World Goes Round

World Goes Round are a super group of hit songwriters and musicians – Frank Musker, Elizabeth Lamers, Jeff Hull and Marty Walsh. Collectively, they have penned hits for Queen, Supertramp, Chaka Khan, Ronan Keating and many more.

Their new album ‘World Goes Round’ is a hidden treasure of 10 unearthed recordings from their classic 80’s period.

GIGsoup was honoured to catch up with Frank Musker from the band.

How are you today?

Well! I’m in Greece! It’s lovely and peaceful.

How was Lockdown for you?

It was a period of reflection, but, we also made our album! It’s quite nice to have it done. We had the opportunity to just finish a project which we started 30 years ago. That in itself was kind of a dream come true – we never expected that to happen.

Lockdown played into our hands because the reason why the album fell apart in the first place is that everybody was so busy working, so busy. This album gave us a focal point during Lockdown. For me personally and for the band, it was an incredibly creative and happy time.

What’s really nice about it is that what started off as a sort of 1989 nostalgia fest has now turned into ‘World Goes Around’ In 2020 somehow it seems to have acquired more relevance, more urgency now. 

Tell us the story behind ‘Put It On The Line’

Believe it or not, it was the first song Marty and I ever wrote together. It was written for Michael McDonald. Marty had been working with Michael McDonald. And I remember the lyric was more or less about what I was watching on television. This goes back to 1986/87.

There was this corruption thing about the money that was diverted to Nicaragua for mercenaries. It was a huge scandal in America at the time. I kept thinking these soldiers are good guys doing their duty, putting their lives at risk for their country, but, they’re being used by politicians, dictators and businessmen for their own ends.

In 2020, the song acquired a new kind of relevance because people are putting themselves at risk every day, the firemen, the teachers, the nurses, doctors, you name it.

What was actually going through your mind when you first heard the lost tape?

I think what went through my mind was, ‘Wow, we have to do something with this.’ I had no expectations. None of us had had any expectations! I’m in Europe, others are on the east coast of America, some on the west coast. It seemed very impractical, but it started to come together!

Tommy, our producer and friend, said, ‘I love this.’ We start working with him and slowly realised that this might just turn into something. Tommy had time so he mastered them a little bit. Not much. It’s a testament that the 30 year old audio cassette sounds so good and so punchy.

Are there any particular writing sessions that stick in your memory?

One of the most special was with Brian May. We were introduced by a mutual friend. He turned up at the house and we had some tea and started talking. He was going through a marriage break up. He was torn, being madly in love with Anita Dobson, yet at the same time he felt terrible about his family. He’s a very nice man who was destroyed by this whole situation. This was the main topic of conversation. There was more conversation and more tears. Elizabeth and I were also going through our breakup as well at the time. I just picked up my guitar, we sat down and bashed out most of the song ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’.

Out of the blue, he called and said ‘We would really like to record it’. Queen have rarely done a song with anyone outside the band. He said, ‘By the way, I’ve tried to re-record the piano’. The multi tracked piano that you hear on the Queen version is what Brian played in my studio. That song had such a strange evolution and development in life.

Also I remember I wrote a song with my song writing partner, Dominic, in about 1986. He’d just come over to Laurel Canyon from England. We were up at my house and he said ‘God, I had the weirdest experience, sitting on the plane coming out here. There was this young girl sitting next to me and she was going to meet a boy that she’d known for three weeks. She was completely in love. They’re going to get married. It was going to be wonderful and terrific, the sort of a fairy tale ending’.

Dominic was going through a divorce and all that stuff at the same time. He said that he didn’t have the heart to tell her to be careful, sometimes things can go badly! That turned into a song called ‘You Have to Hurt’, which Carly Simon recorded for the ‘Coming Around Again’ album. Carly Simon is a wonderful artist and she did a very good job on the song. But what was really interesting was that, you know, months later I started getting letters from people. For them, the song was part of their healing process. It really is a gift.

Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?

Basically my advice is just to do it. You have to write a lot. It’s not just about writing, it’s also about the rewrite. Very often you have a part of the song which is brilliant and another part which is not as brilliant. You take it to a producer and they might say, ‘Well, I love the chorus, but…’ At that moment, you have the option to say. ‘You don’t know what you talking about’. Or, if you respect the producer and you respect what they have to say, you go back to the drawing board and try something else. I’ve had many, many songs in my life which were which ended up being not the song that I originally wrote, but the song got better as we improved it. You should always have the best that you can possibly come up with.

If your life was a beverage what would it be and why

A mescal margarita. Because that drink that rarely gives you headache. It’s delicious, with the salt and lime. The mescal gives it the most wonderful kick. I got used to drinking those when I was in California, so it has great associations of being on the west coast, that whole life.

Quick Fire Questions

If you had to choose would you choose…

Please or thank you – Thank you – I have lots to say thank you for

Redwoods or everglades – Redwoods – they are extraordinary

Dog or cat – Late convert to cats

Digestive or rich tea – Digestive – especially chocolate

Elvis Presley or Elvis Costello – Presley, but I love Costello’s writing