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#1154742 - 06/30/19 09:43 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Mar 2010
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Cheyenne Offline
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Talent cant be taught, and those Lyrical / Poets, just go their own way

telling the world everyone else knows nothing -- they hold their

selves in such high esteem its laughable, wasting Good Money on

expensive DEMOS of unfinished ideas , wont improve a poor song -


learn the guide lines before you break them ,?? But understand formats,

and study the best writers ;

Attend seminars and listen to all the honest critiques of their own work


The Truth is real writers know when they have something worth

pitching, they dont needs pats on the back from people who quite frankly dont

understand why the best songs work

Writing a few songs for a bunch of friends seems , to be a waste of time to me

And dare one critique where it could be improved they come out with childish remarks

as to, why they think you are wrong its laughable

Most have learned to speak English playing a guitar is a lot easier buy one and build up a

knowledge of chords from simple triads to four note chords , Otherwise its like

trying to put flesh on an ugly skeleton



Last edited by Cheyenne; 06/30/19 10:38 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1154763 - 06/30/19 01:51 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Cheyenne]  
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Kristi McKeever Offline
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Writing songs for “a bunch of friends” or someone in particular may be the best kinds of songs as they’re likely full of authentic emotion; something that is often missing from the most famous, well-produced “masterpieces” that the industry tries to drill into our subconscious.

No time is wasted if someone is genuinely moved by a song, "warts and all". What could be more important?

I also think it doesn’t matter whether lyrics or music come first or at the same time, etc. There’s more than one way to write a song. Those with intuition/talent/awareness can write something that others hear words in or music in the words, and make a connection; ultimately creating a moving song. Sometimes that involves more than one person.


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#1154775 - 07/01/19 11:34 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Originally Posted by Kristi McKeever
Writing songs for “a bunch of friends” or someone in particular may be the best kinds of songs as they’re likely full of authentic emotion; something that is often missing from the most famous, well-produced “masterpieces” that the industry tries to drill into our subconscious.

No time is wasted if someone is genuinely moved by a song, "warts and all". What could be more important?

I also think it doesn’t matter whether lyrics or music come first or at the same time, etc. There’s more than one way to write a song. Those with intuition/talent/awareness can write something that others hear words in or music in the words, and make a connection; ultimately creating a moving song. Sometimes that involves more than one person.


I think it generally doesnt matter what came first words or music, but the results might be better when melody comes first. Bernie Taupin used to write his lyrics, but people dont realize he was a musician, a singer, who put out his own albums. Helps a great deal for a lyricist to understand music. It's not just a matter of meter either.

I agree with you, how many times do you hear a song from some "up and coming" artist, band, whatever, who just write something that for no other reason, you like it. Might not be able to say why you like it, it may be very raw lyrically or simple musically but it moves you.

That's what I like about music, it's different than baseball or football where the numbers dont lie. Then again, in baseball your favorite player, might not be the best player ever, or even the best player on the team, you just like how he plays. Maybe he hustles, and is a great teammate, or plays like a professional at all times.

But yeah...

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/01/19 11:52 AM.
#1154776 - 07/01/19 11:57 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Bernie Taupin is to lyricists what the Beatles were to musicians and songwriters—he lived the Dream. He really wasn't that musical, not at first, not when he penned most of their best songs in the 60s and 70s. He just wrote "poems" that could be songs, maybe. This is from his recent interview in Time:



...the pair did not meet organically: In 1967, they both answered the same advertisement from Liberty Records seeking songwriters. John couldn’t write lyrics; Taupin couldn’t write melodies. But when John was handed an envelope of Taupin’s poems, he was moved by their lyricism and began cutting demos to them. The pair soon met and developed a close relationship that Taupin called a “non-sexual love affair.”

“When we started it out it was really just me and him,” Taupin said. They slept in bunk-beds in John’s mother’s flat and were often broke; Taupin would write lyrics in a back bedroom while John fit his words to melodies in front of an upright piano. “It was very much a sort of stream-of-consciousness,” Taupin said of his own lyrical style. “I would write whatever I felt, and he would jerry-rig it into a song.”

