On Songwriting

I occasionally run across interesting tips and comments on songwriting. Generally, I just try to absorb the best of them for my own benefit. But, it occurred to me that others may be interested as well, so from time to time, I’ll share some here:

“I would say quality is far more important than quantity. I often tell people…let’s guess I’ve written…whether it’s 800 or 1000 songs in my life. I always tell people that if we eliminated the best 15 songs I’ve ever written, I would absolutely be a nobody. So, I could play you hundreds of songs I’ve written that I think have attributes and that are very good songs…but if you take out the best 10 or 15…I’d have to have a different job. I think if you name your musical heroes…you know, certainly with Bob Dylan or The Beatles, there’s more than 10 or 15 songs…probably true also with maybe the Rolling Stones or something, but…most any other artist, no matter how big they are, if you look in a book that sort of shows what are their hits…and you scratch out the 5 or 10 best…there’s not much left. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know how one writes those songs…and what makes them a cut above the other ones…but, that’s what one has to aspire to and aim for…is writing a song that endures and that lasts. Cuz there’s an awful lot of people that can write very good or good songs…but to write that really special song, that’s where the alchemy and the magic sort of happens…and that’s what you have to try for.”

– Billy Steinberg (writer of Madonna’s Like A Virgin, The Bangles’ Eternal Flame, Heart’s Alone, Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors and many others)

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