A true love story about birth of a good-bye ballad

During the late 1970s, Brent provided advertising, photographic, and creative services for one of the most revered performance bands and recording studios in Kansas, called The Exceptions and Exceptions Studios, respectively. Brent had become inspired by a young and talented trio, and he created a distinctive logo, marketing materials, and poster for the popular group.

Classic poster from the late 1970s, featuring popular pop rock band, The Exceptions Randy Wills, Kansas Music Hall of Fame and founder of The Exceptions

Brent soon became friends with Randy Wills, founder and leader of the band and recording studio. They stayed in touch over the years, sharing an abiding love of the Colorado mountains. A consummate musician and performer since junior high school, Randy, along with his two original band members, were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

A few days after Julie Bethke, Brent’s sister, passed away from cancer in October 2015, her sister-in-law and Brent’s wife, Becky Green, sorted through dresser drawers in Julie’s home to make ready a clothing donation for Goodwill. In the bottom of one drawer, Becky discovered a hand-written poem authored by Julie and entitled When I Die. Julie had never shared this poem with anyone, as if she left behind her poetic thoughts about mortality for others to discover and treasure after her passing.

Brent transcribed his sister’s poem into a Microsoft Word document and began editing to refine the poem, making it more lyrical. He called Randy to see if the musician and composer would help convert rough lyrics into a song.

Randy graciously agreed. He edited lyrics, composed music, performed all instruments, served as lead vocalist, and produced and recorded the song. Within a few weeks, he had transformed Julie and Brent’s draft lyrics into a beautiful ballad.

Entitled Give Me Away, the finished ballad debuted at a Celebration of Life for Julie, held near her California home in February 2016. The song subsequently received United States Certificate of Copyright registration PAu 3-811-614, with authorship shared by Randy Wills, Julie Bethke, and Brent Green.

This thoughtful ballad—masterfully composed, performed and produced by Randy—is a song about saying good-bye to those we love. The ballad recognizes that each of us can live beyond our temporal existence through love. An enduring legacy for those we leave behind is our love.

From Julie to Becky to Brent to Randy, and now to you, this good-bye ballad represents an inspired artistic collaboration that transcends distance and time, serving those closest to Julie and involved in its creation, as well as all those who will someday listen.

If this ballad touches your heart, you may download the full song from iTunes.


Give Me Away, by Randy Wills, Julie Bethke, and Brent Green



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