Many soon-to-be classics were written in that space. A scene from Rocketman shows Taupin handing John (played by Taron Egerton) some lyrics and then going upstairs to brush his teeth. By the time he has rinsed and returned, John has formed the indelible melody of “Your Song,” which would be the pair’s first breakout hit in the United States. “It’s pretty much how it happened,” Taupin said of the scene. “I did write the lyric to ‘Your Song’ over the breakfast table—and I remember there was a coffee mug stain on the lyric.” Taupin does point out a couple small discrepancies, including the fact that John’s mother and grandmother weren’t actually there, as well as the size of the apartment: “There wasn’t an upstairs. It was a one-level apartment, and very small, too.”

#1154777 - 07/01/19 12:03 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: Oct 2017
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
Bernie Taupin is to lyricists what the Beatles were to musicians and songwriters—he lived the Dream. He really wasn't that musical, not at first, not when he penned most of their best songs in the 60s and 70s. He just wrote "poems" that could be songs, maybe. This is from his recent interview in Time:



...the pair did not meet organically: In 1967, they both answered the same advertisement from Liberty Records seeking songwriters. John couldn’t write lyrics; Taupin couldn’t write melodies. But when John was handed an envelope of Taupin’s poems, he was moved by their lyricism and began cutting demos to them. The pair soon met and developed a close relationship that Taupin called a “non-sexual love affair.”

“When we started it out it was really just me and him,” Taupin said. They slept in bunk-beds in John’s mother’s flat and were often broke; Taupin would write lyrics in a back bedroom while John fit his words to melodies in front of an upright piano. “It was very much a sort of stream-of-consciousness,” Taupin said of his own lyrical style. “I would write whatever I felt, and he would jerry-rig it into a song.”

Many soon-to-be classics were written in that space. A scene from Rocketman shows Taupin handing John (played by Taron Egerton) some lyrics and then going upstairs to brush his teeth. By the time he has rinsed and returned, John has formed the indelible melody of “Your Song,” which would be the pair’s first breakout hit in the United States. “It’s pretty much how it happened,” Taupin said of the scene. “I did write the lyric to ‘Your Song’ over the breakfast table—and I remember there was a coffee mug stain on the lyric.” Taupin does point out a couple small discrepancies, including the fact that John’s mother and grandmother weren’t actually there, as well as the size of the apartment: “There wasn’t an upstairs. It was a one-level apartment, and very small, too.”


Cool piece, I read the Elton had a crush on him but he wanted no part of Elton that way lol.

Well if not musical, certainly he had a knack for writing poetry that could be pop hits.

"Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean...those are the sweetest eyes, I've ever seen" Most lyricists dont write lines like that. Conversational and really only become alive when sung.

Bernie just had it.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/01/19 12:04 PM.
#1154796 - 07/02/19 12:05 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
I honestly think Bernie is just one lucky old hippie poet with a knack for cool, vivid phrases, scenes and imagery. Undiscovered, his lyrics would fill these boards and occasionally get picked up by a composer—but they wouldn't be considered the great songs they are, not at all, no way, nope. A great lyric without music is usually just an okay poem. Elton could take anything, if it grabbed him, and find a way to make it fit in an incredibly unique fashion. I'll bet he really knew how to pack anything into a suitcase. The heavy lifting is all in the compositions, nearly every time. I don't believe Bernie ever had any idea how it would all turn out musically, he just had to creatively express himself freely and basically without rules, then wait for the wizard to animate them majestically. Just imagine some of those lyrics without the music. They would absolutely baffle most composers, but Elton is a stone genius that way. Never more than about 20 minutes, and he finds it—every time! Otherwise he gets bored and gives up.

