f you ever listen to my radio shows (The Mid-Week-Mix-Up on Wednesdays 5-7pm or Soulful Sunday 4-6pm) you’ll know that as much as I love listening to music, I also want to know about the people who write the songs. I’ve written many blogs about the story behind famous songs and now that we are running up to the Love Live Music Song Competition, I’m going to be sharing what I’ve found out about some of the unsung heroes of pop music – the composers.
Michael Masser was born in Chicago in 1941. He studied at Illinois College of Law and became a stockbroker. Often, on his way to work, he would take a detour and drop into the Julliard Performing Arts School for a mess around on the piano.
Having taught himself to play piano (although he could not read music) Masser had a burning desire to leave his secure job behind and try to find work in the music industry. As time went by he became more and more unhappy and eventually, he decided to see a psychiatrist. He told the doctor he was depressed because he wanted to quit his job and write music but the idea had not gone down well with his family.
The shrink took his money and said: ‘Here’s a note of permission to write music. That’s all you need to clear your conscience.’
Michael Masser told a reporter, “It’s funny because that’s all I was looking for: permission. I had been the dutiful son and husband for so long, I had forgotten about living for myself.”
Masser was lucky enough to meet the celebrated song writer, Johnny Mercer who became his mentor. The best advice he got from Johnny was, "Don’t rush a song," He took that advice to heart and his first hit took two years to finish!
Luck was on his side again when he had the opportunity to work with one of the giants of popular song writing, Gerry Goffin. Together, they composed a song for Diana Ross called Touch Me in the Morning. The year was 1973 and it peaked at No. 9 in UK and No. 1 on The Billboard Top 100. It was the song that saw the beginning of a long and fruitful career for Michael Masser.
Like most consistently successful songwriters, Michael Masser usually collaborated with other song writers and the list of hits with his name in the credits is very long indeed.
Some of the celebrated composers who have shared song-writing success with Michael Masser are:- Linda Creed, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Pam Sawyer, Neil Diamond, Cynthia Weill, Carole Bayer Sager & Ron Miller.
Here’s a short list of some of Michael Masser’s biggest hits
The Greatest Love of All (with Linda Creed) – Whitney Houston
Saving All My Love for You (with Linda Creed) – Whitney Houston
Didn’t We Almost Have it All (With Will Jennings) – Whitney Houston
All At Once (with Jeffrey Osborne) – Whitney Houston
Last Time I Saw Him (with Pam Sawyer) – Diana Ross
Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You (with Gerry Goffin) – Glenn Medeiros
In Your Eyes (with Dan Hill) – George Benson
Miss You Like Crazy (with Gerry Goffin, Preston Glass) – Natalie Cole
Tonight I Celebrate My Love (with Gerry Goffin) – Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson
Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Theme from Mahogany) (with Gerry Goffin) – Diana Ross
Michael Masser died on July 9th 2015, age 74.