banner
Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Story songs

Posted February 9, 2009 11:48 a.m. EST

Story songs. I love them. What is your favorite story song? Remember “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers? It was written by Durham native Don Schlitz. Can you name two other famous songs composed by Schlitz?

I heard a fascinating story song over the weekend and had a chance to ask the author all about it. Let me set the scene. It's the Celtic Adventure Weekend at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. My band played there and I served as emcee for the two day event. But the headliner band was Gaelic Storm, a high energy and highly popular band with a large and loyal fan base. You may remember Gaelic Storm from the movie Titanic.

Gaelic Storm singer, songwriter and accordionist Patrick Murphy penned a tune called “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe.” Murphy managed an Irish bar in California before joining the band. He says he encountered the Australian actor late one night when Crowe lit a cigarette in the bar. Since smoking was in violation of California law Murphy informed Crowe he would have to snuff out the cigarette or leave. Murphy claims Crowe became confrontational and invited Murphy “to give me your best shot.” Feeling threatened by the strapping actor and “three burly bodyguards,” the wiry and witty Irishman landed a punch on Crowe’s nose drawing blood. He then made a wise decision as Crowe looked on in disbelief. “I ran as fast and as far as I could. True story!”

Murphy has not seen Russell Crowe since except in the movies. Murphy calls Crowe a brilliant actor but highly egotistical and arrogant. So far, no reaction from the Aussie actor to the song but a publicist insists the bar incident never happened.

What is your favorite story song? Can you top the Russell Crowe song?