Last time my essential Rock Read was about the birth of the form, this time the craftsmanship which underlies the seemingly effortlessness of songwriting. Jimmy Webb (and to be fair his songs never sound effortless!) has written a huge number of songs which have earned the epithet classic, By the Time I Get To Phoenix, Galveston, Up, Up And Away, MacArthur Park etc. mainly made famous by others.
The book is a superbly written account (you should expect nothing less from a brilliant lyricist) of how some of those songs came to be, but its more than that. Anyone who is even vaguely interested in the craft would enjoy this treatise on the form. Webb is a great communicator and teacher, whether he is talking about the suitability of some rhymes over others, melodic sequences, cliche versus convention and the pros and cons of collaboration.
If there is a better and more comprehensive book on songwriting – I have yet to read it (and I’ve trawled through a few). An online downloadable podcast interview with the man here!
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