#1154800 - 07/02/19 02:29 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
I honestly think Bernie is just one lucky old hippie poet with a knack for cool, vivid phrases, scenes and imagery. Undiscovered, his lyrics would fill these boards and occasionally get picked up by a composer—but they wouldn't be considered the great songs they are, not at all, no way, nope. A great lyric without music is usually just an okay poem. Elton could take anything, if it grabbed him, and find a way to make it fit in an incredibly unique fashion. I'll bet he really knew how to pack anything into a suitcase. The heavy lifting is all in the compositions, nearly every time. I don't believe Bernie ever had any idea how it would all turn out musically, he just had to creatively express himself freely and basically without rules, then wait for the wizard to animate them majestically. Just imagine some of those lyrics without the music. They would absolutely baffle most composers, but Elton is a stone genius that way. Never more than about 20 minutes, and he finds it—every time! Otherwise he gets bored and gives up.


I agree Elton made the songs classics and made them so tasteful and entertaining, most of the time it is the music anyway! I think some of the sentiments Bernie came up with though kind of cut through our world.

For some reason his poems made for good pop songs, mostly because they said alot, with a little.

Its funny how Elton never wrote with anyone else, Bernie has. I thought his lyric for Hearts These Dreams was particularly special. Look how much information he crams into tiny spaces, short lines....

These Dreams
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41P8UxneDJE

Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
Figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
White skin in linen
Perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over
These dreams in the mist

Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away

Is it cloak n dagger
Could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut
Through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight
The candle in my grip
And words that have no form
Are falling from my lips

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away

There's something out there
I can't resist
I need to hide away from the pain
There's something out there
I can't resist

The sweetest song is silence
That I've ever heard
Funny how your feet
In dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes
Freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face
From dreams in the mist

These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away
These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake the further I'm away






Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/02/19 02:57 PM.
#1154801 - 07/02/19 02:52 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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This reminds me, I gotta go see Rocket Man

#1154817 - 07/03/19 06:19 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Cheyenne Offline
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SEE BELOW SOMETHING WENT WRONG WITH MY DESK TOP

Last edited by Cheyenne; 07/03/19 06:48 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1154818 - 07/03/19 06:30 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Cheyenne Offline
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Back then the story was Elton, placed an add in a small

local UK news paper and Bernie answered it

I would think that Elton would play around with the lyrics

to get them to work with his melodies, Elton also stated in

a documentary that his melodies came very quickly, as soon as

he saw Bernies Lyrics, but I am sure Elton would repeat or

ask for re writes on certain lines

I also, think Bernie had more ideas about

popular song format that we give him credit for, and I am certain

a few phone calls between the two during the songs evolution

would have been the normal procedure

ELTON JOHN also wrote hit songs with TIM RICE

Who collaborated for the music to The Lion King


Eltons Father was an old school R A F officer and he did nothing to

encourage his musical career ,

You probably know that Elton's first gigs were him backing American Singers

who did major tours of the U K , he only had to hear a song once , and he was

able to play it , he started playing the piano when he was Five years old , learning

on his mothers inherited family piano

The Rocket Man film , includes many un related story's invented

to sell bums on seats by the screen writers




A Natural Genius





Last edited by Cheyenne; 07/03/19 07:37 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1154820 - 07/03/19 07:48 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Cheyenne Offline
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Florida U.S.A.
I also think it doesn’t matter whether lyrics or music come first or at the same time, etc. There’s more than one way to write a song. Those with intuition/talent/awareness can write something that others hear words in or music in the words, and make a connection; ultimately creating a moving song. Sometimes that involves more than one person.


Actually you are right, But often the best results happen if the two are written together,

Many hit songs happen because someone , writes a lyric to an existing song and then

gets someone else to write an original score ultimately writing a song who's lyric has an appeal

to millions of people could be the answer ? How you get there does not come into it ,


One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1154824 - 07/03/19 08:53 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Cheyenne]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,506
Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Cheyenne
How you get there does not come into it ,

#1154830 - 07/03/19 11:30 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Sep 2007
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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I'm selling Taupin short. I absolutely LOVE his lyrics. I just think they are only "pretty good" without the music...and the music was always written afterwards. With the music, they are sublime. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight"...what a killer song. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"...perfect lyric for the music...weird and silly all alone.

