Jim Liddane's Daily Blog
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ISA's 'Songwriter Hall Of Fame'
The International Songwriters Association's "Hall Of Fame" has been chosen by the members of the ISA since 1981, and by visitors to this site since 1998.
I wrote ďGirlfriendĒ when I was drunk. The chorus was written in two minutes. It took nothing. And what's
really cool about ďI Can Do BetterĒ is we wrote it, and then I just ran into the booth, and I sang. I laid
down the verse, and ... we just used my demo [take]. It was totally different - so much fun!
Songwriting is an exorcism. I get all my stuff out there. If I didnít have this medium to get my experiences across, I would be lost
I consider myself to be an inept pianist, a bad singer, and a merely competent songwriter. What I do, in my opinion, is by no means extraordinary
My best songs were written very quickly. Just about as much time as it takes to write it down is about as long as it takes to write it...In writing songs I've learned as much from Cezanne as I have from Woody
"A Day In The Life ". Just as it sounds: I was reading the paper one day and I noticed two stories. One
was the drinks heir who killed himself in a car - one of the Guinness family. Tara Brown. That was the
main headline story. He died in London in a car crash. On the next page was a story about 4000 holes in
Blackburn, Lancashire. In the streets, that is. They were going to fill them all. Paul's contribution was the
beautiful little lick in the song "I'd love to turn you on". I had the bulk of the song and the words, but he
contributed this little lick floating around in his head that he couldn't use for anything. I thought it was a damn good piece of work.
I started being a songwriter pretending I could do it, and it turned
out I could. To be a musician, especially a singer/songwriter - well, you don't do
that if you have a thriving social life. You do it because there's an element of
alienation in your life. I wish I could say, 'Oh, that would be great to write a song
about.' But what I'm doing is assembling and minimally directing what is sort of
unconsciously coming out. It's not something I can direct or control. I just end up
being the first person to hear these songs.
They asked us to do the score for a film titled "Les Bicyclettes De Belsize" - a beautiful, arty film, no dialogue, about a boy on a bike, who falls in love with this girl on a poster. So Les and I do four or five songs, and the day comes to present them to the moguls, and they say, "Great. Wonderful songs, boys - but where's the title song?" So I said, "With all due respect, you just can't write a song called 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize'. It's not possible". And they said, "We must have a title song. We're in the studio tomorrow. Please!" So Les and I walk back up Charing Cross Road, quite depressed, go into Francis, Day & Hunter, find an office with a piano, get two strong cups of tea - our drugs! - and that afternoon, we wrote it. And ironically, it was the only song in the movie that meant anything. The others were lovely songs but none of them sold, while "Bicyclettes" is now a standard. So that was a lucky break. We were forced to write it.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
I've always enjoyed writing, that was how I managed to lie my way into Oxford University with some of the worst exam results on record; I just wrote a very good essay, won a place at Magdalen College, and left after a term because there was nothing theatrical going on there and I was bored out of my mind. I went part-time to the Royal College of Music, but even my father told me it was a waste of time and that they'd educate my music out of me, so I didn't stay there long either. I don't wish to be told how to write a fugue in four parts in the style of Palestrina. Somehow, I don't see that forming queues at a Broadway box office.
Clever rhyming is easy, anybody can do itÖOscar Hammerstein II taught me that a song should be like a little one-act play, with an exposition, a development and a conclusion; at the end of the song the character should have moved to a different positionÖCole Porter wrote a valid but entirely different kind of song, in which you take a particular idea and play with it and develop it in terms of cleverness, wit, intellectual or romantic intensityÖThe fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890.
We worked the medley on side two of 'Abbey Road' out carefully in advance. All of those mini songs were partly completed tunes; some were written while we were in India a year before. So there was just a bit of chorus here and a verse there. We welded them all together into a routine
I write a lot from instinct. But as you're writing out of instinct, once you reach a certain level as a songwriter, the craft is always there talking to you in the back of your head...that tells you when it's time to go to the chorus, when it's time to rhyme. Real basic craft... it's second nature
You can't write a song out of thin air. You have to feel and know what you are writing about. Talent is only a starting point. You've got to keep working that talent. Someday I'll reach for it and it won't be there.Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it. The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being a success. After you get what you want you don't want it. The song is ended, but as the songwriter wrote, the melody lingers on.
