I've just made my first appearance on BBC Radio 4 since 1997, when I returned to "Loose Ends" with my old chum Ned Sherrin to plug Broadway Babies Say Goodnight.
Today's once-every-two-decades appearance was for a show hosted by a lady I admire very much, the composer Debbie Wiseman. For Same Tune, Different Song, Debbie wrote a melody and gave it to two different lyricists to put words to. One was our friend Don Black, Oscar-winning writer of "Born Free" plus more Bond lyrics than anybody else - and a guest on "The Mark Steyn Christmas Show" a couple of years back. The other was Gary Osborne, whose English lyric for "Amoureuse" I've always been fond of, as well as his song with dear old Elton, "Blue Eyes".
I pop up while Don and Gary are working on Debbie's tune with some more general observations on the relationship between words and music. You can hear the show here, as well as complete versions of Debbie's original composition and the two finished songs - Don's, sung by the great Mica Paris; and Gary's, sung by Mr and Mrs Osborne. I'm on the road and haven't yet had a chance to listen to the show myself, but, if it works out, I look forward to being back on Radio 4 in another 18 years.
~As I think I said somewhere on the show, words can change a tune - emphasizing and enhancing elements of it. That's one reason why I decided to sing the French lyric to "The Way You Look Tonight" on my own recent CD: the rhymes fall in slightly different places, and give the melody a subtly different character.
~As to why this is my first appearance on BBC radio this century, you can find the explanation toward the end of my book Mark Steyn From Head To Toe.