Last weekend I received some sad but happy news as I learned of the passing of my friend Holly’s grandmother Mary Roberts. I of course was sad for her passing, but happy that she no longer had to deal with health issues….she lived a long full life. I met Mary for the first time a couple of years ago while we were shooting a sizzle reel for a TV show. Holly told me about how her grandmother loved music and had been writing and playing her whole life, but that she really didn’t have a chance to do much with her music. On one occasion while she was in Las Vegas she met Frank Sinatra in which she thought this song “Why Did You Say Good-bye?” would have been a great fit for him, but after being passed to his assistant she never pursued it any further. Sitting next to Mary while she played was like jumping back into the 1920’s and 30’s. It was magical…I could hear exactly how I would produce her piece. She sat and taught me the melody and we had a good laugh while she kept playing song after song for me. I was in love with my life that day. Watching her play I was amazed at how easy her old hands swept across the keyboard as if it was nothing…I couldn’t even imagine playing music like she did.
Here is a picture of Mary in her prime…I love the hair and clothes from this era. I would have loved to live during this time except for the whole women had zero rights, and racism was still very big. I probably would have gone to jail…Thankfully I was born in a time where I could waste my energy on something more productive like Mary. Mary shared with me that it was her dream to have people hear her music, and to hear it produced as most of her songs were recorded to a hand-held recorder as piano and vocal. Fast forward a year later and I was doing a special jazz concert for the Rape Crises Center in Las Vegas at the Smith Center, produced by Bart Doerfler. I told Bart I really thought it would be cool to do this song for Mary. I had heard that her health was declining, and I thought if we could just make one of her dreams come true that would be the highlight of the show for me. One person that really helped make this come to life was Joey Singer. Joey is the most talented piano player and arranger I have worked with thus far. All I had was a little mp3 of her playing this song, which I had sent to another player who said it would take him quite a bit of time and money to figure out what she was playing. Joey thankfully was able to figure out charts and what to play in no time…a true pro. I will always be grateful to him and all the other band members Bob, Dan, Johnny, Tom, Carlos, and Mike for putting this together with very little rehearsal time.
So goodbye sweet Mary, you have opened my heart a little wider…and I will always remember this moment where your song came to life….(oh and the package you sent with all the cartoon drawings you spent hours doing on the outside. I’m sure you gave the mail man a thrill as well as myself.)
So my friends…”Why Did You Say Good-bye”, written by Mary Roberts….hope you enjoy! If you feel inspired to share this story with anyone else please do…maybe more people than Mary ever realized will get to be part of her dream by your sharing.
“Why Did You Say Good-bye” lyrics
Why did you say good-bye?
I often wonder why…
What did I say, is there a way?
Have you an alibi?
Was there a someone new?
Someone who stepped right through…
My one romance, is there a chance, to prove my love to you?
I keep saying to myself, you shouldn’t feel bad
Love is just like a game.
Although I’m praying and pretending I am glad,
My heart aches just the same
Why did you say good-bye
I often wonder why…I love you so
Want you to know…why did you say good-bye?