Advice from the Masters: Bob McDill

Jan 7, 2015 | Better Writing

Bob McDill is one of my favorite writers. I just didn’t know that until a couple of weeks ago. Here’s how it happened.

One of my absolute all-time favorite songs is Don Williams’ “Good Ole Boys Like Me.” I hardly qualify as a “good ole boy.” I grew up in New York City, but many of the references in the song resonate with me. There’s one line, in particular, that I always wondered about:

“Those Williams boys they still mean a lot to me, Hank and Tennessee.”

I was pretty sure that Williams didn’t write the song, since he’s from Texas. And I was sure there was a story behind that line. There wasn’t but there was something better.

Bob McDill is the man who wrote the song and I discovered that he wrote a lot of other songs I liked. I won’t bore you with a complete list, but another one of them is Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country.” If country music isn’t your thing, McDill also wrote songs for other singers including Perry Como, Anne Murray, and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

Songwriters and ghostwriters have one important thing in common. We work mostly out of the spotlight and that’s OK. That similarity was why I picked this bit of Bob McDill wisdom to share.

“If it’s working, you do it by yourself. If it’s not, you bring in some help.”

If you want to find out more about my newest favorite writer, click over to CMT where you can read Edward Morris’ interview with McDill: “Songwriter Bob McDill Talks About His Many Hits.” At the end of the article there’s a link you can follow to video of the actual interview.

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts

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