The Doobie Brothers - 1976

Longevity and Songwriting

It’s a bit of a favourite activity for me to look at hit songs from years ago and try to figure out why some of them fade quickly from the musical radar (“Disco Duck“, by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots, No. 1 in 1976), while others never make it to No. 1, but […]

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 […]

Solving Musical Problems Is Best Done Before Production Happens

In 2005, when I wrote my first eBook, “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, I was planning to call it “The Essential Principles of Songwriting.” After some considerable thought, I reasoned that most people would be turned off by the word “principles”, and opted instead for “secrets.” To my mind, however, it conveys the same thing, […]

The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Going From Simple to Complex In Your Songwriting Process

“Nights in White Satin” (1967) is one of The Moody Blues’ biggest hits. Most people know it in its “single” version — a bit over 4 minutes in length. But its full-length version, complete with orchestral introduction and interlude by the London Festival Orchestra, is a multi-sectional work of more than 9 minutes – a […]

Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop the Feeling

In Songwriting, Structure Comes Before Packaging

As a songwriter with aspirations for success in the business, your dream is to have your songs appeal to as many people as possible. But as you know, there have been legendary fights between producers, who make it their job to understand the market, and songwriters, who might be reluctant to commercialize their music to […]

Songwriting - Producer

Technology and the Songwriting Playing Field: Avoiding the Pitfalls

Not that long ago, most of the music you were likely going to hear was good music. I’m talking about before the internet made streaming easy and everywhere. If you were a child of any time before the later 90s, the music you heard was probably the music on the radio, and then the albums […]