Hal Blaine

Being Good, Being Unique, Being Famous

I think it’s fair to say that no one becomes famous for simply being good. There are lots of really great musicians — and I’m thinking specifically of studio musicians — but unless you take the time to look them up on Wikipedia, you’re not likely ever to know them. The ones that get famous […]

The Difference between Good and Great in Songwriting

On the Songwriting Reddit recently, this question popped up: “What trait separates ‘good’ songwriters from ‘great’ songwriters?” It’s generated many responses, and some of them are quite good, I think: When the idea is just so clear and the music matches the lyrical aspect, making something foreign to the listener seem relatable… To be a […]

Gordon Lightfoot - The Last Time I Saw Her

Song Lyrics: To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme

There’s an automatic assumption by many that song lyrics must rhyme. In actuality they don’t. Whether to rhyme or not is often dictated by the genre. Country and pop lyrics are more likely to feature rhyming, while other genres (progressive rock, for example) may not make any attempt to rhyme. To Rhyme So let’s look […]

Songwriter - Guitarists

Learning From Songwriting Mistakes and Successes

Sometimes you’ll find that a song you’ve written will succeed even when it seems to violate some of the basic principles of good songwriting. It might be a melody that just lingers around one or two notes, when our instincts tell us that good melodies should have a nice up-and-down shape. Or it might be […]

Ray Charles - What'd I Say

When Songs Take More Than 20 Minutes to Write

There’s an opinion amongst some songwriters that songs that don’t form themselves quickly, usually within minutes, are duds; that the more you have to work to get a song to sound right, the less likely it is that you’ve got a song worth keeping. It’s a surprisingly common view. Even Jay-Z, in his introductory paragraph to […]

Singer-Songwriter

How to Know If Your Song Is “Good”

Go on almost any songwriting forum these days, or check out the Songwriting Reddit, and you’ll see that a large percentage of the interactions are people giving a link to their latest song, with a plea for the rest of us to “check it out” and tell them what we think of it. Having others […]