tingle ♪ ♪ shall hold you tight ♪ and you'll hate yourself for being single ♪ ♪ and all at once it seems so nice ♪ ♪ the folks are throwing shoes and rice ♪ ♪ you hurry to a spot ♪ that's just a dot on the map ♪ ♪ >> be careful out there. ♪ come fly with me ♪ let's fly, let's fly, let's fly away ♪ ♪ if you can use some exotic booze ♪ ♪ there is a bar in car bomb a ♪ come fly with me, let's fly,
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let's fly away ♪ ♪ come fly with me, let's flow down to peru ♪ in llama land there is a one- man band ♪ ♪ and he'll toot his flute for you ♪ ♪ come fly with me, let's take off in the blue ♪ there where you up the air is rarefied ♪ ♪ will just glide, starry eyed there, i'll you up be holding you so near ♪ hear angels cheer as were together ♪ ♪ weatherwise it's such a lovely day ♪
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♪ you just say the words and will beat those birds ♪ ♪ down to at the poco bay ♪ it's perfect for a flying honeymoon, they say ♪ ♪ come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away ♪ ♪ tavis!s go, ♪ ♪ come fly with me >> yeah! there i willyou up be holding you so near ♪ cheermay hear angels because we are together ♪ oh weatherwise, it is such a
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lovely day ♪ ♪ you just say the words and will beat those birds ♪ ♪ down to our couple go back -- down to alcapulco bay ♪ ♪ it's perfect for a flying honeymoon, they say ♪ ♪ come fly with me ♪ come on and fly with me ♪ so come fly with me ♪ pack up, let's fly away ♪ ♪ [applause] >> and don't tell your mama where we're going. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at -- at tavis: join me next time for a
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conversation with oliver stone about the release of his controversial film "jfk." that is next time. see you then. >> and by contributions to your local pbs station from viewers like you. inc. you. -- thank you.
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