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  • Who are your favourite songwriters to study?

    Hey guys,

    Haven't posted in this section of the forum in quite some time. After taking a long hiatus from writing/recording and struggling with an extensive bout of writer's block, I'm starting to get back into the hang of things again. Hoping to make some strides with my music soon. Recently started tackling songwriting and writing new song material. Also been to a songwriting workshop recently and trying to revisit my approach to songwriting. Anyway, I've been browsing through my music collection and been looking for some good examples of "good songwriting" specifically in regards to verse development, so I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations on which songwriters to study? Which songwriter's works did you find the most helpful for your own songwriting?

    Thanks
    Moderator - The Singer's Forum
    Follow me on Twitter and Soundcloud

  • #2
    I just listen to my favorite music. I play instrumental rock so my main influence is joe satriani. i also listen to eric johnson, steve vai, and all those great shredders. then i listen to beatles, sting, and the most pop songs you hear on the radio. this is for my pop sense. i think pop sensibility is very important in making easy, likable music. lastly i listen to people talking. i find that making music is like speaking, you make sense and try to say something different everytime.

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    • #3
      Not a student of songs per se but Billy Joel and Elton John come immediately to mind; Phil Collins as well. No deep insight - just cool stuff. There's other band stuff like Toto/Eagles/Lionel Richie/EWF/ name 'em...but even though I'm strongly influenced by the compositional aspects of their hits, neither the mechanics nor the actual credits to these tunes seem to matter.
      Originally posted by Unconfigured Static HTML Widget...







      Write Something, or Drag and Drop Images Here...

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      • #4
        Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and Irving Berlin.
        “Good Vibrations” was probably a good record but who's to know? You had to play it about 90 bloody times to even hear what they were singing about. What’s next? Rock opera? —Pete Townshend, Melody Maker Interview, 1966.

        Comment


        • #5
          George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Lennon / McCartney, Holland / Dozier / Holland, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Webb, Woody Guthrie, Carole King... there's a bunch of great songwriters that I really admire. I think there's a ton you could learn from just the handful I listed.
          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm a magpie when it comes to copping ideas from songs and composers. The fairly simple kind of music I deal in - your basic pop/rock/folk/alt sortathing, is for me mainly based on what I think of as musical or lyrical "gestures". I collect them, then mix n match like strands of DNA and hopefully something unique and alive will result.

            A vocal swoop from Stevie Wonder, a lilting melodic feel from McCartney, an amusing, dry point of view from Randy Newman, a grunt and a cough from Tom Waits, deep groove from Beck, a piano flourish from Leon, a finger-picking pattern from James Taylor, a synth pad from Aphex Twin, a cracking snare from Peter Erskine, a B-3 scream from Jon Lord - I've collected a million of them and I stick 'em all in my bag of tricks and after they've mixed and melded and mouldered for a bit, throw 'em into the soup.

            nat
            Last edited by nat whilk II; 04-14-2017, 08:51 PM.

            Comment


            • AJ6stringsting
              AJ6stringsting commented
              Editing a comment
              Jon Lord made me a better guitarist.
              As a kid, guys would boast about Richie Blackmore's guitar solo, until they tried to tackle Jon Lord's solo on High Way Star.
              I used to have my amp head close to me on gigs, hit the Floyd Rose to slack the strings , rattle the reverb tank by rocking it, then raise the volume of a volume pedal, to get Jon Lord's warble effect he got at the end of his solo on Burn.

          • #7
            I can't say I've ever studied anyone's music from the academic or artistic aspect, or even thought of them that away until your question.

            I do remember reading something from Elton John who said when he was in a dry spell he'd play religious hymns. He was a huge listener of music and would spend hours in music stores in London and other places searching through their collections. He would arrange to do it after the stores closed. That's well before the internet allowed him to shop online. I suppose when you're in the business of making music you do that for both inspiration and to influence your own new music. As Bernie Taupin was his sole lyricist he only had to keep a repertoire of melodies at-the-ready, making the relationship very successful.

            So, in that sense, I focused primarily on melody making and have ever since. It works well for me because I find most collaborations to be heavily loaded to the lyricist side by others but sparsely contributed to on the melodic side. Even when there may be an existing melody under the lyricist's work as a song, I've experienced rewriting them using my own melodies to ultimately become the original writer's preference. That's a win-win.

            Otherwise, I do write lyrics and have minor accomplishments there but that muse does not visit as often as the melodic one does. Songsmithing is an art form that I see as a friend and a foe and you can't always spin the latter successfully. So, I turn to melody making where the fun never ceases and weather the lyrical dry spells there.
            Last edited by Idunno; 04-15-2017, 11:47 AM.
            Fisher House Foundation

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            • #8
              Mick Jagger.
              Del
              www.thefullertons.net
              ( •)—:::
              Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Idunno View Post
                I can't say I've ever studied anyone's music from the academic or artistic aspect . . . .
                Davie might just be wondering who we think writes songs well. That's how I took it.

                Davie, can you clarify? Thanks!

                (Oscar Wilde once wrote that all influences are bad. That's why Jagger is good. He's a bad influence on purpose!)
                Del
                www.thefullertons.net
                ( •)—:::
                Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

                Comment


                • #10
                  Songwriting I compose the words and when composing the words or verses I shape the tune in my mind. The way I frame my words can some of the time help shape what I call the influx of the melody. That is the stream of the song and words together. The genuine mystery to songwriting is doing make a decent attempt pick a subject you are aware of for a start and after that let it all out.
                  Last edited by Dendy Jarrett; 05-09-2017, 06:34 AM. Reason: Links in first post removed by Admin. Links allowed after you are an established forum member.

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                  • #11
                    I just got an email notification of a reported post... it felt... ghostly.

                    .

                    music and social links | recent listening

                    Comment


                    • daddymack
                      daddymack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      shhhh...it was all in your imagination, old friend...

                    • Phil O'Keefe
                      Phil O'Keefe commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Hi blue!

                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                    George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Lennon / McCartney, Holland / Dozier / Holland, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Webb, Woody Guthrie, Carole King... there's a bunch of great songwriters that I really admire. I think there's a ton you could learn from just the handful I listed.
                    good lord man, you left out Jerry Goffin and Neil Diamond, but the rest of your list was almost exactly what I was going to post....I still like some Bernstein, Rodgers and Hart, Chuck Berry, the Glimmer Twinz, Roy Orbison, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant as well...
                    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by daddymack View Post

                      good lord man, you left out Jerry Goffin and Neil Diamond, but the rest of your list was almost exactly what I was going to post....I still like some Bernstein, Rodgers and Hart, Chuck Berry, the Glimmer Twinz, Roy Orbison, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant as well...
                      You are obviously a man of sophistication and very good taste.
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                        You are obviously a man of sophistication and very good taste.
                        shhhh! You'll ruin my reputation!

                        I forgot Sammy Cahn, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder...
                        "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                        Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                        "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          I don't know... I think Sammy Cahn was a second-rate lyricist at best.
                          Last edited by LCK; 05-12-2017, 09:06 AM.
                          “Good Vibrations” was probably a good record but who's to know? You had to play it about 90 bloody times to even hear what they were singing about. What’s next? Rock opera? —Pete Townshend, Melody Maker Interview, 1966.

                          Comment













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