The best song to play is always a hard one. The hardest is playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” because it’s an amazing song. You have to play it three, four, five times to get a good feel for it. You try your best – whatever you play, the best tune is always the one you are able to get your mind to work in two to three different directions. In some cases that may be the song’s melody. It may be the lyric. That will often be the best thing.
Is “The Star-Spangled Banner” a song about the US?
No, I’m not sure where it came from. It’s just one of the many songs I’d love to read a line-by-line translation of. There are lines I do know, too – like, who invented the telephone on American soil and who invented a world of drugs here. It’s pretty much the stuff that’s in books.
What’s your view of politics outside the US?
Everything is great. It was so easy to say that in the early 90s but it really isn’t true. I’m not sure if I’d say “everything” is great, but I think everything is pretty alright. It’s not that people are stupid, it’s that it’s almost always about the same things. A lot of people in Britain know that, but then the British people have their own particular values, so those values are different.
Who does you think has been most successful in the US?
I think the people in the “The Beatles” album are the most successful people out there. I know that’s only half true … I’m sure there are some that they’re more successful than me, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a genius. I mean, if we were to take two people in the Beatles’ generation… I’d say George Harrison and John Lennon. He’s more successful than me, and I think that George would be most interested to try to do a “Songs In The Key of Life” on a modern musical instrument, as he can write a lot of them. John’s a bit more of a rock composer.
Your song “Miles To Go” has been covered many times, and you have some of the most famous singers: Bono, Bon Jovi, John Lennon and Pharrell Williams…
I got a note from one of them two or three months ago saying, “You
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