Mike Campbell is a tour de force, listed on many of the Heartbreakers hits, and also penning “The Boys of Summer” and “The Heart Of the Matter”, among others, for Don Henley.
SF: When you write a song like “Refugee”, do you have a sense for whether or not it’s going to be a hit?
Mike: On some level you know it’s good. You know that certain things are better than others that you’ve done and you notice that the band or the people around start responding to it more than certain songs. You can tell that maybe there’s something special about this one. Refugee, when we were at the studio mixing it, I remember this one girl who was working in reception, she came in and heard the mix and she said, “that’s a hit, that’s a hit,” and we looked at each other and said, “maybe it is.” You don’t always know. Sometimes you think certain things are sure-fire and people just don’t latch on to them and other things they do. You know when it’s good or not, but you don’t always know if it’s a hit. A hit record a lot of times is more than just the song, it’s the timing, the climate you put it out in, what people are listening to and what they’re expecting to hear and if it touches a nerve at a certain time. Sometimes that determines if it’s a big hit or not.
From this interview