SONGWRITING TIPS AND ADVICE ON THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOUND IN ALL HIT SONGS

Tag Archives: Songwriters Hall of Fame

Lionel Ritchie - Mar2011 - Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Lionel Richie is set to receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at this June’s Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The award is the Hall’s highest honour and is only awarded to past inductees. Richie has been a Hall of Fame member since 1994.

“In our view, Lionel is more than well deserving of this honour as one the greatest and most prolific songwriters and identifiable music voices in our century,” said the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s co-chairmen Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. “As a songwriter, Lionel’s songs made you love and dance and will last forever in American culture. But he truly demonstrated the power of songwriting with his masterful co-writing of the global song ‘We Are The World’ with Michael Jackson.”

Richie’s songwriting credits include ‘Three Times A Lady’ and ‘Easy’ with The Commodores, and solo hits such as ‘Endless Love’, ‘All Night Long (All Night)’, ‘Hello’ and ‘Say You, Say Me’.

Previous recipients of the Johnny Mercer Award have included Van Morrison, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Phil Collins, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, and Stephen Sondheim, among others.

Set to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at this year’s event are: Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Chip Taylor, Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (who died in 1996), and the late Marvin Gaye. Sire Records co-founder and chairman Seymour Stein will receive the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award.

(Photo: Eva Rinaldi)

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 


Legendary songwriters Bobby Braddock, Willie Dixon, Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia, Toby Keith, Cyndi Lauper and Linda Perry will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 46th Annual Induction and Awards event in New York City on June 18, 2015.

Willie Dixon and Jerry Garcia will be inducted posthumously.

The 2015 inductees have been responsible for classic songs such as ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’, ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’,’ Little Red Rooster, ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E’, ‘Dark Star’, ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy’, ‘Time After Time’ and ‘Beautiful’.

“Our 2015 line-up of inductees represents the rich diversity of American musical styles – Rock, Country, Blues and Pop – that have captivated the world over the past six decades,” said Songwriters Hall of Fame President & CEO Linda Moran. “Each one of these brilliant music creators have written instantly recognizable classics, songs that are both of their time and timeless.”

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) is intended to be a bridge between music’s past and future.  In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of songwriters.

Image via Songwriters Hall of Fame

Image via Songwriters Hall of Fame

Bobby Braddock:

Bobby Braddock is one of the most successful country music songwriters of all time.  He grew up in Florida, travelled the South as a rock and roll musician, and became a songwriter in Nashville in the mid-1960s.  He is the only living person to have written number one country hits in five consecutive decades, penning songs for artists such as Willie Nelson, Nancy Sinatra, Jerry Lee Lewis, T. G. Sheppard and many more.

With 13 number one hits, his songs have become country music standards, including favourites such as, ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E,’ recorded by Tammy Wynette, ‘Golden Ring,’ the duet sung by George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Tracy Lawrence’s, ‘Time Marches On,’ and Toby Keith’s 2001 hit, ‘I Wanna Talk About Me’ (the first #1 country rap song). ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ sung by George Jones, has led most surveys as the best country song of all time. In 2001, he embarked on a new career as a producer, discovering singer Blake Shelton and making several number one records with him.

Braddock’s most recent number one composition was Billy Currington’s, ‘People Are Crazy.’ In 2011, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the annual BMI Icon Award, and in 2012, received the ACM Poet’s Award.  He has received six CMA Song of the Year nominations, winning twice. He has received a total of 30 BMI airplay awards, and nine ‘Million Air’ awards for songs that received at least one million performances each.

Willie Dixon:

Willie Dixon, one of the most prolific songwriters of all time, has been referred to as ‘the poet laureate of the blues’ and the ‘father of modern Chicago blues.’ His songs have been recorded by countless artists across varying genres. ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ first recorded by Muddy Waters and later by Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Jimmy Smith, went on to be recognized by The Blues Foundation and the Grammy Hall of Fame for its influence in pop music and in 2004, was selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry.

Also first recorded by Muddy Waters was ‘I Just Want to Make Love to You,’ later covered by a wide array of artists including Etta James, Adele, Van Morrison, and The Kinks, among others. One of his best-known compositions was ‘Little Red Rooster,’ which was recorded by the Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, the Grateful Dead, The Doors and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll. His other notable songs include ‘My Babe,’ ‘Spoonful’ and ‘You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover.’ He was inducted into The Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the ‘early influences’ (pre-rock) category in 1994.

Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter:

Songwriting partners Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia first paired together as performers in a folk duo in the early 1960s.  When Jerry formed the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960s, he looked to Robert for lyrics. Robert became an official lyricist for the band, and when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Robert was inducted as a band member, the only non-performer ever honoured.

Jerry wrote the music while Robert penned lyrics for songs such as, ‘Casey Jones’, ‘China Cat Sunflower,’ ‘St. Stephen’ and ‘Truckin,’’ which was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure.  With more than 35 million albums sold worldwide, other notable tracks include: ‘Dark Star’ (listed as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, and ranked at #57 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time), the 1987 single ‘Touch Of Grey’, and ‘Friend Of The Devil’ from the 1970 album American Beauty, which has been covered by Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, The Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett and John Mayer.  In 2007, the Grateful Dead received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Toby Keith:

Toby Keith has been one of the most consistent songwriters and hit makers of his era.  He has written a number one song for 20 consecutive years – from his first number one smash, ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy’ to ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’, ‘Who’s Your Daddy’, ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)’, ‘Beer For My Horses’, and ‘I Love This Bar’. He has been honoured with the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction and is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year.  His albums have sold more than 40 million copies, and his tours have drawn more than one million fans each year for the last 14 years.

