Songwriting for Geniuses
Williams learned her sense of concision from her father, poet Miller Williams. At a time when most songwriters were still talking about love and heartbreak, Curtis Mayfield was penning sweet, subtle Civil Rights epistles like 's "Keep on Pushing" and 's "People Get Ready" the latter a favorite of Martin Luther King. As leader of the Impressions, Mayfield's low-key demeanor matched his lithe tenor and restrained, spacious guitar playing that influenced fellow chitlin' circuit veteran Jimi Hendrix' "Little Wing.
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If you could feel it, I could feel it. And I could write a song about it. If you have a good imagination, you can go quite far. The syncopation. The humor.
How songs are written
We take longer to get to the future than anywhere else in America. So we have held on to the old world charm more. If the personal is political, Loretta Lynn was Nashville's down-home feminist revolutionary. She always took more pride in her writing than in her perky singing, and much of the lyrical material in her 16 country chart-toppers was drawn from her difficult marriage to Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn, whose alcoholism and infidelities inspired domestic dramedies like "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' With Lovin' on Your Mind.
Sometimes Hayes played keyboards on songs they'd written together, or Porter sang backup. I'm Comin'" and other classic duets. The team fell apart once Hayes became a hot buttered soul star in his own right, but they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame together in , three years before Hayes' death.
A gender-bending poet who kicked open the door for punk while retaining a faith in rock's Sixties idealism, she drew on her love of Dylan, garage rock and French symbolist poetry as well guitarist Lenny Kaye's encyclopedic knowledge to rewrite rock history in her own image. A collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, "Because the Night," became a Top 20 hit in , and after a long absence she returned in with "People Have the Power," and then again in with "About a Boy," a tribute to Kurt Cobain as well as her departed husband Fred "Sonic" Smith and friend Robert Mapplethorpe.
The deep passion of her work since shows she's never lost her faith in what she once called "the right to create, without apology, from a stance beyond gender or social definition, but not beyond the responsibility to create something of worth.
Who’s Fighting It
Veering away from the pop success of "Creep," the group began deconstructing and abstracting songforms. Yorke and Greenwood have called their process "defacatory," and Yorke suggests his lyrics are as much stream of consciousness flow, gibberish and "just sounds" as anything confessional. They always had a simple melody, a hip set of chord changes and a cool groove.
When Walter Becker and Donald Fagen met as students at Bard College during the late Sixties, they hit it off over a shared love of jazz, Dylan and the sardonic, post-modern humor of writers like Kurt Vonnegut and John Barth. Thus began the symbiotic relationship that produced a string of sophisticated, acerbic songs that still felt at home amidst the laidback mood of Seventies FM radio — hits like "Do It Again," "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Peg.
We'd work on music and lyrics together, inventing characters, adding musical and verbal jokes, polishing the arrangements and smoking Turkish cigarettes. The way he could mix the deep grooves of church music and blues with lighter pop melodies electrified his music, but there was nothing light about his greatest work, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.
Taylor was one of the most successful and influential artists to emerge from the "singer-songwriter" scene of the early Seventies. By chronicling every aspect of his life — drug addiction, recovery, marriages and divorces, deaths of friends and family members — he created the mold for confessional balladeers from Cat Stevens to Elliott Smith. As his friend and former guitarist Danny Kortchmar has said, "They're like Christmas carols. It sounds like they were written a hundred years ago.
It's not for everybody. And it doesn't pretend to be. But to me, there's still something compelling to me about doing it. No hip-hop artist has reached the Billboard Top Ten more times than Jay Z, and none has done more to shape both the culture and music around him. His most indelible songs — "Izzo Hova ," "99 Problems," "Big Pimpin'" — mix diamond-sharp rhymes with unshakable hooks.
As he notes himself, in the late Nineties and early s, it wasn't summer without a Jay Z hit blasting out of every car window.
