Pics of the Week: We Write the Songs

Singer and songwriter Natalie Merchant performs at the ASCAP Foundation "We Write the Songs" concert in the Coolidge Auditorium, May 12, 2015. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Natalie Merchant 

Last week, the Library hosted the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation for its annual “We Write the Songs” concert, featuring the songwriters performing and telling the stories behind their own music. Taking the stage to perform some of their most notable music were Ne-Yo, Natalie Merchant (also formerly of 10,000 Maniacs), Donald Fagan of Steely Dan fame, Rupert Holmes and Rhymefest, who wrote “Glory,” the Oscar-winning song from the film “Selma.”

During the evening, the songwriters told some of the stories behind their music.

Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo

 

“Never had the guts to tell any of these girls how I felt about them,” said Ne-Yo of the girls who placed him in the friend zone. “Would write poems about them, the poems would stay in my little book and they would never see the light of day.”

Holmes, known for his hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” talked about a last-minute change to the famous catch lyric of the song – imagine having Humphrey Bogart as the earworm instead of a delicious cocktail!

“The final lyric came to me in one hour, and there were a lot of critics who think I should have taken two hours,” he quipped.

Rupert Holmes

Rupert Holmes

The Library is home to the ASCAP collection, which includes music manuscripts, printed music, lyrics (both published and unpublished), scrapbooks, correspondence and other personal, business, legal and financial documents, scrapbooks, and film, video and sound recordings.

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first United States Performing Rights Organization (PRO), representing the world’s largest repertory of more than 10 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from 525,000 songwriter, composer and music-publisher members.

All photos by Shawn Miller

Pics of the Week: Honoring Rosa Parks

The Library of Congress presented a special program on Tuesday to honor the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for loaning the Rosa Parks Collection to the Library. A special guest was U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who employed Rosa Parks in his Detroit congressional office for 22 years. Conyers described Rosa Parks as a quiet, humble person […]

Pic of the Week: A Tree Grows … in the Great Hall

Every year, the Library of Congress decorates the Great Hall with a tall tree for the holidays, replete with lights and ornaments for the enjoyment of visitors. Zelma Cook of Tryon, N.C., recalls her first Christmas tree and holidays spent with her family and the mill workers of the village in this excerpt from American Life Histories: […]

Pic of the Week: Princess Anne Opens Magna Carta Exhibition

Last Thursday, the Library of Congress opened a new exhibition, “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor,” which marks two special occasions: Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary and the return of the Lincoln Magna Carta to the Library after 75 years, where it was sent for safekeeping during World War II. Guest of honor for the festivities, which also included […]

Pic of the Week: Dr. Funkenstein

                          In 1994, I had the pleasure of meeting funk singer-songwriter George Clinton while attending the Lollapalooza music festival in New Orleans. Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars were main-stage performers that year. A friend of mine and myself were able to get […]

Pic of the Week: A Tree for CRS

The Congressional Research Service celebrates its centennial this year. To mark the occasion, a commemorative tree was planted on the grounds of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The 10-foot Japanese maple serves as a living memorial to the men and women who have served in the  legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress. A plaque at […]

Pics of the Week: 2014 National Book Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Library of Congress National Book Festival welcomed book lovers to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center — a new venue for this year — on Saturday. More than 100 authors, poets and illustrators were featured throughout the day and evening, packing crowds into pavilions such as History & Biography, […]

Pic of the Week: En Pointe

Last week, the Library of Congress opened the exhibition “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years,” which highlights the dance company’s distinguished history and its collection here at the Library. Shortly after the opening, ABT alum Sue Knapp-Steen (1969-1974) stopped by to view the exhibition and reminisce on her time as a professional dancer […]

Pics of the Week: Behind the Music

Last week, the Library hosted the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation for its annual “We Write the Songs” concert, featuring the songwriters performing and telling the stories behind their own music. Carly Simon, Randy Newman and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart joined others in performing some of their most popular tunes. “We used […]