A song called "The In Crowd" climbed to the top of the charts back in 1965. Dobie Gray sang it, as well as many other hits, including "Drift Away". Dobie Gray went on to write a book, a screenplay and more music. We caught up with Dobie Gray in Nashville.
Q - When you recorded "Drift Away", did you have any idea it would become the classic it has become?
A - Yeah, we did. I worked with Merrill Williams on that song. We just had a feeling about it as we were coming out of the studio. First of all, we thought it was gonna be a hit song, and then we hoped it would be a classic.
Q - How difficult is it to get top-flight songwriters to present you with a song before they'll present it to someone else?
A - Well, not too difficult really. For me it's a little different because I write a lot. I don't record a lot of the things I write. They're recorded by other artists. For the most part I am writing all of the stuff I am recording now.
Q - What do you mean when you say, "I will always choose a song that has something to say."
A - When I say I won't record a song that doesn't have something to say, it doesn't necessarily mean a philosophical message or dissention. It could be love. Most of my things are love songs. That's what I mean, something to say about love mostly. It doesn't mean something like a Dylan-type message.
Q - You re-recorded "The In Crowd" a few years back, a disco version. The original still sounds best to me.
A -You really can't outdo the original. Like the song says, "The original is still the greatest." You know that lyric is in "The In Crowd" and it's true, no matter how you go back and re-do it.
Q - Do you play the Vegas circuit?
A - I have a few of those gigs yearly, Harrah's in Lake Tahoe, the Golden Nugget in Vegas, the Fairmount Hotel in San Francisco and New Orleans. They're prestige gigs and great paying gigs. You kind of like to get all dressed up and do that thing.
Q - What British groups did you meet or work with during the British Invasion of Music in '65?
A - I met all of the Beatles more than once. I met them once at The Whisky A Go Go when I was working there with Johnny Rivers. I did work with Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hullabaloos, Herman's Hermits, and The Dave Clark Five. I worked with The Rolling Stones on a TV show in London in '78. They did the show along with me, The Pointer Sisters, Phoebe Snow and a bunch of other English people. Kiki Dee is a good friend of mine.
Q - Did you get any insight into The Beatles' personalities when you met them?
A - Well, you know that kind of a thing is hard to get into, any kind of depth with another artist when you're meeting them in the presence of other people. The Beatles were never for a moment alone anywhere. On the surface they all seemed like pretty regular guys to me, a bit different because they were British. In those days we didn't have quite as much British influence as we do now.