Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Paul Williams

Ep. 106 - Paul Williams
"Rainbow Connection" - From Carpenters to Phantoms to Muppets!


Scott and Paul reveal some of the newest perks of Patreon support.

PART TWO -  9:17 mark

Our in-depth conversation with the legendary Paul Williams

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Songcraft calls up Paul Williams to get the lowdown on how Susan Hayward changed his life; which of his classic songs started out as a bank commercial; the hit he finished writing in the car on the way to play it for a producer; how his songwriting mantra became "don't squeeze the kitty;" why co-writing means having to be willing to share bad ideas; the most intimidating part about writing songs for "A Star is Born;" what he really thinks of Jim Henson; and how Nashville reignited his passion for writing.

Singer, actor, author, recovery advocate, and Songwriters Hall of Famer Paul Williams has penned hits such as “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” and “I Won’t Last a Day Without You” for The Carpenters; “Out in the Country,” “Family of Man” and “An Old Fashioned Love Song” for Three Dog Night; and “You and Me Against the World” for Helen Reddy.

Williams is perhaps best known for his movie songs and soundtracks. He earned Academy Award nominations for his musical contributions to Cinderella Liberty, Phantom of the Paradise, Bugsy Malone, and The Muppet Movie, which included the now-classic “Rainbow Connection.” Additionally, he and co-writer Barbra Streisand won an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe for “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born).”

A versatile writer, Williams has found successes ranging from penning the lyrics to the theme song from The Love Boat TV series, to landing a country hit with Diamond Rio’s Top 5 single “You’re Gone,” to collaborating with Daft Punk, who enlisted Paul for Random Access Memories, earning him a Grammy for Album of the Year. His songs have additionally been recorded by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, REM, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Sarah Vaughn, Curtis Mayfield, Gwen Stefani, Diana Krall, the Dixie Chicks, and others.

An actor and pop culture icon, Williams has appeared in the films Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Phantom of the Paradise, Bugsy Malone, the Smokey and the Bandit series, The Rules of Attraction, Baby Driver, and TV shows such as Hawaii Five-O, The Muppet Show, Fantasy Island, Star Trek: Voyager, and Goliath. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and has been part of virtually every facet of the entertainment industry. Since 2009 Paul has served as President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP, a performing rights organization that advocates for songwriters and collects royalty payments on their behalf.

Songcraft's Paul Williams Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of Paul's songs sung by other artists, followed by cuts from his own albums as an artist. 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.