Tony Macaulay

The Writers Room: Episode 01 Tony Macaulay

Tony Macaulay is a songwriter and music producer who, in 1967, went from nowhere to number one in the U.K. with a song he co-wrote and produced called, “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You.” He followed that success with a long string of pop releases which included 12 number ones in the U.K. and U.S., plus 38 top 20 U.K. tracks.  Despite penning under different credit combinations, you'll still hear a unique Tony Macaulay sound.  Mr. Macaulay identifies his early sound as a mix of Motown & Bacharach.  His music has been recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Gladys Knight to Tom Jones.  Many of his songs were recorded by several artists.  Here are some of my favorite versions, along with some commentary and light analysis:

  Song Title Artist Songwriter Producer Comments
Build Me Up, Buttercup

(1968)

The Foundations Mike d'Abo
Tony Macaulay
Tony Macaulay The title of this ultimate feel-good song was originally intended only as a place-holder. That's (co-writers) Mike d'Abo on piano & Tony Macaulay on organ.  The bass walks upward in the chorus and downward in the verse.  (Watch for more bass walk-downs in Macaulay songs.)  Interestingly, the key change is employed immediately before the fade-out.
(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All

(1972)

The 5th Dimension Tony Macaulay Bones Howe The Carpenters turned down this song due to the drug (sleeping pill) reference.  The breathy "no, no_" is tailor-made for Karen & Richard.  Luckily, Marilyn McCoo made this soft pop standard all her own.  Note the Bacharach influences in the orchestration and the time signature change at "I didn't get to sleep, didn't get to sleep, no I didn't get to sleep at all."
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

(1970)

Edison Lighthouse Tony Macaulay
Barry Mason
Tony Macaulay. An experiment in 8 bars.  The verse and chorus are intentionally only 4 bars each.  This allows the melody to be absorbed in a condensed amount of listening time.  If you enjoy the classic Edison Lighthouse recording, you should definitely check out Freedy Johnston's 2001 version.
Smile A Little Smile For Me

(1969)

The Flying Machine Geoff Stephens
Tony Macaulay
Tony Macaulay A pre-chorus build (i.e. "so darling dry your eyes...:") is a Macaulay trademark.  The "Oh, come on..." chorus lead-in is reminiscent of the "Believe me..." in Sorry Suzanne."  "I know that he hurt you bad / I know, Darling, don't be sad" functions like a 4-bar bridge, but it's really part of the larger refrain, starting and ending with the song title.  In my songwriting courses, I call this a "Title Sandwich." 
Don't Give Up On Us

(1976)

David Soul Tony Macaulay Tony Macaulay. Hutch sings!  There's some nice tension in the bridge when the IV/V chord modulates up a half step, teasing a key change but ultimately holding back.  The payoff comes later, during a half-step key change, from A to Bb.  The vocal starts on F# (on "don't") up a minor 7th to E (on "give") and then down to D (on "up").  Try it on a keyboard to fully appreciate it.
Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again

(1971)

The Fortunes Tony Macaulay
Roger Cook
Roger Greenaway
Roger Cook Shades of The Four Seasons.  You can hear a little bit of Frankie Valli vocal styling at "It always seems to be a Monday / Leftover memories of Sunday..."  The chorus is circular, meaning by the time you get to the end, you're back to singing the beginning, which makes it stick in your head.
Baby, Now That I've Found You

(1967)

The Foundations Tony Macaulay
John Macleod
Tony Macaulay. Motown bass lines, a horn section, a soulful vocal and a melody that won't quit.  What else could anyone possibly need?  Despite the lead singer sitting it out on "Darlin', I just can't let you," it's a masterful hook which catapults us into the chorus.
Every Little Move She Makes

(1970)