#1154832 - 07/03/19 11:45 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
I honestly think Bernie is just one lucky old hippie poet with a knack for cool, vivid phrases, scenes and imagery. Undiscovered, his lyrics would fill these boards and occasionally get picked up by a composer—but they wouldn't be considered the great songs they are, not at all, no way, nope. A great lyric without music is usually just an okay poem. Elton could take anything, if it grabbed him, and find a way to make it fit in an incredibly unique fashion. I'll bet he really knew how to pack anything into a suitcase. The heavy lifting is all in the compositions, nearly every time. I don't believe Bernie ever had any idea how it would all turn out musically, he just had to creatively express himself freely and basically without rules, then wait for the wizard to animate them majestically. Just imagine some of those lyrics without the music. They would absolutely baffle most composers, but Elton is a stone genius that way. Never more than about 20 minutes, and he finds it—every time! Otherwise he gets bored and gives up.


I totally agree, and find myself wincing to many of BT's lines and he would probably get some negative comments here, in a parallel universe, with "Your Song" for instance, over lines like, "So excuse me forgetting/But these things, I do /You see, I've forgotten /If they're green or they're blue /Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean /Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen" --which just seems like a lotta sayin' very little, to me.

I think it's a fallacy to think that just because he's very successful at what he did that he didn't have the leeway to write some iffy stuff..I think as listeners and armchair critics, there's a bit of revising our personal feelings on these matters (gradually over-the-years) based on overall public acceptance. In other words, we, in THIS universe, think "Your Song" is great. In a parallel universe where Bernie was just another JPF member?

I am probably a bigger fan of the guy who opened for EJ in that first Troubadour/Los Angeles gig, David Ackles, but I love those first several records, though I could probably live happily without ever hearing Bennie and the Jets or Crocodile Rock ever again.

EJ was a manic consumer of other people's music. I worked for the record store chain Tower Records for over two decades, and stories were told of how in the 70s/80s, the Sunset Blvd. store in Hollywood would open up early every Tuesday morning (new release day) and he'd literally buy EVERY new release that came out. That's, to me, part of the formula for being really good at something: have a genuine interest, dare I say passion, for that thing! SO many songwriters I know don't listen to much music, except for maybe a small, old swath of songs they grew up with. Some that I know listen to a LOT of varied and new stuff. Those in the latter category tend to write better songs, IMHO.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 07/03/19 12:18 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154839 - 07/03/19 01:05 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Completely with you, Mike. I am a huge Elton fan, but with songs like Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Sacrifice and Sad Songs, why would I waste precious time listening to Bennie and the Jets, Crocodile Rock or even Your Song.

#1154843 - 07/03/19 05:27 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
I honestly think Bernie is just one lucky old hippie poet with a knack for cool, vivid phrases, scenes and imagery. Undiscovered, his lyrics would fill these boards and occasionally get picked up by a composer—but they wouldn't be considered the great songs they are, not at all, no way, nope. A great lyric without music is usually just an okay poem. Elton could take anything, if it grabbed him, and find a way to make it fit in an incredibly unique fashion. I'll bet he really knew how to pack anything into a suitcase. The heavy lifting is all in the compositions, nearly every time. I don't believe Bernie ever had any idea how it would all turn out musically, he just had to creatively express himself freely and basically without rules, then wait for the wizard to animate them majestically. Just imagine some of those lyrics without the music. They would absolutely baffle most composers, but Elton is a stone genius that way. Never more than about 20 minutes, and he finds it—every time! Otherwise he gets bored and gives up.


I totally agree, and find myself wincing to many of BT's lines and he would probably get some negative comments here, in a parallel universe, with "Your Song" for instance, over lines like, "So excuse me forgetting/But these things, I do /You see, I've forgotten /If they're green or they're blue /Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean /Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen" --which just seems like a lotta sayin' very little, to me.

I think it's a fallacy to think that just because he's very successful at what he did that he didn't have the leeway to write some iffy stuff..I think as listeners and armchair critics, there's a bit of revising our personal feelings on these matters (gradually over-the-years) based on overall public acceptance. In other words, we, in THIS universe, think "Your Song" is great. In a parallel universe where Bernie was just another JPF member?

I am probably a bigger fan of the guy who opened for EJ in that first Troubadour/Los Angeles gig, David Ackles, but I love those first several records, though I could probably live happily without ever hearing Bennie and the Jets or Crocodile Rock ever again.

