Chart Beat Podcast: Phil Galdston, NYU Director of Songwriting & Faculty Songwriter-in-Residence

Jonathan Schwarz
Phil Galdston, NYU (in black shirt)

Galdston discusses the elements of teaching songwriting, as well as his own legacy, having co-written Vanessa Williams' 1992 Hot 100 No. 1 "Save the Best for Last."

"As Glenn Frey used to say, [in songwriting] you're trying to put big ideas in small spaces," says Phil Galdston, director of NYUSteinhardt's songwriting program and the first faculty songwriter-in-residence in the University's history.

Galdston also cites Frey, his late friend and Eagles co-founder, who was known to say about songwriters, "We're all in the same boat. It doesn't matter how many Grammys, how many Platinum records … we're all starting in the same position, [facing] the same challenge of expressing something that means something."

In the latest Chart Beat Podcast, Galdston joins Billboard Chart Beat Podcast host Gary Trust to discuss teaching songwriting. "There are no rules," he says. "Only tools."

Galdston is also a Billboard chart-topper, having co-written Vanessa Williams' 1992 five-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "Save the Best for Last." A love song staple for 25 years, he recalls how it started in an opposite place lyrically. "It's very typical of my dark, twisted Jewish nature to think of what could go wrong," he muses. "I [saw] it as ironic: 'At the end of the relationship, this is what you're gonna do?!' [Co-writer] Wendy [Waldman] countered, 'No, no, no. It's that, at this moment, you did the most beautiful, surprising thing.' And, I said, 'Like a moon in June?' And one of us said, 'Sometimes the sun …' and the rest is … whatever it is."

Galdston additionally notes in the podcast which three superstar divas were pitched "Save," with label execs ultimately passing before a grateful Williams made it her signature song. The ballad ranks alongside other hits that Galdston has written, including Williams' 1994 top 20 Hot 100 single "The Sweetest Days" and Starship's "It's Not Over ('Til It's Over)" (No. 9, 1987). He's also penned songs for stars including Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Anne Murray and Eddie Rabbitt, among others, while earning five Grammy Award nominations.

Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!

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