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Blog Entry

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Posted on: August 2, 2009 2:27 pm
 
My hope here is to create a place where we can discuss what makes a great songwriter, why they are great songwriters and to analyze the aspects of  the many different styles of successful songwriting. I think it is impossible to just name THE TEN BEST or some other form of that style as there are so many ways to measure success. Is it most popular, which is what I believe happens when you have TEN BEST format? If so, ABBA and MICHAEL JACKSON are the greatest  songwriters ever arguably. Is it quantity of songs recorded? If so, Neil Sadaka and Burt Bacharach could be the  greatest songwriters ever. Is it most influential? If so, Bob Dylan is superceded by Woody Guthrie as he was a great influence on Dylan, the Beatles are superceded  by Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones are superceded by Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, etc. Do songwriting teams get the same respect as individual songwriters who write both lyrics and melodies? I think the best way to do this is to talk about the different genres of songwriting individually. I have made many friends the last couple of years on the music threads who I think I understand pretty well and who I think understand me pretty well. While I think my taste is pretty diverse and that I possess a pretty deep understanding of musical history, I tend to be pretty mainstream and centered around the 1964-1980s timeframe in a lot of ways and I will offer my opinions in that manner. Others seem to be quite adept at filling in the gaps of having a greater knowledge of pre-BEATLE rock and roll and R&B music from Motown ands STAX. Some are more knowledgeable about writers like Townes Van Zandt and Warren Zevon  or country tinged bands like Gram Parsons. Some of you really seem to like narrative songs that are thought provoking from artists like Springsteen. I believe there is room to explore all these areas and they all deserve to be discussed, but not all at the same time. So I will propose some ground rules.

I will offer up various topics to discuss one at a time. Please feel free to offer up individuals you which to champion or lists of your favorites. However, please try to include a little dialogue about your choices.

I will generally try to comment on the entries made by those who wish to visit here and I invite all participants to feel free to offer their opinions of both agreement and disagreement. However, everyone MUST BE RESPECTFUL AT ALL TIMES . Remember, we are all stating opinions, not facts and I will remove any posts that are inflammatory.

I hope that this will be a long running forum and free flowing forum where everyone is comfortable enough to visit frequently and express their views. I’m using the blog format to control content  to a degree and to promote more in depth analysis of this great subject.

OK, enough of me pontificating. Thanks to anyone out there who reads this and chooses to participate.

Category: General
Comments

Since: Oct 1, 2012
Posted on: October 1, 2012 2:02 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

I love Robbie Robertson and Neil Diamond. Two incredible song writers, especially Diamond's melodies and phrasing and Robertson's producing. Both of them along with Michael Jackson, Bernie Taupin, the Guthrie's, Jeffrey Steele and many other country songwriters. My most recent favorite songwriters are out of Nashville by the names of Todd Ashburn, John Adams, and Danny Johnson. Danny has written songs in the past for many artist including Rod Stewart who he was a band member (guitar). I did some session work with them in Nashville and became interested in their songs. Very contemporary with incredible melodies. Rod Stewart and some country acts are are cutting some of their songs. Todd, John, and Danny seem to be really nice and approachable. I have met others who were not so....Love your website CBS. Also love all the sports programs you air. Thanks so much, Allen



Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: October 6, 2009 8:17 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Wow, this thread is probably over my head.  I know artists and songs quite well, but as far as who writes them I'm not good at.   Geaorge Strait for example is one of my favorite country singers, but for the most part isn't a songwriter.



Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2009 10:31 am
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Sounds great do we vote now?



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2009 12:14 am
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Thanks Rhino. I guess I missed the part about "American Songwriters", though Lennon was a resident of NYC when he wrote most of the songs that I mentioned, but he is certainly a British song writer.



Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2009 12:00 am
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Steelers,
Welcome to this marvelous blog!
And thank you for your contributions. I especially enjoyed your info about John Lennon.I've already loved his stuff but now I need to go back and listen to the songs you mentioned with a different ear.

Fans,
Thank you once again for this fine thread! I have REALLY enjoyed it. Your voting system sounds like a fair way to come up with a top 10. That free write in vote was especially a nice addition.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: August 31, 2009 11:37 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

First thing great blog Fansince66. I want to say my opinion of songwriter is generally the word writing, I know in some sense songwriting means the whole thing, music and lyrics, but my list is not so much about intriquite chords as lyrics that are great stories or from deep in their soul or great reflections upon their time or the world in general. I would love to give my opinion before I read all the comments on the page and let it change my list of great songwriters, so perhaps I will be back to adjust, but without a too much thought this is who comes to mind when I think great songwriter.


Bob Dylan. First thing I got to say about Dylan, has a song other than "Hurricane" ever really helped free a man from prison? Dylan's ability to tell a story put to music is unmatched in popular music history. Political songs from the soul, like Masters of War, Pawn In Their Game, The Times They Are A Changin', or countless others like them sparked interest in making a difference to an entire generation of youth. He certainly had help in the 60's by many other song writers, but all of those singer song writers shared something in common, a love for Bob Dylan. I don't think there is another single musician listed as so many other musicians most dominant influence. On top of all that his success was immense and it happened in 4 different musical genres, Folk, Rock, Gospel and Country.

