Songwriter Steve Dorff in praise of Clint Eastwood

By Ray Bennett

American songwriter and composer Steve Dorff, who turns 75 today, has a huge number of screen credits including TV series such as ‘Murphy Brown’, Spenser for Hire’ and ‘Major Dad’. In a Q&A for The Hollywood Reporter, he told me his big break came in 1979 when Clint Eastwood and music supervisor Snuffy Garrett asked him and collaborator Milton Brown to contribute a song to the film ‘Every Which Way But Loose’. 

They wrote the title track, a hit for Eddie Rabbit, and ‘I’ll Wake You Up When I Get Home’, recorded by Charlie Rich. Dorf also worked on ‘Bronco Billy’, ‘Honkytonk Man’ and ‘Pink Cadillac.’ 

‘It was the education of a lifetime working for Clint and seeing the way he made films,’ Dorff said. ‘It was amazing on-the-job training. He sure knows music.’

Often associated with country music after the success of George Strait’s hit films and best-selling soundtracks for ‘Pure Country’ and its sequel, Dorf’s songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and many others. 

‘I write modern pop songs that kind of fall in the cracks of being a good R&B song, a pop song, a good country song,’ he said. ‘I’ve had as much pop and adult contemporary success with my songs as with all my TV and film music but people look at that last No. 1 you had and go, oh, Reba McEntire, he’s country. I guess I can’t write a song for Barbra Steisand. Go figure. I’ve stopped trying.’

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