Be Thankful Like Carole Bayer Sager

Modern country stars aren’t the only ones who can write inspirational music. Carole Bayer was born and raised in New York City. Even before high school graduation from the New York City High School of Music and Art, she had written her first pop hit, “A Groovy Kind of Love”. She recorded three albums as a singer between 1977 and 1981. But her main focus has been writing. Her pop standards have been recorded by the Beach Boys, Bette Midler, Helen Reddy, Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers, Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Rod Stewart, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and many others. She won an Academy Award for best song (“Arthur’s Theme” from Arthur), a Grammy Award for song of the year “(“That’s What Friends Are For”), two Golden Globe Awards, a Tony Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the New York University Alumni Association. During all this time working with the stars, she married record producer Andrew Sager in 1970, a pairing that ended in divorce in 1978. She later married Burt Bacharach with whom she wrote many of her songs in the 1980s. Today she is living in Los Angeles and married to Robert Daly, former chair of Warner Brothers and current chair of the American Film Institute.

She often collaborated with others It appears the most inspirational collaborations are with David Foster. “Thankful” was released on Josh Groban’s Christmas album, Noel, in 2007. Though it is on a Christmas album, it is a fitting song for Thanksgiving, with the key lines being, “And even though this world needs so much more, there’s so much to be thankful for.” It is a call for us to work to make the world better while keeping in mind the need for gratitude. I have heard “The Prayer”, also co-written with David Foster, sung as a duet by Jackie Evancho and Susan Boyle, by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine McPhee, and by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church, but it could easily be sung by any sized group. In fact, Anthony Callea, the runner up of the 2004 season of Australian Idol performed “The Prayer” to such acclaim that it became his debut single hitting number one on Australia’s charts. That single has the record for highest and fastest selling single in Australia. “The Prayer” was originally written for an animated musical fantasy film, Quest for Camelot, in 1998. The film flopped, but the song lives on. Unlike “Thankful”, this song actually refers to God. It seeks guidance through grace and faith. “The Prayer” won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song from a motion picture in 1998. I truly appreciate that there are pop singers and writers willing to express the spiritual dimension that all people possess and too many in the pop culture are reluctant to show. I’m also happy that such efforts have been recognized by others in that culture.

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