John Lennon. For me John Lennon the songwriter I think of different songs than most. The best lyrics I think he ever wrote are the songs "Mother" and "Working Class Hero", of course "Imagine" is near the top as well and many many others. His experimentation with song wriiting is unmatched, Lennon wrote some of the greatest most inspirational songs ever, he wrote some of the most fun songs in pop music in the 60's and he wrote some of the strangest songs you will ever hear. He told personal stories in a way I have never heard either, "Mother" is a song most men couldn't allow themselves to write but Lennon was willing to bear his soul for your love, his love for his son in "Beautiful Boy" or his anger with Paul in "How Do You Sleep". I could list 100 songs of Lennon's I love, easily.

Neil Young. "Keep On Rockin' In The Freeworld" is in my opinion one of the greatest rock songs off all time, it has everything a great rock song should. Beyond that "Old Man" is a great tale of reflection and foresight and he told so many great stories like "Powderfnger" or "Hey, Hey My My". In the last ten years he has written some of his best stuff in my opinion, great songs of reflection and still great opinions on this society of ours.

Those are the three I have for now. I don't want to make it too long.



Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: August 31, 2009 9:04 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Fans, thank you for your disseratation on Bob Dylan.  After reading it, I am glad that I didn't write one myself, as I could not have done it nearly as well.  You have captured Dylan's career perfectly.  Perhaps because Dylan IS NOT one of your favorites is why you penned such a great article.



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: August 31, 2009 8:19 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

Here is the list of songwriters who have ben mentioned with enough conviction to meet my nomination criteria, some have been discussed ad naseum, some just mentioned in a passionate sentence, but all deserving and even with this, I'm sure there are others who are deserving but still overlooked, hence my choice for a write in ballot freebie.

JPS, I am really glad to have made your acquaintance through this blog. Unfortunately, it has become so time consuming that I haven't been able to frequent threads like ALL FRIENDS and WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO where I'm sure I could attract more participants. Your kind words of encouragement really help me to keep going when I feel like letting it go. Obviously I like the kind of forum where I can really open up and be expansive, but those very tendencies lead to confrontations on too many threads. Anyway, thank you for your kind words and your participation and I hope in the words of Humphrey Bogart, "This could be the start of a beautiful friendship." 


      
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;      NOMINEES SO FAR
  1.  ALANIS MORISSETTE
  2. BILLY JOEL
  3. BOB DYLAN
  4. BOB GAUDIO
  5. BOB SEGER
  6. BRIAN WILSON
  7. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
  8. BUDDY HOLLY
  9. BURT BACHARACH
  10. CARLY SIMON
  11. CAROLE KING
  12. CHUCK BERRY
  13. DOLLY PARTON
  14. GENE CLARK
  15. GORDON LIGHTFOOT
  16. HANK WILLIAMS, JR
  17. HARRY CHAPIN
  18. JACKSON BROWNE
  19. JAMES TAYLOR
  20. JIM CROCE
  21. JIMI HENRIX
  22. JIMMY BUFFET
  23. JOHN FOGARTY
  24. JOHN HIATT
  25. J0HN MELLENCAMP 
  26. JOHN SEBASTION
  27. JOHNNY CASH
  28. JOHNNY HORTON
  29. JONI MITCHELL
  30. KRIS KRISTOFFERSON
  31. LAURA NYRO
  32. LEON RUSSELL
  33. LOU REED
  34. LUCINDA WILLIAMS
  35. MARVIN GAYE
  36. MELISSA ETHERIDGE
  37. MERLE HAGGARD
  38. NEIL DIAMOND
  39. NEIL YOUNG
  40. OTIS REDDING
  41. PAUL SIMON
  42. PHIL OCHS
  43. RAY CHARLES
  44. ROY ORBISON
  45. SMOKY ROBINSON
  46. STEVIE NICKS
  47. STEVIE WONDER
  48. TOM PETTY
  49. TOM WAITS
  50. TONY JOE WHITE
  51. TOWNES VAN ZANDT
  52. WARREN ZEVON
  53. WILLIE NELSON




Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: August 31, 2009 7:59 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

You have done  excellent work and your preparation and research while exhaustive and time consuming seem as you said to be a passion of love.I really enjoy visiting your site as it brings me back to a part of my life that professionally is over but some memories linger on.

I agree with your new initiative and think it is fair.Who will win,'God Only Knows"



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: August 31, 2009 7:14 pm
 

THE ART OF GREAT SONGWRITING FORUM

As JPS has said, I am basically trying to wrap this section of the blog up tonight, though I'm not closing any doors per se. We have discussed or felt strongly enough about some solo American songwwriters to mention that they deserve consideration that when I went back through the entire blog post by post, I came up with an astounding 54 nominations. I will be attempting to alphabetize these artirts and starting a new blog where we can vote for our ten favorites and come up with the ten we want to carry over to our next run off. I think I will use a ten point must basis where a vote for first equals ten points and a vote for tenth equals one point, etc. Each voter may write in any songwriter not mentioned in my list one time, no questions asked. If you wish to write in adittional songwriters, be prepared to write an explanation championing your choice. In theory, you could write in ten songwriters if you want to make a case for the other nine you write in. Also, your write in can be anywhere from first to tenth, so if you feel someone has been really slighted, write them in at #1 and they receive ten points. Does this sound fair to everyone as I will adjust rules to make everyone feel fairly treated. I think this type of weighted voting prevents ties and requires a little more thought. Obviously I am asking a lot of those who chose to vote, but I feel like the group I have attracted here care enough to make their opinions count. Of course I would like to attract additional participants, but I confess that I really like all of you who have taken the time to visit here and contribute and also those who I see have visited here regularrlyu even when not contributing by rating my posts. This has been a lot of work, but for me it is like a passion play, not a task.


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