Canadian songwriter Shirley Eikhard, who penned ‘Something to Converse About,’ dies at 67

TORONTO – Canadian singer-songwriter Shirley Eikhard was decades into a effective tunes career when Bonnie Raitt recorded her flirty observe “Something to Converse About,” turning it into a enormous, Grammy-successful hit.

But a person of her closest buddies claims the sudden elevation of her identify in the music marketplace changed incredibly minimal about how Eikhard noticed herself. She remained a private human being who savored the folks all around her, producing art and preferring to keep out of the limelight.

Eikhard died Thursday surrounded by her good friends at a clinic in Orangeville, Ont., soon after a 3-year battle with cancer, mentioned longtime good friend Deborah Duggan. She was 67 years outdated.

“She lived a major life,” Duggan explained. “It was always a pleasure to be around her. She genuinely did have a glow about her.”

Significantly of all those large encounters came outdoors of show business, which Eikhard chosen to continue to be adjacent to, especially in her afterwards years. She painted, unveiled modest albums produced largely on her own, and devoted time to social triggers, which include animal rights and the environment.

It was practically as if “Something to Talk About” took place to one more person, apart from in rare circumstances, such as a 2020 induction into the Canadian Songwriters Corridor of Fame, the place she recognized her laurels.

Eikhard, born in Sackville, N.B., obtained her initial style of fame at 15 a long time old when Anne Murray recorded her 1971 keep track of “It Takes Time,” creating it a Canadian chart strike.

A year later, her self-titled debut album gave her a different enhance run by a mix of initial tracks and covers. Her variation of Sylvia Tyson’s “Smiling Wine” topped the Canadian region charts for two weeks.

By then, she was presently considered a rising star of the nearby songs scene, profitable Juno Awards for feminine state artist in 1973 and 1974.

Eikhard produced a pair of albums in the decades that adopted, but her output slowed in the 1980s. One particular of her most noteworthy credits was as co-writer on “Kick Commence My Heart” from Alannah Myles’ self-titled 1989 album.

She hadn’t presented up on songs in these a long time, even so.

On a 1985 excursion to Nashville, 1 produced exclusively with the aim of composing a hit tune, she came up with “Something to Discuss About,” the story of two persons enticed by swirling rumours they are having a magic formula partnership.

The concept was shaped on a Sunday night just after she heard that a person of her music had obtained interest from the Pointer Sisters.

“I sat down and was ready to appear up with the music in 20 minutes,” she recalled in a 2020 interview on Global’s “The Early morning Present.”

“So I took it into a single of the publishers I was looking at in city .. and he loved it, but he could not get it going.”

And so Eikhard returned to Canada with “Something to Talk About” in hand. She sent it to Murray’s management, hoping that 1 shared hit underneath their belts could encourage a further. They hung on to the song’s rights for a calendar year but sooner or later passed on releasing it, even while Murray nonetheless employed the title for her 1985 album.

Six a long time went by where “Something to Speak About” sat on the shelf with no any severe curiosity, however Eikhard despatched tapes to other individuals hoping another person would bite.

A person wintery night, right after she returned to her home in Harriston, Ont., she read a message from Raitt on her answering device. The blues singer was participating in her growling, soulful version of “Something to Communicate About,” which she required to consist of on her 1991 album “Luck of the Draw.”

As Raitt recalls, she had completed the record in its entirety when a conversation with Bruce Springsteen led her to get worried there was not a hit solitary among the tracks. Coming off her breakout 1989 album “Nick of Time,” she didn’t want to slide into a sophomore slump.

“I experienced gained a cassette from Shirley with some wonderful tunes on it and stashed it absent alongside with scores of other ones,” she mentioned.

“Right when I wanted it, I uncovered the cassette, performed the tune and knew it was a catchy, sensible and contemporary way of wanting at romance – playful and something I actually hadn’t done right before.”

In interviews, Eikhard would frequently say that if it was not for Raitt getting on her music, she almost certainly would’ve still left the music small business for good.

“Something to Discuss About” was a bona fide crossover hit, reaching No. 3 in Canada and No. 5 on the Billboard Scorching 100 that 12 months. The tune also won Raitt a Grammy for most effective pop vocal overall performance for a feminine artist.

“It was a good way to have a strike file devoid of compromising any creative sensibility,” she additional.

“It transformed both equally of our lives for the improved.”

In pop society, “Something to Discuss About” left this kind of an impact that it encouraged the title of a 1995 Julia Roberts comedy-drama in which she performs a female who learns her spouse is getting an affair. The gossip ignites controversy in their compact community.

For Eikhard, the accomplishment of “Something to Converse About” gave her the flexibility to aim on the sections of creating tunes that she liked — most of them currently being powering the scenes.

“She never ever preferred attention, it just made her nervous,” Duggan mentioned.

“She didn’t like performing and … was joyful to type of pull again and continue performing it, but not in that way.”

In her later several years, she recorded backup vocals for a variety of artists and wrote for other individuals together with Cher. She also dedicated time to her partner Lola Catherine Osborne, who died a year back.

Eikhard also wrote and recorded numerous far more solo albums, which include her 2021 release “On My Way to You,” which captured her resolve adhering to her cancer diagnosis.

“Anything is Achievable,” the record’s opener, laid out accurately how she noticed her establishing wellbeing condition.

“I refuse to be frightened,” she optimistically sang versus a strumming guitar.

“From a grim prognosis to the edge of psychosis, I’m refining my concentrate. Anything at all is doable.”

This report by The Canadian Press was to start with posted Dec. 15, 2022.

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