Cyndi Lauper:

Cyndi Lauper first found acclaim in 1983, co-writing a pair of memorable singles—’Time After Time’ and ‘She Bop’—for her seminal debut, She’s So Unusual.  Spring-boarding off this success, she co-wrote most of her follow-up album, True Colours, including the hit ‘Change of Heart’. As her craft evolved, so did her nuance for expressing social issues, notably on Hat Full of Stars (‘Sally’s Pigeons’, ‘A Part Hate’, ‘Broken Glass’) and Sisters of Avalon (‘Ballad of Cleo and Joe,’ ‘Say A Prayer’).

Throughout her career Cyndi has penned tracks with an assortment of her peers including Billy Joel, The Hooters, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jeff Beck, Junior Vasquex, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nellie McKay and Max Martin.  In 2013, those decades of songwriting culminated in Cyndi’s first foray into Broadway, composing the music for the critically adored Broadway musical Kinky Boots.  The musical won six Tony Awards, including one for her score, which made her the first woman to win solo in that category.  The show has gone on to set a box office record.  Cyndi’s spirited songwriting has earned her more than 50 million in album sales, two Grammys, an Emmy, and a Tony.

Linda Perry:

Growing up, Linda Perry was exposed to a wide-range of musical influences, and began to show interest in creating her own music at a very young age. By age fifteen, she had written her first song, titled ‘Pity Girl’. Perry joined 4 Non Blondes in the early 1990s, and is credited with writing the mega-hit ‘What’s Up’ which catapulted the band to international stardom (selling over seven million records worldwide).

In 2000, Perry began working with Pink on the twice Grammy-nominated album, M!ssundaztood which sold over 13 million copies. Perry wrote and produced eight tracks on the album, including the Grammy-nominated song ‘Get the Party Started’. Perry continued her work with Christina Aguilera, writing and producing several songs including the critically acclaimed pop-ballad ‘Hurt’ and the Grammy Award-winning ‘Beautiful’. Since then, she has written and produced songs with and for artists such as Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, James Blunt, The Dixie Chicks, and Celine Dion.

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“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).


The legendary songwriting team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff are set to receive the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the 45th Annual Induction and Awards ceremony in New York City on June 12.

The Mercer Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It is reserved for a songwriter or songwriting team whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the standard set by Johnny Mercer himself.

Philadelphia-based Gamble and Huff will join past Mercer Award recipients Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, and Cy Coleman.

“It will be our pleasure to welcome Gamble and Huff into the circle of superwriters who have received the Johnny Mercer Award,” said Jimmy Webb, the Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman and a fellow recipient of the Mercer award. “They have met the standard with a series of indelible melodies and lyrics, and an enviable string of number one records and gold and platinum discs.”

Over the past 50 years, Gamble and Huff have written over 3,500 songs together, including 50 pop and R&B chart hit singles. They have won five Grammy Awards and 86 BMI Pop and R&B Awards.

In 1971, the duo set up their own record label, Philadelphia International Records, and went on to create ‘The Sound of Philadelphia’ with classic hits such as The Supremes’ ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’, ‘Only The Strong Survive’ by Jerry Butler, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, Billy Paul’s ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’, and ‘Love Train’ by The O’Jays.

Gamble and Huff were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995.

This video charts the history of Gamble & Huff and The Sound of Philadelphia:

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How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a paperback, or as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA),  HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).


In an earlier story, we asked How many songwriters does it take to write a hit song? According to US singer-songwriter Ke$ha, it only takes a pair!

She recently told US TV chat show host Conan O’Brien that it’s her breasts that write most of her hit songs.

When Conan asked Ke$ha to explain how she writes her songs, she revealed that her latest songwriting technique involves turning off the lights, lowering her boobs over her piano, and bouncing them on the keys to create a melody.

“I just let them tickle the ivories,” said Ke$ha. “It started as like a joke, but it seriously has produced some of my favourite songs on my new record.”

So, another songwriting duo for Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman Jimmy Webb to consider for an award.

And another songwriting team to add to that prestigious list that includes George and Ira Gershwin, Bacharach and David, Lennon and McCartney…

Watch Ke$ha explaining her new songwriting process HERE…

What titles would you suggest for some boobs-written songs?

Photo: Becky Sullivan

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How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is now available from Amazon’s Kindle Store for only US$7.22 or GB£4.78.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK).

Also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music).


Bernie_Elton_By_Bill_Claxtonsm-294x250Songwriters Hall of Fame chairman Jimmy Webb has announced that Elton John and Bernie Taupin will be the 2013 recipients of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at this year’s awards ceremony in New York on June 13.

John and Taupin have been one of the most prolific and successful songwriting partnerships of all time. Their award-winning relationship has spanned more than four decades and they have collaborated on more than 30 albums since they first met in 1967.

“Some catalogues are more significant than others not only because of their pertinence to the times in which they were written, but because their sheer mass is overpowering,” said Jimmy Webb. “It’s just not that easy to write 40 top 10 records. It’s kind of like swimming the English Channel with your hands tied behind your back.”

He added: “Elton’s readily identifiable melodic piano style has proven to be a perfect accompaniment to Bernie’s razor sharp lyrics about relationships and living on the edge of life both in good and bad times.”

The Johnny Mercer Award is the highest honour bestowed by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It is exclusively reserved for songwriters or songwriting teams who have already been inducted in a prior year, and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer.

Past Johnny Mercer Award recipients have included songwriting giants: Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Phil Collins, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Paul Anka, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Paul Simon, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman, Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.

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How (Not) To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success’ is now available from Amazon’s Kindle Store for only US$7.22 or GB£4.78.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK).

Also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music).