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A series in which a musician gives us insight into the background of one of their recordings

Pat Metheny

That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be

In 2011, Pat Metheny recorded ten tunes playing solo guitar late at night in his New York apartment. This was perhaps the first time he recorded songs where not one of them was his composition. Pat said: "I wanted to record some of the music that was on my radar before I ever wrote a note of my own, or in a few cases, even before I played an instrument. Every one of these tunes has something going on that is just hip on a musical level, no matter how you cut it. They have all stuck with me over the years."

The songs are all recognisable, including Lennon and McCartney's And I Love Her, Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound Of Silence, Bacharach and David's Alfie, Paul Williams' Rainy Days and Mondays, and Carly Simon's That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be. The album, What's It All About,  captures well the atmosphere of late night, relaxed guitar playing and Pat Metheny's interpretations of the songs. There is one exception perhaps where his interpretation of The Girl From Ipenema needs a little more listening to appreciate the improvisation.

That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be was Carly Simon's key track on her 1971 debut album, Carly Simon. It has been described as It is an "art song with a semiclassical melody in the style of Gabriel Fauré" and people at the Elektra recording company "were worried the single was too emotionally complex to be released as Simon's first single. With subject matter that includes "the parents' bad marriage; the friends' unhappy lives; the boyfriend's enthusiasm for marriage but controlling nature; the woman's initial resistance and ultimate capitulation." (Weller, Sheila (2009). Carly Simon was quoted as saying, ""When I first wrote it I thought it was an unusual thing for people to break up, and now all my friends are divorced."

The song became a Top 10 hit, it earned Carly a nomination for 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance' at the 1972 Annual Grammy Awards where she also won 'Best New Artist'.


Join Art Garfunkel and George Harrison listening to Carly singing the song here.

Pat Metheny's version doesn't have the lyrics, his interest is in the instrumental nuances of the tune. He says: ""To me, there were always several interesting things about this piece, not the least of which is the way that she moves from root minor key to the major key just a half step above it so effortlessly in a way that is almost invisible. But also, I always just thought it was a great melody, with that big leap at the end of the first phrase. And form wise, the way it goes through this whole thing and then starts back up again to make the same build again. My take on it harmonically colors in some of what I always thought was implied in there."

Pat Metheny plays That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be here.

Carly Simon

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