Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Dennis Matkosky

Ep. 92 - Dennis Matkosky
He's a Maniac: Two Phases of Songwriting Success


Scott and Paul start the festivities off with a very important discussion about which artists carry their wallets on stage.

PART TWO - 07:30 mark
Dennis' in-depth interview

* Click the orange play button below to begin listening. Or click here to download to your device.

Scott and Paul call up Dennis, who reveals the major compliment he once got from Barry White; how the first song he ever co-wrote became a hit for Diana Ross; the shocking original lyrics for “Maniac” that were inspired by serial killer John Wayne Gacy; how an earthquake that totaled his house led to an important career change; why he isn’t necessarily proud of the story behind one of his major country hits; what he looks for in a co-writer; and how his early musical leanings were shaped by the two Philadelphias: Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

Dennis Matkosky is best known for co-writing “Maniac,” which was included on the Flashdance soundtrack and became a #1 pop single that earned Golden Globe, Academy Award, and Grammy nominations. Matkosky took home a Grammy award for Best Album of Original Score for a Motion Picture, and continued to find success for the next decade with Billboard charting singles recorded by pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary artists such as Boz Skaggs, Smokey Robinson, Al Jarreau, Eddie Money, Chicago, and James Ingram.

Dennis eventually relocated to Nashville, where he landed a Top 10 country hit with LeAnn Rimes’ recording of “I Need You” before going on to hit #1 with Keith Urban’s version of “You’ll Think of Me.” Other artists who’ve hit the country charts with his songs include Clay Aiken, Reba McEntire, Lonestar, Martina McBride, and David Nail, who hit the Top 10 with “Red Light.” 

The list of additional performers who’ve recorded Dennis’ songs includes Diana Ross, Sergio Mendes, Teddy Pendergrass, Johnny Gill, George Benson, Kool & the Gang, Laura Branigan, Sheena Easton, CeCe Winans, Joe Cocker, Rascal Flatts, and the cast of the hit television show Nashville.