EJ was a manic consumer of other people's music. I worked for the record store chain Tower Records for over two decades, and stories were told of how in the 70s/80s, the Sunset Blvd. store in Hollywood would open up early every Tuesday morning (new release day) and he'd literally buy EVERY new release that came out. That's, to me, part of the formula for being really good at something: have a genuine interest, dare I say passion, for that thing! SO many songwriters I know don't listen to much music, except for maybe a small, old swath of songs they grew up with. Some that I know listen to a LOT of varied and new stuff. Those in the latter category tend to write better songs, IMHO.

Mike


Mike, well, you could put the greatest lyric or song ever written on this forum, and it would still get alot of negative critiques, because of star power. If you're not a star, somehow you're not as viable, sometimes its the other way around too. So, I dont know if its overinflating a known commodity or underinflating an unknown one, but I have seen some writers on this forum get MORE praise, and as we saw with the Clapton thread, somehow Clapton sucks, but people here dont. Other times somebody with something brilliant may not even get a reply.

Most of the time its the music anyway, we dont have many Elton Johns in the world, let alone ones who demo songs and place them on forums.

In my opinion, "Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean" is fantastic writing, because it makes the singer accessible. He's "simply stating" that he has trouble "simply stating" something...not the writer, but the character. Which fits with the humble and innocent tone of the lyric. It's conversational and brings the person in the song alive, but thats just my opinion.

The Beatles wrote plenty of IFFY stuff too.

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/03/19 05:57 PM.
#1154845 - 07/03/19 05:52 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Dont forget to blame Bernie for some of the whimpy and cheesey and even comical tunes, is not really fair. Elton wrote the music for them all!

He wrote 'LAAAAAA..... la la la la, la la la la in a baby type of setting for crocodile rock

I mean its right there with All You Need Is Love.

But i happen to like both songs.

I dont have a problem calling both Bernie And Elton geniuses

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/03/19 05:55 PM.
#1154848 - 07/03/19 09:19 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Cheyenne said Bernie T. probably had more ideas about popular song format than we give him credit for and he probably went back and forth with Elton John before they had something. I think that’s likely very true.

No one knows what went into a lyric...people only see the lines at the end of the process and those lines can be underestimated. Music can really bring out what the lyrics are really saying and ones that grab me tell a unique story in an interesting way or express an emotion in a way that I connect with. And like Donna said a page back, that’s the trick....and it does not usually come easy, for me, anyway.

And I agree...in “Your Song”, I hear it as an in the moment spilling of his feelings, as we witness this guy, sittin’ on the roof, kicking off the moss, trying to express himself. He can’t give this person anything...he’s not rich or flashy....but he has his feelings....these tentative thoughts that we hear...and he shares them. Those words are part of his emotion...and that’s the point...he’s vulnerable dancing around what to say. “It may be quite simple” indeed, but “this is your song”. What a gift! wink

Last edited by Kristi McKeever; 07/03/19 09:22 PM.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#1154853 - 07/04/19 02:57 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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THE LISTENERS and buyers could not give a ( monkeye's what name)

about so called Cheese and Ham in some of these past hits

Lets remember most of these songs referred to here include

songs by Elton and Bernie that are at least fifty years old? even older are songs

by John Lennon and Paul Mc Cartney --Paul wrote Yesterday in the Nineteen

Sixties .

Bernie was the right Guy for Elton --and Paul and John changed the

world of Pop Music forever (Thank God They Met)


Sites like JUST PLAIN FOLKS were non existent like Personal

computers back then

Now we get certain people on here pointing out all the so called frailties

in some of their songs ??? and in general its comments from wannabe

writers who have achieved Sweet Fanny Adams in a near life time of writing


We are all Humans and from time to time we l all write some songs

that could be considered by the professionals and the public as

PURE AND UTTER CRAP

The hit songs written by all the above writers out weigh the weaker songs

that slipped past the A and R Department, Get Real Chaps





Last edited by Cheyenne; 07/04/19 02:59 AM.

