Notes on Napkins

musings for songwriters


In Memoriam: Pete Luboff, Friend to Songwriters

By Danny Arena, Co-Founder

Songwriter, mentor, friend, and colleague Pete Luboff passed away this week due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. Sara and I first met Pete and Pat Luboff in the mid-1990s, shortly after they moved from LA to Nashville. At the time, only a handful of songwriters were involved in songwriting education, and we were all friends and knew each other. Pete and Pat’s book, “88 Songwriting Wrongs and How To Right Them,” was always one of my top picks for songwriting books, right next to Sheila Davis’s “Craft of Lyric Writing.”

After they moved to Nashville, we finally got together face-to-face at the Starbucks near the Bluebird Café. I reached out my hand to shake his, and Pete just jumped in and hugged me (and then Sara) like he had known us for years. I quickly learned that was his nature – Pete was a friend to everyone and loved everyone without fail. We talked for hours into the evening until we closed down Starbucks, where I found out they had a Snoop Dogg cut on his first album (who knew!). We taught at seminars and camps together and shared many a meal at both our homes. When Sara and I started thinking about launching, Pat and Pete were among our first phone calls and, not surprisingly, one of the first to jump on board and support us. Their DIY course, SONG 120 – What’s In A Name: The Central Importance Of The Song Title, was one of the first courses developed for This fundamental course remains as relevant today as the day it was conceived. When we added live song feedback courses (FDBK) to our instructional offerings, Pat and Pete were again our first phone call. From 2007 to 2015, they taught the popular FDBK 105 – Song Feedback and Mentoring several times a month. Pete always had his guitar in hand and could effortlessly create musical ideas on the spot for virtually any song to improve it. Pat always had her timer in hand to ensure Pete didn’t spend an hour discussing and working on one song :-).

More than anything, Pete Luboff was a good man, an honest and fierce supporter of songwriters. He loved songs, but more importantly, he loved those who created them. Thank you, Pete, for the joy you added to our life and for all you’ve done for songwriters. We will miss your creativity, your laughter, and your hugs.