Charles Randolph Goodrum (July 7, 1947) is an American songwriter, pianist, and producer. A Grammy award-nominated writer and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Goodrum has written #1 songs in each of the four decades since his first #1 hit, 1978's "You Needed Me."[1][2]

Randy Goodrum
Birth nameCharles Randolph Goodrum
Born (1947-07-07) July 7, 1947 (age 72)
Hot Springs, Arkansas
GenresPop, country, rock, roots, jazz
Occupation(s)Songwriter, pianist, producer
Years active1976-present
Associated actsSteve Perry, Anne Murray, Michael McDonald, Chicago, Michael Bolton, Dottie West, Chet Atkins, Toto, Steve Lukather

Goodrum's songs have appeared on the country, pop, jazz, rock, R&B and adult contemporary charts. An accomplished pianist, his music has been used extensively in film and television.[3][4]

Early life and educationEdit

Goodrum was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas to Winnie Goodrum and Bud Goodrum, a physician.[5] He began to play the piano by ear as a small child, imitating his older brother. Goodrum started to take piano lessons at 8, initially studying classical music and later learning to play jazz.[5]

He attended Hot Springs High School, where he performed in a jazz trio, the Three Kings. Also known as the Three Blind Mice for the dark glasses they wore, the trio included Goodrum's friend Bill Clinton on saxophone. He also performed in the area with touring artists. Because he could sight read—and because Arkansas was at a "geographical crossroads" which drew a wide variety of performing musicians—Goodrum played with blues, country, jazz, R&B and rock & roll artists. In a 2000 interview, he said: "Part of the reason I am so diverse is because of where I grew up. You had to be able to play it all, and do it authentically."[6][7][8]

Goodrum attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Although he had never written songs, a friend asked him to compose the songs for an original musical. Goodrum agreed and discovered a talent for songwriting. Inspired by Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb and James Taylor, he began to focus on writing songs. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music in piano.[9]


Goodrum joined the US Army following his college graduation, where he played in the army band. During his off hours, he wrote songs and decided to pursue a career as a songwriter. Following his 1972 discharge from the army, Goodrum went to Los Angeles to meet with music publishers. Although he was unable to place any of the dozen songs he presented, he was encouraged to continue writing. He returned to Little Rock and planned to move to Los Angeles. Instead, at the suggestion of a friend, Bob Millsap, he moved to Nashville, where he could finance his songwriting endeavors as a pianist-for-hire for session work and live performances. Millsap signed Goodrum to his publishing company, Ironside, and would go on to pitch Goodrum's first major hit, "You Needed Me", with the persistence it required. "The word would come back that song didn't have a chorus, was too pop, didn't fit the Nashville mould, wasn't sing-a-long, that kind of thing," Millsap's co-writer Jerry Flowers said in 2003.[9][10]

Frustrated as he wrote the song, Goodrum had almost thrown "You Needed Me" away. It was recorded by Anne Murray for her 1978 album, Let's Keep It That Way and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It won Song of the Year at the Academy of Country Music awards, earned Murray the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 21st Grammy Awards, and spent 36 weeks on the Adult Contemporary charts, setting a record for longevity which remained unbroken until 1995. During the same time period, Goodrum wrote five other hit songs: Murray's Broken Hearted Me" (1979); Michael Johnson's "Bluer Than Blue" (1978); England Dan & John Ford Coley's "It's Sad to Belong" (1977), and Gene Cotton's "Before My Heart Finds Out" (1978).[3][11]

As a pianist during his early years in Nashville, Goodrum played live and in the studio with artists including Roy Orbison and Jerry Reed. Most significantly, he performed with Chet Atkins, who became both a collaborator and a mentor. With Atkins, Goodrum wrote, "To B or not to B" and "Waltz for the Lonely", among other songs. Goodrum's composition "So Soft Your Goodbye" won a 1991 Grammy award for Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler.[8]