Tony Burrows Tony Macaulay
Roger Cook
Roger Greenaway
Tony Macaulay. This B-side to Burrows' single, "I've Still Got My Heart, Jo," was also co-written by Macaulay.  A strong melody, a dramatic string arrangement, a monster bass guitar performance, a nice key change and an interesting scheme choice.  After a short intro, the 8-bar refrain establishes itself *3* times before yielding to the only other section, the bridge, which ends by announcing the next chorus with a group shout: "HEY!"
In Those Bad, Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)

(1969)

The Foundations Tony Macaulay
John Macleod
Tony Macaulay You can really hear the Temptations / Motown influence here in the vocals, chord changes and orchestration.  Another nice pre-chorus build-up and Title Sandwich chorus.
Blame It On the Pony Express

(1970)

Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon Tony Macaulay
Roger Cook
Roger Greenaway
Roger Greenaway
Tony Macaulay.
"Johnny Johnson had that 'instant party' in his voice."  Macaulay & Greenaway's soulful treatment adds a layer of authenticity that other versions of the song miss.  For example, listen to what '70s teen idol Bobby Sherman and his production team did with their recording.  Sherman's backing track sounds like it could have been recorded for The Partridge Family.
Sorry Suzanne

(1969)

The Hollies Geoff Stephens
Tony Macaulay
Ron RIchards Several nice touches here: The vocal harmonies, the acoustic guitar(s) employing suspended fourth chords before the verses, and the quarter-note triplets at the verse's end.  Another Macaulay hallmark is the vocal turnaround phrase, in this case: "You gotta believe me."
Any Old Time You're Lonely and Sad

(1968)

The Foundations Tony Macaulay
John MacLeod
Tony Macaulay Four different chords over the same bass note in the intro create anticipation for the verse.  The sustained vocal note at "love slip a-way__," is an ingenious way to create a modulated, 2-chord transition from the pre-chorus to the chorus.  Gilbert O'Sullivan could easily have written the chorus. Picture him singing the big, upward interval jumps in the middle of words ("feel-IN' down" and "be a-ROUND").
Baby Make It Soon

(1969)

The Marmalade Tony Macaulay Mike Smith Macaulay's songs tend to have strong build-ups in the pre-chorus and this one is no exception.  When the chorus hits, there's no doubt about it.  Another nice vocal turnaround phrase: "Lord, [I know I need you] / [I've got to see you]."
(It's Like A) Sad Old Kinda' Movie

(1970)

Pickettywitch Tony Macaulay
John MacLeod
John MacLeod Singer Polly Brown could convincingly intone any Dionne Warwick inflection. 

A Warwick-style delivery contributes to Macaulay's Bacharach connection.

And this chorus?  Perfection.

That Same Old Feeling

(1970)

Pickettywitch Tony Macaulay
John MacLeod
John MacLeod Listen to the original version of this song as recorded by The Foundations.  Then listen to how the song evolved in later versions by The Fortunes and Picketywitch.  It's an illustrative lesson for re-writing and for arranging in different styles.
Back On My Feet Again

(1968)

The Foundation(s) Tony Macaulay
John Macleod
Tony Macaulay. Such a sing-able chorus. Lots of Motown influence on this record.  The "bah-dah-dah-dah" trumpet idea in this chorus (minus one "dah") would find its way into the verse backing vocal for "Build Me Up, Buttercup."
Oklahoma Sunday Morning

(1971)

Glen Campbell Tony Macaulay
Albert Hammond
Lee Hazlewood
Al DeLory This track makes a nice bookend to Campbell's recording of "True Grit."  A perfect match of singer and song, it's Glen Campbell melody, chords and imagery all the way.
Home Lovin' Man

(1970)

Andy Williams Roger Cook
Roger Greenaway
Tony Macaulay
Dick Glasser Don't try to reconcile this rough & ready, sea-faring lyric ("mizzen mast," "drunk the barrels dry") with Andy Williams' angelic tenor voice and clean-cut appearance.  Just pretend he's playing the role of a sailor in an old Hollywood movie and let the song wash over you.  After all, it "reached #7 in the UK and #10 on the adult contemporary chart," per Wikipedia.

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