Recent highpoints like the Kanye West collaboration "Otis" and 's "Picasso Baby" show that no number of lunches with Warren Buffet or late-night diaper-duty emergency calls can slow down his de Vinci flow and Sinatra roll. He began writing as a childhood hobby — authoring, as he later recalled, ", songs before I had as record deal. The more you listen, the clearer it becomes that Marr isn't exaggerating. They scored their first big hit with the Soul Survivors' "Expressway to Your Heart" in , but by then the team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff had already been working together for five years, and over the following 15, they'd define the sound of Philadelphia soul and help invent disco.
Gamble wrote most of their lyrics, and keyboardist Huff most of their music, but their roles were flexible, and so was their style: they wrote poignant love songs "Me and Mrs.
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Jones" , rubbery political funk "For the Love of Money" , and richly orchestrated dance music with the rhythms that became disco tropes like the Soul Train theme "TSOP". Harrison wrote one of the Beatles' earliest openly political songs in 's "Taxman" and one of their prettiest late-period tunes in "Here Comes the Sun. After working as a producer at Atlantic Records, he established his own labels Bang and Shout, where he collaborated closely with Van Morrison most famously on the singer's biggest hit, "Brown Eyed Girl" and wrote "Piece of My Heart," which was covered by Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Berns, who suffered from chronic health problems since childhood, died of a heart attack in at Despite his enormous reputation among other songwriters, he remains a relatively obscure figure in pop history. As the leader of Pretenders, Hynde linked the start-and-go rhythms and abrasive guitars of post-punk to a heartland rocker's sense of straightforward melody.
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Nilsson was a pioneer of the Los Angeles studio sound, a crucial bridge between the baroque psychedelic pop of the late Sixties and the more personal singer-songwriter era of the Seventies. Overdubbing his flawless voice, he was his own angelic choir on songs like "" and the Beatles medley "You Can't Do That," and he caught the ear of Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, who bought a box of Nilsson records to send to friends.
In songs like "You're Breaking My Heart" ". Which is a rare, inexplicable talent to have," Randy Newman once said of Nilsson's easy way with complex melodies and counterpoint. Harry had that gift. Jerome Felder was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who'd been on crutches since he'd contracted polio at age six. When he started trying to establish himself as a blues singer, he called himself Doc Pomus.
But he gave up his performing career in the late Fifties and formed a songwriting partnership with Mort Shuman.
fensterstudio.ru/components/tocekuka/lala-como-hackear.php King's "Young Boy Blues," a collaboration with Phil Spector, in which every verse is effectively one long sentence. Spector later called Pomus, who died of cancer in , "the greatest songwriter who ever lived. But in the early Seventies he moved to Austin, Texas, and reinvented himself as a link between Nashville's tradition and rock's imperative of personal freedom, making concept albums like Phases and Stages and Red Headed Stranger , helping pioneer the stripped-down Outlaw Country movement and rising as the greatest interpreter of American song outside Frank Sinatra.
No one except Dylan has embraced the endless highway with more artistic success — as explained by Nelson in "On the Road Again," a Top 20 Grammy-winning hit in — and his studio career is just as endless, ranging from Texas swing to reggae to standards with strings. He's unique. For all of pioneering funk radical George Clinton's subversive use of hard grooves, distortion, jamming, Afro-futurism and arena-wowing spaceships, the vast P-Funk canon was built on traditional songwriting chops.
Parliament was born as a doo-wop group in the Fifties led by Clinton, a young Leiber and Stoller fan who worked briefly in the Brill Building and later spent time as a Motown songwriter. After his exposure to Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge and copious amounts of psychedelics, Clinton's pop-wise sense of puns and wordplay helped drive home his interstellar philosophizing.
Between their roaring debut in and their split in , the duo wrote at a feverish pace, often in Jones' grandmother's flat in a high-rise council estate, bashing out finished songs together as a full band in their rehearsal space. The Clash's watershed London Calling , which Rolling Stone declared the best album of the Eighties, became a double album not by design but because they were writing so many songs so quickly at the time. Before she was a star, Madonna was a songwriter with a sharp ear for a hook and a lyrical catchphrase, playing tracks like "Lucky Star" for record companies in the hope of scoring a contract.
