Barry Manilow enjoyed a Billboard #1 with this song, back in 1976. The irony is the song is about the narrator moving the world with his songs, when the performer didn’t write this one. Beach Boy Bruce Johnston did.
Many a politician is credited with delivering a passionate, fiery, candid, eloquent, literary (and so on) speech. Yet most did not write those words either. Politicians have staff to write what comes out of their mouths. We then might ask of our elected representatives, how much do they really know? And are they really that charismatic? We sometimes see bumbling when they go “off script.”
The most well-known speech writer of contemporary times may be Peggy Noonan, who wrote for President Ronald Reagan. Later, a Canadian speechwriter came up with the “axis of evil” soundbite for President George W. Bush, but couldn’t stay in the shadow that is the office of the ghostwriter. When David Frum, hubris afflicted, revealed the words were his own, he lost his job. In the same way, actors forget they are being fed lines; politicians can make believe the messages from the teleprompter they are reading are their own work. In academia, that’s plagiarism. In politics, it’s part of the game.
Perhaps the last laugh goes to the Beach Boy, who has claimed the person writing the songs is not a person at all, but God! That sure trumps the audacity of Manilow’s cover, the egos of politicians and the conceit of Frum and other speechwriters with big mouths. Ha!