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 […]

Guitarist - Drummer

Tips for Writing a Great Song Hook

Even non-musicians have an idea of what the hook of a song is: it’s the short, memorable bit that comes immediately to mind when you ask someone, “Hey, do you know the song ____?” Back in the 70s, if you asked someone, “Hey, do you know the song “Stayin’ Alive”, they’d immediately sing, “Ah, ah, […]

Taylor Swift - I Did Something Bad

Using the Verse to Power Up the Chorus Hook

For most songs, if you speak of the hook, you’re talking about the chorus, and most likely the start of the chorus. Sometimes the hooky bit might be the end of the chorus, like Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs’ 1963 hit “Sugar Shack”. For pop songs, the hook has been a perennially essential ingredient. Because […]

Rolling Stones - Satisfaction

Exploring a Deeper Definition of a Song Hook

In pop songwriting, the word hook is often used synonymously with chorus. “I’ve just written a hook” usually means that you’ve got the main part of your chorus done. But in fact, that concept we call the hook is more complex, and overlaps with other elements we typically call riffs, motifs, maybe even loops and other types of repetitive patterns. […]

Adding an Instrumental Hook to Your Song

One way to make a song stand out and grab attention is to create an instrumental hook, one that may or may not have much to do with the song itself. One of my favourite examples of how this can work is Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition“. The sung part of the song doesn’t really have a […]