Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paul Williams: Still Alive... and Thriving

If you grew up in the 70s, there's no way you don't remember Paul Williams. Sure, the name alone may not immediately bring up the face these days, but if someone says "You know, Paul Williams! Short, pudgy, funny, brilliant songwriter, who wore big sunglasses, had scraggly, long blonde hair and appeared on just about every tv show, talk show, variety show and game show in the seventies?!?" They go "Oh yeah! Of course! Paul Williams!!!" He was everywhere back then, even cracking up the legendary Johnny Carson on a regular basis. And that's got to be pretty hard to do. When he wasn't entertaining us in front of the camera, he was busy writing some of the most heartfelt songs of the last few decades. "The Rainbow Connection" most famously sung by that adorable and charming frog named Kermit is one of my all-time favorites and that's not ONLY because I like to sing it in my best Kermie voice. But what about classics like "You and Me Against the World" by Helen Reddy, "Evergreen" by Barbra Streisand and "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters? This guy had it all... and then it all came crashing down. I bet you can guess what's to blame. You got it. Drugs and alcohol. The good news is Paul Williams IS alive and seems to be doing extremely well. He's been sober for 20 years, he's touring... and you can see his rise and fall and rise again in the new documentary "Paul Williams Still Alive". I saw it with my mom today and not only was it a fantastic trip down Memory Lane for us both, it was a well-told, honest and entertaining story about a man, who defied the odds, found his voice and ran with it. The movie may be hard to find right now, but I'm guessing it'll spread to some more theaters very soon, so keep watching for it.

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