Image

Memoirs: Lifelong Stories

My grandmother at age 16, 1917

Everyone has a story to tell – and for that reason, Writer For Hire Pat Kramer has created the Lifelong Stories memoir writing service to capture the valuable memories our elders hold that we don’t want to lose.

Over the years, Pat has written memoirs for business professionals – about them and their businesses, families, and senior members of a family. In addition to preserving their legacies, these memoirs often bring family members together as they share in the reading of mutual memories.

Memoirs written by Writer For Hire include:

“The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son,” Izzy Eichenstein’s memoirs of growing up in a Jewish Hassidic dynasty and choosing to leave the fold,

“Born in Basra,” by Bushra Rothstein, a memoir of her early years as a Jewish child during a time of turmoil in Iraq and her subsequent journey and life in America, where she now leads her own practice as a psychotherapist.

“My Life in Retrospect,” by Los Angeles investment banking founder Lawrence Hurwitz. Raised by a father who was Austin, Texas’ first Jewish motorcycle cop, and a mother, who had the distinction of being the first woman to attend business school at Boston University, his memoir is both a tribute to his parents and a legacy of his own life.

Senior Memoirs:

Memoirs of Julia Vera Keys, Catalina Island’s first woman pioneer, as related by her granddaughter Susan Keys;

Dorothy Wing, who spent four years of her childhood in a Japanese internment camp with her family;

Shirley Friedlander, a runway model in the 1930’s and the daughter of a New Jersey bootlegger;

Janette McCormack, raised in Glasgow, Scotland in a dirt poor family, she moved to America and started a family and later, earned her teaching credential to work with Special Needs adults;

Vito D’Erasmo, born on Long Island to a working class Italian family, Vito recognized his potential, early on, earning a college degree before becoming a banking official in Los Angeles;

Virginia Walker who, as a young woman, was raised on a 40-acre farm in Indiana before marrying her late husband, who would become an oil industry executive in California. Virginia’s memoirs describe her early life on the prairie, coming to California, raising her family, her life with and loss of her first husband and finally, a second marriage and the loss of her second husband. Throughout it all, there is a message of optimism and hope.

Family Memoir:  Additionally, Pat has written the Morochnick Family Memoir – a story that remembers each of her extended family members from four generations and their connections to the world.

 Business Memoir:  Finally, Pat has written business memoirs, such as Ward Service History in Monrovia, California, depicting the evolution of its 90-year history. Ward Service is the 2nd oldest, family run auto business in California having survived economic ups and downs, changes in technology, the gasoline wars, and multiple relocations. This history was distributed to the media and to the 350+ people who attended its 90-year anniversary party in 2013.

If you want your memoir or that of someone else in your family written, please contact Writer For Hire Pat Kramer.

Should Eric Clapton Pay Rita Coolidge for Writing the Piano Coda for “Layla?”

Rita Coolidge performing in Pasadena on July 14, 2018 at The Rose.

Back in 1970, singer/songwriter Rita Coolidge wrote a song with a very memorable piano riff and played it for guitarist Eric Clapton, with whom she had sung background vocals while the two performed as part of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Coolidge was then dating drummer Jim Gordon, who played in Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos. After showing the song to Gordon, who added his own touch to Coolidge’s song, the two took it to Clapton with the expectation that he might cover it. The song was called “Time (Don’t Let the World Get in Our Way)” and was later recorded by Rita’s sister, Priscilla Coolidge.

After not hearing back from Clapton about her song, Coolidge was surprised when Clapton released “Layla,” a year later and used her music as the memorable and haunting piano coda. While Clapton gave drummer Gordon songwriting credit, Coolidge’s name was blatantly absent. Layla would rise on to #1 on the charts and make many millions of dollars for Clapton, taking his recording career to new heights.

Back in the early ‘70s, artists were not as well represented as they are now. At that time, Coolidge was in her 20s and had not yet established herself as a recording artist. When she realized that her song had been released by Clapton, she contacted his manager Robert Stigwood, who reportedly said to her, “What are you going to do about it?  Are you going to go up against Stiggy?”  This is documented in her memoir, Delta Lady.

“I was at A&M one afternoon in 1971 after I’d finished my first album, getting promotional photos taken,” says Coolidge. “The photographer had turned on the radio while he worked. Suddenly, it dawned on me: the song on the radio was my song – except that I’d never recorded it. I cried, “That’s my music! That’s my music!”  It was “Time,” the song Jim and I had written at the Garfield house and played for Eric at Olympic Studios. The song was “Layla” and “Time” had been appropriated as-the-soon-to-be famous “piano coda” that gives Eric’s greatest song its bittersweet denouement…What they’d clearly done was take the song Jim and I had written, jettisoned the lyrics, and tacked it on to the end of Eric’s song. It was almost the same arrangement.”

Jeremy Smith is a Los Angeles-based intellectual property attorney who works with songwriters helping them protect their trademarks and copyrights. He says, “You’re never going to hear Eric comment on this; he’s never going to acknowledge that a huge part of one of the most successful songs recorded came from her, or didn’t come from her, because he doesn’t have any motivation to address it.  This is a story that happens on a daily basis in the music business. We won’t ever hear Eric’s version, which may be quite different, as is often the case.”

So what could Coolidge have done differently to have protected herself, and is there a statute of limitations for her to contact him now?

Smith states, “She could have registered the copyright, which isn’t done by most writers but would have been the best evidence of the date of creation and also would have created some much stronger enforcement provisions and potential damages for her to recover.  Many writers do what’s called a “poor man’s copyright” – they put the material – lyrics, music, recording – in an envelope and mail it to themselves, never to open it again until necessary to prove up the date the material was created.  Unfortunately for Rita, the statute of limitations has probably expired.  Under federal law, you have three years to bring the claim.  There is some divide as to when that clock starts ticking – whether at the time of discovery or the time of “injury” – but either way based on the timeline it has long passed.”

For Coolidge, who is still recording and performing 48 years later, it was disappointing.

“I deserved credit for my work. I never wanted the money. I just wanted my name on it.” She adds, “If I sound bitter, I’m not. Layla has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in songwriting royalties – maybe millions – over the years for Eric. But I know that part of Jim’s share actually went to his daughter, Amy. And that, finally, was how I was able to deal with it, just knowing that she had something from her dad.”

(Jim Gordon was later convicted of brutally murdering his mother in a schizophrenic episode and remains incarcerated).

Coolidge acknowledges the other songwriters who contributed to “Layla” saying, “Layla has a lot of fathers. Duane Allman may have adapted part of the song’s guitar riff from Albert King’s vocal on “As the Years Go Passing By,” but I think it’s time everyone knew that it also has a ‘mother.’”

Is it time for Clapton to come clean and do what’s right?  Or will he hide behind the law and say, “It’s too late.”   

Since he has become known as a philanthropist, making a nice gesture of support on Coolidge’s behalf – and giving her a long-delayed songwriting credit – would go a long way toward making amends.