Filed Under:

What Philip Glass And Tommy Tutone Have In Common

Play associated audio

As a member of the band Tommy Tutone, Jim Keller co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the 1980s: the anthemic "867-5309/Jenny." But his resume also includes another end of the musical spectrum: Keller also manages composer Philip Glass. Somewhere in between, there's his current individual career. The musician has just released his third solo album, Heaven Can Wait.

"The songwriting — as with almost everything — there has to be some spot, lyrically and emotionally, in the song that I can connect with," he says. "Otherwise it's impossible, really, to sing it and mean it. So there's pieces of my wife drifting in and out of all of these songs."

Keller says this album came out of a series of weekly jam sessions held in the back of a quilting factory. The first song on the album, "Cali Girl," was even recorded with that kind of spontaneity.

"You don't hear me, because we've edited it, but I actually shout out what chords we're going to go to when we go to the chorus and so forth," Keller says. "That was basically one take, with no one knowing the song and me cutting it live. So it has this really special quality for me because of that."

In an interview with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, Keller discusses Heaven Can Wait, working with the famous minimalist composer and — yes — the legacy of "Jenny."

"Fortunately, I like the song," he says. "I've always said that it was a blessing, because what if I couldn't stand it? It would be haunting."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Cult Survivor Documents 2 Decades Inside 'Holy Hell'

Will Allen directed the documentary Holy Hell, which depicts his experience as a videographer and member of The Buddhafield cult. Allen used his own footage, as well as his interviews with other former members, to make this documentary.
NPR

Evaporated Cane Juice? Puh-leeze. Just Call It Sugar, FDA Says

Companies cultivating a healthful image often list "evaporated cane juice" in their products' ingredients. But the FDA says it's really just sugar, and that's what food labels should call it.
NPR

GOP Congressman Defends House Zika Funding Package

NPR's Audie Cornish talks with Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma about why the House funding package is enough for now to confront the spread of the Zika virus in the U.S.
NPR

After Departure Of Uber, Lyft In Austin, New Companies Enter The Void

Earlier this month, voters in Austin, Texas, rejected an effort to overturn the city's rules for ride-hailing companies. Uber and Lyft tried to prevent fingerprinting of their drivers, and now both have left town. A few other ride-share companies have popped up to help fill the void. NPR explores how people are getting around town without Uber and Lyft.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.