I wrote the song through the eyes of an older
man who was looking back at his life and reminiscing, and yet being
totally optimistic about whatever time he had left. I didnt
realize it then, but I was really writing about my father. I tried
several lyric writers but none of them pushed my buttons. I finally
tried Phyllis Molinary. I gave her the title and gave her a few
of the lyric lines I had written and told her what I felt the song
should say. She did a great job. The song is very emotional for
me. Its not a sad song. Its poignant and bittersweet.
There are times when I think of the song and I just break out into
tears. Sometimes theyre tears of joy, and sometimes not. I
hear from people all over the world telling me how they love the
song and how it affects them. What a great feeling it is knowing
that a song that came from inside of me touches the inside of so
I remember getting a call from a close friend
of mine who is a very well known actress. She said she was in her
car and she had just heard Heres To Life and she
had to pull off the freeway because her eyes were filled with tears.
Even though she knew the song, she said she had to call and tell
me how it affected her. I think you have to pay some dues in your
life before you can understand a song like this, let alone write
one. Unfortunately my dad never got to hear it but who knows ..
maybe Ill get the chance to play it for him in person someday.
I do hope they tune the piano up in heaven when I get there.
Johnny Mandel called and asked me to fax
him a copy of the music. He said he was recording it with Shirley
Horn and wanted to invite me to the session. A week later I showed
up at the studio and there was a huge orchestra there. Johnny was
the producer and arranger. Heres To Life was the
last song on the session. The orchestra rehearsed Johnnys
arrangement a few times, and when they were ready to record the
red light went on and the magic started. To this day I cant
find the words to explain the emotional impact of Johnnys
incredible arrangement and Shirleys breathtaking vocal happening
together for the first time. I closed my eyes and as I listened
I kept seeing my fathers smiling face. Perhaps he was finally hearing
it after all. I would like to think so. I sat in the corner of the
control room with tears of joy running down my face. I remember
when the song was finished the entire orchestra listened to a playback
and wept. There stood fifty people listening and crying. What a
thrill for a songwriter to have his song come back to him for the
very first time in such splendor.