In 1979, Dottie West released Special Delivery. Goodrum co-produced the album with Brett Maher, and together they wrote 6 of the album's 10 songs.[12] In early 1980, the Goodrum/Maher song "A Lesson in Leavin'" was released. Her first hit as a solo artist, it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in April; in 1981, West had another #1 with Goodrum's "What Are We Doin' In Love", a duet with Kenny Rogers. Over the next two years, Goodrum wrote songs which were performed by artists including Michael McDonald, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and Tammy Wynette, among others. In 1981, he won six ASCAP Awards.[3][13]

In 1982, Goodrum signed a worldwide publishing deal with New York-based CBS Songs. He moved briefly to nearby Westport, Connecticut, before relocating to Los Angeles. Although no longer in Nashville, he continued to work with country artists, writing a hit for Sylvia. His credits expanded to include best-selling records in genres including R&B (Patti Austin, El DeBarge), jazz (George Benson, Al Jarreau) and rock (Michael McDonald, Chicago, Toto). In 1984, Goodrum worked with Steve Perry on his solo debut, Street Talk. He partnered with Perry to write five songs for the album and wrote four additional songs in collaboration with others. "Oh Sherrie", written with Perry, Craig Krampf, and Bill Cuomo was #1 on the Billboard Rock Charts and the biggest hit of Perry's career as a solo artist. "Now and Forever (You and Me)", co-written with David Foster and Jim Vallance, was a major hit for Anne Murray in 1986, appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. In the mid-90s, he returned to Nashville, and later wrote hit songs for artists including Ronan Keating and John Berry. In 1999, Boyzone had success with a cover version of "You Needed Me" and Jo Dee Messina's cover of "A Lesson in Leavin'" appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts.[13][14]

Goodrum wrote songs for each of the Clinton/Gore presidential campaigns, including "A Circle of Friends", which was the closing theme for the 1992 Democratic Convention and "Reunion," and performed the theme live on television for Clinton's first Inaugural Gala. "Together As One", written for Kenny Rogers and Trisha Yearwood, was featured during the 1997 Clinton inauguration. Goodrum performed on the CBS television special which aired that night.[15] His film and television credits include Prancer Returns, Snowden on Ice, Back to School and Stir Crazy. He co-wrote the theme for the long-running daytime drama One Life to Live with Dave Grusin.

Goodrum was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000. In addition to his work as a songwriter, session player, and producer, he has released six solo albums. He also performs together with Jay Graydon as JaR. They released their first album, Scene 29, in 2008.[2][4]

Goodrum co-wrote "Most of All" for Steve Perry's 2018 album Traces.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

Goodrum and his wife Gail live in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They met while students at Hendrix College, and have two daughters, Julia and Sarah.[13]

Selected awards and recognitionEdit

  • Grammy Nomination for Song of the Year ("You Needed Me")
  • Artist Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance (Anne Murray, "You Needed Me")
  • Artist Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance (Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler, "So Soft, Your Goodbye")
  • Artist Grammy for Best Country Duo (Dottie West and Kenny Rogers, "What're We Doin' in Love")
  • Song of the Year, National Music Publishers Association ("You Needed Me")
  • Song of the Year, Nashville Songwriters Association ("You Needed Me")
  • Song of the Year, Academy of Country Music ("You Needed Me")
  • Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Country Songwriter of the Year
  • American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Country Song of the Year (Anne Murray, "Now and Forever (You and Me)")
  • Odyssey Medal, Hendrix College
  • Arkansan of the Year from the Arkansas Broadcasters Association
  • President's Choice Award, Nashville Songwriter's Association International
  • Cable Ace Award Song of the Year nominee ("Roundhouse")

