Bill Clegg's Early-Recovery Musical Crush

By Hunter R. Slaton 06/07/12

Pianist Rachel Yamagata's debut album was a big influence on the famous literary agent and recovering addict.


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Yamagata at a combo mini-concert and
reading she did with Clegg.
Photo via

The TV shows, movies, songs, books and even food and drink—black-cherry seltzer! disco fries!—that people in early recovery indulge in often can take on outsize meaning for them, as they come to associate these things with the ways in which they are changing. The same is true for Bill Clegg, the high-profile NY literary agent, recovering crack addict and author of the recovery tomes Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days, as he told in a recent interview. So what was the big hit for Clegg? A singer-songwriter named Rachel Yamagata, whose album Happenstance Clegg first heard in New York’s Greenwich Village. “I was in a coffee shop on Jane Street, and heard the first few notes on a piano to a song of hers called ‘Quiet’ and they were the saddest, most mournful notes I'd ever heard,” he tells GQ, of the time in which he was fresh out of rehab and attending three 12-Step meetings a day. “I thought: there I am, that's me. And I went home and downloaded Happenstance, and listened to that album until I couldn't anymore.” Here’s a video of Yamagata performing “Quiet” on the KRCW program Morning Becomes Eclectic:

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Hunter Slaton is the esports managing editor for Blizzard Entertainment. You can find hunter on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.