Songwriting faculty member Henry Gaffney passed away on May 23. (Read the Berklee news story.) Alumnus David Ragland wrote a tribute.

Henry Gaffney, songwriting faculty. Photo by Bill Gallery.

I was lucky enough to have Henry Gaffney for a lyric-writing class, a production class, and for a one-on-one directed study in songwriting class. He was brutally honest, and he encouraged everyone to follow their hearts when it came to their writing. He was also brutally honest with himself, often referring to his early career as “self-indulgent,” and that it took him time to find his style and voice. The final classes of the semester were a highlight when he would have all the students announce the grades we thought we deserved and back it up with an explanation.

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