He’s So Shy
“He’s So Shy” – 1980
Music: Tom Snow
Lyric: Cynthia Weil
Song History: Although the song’s title recalls the girl group classic “He’s So Fine” by the Chiffons, “He’s So Shy” was in fact conceived by its composers as a song for Leo Sayer to record as “She’s So Shy”. The song was pitched to Richard Perry who’d produced Sayer’s biggest hits(“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, “When I Need You”) a few years earlier. Perry was no longer working with Sayer but saw the song’s potential as a track for the Pointer Sisters, who’d inaugurated Perry’s own label Planet Records with the 1978 #2 hit “Fire“. Tom played all the synthesizer parts on the record and was backed by legendary Motown drummer James Gadson, Nate Watts on bass, and Tim May on guitar. The lead vocal was provided by sister, June.
Author’s note: This one originated with the music and a working title, “She’s So Shy”. I had been plugging away for weeks trying to find a “Hit” hook. Everything I came up with sounded like derivative, melodic babble. Reduced to desperation one night I went into my studio after dinner and a few glasses of wine, set the Roland 808 to 120 beats per minute and started playing G minor arpeggios on my Prophet 5 synth. At least that was some viable form of music! That did the trick. Not having the pressure anymore of trying to come up with a smash hit the vault opened up and within thirty minutes I had the melody, chord changes and a working title “She’s So Shy”. I knew immediately that I had come up with something very, very commercial. The feeling was intense. I remember leaving the studio three hours later after playing the tune hundreds of times and feeling like I was walking two inches above the floor. Not taking any chances I called Cynthia the next day and asked her to write the lyric. We both thought the song would be a smash and our instincts were right. “He’s So Shy” sold 1.5 million copies. I will be forever indebted to those G minor arpeggios.Click here to listen