George Wells, 82 years young, "and heading toward 83 as fast as I can," is still going strong. George has battled and won many serious health issues and has not missed a beat. Just goes to show, there is a lot to be said for, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22 KJV
Drop into the Coffee Tree Books and Brew, in Huntsville, Alabama, any Wednesday night and you'll see George Wells sitting in his favorite spot for the Songwriters Open Mic. George is always there with a welcoming smile and willing to help and advise aspiring songwriters. George is also frequently present at Saturday night Open Mic and most Friday night Showcases. In addition to supporting songwriters he is always on the lookout for worthy causes that he brings to the attention of the Coffee Tree and helps organize benefits. George Wells is a friend to many and a friend to have in your corner. Read what he has to say about himself. We love you, George!
In his own words!
I grew up without any musical skills what so ever. I dropped out of drum lessons after less than a half dozens lessons. I was so musically challenged I could not play on the linoleum. I thought a key was something that opened a door.
Then, as a traveling auditor for GMAC, I was spending a lot of time at the airport. I was making about 85 flights a year. As you know, that provides a lot of extra time at the airport. That's when I decided to try my hand at songwriting. What better way to use up the spare time? I purchased song books containing lyrics to use as a guide. Also used a poetry book to help. And just kept writing, seeking help of other writers and researching to get started. Some of those who helped me were Joe Royster (He wrote a lot of Gary Bonds songs.) and Buddy Starcher who had a TV show in Charleston, West Virginia. We wrote a few songs together. In Arlington, Virginia, I met up with a person who had written a lot of rock songs ... I don't recall his name, but he invited me to the studio.
Too much travel led me to Huntsville, Alabama where I met up with Billy Stone. He did everything in gospel music. He was a promoter, songwriter, sang in a quartet and was a DJ at WBHP, WSLV and WRAB. We wrote more than 50 songs together. Billy was off on Monday so we usually spent the day in Nashville, knocking on publishers doors. We had some success with April Blackwood Music, Window Music and others. All told, we got about 25 songs published. That gave us an opportunity to be in the studio with many people who are now in the hall of fame. This includes: DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, Billy Ray Reynolds, Charlie McCoy, Pig Robbins and Pete Drake. And, probably about 25 others of the same class.
A lot of people ask how many songs have I written in my 51 years of song writing. All I can do is guess: 3,000 lyrics. Remember how many changes I have been through in the recording industry. Eight tracks, reel-to-reel, cassette, 45 rpm, 33 rpm and CDs. I would need a separate room for all the equipment needed to play all the formats of all my songs!
Never had a big song. "Greenie, The Christmas Tree," by Roberta Lee, got a lot of airplay. So did "That Jesus Loves Me Feeling" recorded by the Kingsmen. Perhaps my biggest thrill happened in Portsmouth, VA in 1970, when all my family came together in a theater to see the movie "From Nashville With Music." Billy and I had a song near the end of the movie. John Bradford sang, "Turn The Record Over." The Jordanaires did the back up vocals. Some other projects include: Charlie Walker, The Regents, Neil Bonnett, Orval Profitt and Roberta Lee. I am also very thankful to have worked on other projects as well. Most of all, my real thrill was meeting the people that sang or played on my sessions.
Bright Future for George
My most exciting opportunity came when Patsy Trigg, (Gold and Platinum Record for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer") agreed to co-write with me in early 2012.
We came up with a novelty Christmas song entitled, "It's A MerryChristmas When Pigs Fly."
We have a song, an eBook, a YouTube Video and an audio book by that title. We think 2013 will be a good year for the song as we have two license agreements out. One with Dan Dee International for 17 toys and one with Leanin' Tree Card Company to make a Christmas Card using the front cover of our eBook. Patsy has a lot of experience, works hard, and anyone who can sell more than 15 million copies of a Christmas song, has a lot of ability. It is a pleasure to work with Patsy.
George's Advice For Aspiring Songwriters
Despite missing the big hit, I have stayed with music for a long, long time. Disappoints came, things went wrong but I keep waiting for the "big one". To the young writers my advice is to stay in the craft. A failure is a good teacher. A rejection is the motivator. If you love songwriting stay with and keep trying. If you lose interest, try golf. Songwriting is like a good woman, treat her like you should and she'll stay. One final suggestion. Keep records of names, dates, where you played and all things related. When you reach my age you will have an awful lot of info that would have leaked out of the mind long ago. It is not always how long the journey is, but how much you enjoyed the journey. Here is a small prayer that I use, "The pencil is mine. The paper is too. But words I need dear Jesus must come from you."
Thanks so much for the opportunity to take you for a walk down my memory lane. Above all, don't mind asking me for advice. God keeps old folks around to help others.
June 13, 2013