“This Too Shall Pass” …A New Hallmark Channel Musical Anthem?
Updated: Nov 15, 2020
"This Too Shall Pass" music video featuring "hallmark" moments from classic Hollywood films.
There have been many great musical anthems of empowerment over the years such as “Lean On Me”, “You’ve Got A Friend”, “Let It Be” and one of my favorites; “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
And then there’s the great anti-anthem “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner which was featured in Thunderdome.
With lyrics like…
So what do we do with our lives? We leave only a mark Will our story shine like a light Or end in the dark? Is it all or nothing?
… “We Don’t Need Another Hero” has a lot more questions about the sorry state of the world than answers. Kind of sounds like the way things are now.
So, when my longtime music soulmate (and Music Director of “Hereafter”) Bill Hindin came to me with the idea to write a song together that would be titled “This Too Shall Pass” I had to bite my tongue from telling him ‘we don’t need another anthem.’
I’d heard that expression (which is an old Persian adage) since I was a kid…mostly from TV shows and it always seemed to me the person that was offering this sage advice was doing great and gently patting the head of the person they were trying to cheer up who was in dire straits.
But how could I say no to Bill? This was the same guy who has been the midwife to most of my music for the past ten years. His patience at transcribing all of my songs (and then arranging them so beautifully) put me forever in his musical debt. Plus, it would be the very first song we write together which I found intriguing.
Bill is one of THE best musical directors working today. He has the gift of bringing the American songbook to life but in all the years I’ve known him, he never played me any of his music. Now I was curious to hear what he would come up with.
I usually write both music and lyrics, but I’ve had some great success writing lyrics to other people’s music (namely Joy Son.) I really enjoy the process…it’s like putting together a musical jigsaw puzzle. I also enjoy the restrictions of having to write a pre-existing melody. But there’s a catch and it’s a big one…I have to absolutely LOVE the melody that I’m writing a lyric to. If I don’t then it’s a complete waste of time. So now I was going on this musical journey with a good friend and I already was not fan of the title and I had no idea if I was going to even like the music.
I was pretty anxious when Bill’s email came in with the piano track and I put off listening to it for most of the day. When I finally did, I was blown away by what a beautiful melody he created. Now it was on me to match the very high musical bar that Bill had set. If the song was going to be criticized it would be because of the lyrics (the music was perfect). It was mine to f#@k up!
I decided that I would embrace my inner Hallmark Channel and pretend that the song was in one of their movies (with a dash of their classic greeting card sentiments.) The song could be from a mother to her daughter or a friend to friend. With that in mind, I soon found that the music was telling me the words before I could even write them down. The melody was certainly an earworm and it didn’t take too long for me to sketch it out and I have to say it is now one of my favorite lyrics.
The next step would be getting the song produced (during a pandemic no less). Bill had recorded the demo on his piano at home which sounded good but was clearly not studio quality. We needed a professionally recorded music track and a great singer…thankfully we both knew the right people.
For the music track (along with the orchestration and arrangement), Bill reached out to his good friend Steve Orich. Steve was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations in 2006 for his work on "Jersey Boys". He has written orchestrations for many shows, including "The Cher Show", "Priscilla Queen of the Desert," and "Paint Your Wagon," (just to name a few.)
I was so excited to hear what Steve would come up with (“Jersey Boys” was one of my favorite scores) and boy did he deliver. When I first heard it, I thought I was listening to the backing track from an unused Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” song. Steve had now raised the bar even higher and Bill and I both knew the perfect singer for “This Too Shall Pass” and that would be Deborah Tranelli.
Bill has known Deborah since college, and I fell in love with her voice (and her) when Bill brought her in to read for “Hereafter”. She got the part and won everyone’s hearts for her portrayal of Sypie in both of our off-Broadway runs. She’s had an incredible acting career in both television and the theater…you may remember her as Phyllis, from her recurring role as Bobby Ewing’s secretary in Dallas.
Now comes the hard part…how the hell do we record the vocals and mix this track during the pandemic. Thankfully, Steve’s full music track saved us from having to book musicians. But setting up a recording session was going be tough with Bill in Milwaukee, Deborah in New Jersey and our “go to” studio engineer, the great MP Kuo, in Manhattan.
The stars lined up and Bill and Deborah made the musical pilgrimage to MP’s home studio and magic was made. I stayed home because as the lyricist on this song my work was done, and this was really Bill’s baby to produce and he did a phenomenal job.
The song came out beautifully and now that ball was back in my court to come up with an accompanying video. These days, if you want to have your music heard, the place to be is on YouTube. Normally, I would make of video of the singer performing the song but in this case that was not an option. I had an idea to match the lyrics with “hallmark” moments from classic Hollywood movies. I wasn’t sure if there would be enough clips and I wanted to avoid being too on the nose.
It didn’t take long for me to see that I had a very special video on my hands. After watching it, you will want to see all of these films! Here’s the list of films that are featured.
The Purple Rose Of Cairo ~ Annie ~ Benji ~ Bye Bye Birdie ~ ET
Forrest Gump ~ Modern Times ~ The Best Years Of Our Lives The Wizard Of Oz ~ The Color Purple ~ The Graduate Field Of Dreams ~ Casablanca ~ Cast Away ~ Up Home Alone ~ It’s A Wonderful Life ~ Defending Your Life
I hope you enjoy this song and video as much as we had putting it all together. And remember, if it makes you sad in any way “This Too Shall Pass” :)