Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

Paul McCartney - John Lennon

The Differences Between Lennon’s and McCartney’s Melodies

Generalizing any aspect of a songwriter’s output is straying into dangerous territory. That’s particularly true of the music of Lennon and McCartney. They were arguably the most versatile writers of pop song of their generation, and probably even now. As soon as they wrote a hit, it was back to the drawing board to come […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Don’t Over-Analyze Your Own Good Songs

Sometimes a song will work even though it seems to go against established norms for songwriting. We know, for example, that the vast majority of song choruses are higher in pitch than the verse that comes before it. So much so, in fact, that it amounts to a kind of principle of songwriting. But there […]

Lenny Kravitz

When Simplicity Rocks: Lenny Kravitz and “Fly Away”

Twenty-one years ago Lenny Kravitz released “Fly Away“, the fourth single from his fifth studio album, ‘5‘. If you’re not sure you know the song, you’ve likely heard it as the soundtrack for travel agencies, car companies and more, like this Nissan commercial from 2011. If you’re ready to study — to learn why a great song […]

John Lennon

Song Melody Tricks We Can Take From “Norwegian Wood”

“Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” is FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle. $37 USD. Immediate Download. The melody for John Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood” is a beauty. There’s really not much to it, but you can argue that the best song melodies are like that: unassuming, almost […]