(L to R, Norro Wilson, Billy Sherrill and Bobby Braddock)
It’s a well known secret – this business of the music business. The late Al Gallico knew it and taught it to me. Music publisher and entrepreneur Buddy Killen knew it. In fact, all the great visionaries of the entertainment industry knew it. Norro Wilson knows it, too.
I’m proud to call the legendary songwriter, music publisher and hit record producer, Norro Wilson my friend, but more than that I’m glad to call him a teacher. Along with Al Gallico, he taught me the business of the music business; building and maintaining my network, the one song trick, and knowing when to speak and when to shut up.
Norro worked for Al as a songplugger back in the day. Years later, when Al hired me as a songplugger he introduced me to Norro. Of course I knew who Norro was and even knew the address of his office, but I couldn’t get an appointment to save my life. I mentioned this to Al one day on the phone and he said, “Hey kid, I’ll get you an appointment,” and he hung up.
The One Song Trick
Less than three minutes later he called back, “Hey, kid, go see Norro this afternoon. Pick one song you want him to hear. One song. No more. Once he listens, thank him stand up and get the hell out!”
At Norro’s office I was ushered in with my one song. Norro looked up from his desk and said, “Have a seat. Nice to meet you.” Then he broke out that ear to ear smile and let those bright, mischievous eyes make contact with mine.
Shut Up And Listen
Norro asked, “Whatcha got?” I handed him the cassette (yes, it was that long ago). He dropped it in the deck, hit play and as the intro started, I began to tell him about the writers of the song. He hit pause, looked me in the eye and asked, “Ya wanna talk or do you want me to hear the song?” I froze. Then he smiled and said, “Let me listen. Plenty of time to tell me that stuff later.”
He played the song and politely passed by saying, “Just not for me right now.” I stood, shook his hand, thanked him and left.
To this day, I think of Al when someone is kind enough to introduce me to someone else and help me build my network. And the one song trick is one of my best songplugging secrets. And I thank Norro for teaching me to shut up and listen.
Just FYI, the song I pitched Norro I also pitched later and it was recorded by Bryan White, but never released. But that’s another story.
I learned the business of the music business from some of the greats. If I can help you with these things I’ve learned, reach out and let’s make a plan.
And, oh yeah #TakeTheTwenty