Taylor Hicks, taylor hicks, taylor, hicks, right place, bryan adams  
The Right Place
Recording Artist: Taylor Hicks
Writers: Jim Vallance
Bryan Adams
Date Written: March 1989 / Vancouver Canada
Albums: "Taylor Hicks" (2006 / December 12)
World: Approximately 750,000 sales
Taylor Hicks: vocal
Jamie Muhoberac: piano and organ
Matt Serletic: keyboards
James Harrah: guitar
Leland Sklar: bass
Curt Busquera: drums
Lenny Castro: percussion
Alex Richbourg: programming
Backing vocals: Oren Waters, Josef Powell, Louis Price, Terry Young
Produced by Matt Serletic.  Recorded October-November 2006 by Mark Dobson at Emblem Studio and  Castle Oaks Studio, Calabasas, California.  Additional recording by Greg Collins, Jesse Sutcliffe and Patrick Woodward. Mixed by David Thoener at Encore Studios, Burbank, California.
Taylor's 2006 CD cover
I don't always follow "American Idol", but I was watching on October 10, 2005 when Taylor Hicks performed his audition in Las Vegas. He sang a Sam Cooke song, "A Change Is Gonna Come".

I thought he nailed it!

When Paula said, "Can you give us 20 seconds of something else", Taylor sang a few bars of "Swannee River", the Ray Charles arrangement.  Again, a great job. He had a vibe about him, an enthusiasm that was charming, genuine and infectious.

I usually agree with Simon, but on this occasion I was stunned when Simon said, "No". Thankfully, Randy and Paula came to the rescue, and Taylor went on to the next round.

I continued to follow "Season Five" as Taylor hung in, week after week. I was happy when he finally won the competition. I thought he deserved to come out on top.
In March 1989 Bryan Adams and I wrote a song for Joe Cocker, called "The Right Place". Joe asked us for "something that sounds like Ray Charles" ... and that's exactly what we wrote. But Joe decided "The Right Place" was the "wrong song", and he didn't record it.

So we sent the song to Ray Charles himself, but Ray didn't record it either (I was never able to confirm if Joe and Ray actually heard the song, or if it was rejected by their "handlers" before it reached their ears).

After that, we gave up, and "The Right Place" collected dust on my shelf for nearly 20 years.
Meanwhile, back at the "American Idol" auditions ... despite Simon's scathing comments, Taylor received a resounding "Yes" from Paula and Randy. As Taylor headed for the door, grinning from ear to ear, Randy yelled after him, "Bring all the Cocker, all the Ray Charles. C'mon man!"

Joe Cocker.  Ray Charles. That stuck with me.

A year later, in September 2006, when I heard that Taylor was recording an album, I remembered what Randy had said, and it made me think of "The Right Place". I knew the song wasn't a "hit" in the traditional sense, but I thought it might be a perfect vehicle for Taylor to channel his "inner Joe and Ray".

I contacted my publisher, Ron Moss. Ron agreed the song was an appropriate "pitch", and he sent it to Pete Ganbarg, the independent "A&R man" who was assembling material for the Taylor Hicks project.

At first, Pete and producer Matt Serletic didn't think "The Right Place" was exactly right for Taylor. They liked the song, but they wanted us to "re-harmonize" the B-section.
With that comment in mind, Bryan and I traded a few emails. But we were at a loss. We really wanted to "deliver" for Pete and Matt, but we didn't know where to go with it, what changes to make.  It looked like the song might spend another 20 years on the shelf.

But then something unexpected happened.  During the next week or two the song started to "grow" on Pete and Matt, and presumably on Taylor and Arista chief Clive Davis. They decided to record the song after all, without the requested "re-harmonization". 

I was thrilled!

Click on the image above to see Taylor Hicks and Loren Gold perform "The Right Place" on "The View" - July 17, 2007. Wait for the video to load (about 60 seconds). You will need QuickTime.

Bryan sang beautifully on our "home demo", but I was equally impressed with Taylor's performance. I was also very happy with Matt Serletic's production and arrangement, especially the use of bass, drums, guitar and gospel backing vocals (our original demo was very sparse ... just me on keyboards and Bryan's vocal).

On July 17, 2007 Taylor performed "The Right Place" on the popular morning television show, "The View" (click on the image directly above to see a video).  It was "back to basics", with Taylor on vocals and harmonica and Loren Gold on piano, similar to the way the song had originally been written and demo'd. 

It was apparent that Taylor had developed an affinity for the song in the ten months since he'd recorded it.  On "The View", his vocal performance digs even deeper than it did on the recorded studio version, and Loren provides solid support on the piano. 

For anyone who ever doubted the legitimacy of his American Idol success, this performance proves, beyond a doubt, that Taylor Hicks is the "real deal".

If it's lovin' that you want
Well, it's lovin' you'll receive
Cuz you've come to the right place, baby

Ya, the door is always open
If you need some company
You've come to the right place, baby

Heaven knows that I can't read your mind
We can turn around darlin', one step at a time

Angel, oh angel can't you see
That I can't live without you, so baby won't you help me please?

When there's no-one left to trust
Well, I think that you'll agree
That you've come to the right place, baby

When you're down on your luck
Well just look around, you'll see
That you've come to the right place, baby

Sometimes you don't know what you've got until it's gone
But then you look around
And it was right there all along

Cuz angel, angel you've got to understand
That I don't want to be without you
Oh won't you help me if you can?

I ain't askin' for the world
I just want you to believe
That you've come to the right place, baby

When there's no-one else to hold you
Well, I'll be there, yes indeed

Oh you've come to the right place, baby
Ya you've come to the right place
Oh you've come to the right place, baby

Ya you've come to the right place
Yes indeed