Buzz Cason, famed songwriter, visits Charleston

Buzz Cason (far right) performs with Sugarcane Jane in April at the Franklin Theater in Franklin, Tenn. Cason is here for one night at The Cocktail Club, 479 King St., starting at 7 p.m.

In three hours, Buzz Cason will go on stage at The Cocktail Club on upper King Street, playing songs from his new album “Surf and Turf” and telling rock n' roll stories with Luke Cunningham.

But before that he got in a round of golf at Wild Dunes with Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish fame.

Not a bad life for a internationally acclaimed songwriter and singer. But songwriters don't get a lot glory unless a major artist records their work. That's why Cason is on tour, performing his work to see how the audience reacts and promoting his new book “Everlasting Love: Living the Rock N' Roll Dream. And while he travels, he's also collecting material.

“You never know where a hit will be born,” he said in a phone interview.

“Luke Cunningham and I have been writing some songs on this trip, and we think we may have some good ones.”

Cason knows what he is talking about. His most famous song is “Everlasting Love” and it's been recorded for four decades by artists that have given it their own twist: Gloria Estefan, Robert Knight, Carl Carlton & U2.

The Beatles recorded his “Soldier of Love” and Martina McBride recorded “Love's The Only House.”

Tonight he will perform “Everlasting Love” in a way that most haven't heard it - acoustically with a single guitar. But fans will still know the song, he said, and they will have no problem singing the chorus.

Here's a few questions The Post and Courier asked about what it's like to be in the rock n' roll business.

Q: Who's the biggest star you have ever worked with?

That would be Brenda Lee. She was a huge female singer. She had her first hit record when she was 12 years old. She's a grandmother, but she still does shows. We opened for Jerry Lee Lewis. He was a great guy to work with.

A: How did you connect with The Beatles?

R&B artist Arthur Alexander of Muscle Shoals toured England and the Beatles were interested in the sound. They recorded “Soldier of Love” as one of the “Live at the BBC” radio programs. (It was released in 1963 and re-released in 1994.) I was touring England 1964 and just missed meeting them. I was supposed to go out with our band The Crickets, and it was just too late. They hung out that night together.

Q: What's the best part of being in the songwriting business?

A: Number one is the actual songwriting. It's rewarding and you exercise your mind. The second is performing because of the energy you get from it. Most places can't afford a band these days, but it's just great to get feedback from the crowd that way.

Q: What about your new book “Everlasting Love: Living the Rock N' Roll Dream?

A: That starts at age 16 when I was in a band. We were pioneers at the time. The Beatles were in England, but that wasn't happening yet in America.

We were there at the very beginning of rock and roll.

Q: I read that you were the voice of Alvin, the Chipmunk. How did that happen?

A friend of mine got the idea of the “Chipmunks Singing the Beatles” so several of us got together and sang from 6 in the morning to 6 at night and 10 Beatles songs recorded. It sold real well, too, 1 million records.

I also did Alvin for Urban Chipmunk, a take-off on Urban Cowboy in the 1980s.

Q: Will you ever retire from the music business?

A: One of my wives asked “retire from what?” It's been a good ride and well, everything has stress about it, but it's great when you can work in something you love.

Cason will be at The Cocktail Club, 479 King Street, at 7 p.m. tonight with Luke Cunningham.

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@postandcourier.com.