Selected credits (as songwriter)Edit

Year Song Artist Credit
1977 "It's Sad to Belong" England Dan & John Ford Coley Songwriter
1978 "You Needed Me" Anne Murray
Boyzone (1999)
"Before My Heart Finds Out" Gene Cotton
"Bluer Than Blue" Michael Johnson
"Broken Hearted Me" England Dan & John Ford Coley
Anne Murray (1979)
1979 "The Very First Time" Michael Johnson
1980 "A Lesson in Leavin'" Dottie West
Jo Dee Messina (1999)
1981 "What Are We Doin' in Love" Dottie West and Kenny Rogers
1984 "Oh Sherrie" Steve Perry Co-writer
"I Believe"
"Go Away"
"Foolish Heart"
"It's Only Love"
"She's Mine"
"You Should Be Happy"
"Captured By The Moment"
"Can't Stop"
"Friends of Mine"
1985 "20/20" George Benson
"Who's Holding Donna Now" DeBarge
"Fallin' in Love" Sylvia
"If I Believed" Patti Austin Songwriter
"If Only for the Moment, Girl" Steve Perry Co-writer
"Desperate Heart" Michael Bolton
1986 "Now and Forever (You and Me)" Anne Murray
"I'll Be Over You" Toto
1987 "If She Would Have Been Faithful..." Chicago
1988 "Anna" Toto
"These Chains"
1989 "Got My Way" Steve Lukather
"With A Second Chance"
"Turns To Stone"
1991 "So Soft Your Goodbye" Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler Songwriter
1995 "The Other End of Time" Toto Co-writer
1996 "Me Too" Anne Murray
1997 "I Will, If You Will" John Berry
"Open Your Heart" Steve Lukather
1999 "No Love" Toto
"One Road"
2006 "All Over Again" Ronan Keating
2007 "Leave a Light On" Garth Brooks
2008 "Ever Changing Times" Steve Lukather
"The Letting Go"
"New World"
"I Am"
"Stab in the Back"
"Never Ending Nights"
"Ice Bound"
2010 "Brody's"
2013 "Last Man Standing"
2018 "Most of All"[16] Steve Perry Co-writer

Discography (as primary artist)Edit

  • 1983 Solitary Nights, GRP
  • 1986 Silhouette, GRP
  • 1991 Fool's Paradise, Gut Bounce
  • 1993 Caretaker of Dreams, Nova
  • 1995 Words & Music, Polydor
  • 1995 Songbook, Beverly Records
  • 2008 Scene 29 (with Jay Graydon, as JaR), Pony Records


  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (January 28, 2004). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780823076772. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Gray, Michael (June 11, 2003). "Allen Reynolds, Mac Davis, Billy Edd Wheeler and Randy Goodrum Enter Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Garth Brooks Honors His Longtime Producer in Song". CMT. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Randy Goodrum: Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Randy Goodrum: Credits". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Winnie Goodrum". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. April 21, 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. ^ Levin, Robert E. and, Landres, Shawn (August 1, 1992). Bill Clinton: The Inside Story. SPI Books. p. 26. ISBN 1561711772. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  7. ^ Nigel Hamilton (2011), "The Three Kings", Bill Clinton: An American Journey, Random House, pp. 122–123, ISBN 9781407088259
  8. ^ a b Redmond, Tom (August 8, 2000). "Working with Chet Atkins An interview with Randy Goodrum". Mister Guitar. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  9. ^ a b Delaney, Kelly (July 1, 1980). "The Best of A New Breed". Songwriter. pp. 27–29.
  10. ^ Naujeck, Jeanne A. (June 24, 2004). "Music Publisher Tirelessly Pitched 'You Needed Me'". The Tennessean. p. 14.
  11. ^ ""You Needed Me"". Songfacts. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ Hurst, Jack (December 14, 1979). "Dottie West Surges into New Crossover Market". The Greenville News. p. 23.
  13. ^ a b c "Randy Goodrum, 2013 ASCAP Exo". ASCAP. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Goodrum Signs with CBS". Billboard. May 1, 1982. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  15. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (January 7, 1997). "Clinton Gala To Bring In 'Da Noise". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  16. ^ a b Kielty, Martin. "Steve Perry Kept Two 'Traces' Songs Hidden From Late Lover". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2019-10-29.

External linksEdit