The Argotist Online
Ames is an American singer/songwriter and actress who has appeared in such
classic TV shows as The Dean Martin Show, The Andy Williams Show, The
Dick Van Dyke Show, The Johnny Cash Show, Rowan & Martin's
Laugh-In, The Tonight Show Staring Johnny Carson; and appeared in
each episode of the American version of the BBC satirical show That Was the Week
That Was. From 1972 to1977 she hosted her own NBC show, The
Nancy Ames Show.
co-wrote with Mason Williams the theme to the Smothers Brothers Show, and
also with Williams wrote the 1960s novelty classic ‘Cinderella Rockefella’,
which has been covered by many artists including Jennifer Warnes, but is best
remembered as a cover by the husband and wife duo Esther and Abi Ofarim. This
version reached number one in Britain, Germany and all over the continent.
has recorded thirteen albums including The Incredible Nancy Ames, Let
It Be Me, A Portrait of Nancy: Folk Songs by Nancy Ames, This Is
the Girl that Is and The Versatile Nancy Ames. She performed live
concerts throughout the world until 1987.
and her husband, Danny Ward, co-founded and manage Ward
& Ames Special Events, an award-winning full-service special events firm
located in Houston, Texas.
Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?
Yes, both the traditional rhyming forms and free verse styles.
Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?
I suppose there's a more accepting audience for rhyming songs because they are
easier to remember generally. Some of my favorites do not have predictable
rhyming patterns and, therefore, are less marketable.
Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised song structures such as
clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can
also be like free verse?
This is so close to the previous answer, I would only add that as a lyricist and
melodist, most often my ideas drive the melody so sometimes there is no need for
a standard rhyming scheme, bridges, choruses, refrains or hooks. When these elements do fall easily into the message, however, usually the
song is more identifiable and easier for the listener to repeat. While free verse songs are often more interesting, personally, they may
require a slightly headier audience.
When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to
the music you enjoyed?
Yes and no. I was mostly listening to early R & B by black artists and
Elvis, and dancing the dirty boogie in the basement so my parents wouldn't catch
me! But the pop songs sung by Tony
Bennett, Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Sinatra et al, then the Beach Boys, First
Edition, Turtles, Stones & Beatles, Byrds, Temptations, 4 Tops, Doors and
the rest were memorable and a transition from traditional to contemporary
poetry. The Broadway composers of
my parents’ generation—through the 60's—were the most talented and clever
of the lot and they are the writers I respect most.
Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?
If anything, it was recognizing that rhyme patterns could be easily adapted to
Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?
Because the marriage of words (rhyming or not) to a melody makes for fun in two
areas. It's simply easier to relate
to both as a song than words alone—without a melodic guide.