Shirley Eikhard joins singer Bonnie Raitt and reveals the true story behind her hit song ‘Something to Talk About’ on The Morning Show.
Global News – The Morning Show with Jeff McArthur and Carolyn MacKenzie – October 6 2020
“I got home and there was this thing on my machine. There was Bonnie…I was numb.”Shirley Eikhard
Shirley Eikhard wrote the blues-rock mega-hit “Something to Talk About” in Nashville in the 1980s, but she and the song waited until 1992 for recognition in the form of a major Grammy award.
Eikhard had been searching for a full seven years for the right artist to record Something to Talk About. She had offered the song to Anne Murray and other artists, all of whom expressed interest but ultimately did not record it. Eikhard had put the song on the back burner, but was still hopeful she could find someone to record it.
Then, Eikhard received a surprise phone message one night from the American blues singer and guitarist Bonnie Raitt, replaying the new recording of Something to Talk About that Raitt had just finished. Recalled Eikhard, “I got home and there was this thing on my machine. There was Bonnie…I was numb.”
Raitt had discovered the song on a demo tape that Eikhard had sent her. Raitt later told the Hamilton “Spectator” newspaper that “All four of the songs just knocked me out….I loved her voice and I thought it was so far and above anybody else’s tape.”
Raitt’s recording of Eikhard’s composition proved a spectacular success. The single, off Raitt’s “Luck of the Draw” album, peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 and adult contemporary charts at No. 5 in October 1991, and at No. 8 on Cashbox. It placed even higher in Canada, at No. 3 on the RPM Top 100 chart and No. 4 adult contemporary, and made the top 20 on RPM’s 1991 year-end chart.
Something to Talk About then netted Raitt the industry’s coveted Grammy award for best female pop vocal performance, and drove the “Luck of the Draw” album to win the best solo rock vocal performance Grammy, with multi-platinum sales in Canada and the U.S.
At home in Canada, Something to Talk About also earned Eikhard a Juno nomination as songwriter of the year, and later SOCAN Classics and BMI awards for its status as a radio favourite.
The song has been a favourite of “American Idol” contestants, and was chosen by industry peers for the Songs of the Century listing. It has been performed by Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, David Clayton-Thomas, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Eikhard sang it as the theme song for CBS’s “Women of the House.”
Eikhard told “RPM Weekly” magazine that to sell a song, a songwriter must “…believe in yourself, and believe that sooner or later you’ll find a home for any given song. Like Something to Talk About, for instance, that song sat around for seven years before it actually got cut…Finally Bonnie was the one who went ‘Yes, I love this, I’m going to do this.’ So there is proof positive that if you really believe in the tune, never give up.”
Shirley Eikhard, originally from Sackville, New Brunswick, earned Juno awards in 1973 and 1974 for best country female artist, and has had numerous country and pop hits, including You’re My Weakness and Smilin’ Wine. Her songs have been recorded by Cher, Anne Murray, Chet Atkins, Ginette Reno, Alannah Myles, and Rita Coolidge. Eikhard has racked up seven BMI awards.