My short bio: I am an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame songwriter and President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP. I have written songs that have been recorded by such diverse musical icons such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, David Bowie, REM, The Scissor Sisters, and yes, even Kermit The Frog. I'm grateful to all the wonderful artists especially Karen Carpenter, Three Dog Night and Everyone associated with Jim Henson. Ask me anything about music, acting, or my work on the Muppets Movie Soundtrack!

My Proof:

Comments: 100 • Responses: 17  • Date: 

DuncanGilbert14 karma

Do you think Daft Punk help put you back in the spotlight?

Are they as mysterious in real life as they are in the public spotlight?

What would you say is the proudest moment of your career?

Thanks for the great music!

IMPaulWilliams40 karma

Yes, of course they garnered some new found attention for the old songwriter. Very pleased. My proudest moment is more of a gift than an achievement. This year I celebrated 23 years sobriety. I'm a recovering alcoholic and addict. My partner Tracey JAckson and I are writing a book for Penquin that will be published in Oct 2014 called "Gratitude and Trust, Recovery is Not Just For Addicts. It feels like one of the most important opportunities of my life. The attention I've received from my associations with Daft Punk, Disney, Henson and Co and as President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP are all contributing to the best years of my life. I'm very grateful.

TheMenk12 karma

How's it feel knowing you wrote the most iconic Muppet song ever? (which I am a huge fan of btw)

IMPaulWilliams15 karma

Thanks. Kenny Ascher and I wrote "The Rainbow Connection" .. Hope that's the one you're talking about. If you were thinking "It's not easy being green" that's the amazing Joe Riposo

TheMenk6 karma

Yes, "The Rainbow Connection." Did you have any idea it would be so popular?

IMPaulWilliams17 karma

No. I'm stunned by the response to the song. But, it feels like a real nod to Jim's genius. Kermit is Every Frog .. He's the Jimmy Stewart of Frogs (If you ever saw "It's a Wonderful Life" you'll get that reference. The song works because it's got Jim's heart in it I think. I hope.

IamTheBrainwasherAMA11 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA. I loved your work on RAM. Did you ever listen to daft punk before the collaboration, And what is the story behind touch.

IMPaulWilliams15 karma

Saw them on the Grammy's and was very impressed.

LostSkeleton736 karma

My girlfriend is a huge fan, so it's only fitting that I get to ask this question for her: Did you ever think that Phantom of the Paradise would have the cult following and impact it has rightfully earned over the years? We both feel that it's commentary of the music business is still as valid today as it was when the movie originally came out.

IMPaulWilliams12 karma

POTP was a well kept secret when it came out. I'm thrilled to say that these days many of the people I'm working with I have relationships with because of that film. Daft Punk, Guillermo Del Toro, some talented folk that enjoyed Phantom. The commentary on the music business was more Brian DePalma's than mine. I was well treated by the muzoids I did business with.

spacecowboy0076 karma

I believe Karen Carpenter sang some songs you wrote. Any comments on her talent? Did you write some specifically for her? And if you you were composing it were you imagining how she would sing it?

IMPaulWilliams10 karma

The longer I'm alive the more I respect her and miss her. There was a unique combination of authenticity, sweet sincerity and sensuality in her voice and presence. She sang a bunch of my songs . most written with Roger Nichols. Very grateful to her and to Richard.

jungalero1115 karma

Hi Paul - when writing your songs, were you ever directly inspired by outside musical influences/artists at the time or primarily from your own experiences?

IMPaulWilliams9 karma

I think I've been inspired by everyone from the Gershwin classics, and the great American songbook to Leonard Cohen, The original Delaney and Bonnie and friends .. The Beatles .. Leon Russel .. all the Leons!!! ANd great movies .. But, the individual songs were written for the films or projects I was asked to work on and the influence was the script. The song songs came out of my own experiences..

jungalero1113 karma

You can tell there's a lot of yourself in the songs, which is truly what makes them so emotionally powerful and resonant to your fans all these years later. Thanks for the response and for all the great music. Cheers.

IMPaulWilliams2 karma

my pleasure .. thankful for the open hearts that hear and appreciate what we do ...

StonewallHere4 karma

Twenty-two years of recovery is to be commended. Much respect, Mr. Williams. If I'm not getting too personal, what was your bottom, what brought about your 'epiphany moment' (I'm assuming) and what has kept you on track since?

IMPaulWilliams8 karma

I called a dr in a blackout 23 years ago .. when he called the next day I didn't remember calling him. It was as if some unseen angel used my body to make the call. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I stayed sober thanks to the outstretched hands of other alcoholics willing to help. They were there for me. They are there today for anyone who needs help.

beansiej4 karma

Since you have such a diverse musical catalog to your name, if you could only choose one song of yours to remain in existence, what would you choose and why?

IMPaulWilliams11 karma

tough question. the philosophy I try to live by is probably best expressed in the last song from Bugsy Malone. You Give a little love and it all comes back to you! ..

StonewallHere4 karma

Hello, Mr. Williams. Thank you so much for doing this. My question is: What is your fondest memory of filming "Smokey and the Bandit"?

IMPaulWilliams4 karma

Ah, Little Enos Burdette. Best line about Smokey is Billy Bob Thornton's .. In the south they consider Smokey and the Bandit a documentary. Loved being around Gleason. And of course Pat McCormick who was a life long friend.

Noooodle3 karma

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

IMPaulWilliams11 karma

ah .. I think we all have to answer that for ourselves. for me it's because the question of .. make that the possibility of real magic in this world deserves examination on a regular basis. The questions .. 'who said that every wish would be heard and answered ... ' are holier than the answers.

ThisRiverisWild2 karma

What was Jim Henson like, and what was it like working with the Muppets in general?

IMPaulWilliams7 karma

Sorry for the late sign on .. problems solved. Jim was the easiest, nicest and most inventive genius I ever worked with. Brilliant and fun.

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IMPaulWilliams1 karma

I'm going to go back there someday .. and probably 'rainbow connection' there's alove song called 'love dance' I like very much

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IMPaulWilliams0 karma

I've enjoyed this and appreciate your interest. My twitter feed is @IMPaulWilliams and I try to respond to most tweets. www.GratitudeAndTrust.comi is the website for the book and recovery work. @GratitiudeTrust the twitter feed for Tracey and I ...

Thanks to Disney for the terrific remastered release of the original sountrack for The Muppet Movie and of course the Blue-Ray DVD ... It's a glorious memento of the best of the best experience I ever had at the Magic Store Blessings, Paul

brooozer1 karma

Hi Paul, I grew up watching you on the tv and always enjoyed your performances. I also liked the recent documentary on you. I just recently found out that Mentor was your brother and I was wondering why he was not mentioned in the documentary (at least I don't remember). You both have so much talent. Are you still close?

IMPaulWilliams0 karma

trying to keep my brilliant brother a secret. No, he's in the doc briefly when we're playing golf .... A great songwriter in his own right. Drift Away is at the top of my 'wish I wrote' list! yes, we're brothers and good good friends.

Frajer1 karma

Was it at all surreal hearing a puppet singing a song you wrote?

IMPaulWilliams4 karma

Not really. I'm such a kid. Gonzo may be related to the brilliant Dave Goelz but they are two separate and important friends to me. A conversation with Jim Henson and Frank Oz when they had Kermit and Piggy with them was a 5 way conversation. And Piggy could be brutal!!!