One of the most important principles of songwriting is to remember that a good song is a partnership of many different components, all working together to produce a satisfying musical experience.

In that respect, song components are either enhancing or compromising their combined effects.
#1154859 - 07/04/19 11:25 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
I honestly think Bernie is just one lucky old hippie poet with a knack for cool, vivid phrases, scenes and imagery. Undiscovered, his lyrics would fill these boards and occasionally get picked up by a composer—but they wouldn't be considered the great songs they are, not at all, no way, nope. A great lyric without music is usually just an okay poem. Elton could take anything, if it grabbed him, and find a way to make it fit in an incredibly unique fashion. I'll bet he really knew how to pack anything into a suitcase. The heavy lifting is all in the compositions, nearly every time. I don't believe Bernie ever had any idea how it would all turn out musically, he just had to creatively express himself freely and basically without rules, then wait for the wizard to animate them majestically. Just imagine some of those lyrics without the music. They would absolutely baffle most composers, but Elton is a stone genius that way. Never more than about 20 minutes, and he finds it—every time! Otherwise he gets bored and gives up.


I totally agree, and find myself wincing to many of BT's lines and he would probably get some negative comments here, in a parallel universe, with "Your Song" for instance, over lines like, "So excuse me forgetting/But these things, I do /You see, I've forgotten /If they're green or they're blue /Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean /Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen" --which just seems like a lotta sayin' very little, to me.

I think it's a fallacy to think that just because he's very successful at what he did that he didn't have the leeway to write some iffy stuff..I think as listeners and armchair critics, there's a bit of revising our personal feelings on these matters (gradually over-the-years) based on overall public acceptance. In other words, we, in THIS universe, think "Your Song" is great. In a parallel universe where Bernie was just another JPF member?

I am probably a bigger fan of the guy who opened for EJ in that first Troubadour/Los Angeles gig, David Ackles, but I love those first several records, though I could probably live happily without ever hearing Bennie and the Jets or Crocodile Rock ever again.

EJ was a manic consumer of other people's music. I worked for the record store chain Tower Records for over two decades, and stories were told of how in the 70s/80s, the Sunset Blvd. store in Hollywood would open up early every Tuesday morning (new release day) and he'd literally buy EVERY new release that came out. That's, to me, part of the formula for being really good at something: have a genuine interest, dare I say passion, for that thing! SO many songwriters I know don't listen to much music, except for maybe a small, old swath of songs they grew up with. Some that I know listen to a LOT of varied and new stuff. Those in the latter category tend to write better songs, IMHO.

Mike


Mike, well, you could put the greatest lyric or song ever written on this forum, and it would still get alot of negative critiques, because of star power. If you're not a star, somehow you're not as viable, sometimes its the other way around too. So, I dont know if its overinflating a known commodity or underinflating an unknown one, but I have seen some writers on this forum get MORE praise, and as we saw with the Clapton thread, somehow Clapton sucks, but people here dont. Other times somebody with something brilliant may not even get a reply.

Most of the time its the music anyway, we dont have many Elton Johns in the world, let alone ones who demo songs and place them on forums.

In my opinion, "Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean" is fantastic writing, because it makes the singer accessible. He's "simply stating" that he has trouble "simply stating" something...not the writer, but the character. Which fits with the humble and innocent tone of the lyric. It's conversational and brings the person in the song alive, but thats just my opinion.

The Beatles wrote plenty of IFFY stuff too.


Hi FD,

I get the meta nature of "Your Song" and how it is showing, not telling, a shy person's fumbling attempt at giving a really nice present to someone. I just think it goes on way too long and is too "roses are red, violets are blue" in some spots for me, even taking in the song's meta-nature.

But I generally agree with what you are saying here, otherwise.

Mike


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154861 - 07/04/19 11:50 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Cheyenne]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Cheyenne


Sites like JUST PLAIN FOLKS were non existent like Personal

computers back then

Now we get certain people on here pointing out all the so called frailties

in some of their songs ??? and in general its comments from wannabe

writers who have achieved Sweet Fanny Adams in a near life time of writing




Yes, how dare anyone without real writing credentials, me included, point out any frailties in any of "great writers" songs. Thanks for putting me in my place.

