January 2nd, 2010

Here’s another one I wrote with Todd Cerney back in the late 80’s. Whenever Todd came to L.A. to write with me he’d always have an abundance of great titles and ideas as a starting place. I’d have a bag full, too, and so we’d throw ideas at each other until something stuck, and then off we’d go.

On this occasion Todd had this lyric couplet that went, “Lip Service, I need your kisses right way. Lip Service, no matter what I’ve got to pay”. Now, the mind races at all the lyrical possibilities in this sentiment, and so we spent the day exploring them to a high energy funk loop that became the musical basis for the song.

I don’t remember who wrote what exactly, and it doesn’t matter. When you’re co-writing it’s bad form to keep track of stuff like that. Whether you’ve come up with 5% or 95% is not the point. The point is that the result is accomplished through the chemistry of the two (or more) writers putting their heads together, and that the song wouldn’t exist without that combination.

Another thing: The demo is not “the song”. The “song” is the melody and the lyrics in whatever form that takes. Those two things are “the cake”, and everything beyond that is really just icing; the “production”, to be precise.

In fact, here’s our work tape of the “cake” to illustrate the point:

After Todd went back to Nashville I went about the task of producing the demo (the icing) in my studio. Tony Walters sang the lead and BG vocals, and I did all the rest (the sax is sampled, btw). I particularly had a lot of fun with the whole break section, including the guitar solo. Hope you like it.

FYI: This song was held by the hit R&B group, Bell Biv Devoe, for several months, but they broke up before they could record it. Too bad. But that’s life in the big city. Every songwriter, no matter how successful, has written more songs that haven’t been cut than have.


By: Todd Cerney and Skip Adams

I read your notice in the classifieds
That’s how I got your number
I’d really like it if you’d just stop by
So I don’t have to wonder

Can you love up to your reputation?
Oh, I need a private consultation

Lip Service
I need your kisses night and day
Lip Service
No matter what I have to pay
Lip Service
Please deliver right away

I know you’ll understand just what I need
The love that I’ve been missing
Once it gets started it can always lead
To everything that follows kissing

I’ll leave it up to your imagination
Baby please, I need a demonstration


Oh baby won’t you please stop by?
Won’t you please stop by?
Come on over, give my love a try
Give my love a try


Can you love up to your reputation?
Oh, I need a private demonstration

(CHORUS – Out)


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