THE LEFSETZ LETTER: It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference

You just did not love me enough to believe me
Enough not to leave me
Enough not to look for a reason to be unhappy with me
And make me regret ever wanting you
But those days are through

Steve Leeds called me to speak at this class he’s teaching at

William Paterson University. And when we were through

discussing the logistics and the ins and outs of satellite

radio, he asked me what I was listening to.

I hate this question. It feels like a test. Like I’ll be

judged on what I come up with. But then Steve talked about

not knowing all the records he comes across in the store

anymore. I felt a certain kinship. And that’s when Steve

volunteered he loved listening to "Raising Sand", and that

he’d gotten into Alison Krauss at this late date. And I

asked him…HAVE YOU HEARD HER COVER OF "BABY, NOW THAT I’VE

FOUND YOU"? You know, the old Foundations song?


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

I loaded iTunes and played it over

the speakers. And as Steve was flattened, I looked at the

other Alison Krauss tracks in my library. Her cover of

Little Feat’s "Oh Atlanta", the great original from the

"Twister" soundtrack, "Moments Like This", and…"It Wouldn’t

Have Made Any Difference".

Was Steve a Todd Rundgren fan?

I heard that sigh, that sound of recognition that a lansman

feels when coming across a member of the tribe in the middle

of the desert. I fired up the track.

Do you remember the last time I said
If I ever thought about lying
I’d rather think of dying instead

How many versions of Todd’s debut on Ampex were there? For a

while, they were ubiquitous in cut-out bins. Then they

disappeared. As for the follow-up, what I consider to be

Todd’s magnum opus, "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren", that was

even harder to find for a while. But then came

"Something/Anything?"

At this late date, "I Saw The Light" is

remembered as a hit. But it wasn’t. Eventually, "Hello It’s

Me" was. But it was bittersweet for those that remembered

the silky original on the very first Nazz album. But between

and around those two famous tracks are gems. Listening is

like finding diamonds in the middle of Iowa. How did all

this great music find its way on to a two disc set on tiny

Bearsville Records?

Which disc do you play? The first or the second?

The second’s got the heavy metal ballad "Black Maria" that

blows everything Bon Jovi has ever done off the map, even

though it was recorded when Mr. New Jersey was barely out of

diapers. And the can only be done in America "Dust In The

Wind"… Inhabiting a no-man’s land between rock and schmaltz,

one that sounds bad on paper but makes you want to stand up

and sing along when you hear it.

And the second record has even got the comedy classic "Piss

Aaron", and the groupie lament, "You Really Left Me Sore".

Still, at this late date, I love the first disc more. For

its sweetness, for its intimacy, for its charm. Sure, it

begins with the offhand hit that Todd used to be able to

write at will, the aforementioned "I Saw The Light", but how

about the love song to Marlene? He was in love with her,

even though she was only seventeen. And "The Night The

Carousel Burnt Down", which seemed to be the soundtrack to a

date Todd had gone on with this girlfriend. It was a story.

Not about melisma, not about playing to the last row of the

house, but a private moment cut in his home studio, alone,

now shared with his soon to be adoring public. Then there’s

"It Takes Two To Tango (This Is For the Girls)", which turns

a cliche into an infectious lighter than air confection.

But sandwiched between "I Saw The Light" and Todd’s paean to

Wolfman Jack, before the deejay became ubiquitous, is "It

Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference".

And maybe you remember the last time you called me
To say we were through
How it took a million tears
Just to prove they all were for you
But those days are through

I’m not sure whether it was the movie

"Wall Street", or the rap explosion, but suddenly our country

went all macho. A strange turn of events after the

seventies, when men were encouraged to get in touch with

their feminine side.

Today’s stars seem to be proud about stepping out. Brad Pitt

has seemed to survive two-timing Jennifer Aniston and

ultimately marrying Angelina Jolie. Trading up seems to be

legal. Who’s left behind…that’s just the cost of working

your way up the food chain, the ladder to the top. Just ask

all those men Madonna left in her wake.

But how about the guy who’s devoted? Who wouldn’t step out,

who wouldn’t leave? Who has moral character, who’s not a

wimp, but is TRUSTWORTHY!

Well, certain women can’t trust any guy. Maybe their father

abandoned the family. Maybe they were abused by a high

school boyfriend. But this certain type of female is always

questioning, always sniffing the ground, to see if you’ve

been faithful.

That’s what "It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference" is about.

The devoted guy. Who just can’t prove his love to his

skittish girlfriend. He wants to hold on tight, but she’s

always wiggling from his grasp, to avoid being hurt. They

say there are no good guys out there? I’d suggest you check

your criteria. You’re looking for a bad boy with choir boy

traits, an oxymoron. Someone who’s not dashing and

dangerous, who you can count on…is that enough? Not for so

many.

What is enough? What really counts? Is it looks? Or

companionship? Or trust.

Trust is number one. You’ve got no relationship if the other

person is not there. Commitment reigns supreme. And it’s

dependent upon the underlying trust. And if it’s not mutual,

there’s disgust.

Alison Krauss does not rearrange the song. But she turns it

into a dreamy lullaby, albeit with a black underbelly.

There’s mood, but the underlying emotion, the underlying

anger, is gone. It’s a performance, not her song.

But it’s Todd’s song. And his story. And he’s PISSED! And

although he possesses an inferior voice to the Nashville

angel, his take triumphs, because of its raw, naked emotion.

But both versions kill. And they’re both put over the top by

this one change, deep in the song. When the key drops and

truth is revealed. Alison underplays. She goes intimate.

She makes you think. Whereas Todd gets intense, he becomes

INDIGNANT!

Those days are through. He’s finished.

He gave her everything, but it wasn’t enough.

They say certain people just can’t be pleased. That’s the

woman in this song. She believes in a fantasy world, with

angels and fairies, with film star boyfriends who are so

devoted and truthful that they never go to work, but stay

constantly by her side.

In order to survive, in order to be happy, you’ve got to let

go. You’ve got to have faith. Sure, you must make

judgments, informed ones. But after you’ve made your

decision, you’ve got to cease micro-managing. That’s when

your partner flowers. As does your relationship.

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