Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Gary Burr

Ep. 97 - Gary Burr
"Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me": Nashville's Pop-to-Country-to-Pop Hitman


Scott and Paul give a shout-out to their latest Patreon supporter before revealing their respective Top 5 favorite live albums of all time - a topic suggested by Songcraft listener Bob Hunt!

PART TWO - 15:17 mark
Our in-depth interview with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Gary Burr

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

Scott and Paul call up Gary (with a slightly wonky phone connection) to get the lowdown on how a chance meeting at a French castle led to writing more than two dozen songs with a Beatle; why he thinks growing up on show tunes made him a better country writer; how attending the Woodstock festival changed his life; the poignant true story of his father's death that unexpectedly became a hit song; how he accidentally got Faith Hill a record deal; the Tim McGraw hit he wrote that got shelved for 7 years because his publisher hated it; why he says all songs are love songs; and how he went from country hitmaker to collaborating with Carole King, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, Desmond Child, and the American Idol team.

Gary Burr first found songwriting success when Juice Newton scored a Top 10 pop hit with “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me.” The floodgates soon opened on a remarkable string of Top 5 country hits, including “That’s My Job” for Conway Twitty, “Watch Me” for Lorrie Morgan, “Sure Love” for Hal Ketchum, “One Night a Day” for Garth Brooks, “I Try to Think About Elvis” for Patty Loveless, “Till You Love Me” for Reba McEntire, “Can’t Be Really Gone” for Tim McGraw, “To Be Loved By You” for Wynonna, “On the Side of Angels” for LeAnn Rimes, “Out of My Bones” for Randy Travis, and many others.

Burr eventually returned to his early pop success, scoring a hit with “Nobody Wants to Be Lonely,” which Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera took to the top of the Latin charts. Additionally, he wrote Kelly Clarkson’s first hit, “Before Your Love,” which was the best-selling single the year it was released. He also wrote Clay Aiken’s “This is the Night,” which hit #1 the following year. Burr has collaborated with Carole King, both as a songwriter and as a member of her touring band. Similarly, he has worked as a backing musician with Ringo Starr and has co-written more than two dozen songs with Ringo that have appeared on the former Beatle’s albums in recent years. Burr and his wife, singer/songwriter Georgia Middleman, are currently in a band with Kenny Loggins called Blue Sky Riders.

In addition to those mentioned, Burr’s songs have been recorded by Neil Diamond, Billy Ray Cyrus, Don Williams, Ricky Skaggs, Faith Hill, Lisa Loeb, Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Night Ranger, George Jones, Joe Cocker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lady Antebellum, and others. Gary was twice named Songwriter of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association, has been named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. 

Songcraft's Gary Burr Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a complete collection of all Gary's Billboard Top 20 songs, plus a sampling of his work with Carole King and Ringo Starr! If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.