Crack in the Pearl

Album: Uptown Special (2015)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The majority of the lyrics for Uptown Special were written by Michael Chabon, the author of Wonder Boys and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Ronson approached the novelist after turning up at a book signing in New York. "I wrote him a letter and he was just kind of instantly into it," he recalled to The Guardian.
  • Chabon fully immersed himself in the album's creation, working with Ronson and co-producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Drake, Alicia Keys). "He came down to the studio and it was like a Jeff Bhasker songwriting boot camp," Ronson recalled to The Observer. "You know, Jeff has all these amazing stringent policies on songs and what words sing good, and what you can't sing, how everything must adhere to the note, the chorus must start this interval higher than the verse, all these things. And Michael, obviously he has no problem in the words department, but he just seemed to love taking in all these songwriting boot camp ideas. He was incredibly patient."
  • The first set of lyrics that Chabon sent to Ronson were for this song. "As I started reading the words to the chorus ('Is this how you pictured it? Is this how you thought it would be?'), the melody began to form in my head at the very same time," Ronson recalled to The Guardian. "Melodies don't usually shoot into my head from nowhere like that, so it was like an amazing alley-oop pass to have these words."
  • Michael Chabon told NME about his lyric writing. "My understanding was Mark wanted me to create lyrics which had a point of view. Not lyrics from Mark's point of view, or my point of view - it was the point of view of characters - I thought he wanted songs with a narrative with a story."

    "I wrote some lyrics and I sent it to Mark and Jeff Bhasker and I actually don't know what their first reaction was - it inspired Mark to sit down at the keyboard and try and put music to it, I don't think he'd had ever done that before. Those lyrics changed a lot over time. My first efforts were too hard to sing fundamentally. Those lyrics got edited, rewritten, cut down, two verses were cropped, they put a bridge in there. I had to work a lot on that. But that first song became 'Crack In The Pearl.'"
  • The closing track of Uptown Special is a second version of the song, "Crack in the Pearl, Pt. II," featuring Stevie Wonder's harmonica.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Bob Daisley

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

Daniel Lanois

Daniel LanoisSongwriter Interviews

Daniel Lanois on his album Heavy Sun, and the inside stories of songs he produced for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan.

Wang Chung Pick The Top Songs Of The '80s

Wang Chung Pick The Top Songs Of The '80sSongwriter Interviews

'80s music ambassadors Wang Chung pick their top tracks of the decade, explaining what makes each one so special.

Chris Frantz of Talking Heads

Chris Frantz of Talking HeadsSongwriter Interviews

Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz on where the term "new wave" originated, the story of "Naive Melody," and why they never recorded another cover song after "Take Me To The River."

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse Pop

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse PopSong Writing

Songs that seem to glorify violence against women are often misinterpreted - but not always.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.