Her earliest hits honed the electro beats coming out of the New York club scene into universal radio gold. But songs like her greatest statement, "Like a Prayer," can also summon an anthemic power to rival Springsteen or U2. Madonna has enlisted numerous collaborators en route to selling more than million albums — she started working with longtime writing partner Patrick Leonard after he brought her "Live to Tell" in , and from Shep Pettibone and William Orbit in the Nineties through Diplo, Avicii and Kanye West on 's Rebel Heart , she's worked successfully with producers across many genres.
Through it all, her songs have been consistently stamped with her own sensibility and inflected with autobiographical detail. Waits began as a throwback, a beatnik jazzbo singing the praises of old cars and barflies and looking for the heart of Saturday night. Nirvana's skull-crushing noise assault would have meant little if not for the deceptively brilliant pop craft underpinning it. Her "Rhiannon," "Sara" and "Gold Dust Woman" were full of post-hippie witchy imagery, but under the gossamer surface, they were deceptively tough-minded accounts of heartbreak and betrayal in the L.
She and Buckingham were a couple when they joined Fleetwood Mac, but some of her greatest songs came out of the wreckage of their relationship — including the Number One "Dreams. She remains undiminished as a writer, as she proved on her gem In Your Dreams. But her most famous song is still "Landslide," her acoustic lament for children growing older, written before she'd even turned You can feel really old at At the heart of Biggie's music was a gift for rolling off scrolls of buoyant lines that were as singable as they were quotable — "Birthdays were the worst days, now we sip champagne when we're thirsty," "Poppa been smooth since days of Underoos" and on and on.
Working with pop-savvy producer Sean "Puffy" Combs, Biggie raised his game throughout his brief career —from the social realism of "Things Done Changed" to the euphoric rags-to-riches celebration "Juicy" to effortlessly virtuosic performances like "Hypnotize" and "Ten Crack Commandments," both from his swan song Life After Death. Dixon was a fine performer and bass player, but he made his greatest contribution as house songwriter at Chess Records in the s. Dixon was essential in shaping the sound of post-war Chicago blues, supplying masters like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf with riffs as crisp as the creases in a new suit and lyrics so boastful that they'd be terrifying if half-true.
By the early Sixties, as a new generation discovered the blues, plenty of young white men were learning to exaggerate their sexual prowess from Dixon's songs. It's possible that no blues writer other than Robert Johnson had had as profound an impact on the development of rock music: Mick Jagger acquired his strut from "Little Red Rooster," which the Stones faithfully covered in ; the Doors did a leering L. From a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island, rode a boy with a six-pack in his hand — Billy Joel, in real life a piano man from Hicksville.
Joel has always had a heart in Tin Pan Alley, first hitting it big in the Seventies with the semi-confessional tale of wasting away as a lounge performer, "Piano Man. His signature song, "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," is an epic seven-minute tale of suburban dreams biting the dust down at the Parkway Diner.
Happy 50th anniversary, Brenda and Eddie. The two future Eagles were lucky to meet up in L. And those songs, soaked in world-weariness, cynicism, resentment and the occasional happy ending, were so precisely crafted that, decades later, they keep people returning to the records and seeing the band's seemingly endless reunion tour. In , a clever record company executive paired lyricist Bernie Taupin and a young piano player named Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
Their partnership has endured for nearly 50 years, putting 57 songs in the Top I had someone to write my words for me. Without him, the journey would not have been possible. There's a reason Diamond's songs have been covered by everyone from the Monkees and Smash Mouth to Sinatra. First are the meaty, hooky melodies, dating back to early Diamond sing-alongs like "Cherry, Cherry" and "Sweet Caroline" and extending into later, more brooding angst-a-thons like "I Am.
I Said" and "Song Sung Blue. From his early, frisky Brill Building pop "I'm a Believer" to the later-life love songs about his latest wife, few singers brood and contemplate life in song the way Diamond has. And let's not forget the ebullient "Cracklin' Rosie," the vaguely salacious "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," just two of the more than 50 songs he's placed in the Billboard Top during his half-century-plus career. I write these little songs and go and sing them.
It seems like an odd way to gain an inner sense of acceptance of the self.