On this episode of the StoryCorps podcast, we’ll share the little known stories behind some popular songs, and how two families are honoring the musicians behind them.
We start with “Just The Two of Us”, performed by Bill Withers, and written by Grover Washington Jr. and William Salter. The song became wildly popular when it was released in 1980, and was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Record Of The Year. But before William Salter became a renowned musician, he was “just another kid on the block,” trying to find himself.
He grew up in New York City, the child of a single working mother, and spent a lot of his childhood feeling lonely. But he quickly learned that music would be his greatest companion.
Photo: (R) William Salter, his granddaughter Jada and her father (L) Jamal Salter. Courtesy of Jada Salter.
Decades later, after building a successful music career as a lyricist, bassist and producer, William became a proud grandfather. He and his eldest granddaughter Jada spent most of their summers together, bonding over music and playtime.
In January of 2021, using StoryCorps Connect, Jada, 25, asked her grandfather how he first found his sound.
Photo: Young Jada Salter and her grandfather William in 2002. Courtesy of Jamal Salter.
Next, we meet Carmencristina Moreno and her sister Rosemary Selzer. They grew up as the children of Mexican folk music artists, Luis M. Moreno and Carmen Moreno — known as Los Moreno or Duo Los Moreno.
Luis fell in love with music when he was just a young boy in Mexico. He wrote songs about all the things that he experienced, like being orphaned at the age of 8, and being sent off to fight in the Mexican Revolution.
He met his wife and creative partner, Carmen Moreno, in California. Together, they became well-known for performing on the radio and in venues throughout the Los Angeles area in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Photo: Carmen Moreno and Luis M. Moreno
Rosemary and Carmencristina came to StoryCorps to share their memories of growing up surrounded by music, and the bittersweet legacy that their parents left behind.
Photo: Carmencristina Moreno and Rosemary Selzer in March 2021
Top photo: Artwork by Lyne Lucien.
Released on December 14, 2021