The Premier Songwriting Contest - The Eurovision
From Lys Assia (Switzerland 1956), to Maneskin who won for Italy in 2021, we examine the winners (and the losers) in what has become the most famous (or infamous) song contest in the world - Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Europťenne. OK, The Eurovision!
Songs Required This Week
Almost every day, we are contacted by singers, bands, managers, record labels and music publishers, seeking new unpublished songs for recording purposes. Just click any of the pictures above and have a quick look at this week's song requirements and opportunities.
Looking For A Hit Songwriter?
Singers, bands, and managers seeking hit songs, contact us daily. If you are looking for top-quality unpublished songs, then an International Songwriters Association songwriter will be more than happy to oblige. And at no cost to you. Just click the picture above!
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Interview
The New York Times referred to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber as "the most commercially successful composer in history". He was ranked the "fifth most powerful person in British culture" by The Telegraph. And International Songwriters Association members consistently
vote his Evita as "the best musical of all time". Sheridan Morley spoke to him for the ISA
Norman Petty Interview
Norman Petty remains one of rock music's most outstanding figures, as a songwriter ("Wheels"), record producer ("That'll Be The Day"), performer ("Almost Paradise"), manager (Buddy Holly) and recording engineer ("Sugar Shack"). He rarely gave interviews, but he was only too happy to speak to Jim Liddane for the International Songwriters Association.
Marijohn Wilkin Interview
When Marijohn Wilkin received her first copy of International Songwriters Association's "Songwriter Magazine" in 1981, one might have been forgiven for thinking that she was at the peak of her career. After all, she had a song recorded by the Beatles! Not so - as she was to prove in the years after that. Marijohn Wilkin, doyenne of female songwriters, tells us her story.
Terry Noon Interview
"The only thing I had was an E-type Jaguar, my pride and joy. I absolutely doted on that car, and I sold it, to start Noon Music. It was the hardest thing but it was the only way I could raise money". Legendary UK publisher and all-round nice guy, Terry Noon talks.
Gene Pitney Interview
"Today's Teardrops by Roy Orbison was a big hit, but not my biggest
songwriting hit. That was Hello Mary Lou which I gave to Rick Nelson, and I've spent a lifetime analysing why it was as big as it was". The legend Gene Pitney, who wrote songs for The Crystals and Bobby Vee, talked to Jim Liddane of the ISA about his separate songwriting career.
Hal Shaper Interview
"In the early days, I had no instinct towards fame or fortune, I just liked being a songwriter. I always used to wake up thinking, 'I can't imagine why everyone in the world doesn't write songs for a living!" Hal Shaper tells how an ambition to be a songwriter led to a career in publishing.
Barry Mason Interview
"I wrote a song called Girl Of Mine for Elvis and there were two versions made of that. One with just the rhythm section, for the fans, without The Jordanaires or violins - and that's the version I've got". One of the greatest of British songwriters of all time, legend Barry Mason, tells all.
Lionel Bart Interview
"I wrote songs for Cliff for the film. The Living Doll song itself - one morning, I was looking at the Sunday Mirror, I think, and I saw this ad for a doll that did everything. And I thought, "That'll do". Lionel Bart modestly makes the writing of an all-time classic sound so very easy!
Sonny Curtis Interview
"Leo Sayer, a songwriter himself, was in his hotel room, watching television, and on came More Than I Can Say in this K-Tel commercial and he said - 'Wow, I always wanted to do that song'. And he did!" Sonny Curtis, writer of countless classic songs for stars such as Hank Williams Jr and Andy Willams, tells all to Jim Liddane of the International Songwriters Association.
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