Just over 11 years ago, I met a man who dramatically changed my life. That man was John Braheny. John had just released the second edition of his seminal book The Craft and Business of Songwriting, and was doing a book-signing at the old Vroman's bookstore in Pasadena. The room was packed with friends, guests and industry peers as John spoke from his heart about this business of songwriting. John made each and every one in attendance feel like they were the only one in the room.
What makes John's book so special is the down-home simple way John conveys his knowledge and wisdom about the music business and the best ways to become a truly successful songwriter. Many of today's top songwriters, including Lamont Dozer who, as part of the Holland-Dozier-Holland production team brought us the Motown sound, and Diane Warren, writer of both pop and country hits for such stars as Celine Dion and others, stand by the book.
In fact, John's book is the foundational text for the Songwriting class at USC's Thornton School of Music, where Lamont Dozier is part of the faculty.
Even though I haven't become a hit songwriter yet, I have applied John's teaching to my other journalistic efforts. In addition, I became friends with John, who I constantly run into at events such as TAXI's Road Rally, Songsalive! events and other songwriting conferences and seminars. John is never stingy with his time or advice and never fails to impress me with his kindness and friendship.
John is currently suffering through end stage prostate cancer. Although he has beaten this cancer twice in the past 10 years, this new one is taking its toll on him. At his request, Nick Daughtry has set up a beautiful Facebook page, Friends of John Braheny, so that friends and anyone else who has been influenced by this wonderful man can leave their thoughts, prayers, memories, recollections and of course photographs to pay tribute. John's lovely wife, JoAnn reads the comments to John, and they please him immensely.
Even though we don't know how much longer we will physically have John around, his legacy and memory will live on in the songwriters he has touched and the songs they have created.