Except..the thing is..what I really mean..is..that is absolutely NOT what I said. I did not point out frailties. I made it VERY clear I was stating my opinion.

If you don't like the fact that social media, JPF, etc. are places where opinions happen, that's not my problem. I just think "Your Song" gets a bit tedious. By "think" I mean, that is to say, that's my personal opinion.

What's REALLY tedious is when folks start beating their chests saying "my opinion has more weight because.." ...(and then they rattle off their credentials)..whether it be true or not (in the realm of art) is another thread, another time..and by "it" I mean whether one's credentials give one's opinion more weight or not.

There are millions of one-eyed men looking for blind kingdoms to reign o'er. I am a bit more humble than that and rarely share an opinion publicly for fear of getting verbally bum-rushed and sucker punched for offering it. Ouch..

Do note, I said I LOVE their first several records, meaning albums..and then mentioned a few of the tunes I could live without. Sacrilege to you? Sorry..definitely did NOT mean to offend..

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 07/04/19 12:30 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154865 - 07/04/19 12:42 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Kristi McKeever
Cheyenne said Bernie T. probably had more ideas about popular song format than we give him credit for and he probably went back and forth with Elton John before they had something. I think that’s likely very true.

No one knows what went into a lyric...people only see the lines at the end of the process and those lines can be underestimated. Music can really bring out what the lyrics are really saying and ones that grab me tell a unique story in an interesting way or express an emotion in a way that I connect with. And like Donna said a page back, that’s the trick....and it does not usually come easy, for me, anyway.

And I agree...in “Your Song”, I hear it as an in the moment spilling of his feelings, as we witness this guy, sittin’ on the roof, kicking off the moss, trying to express himself. He can’t give this person anything...he’s not rich or flashy....but he has his feelings....these tentative thoughts that we hear...and he shares them. Those words are part of his emotion...and that’s the point...he’s vulnerable dancing around what to say. “It may be quite simple” indeed, but “this is your song”. What a gift! wink


Hi Kristi,

One thing I can't get around when I listen to "Your Song" --and makes me doubt its sincere tone is..if I was going to write a song for someone that was truly their song, I'd mention their name in it or say at least one thing about them. It seems beyond trying to create an atmosphere of a shy, backwards writer who barely knows the person he's addressing...and so the entire logic behind the song falls apart for me. Like so.. "hi there, nice person I admire, I wrote you this song, just for you..though I don't say your name in it..nor do I actually say anything about you personally..heck..that would make it less universal, but still, you gotta believe me, this is YOUR song..though..I'm gonna publish it and make it a hit, it is honestly and truly, your song" LOL..Don't hate me. It just seems to me like "Your Song" is smoke and mirrors and a clever trick..but IMHO NOT actually a song to give anybody special, since it could really be a love-letter addressed to "dear occupant." Okay, alright..he does comment on his/her eyes. They are the sweetest he's ever seen. I can see her finally making sense of the song, right there, saying to herself, "oh, that's nice, he likes my eyes.." wink

To me, it's relying on a clever gimmick to make it work. Not that there's anything wrong with that. "I Honestly Love You" is similar in form. With "I Honestly Love You" the singer addresses the potential creepiness in the bridge ("I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable") but that's missing in "Your Song," and I always imagine the "singee" getting a bit creeped out when the singer intones, "how wonderful life is while you're in the world" --thinking perhaps, "do I know this guy?" --cuz for the set up to work, the singer cannot know the singee very well, right? Or he'd at least remember the color of the eyes, or say at least one concrete thing about her..after all, isn't that how you make someone feel special? Let them know you've noticed stuff about them?

But I can see the mechanics of why folks like it, and it definitely slams the door shut on anyone else coming along and writing a "song of infatuation" that says very little about the singer or singee and is basically the singer telling of his inability to say anything specifically about the singee and moreover about his inability to say anything particularly clever at all, but will keep stammering on, regardless. Now THAT'S clever..

I agree with you about what BT was doing, there. It was a very meta and "showing" (as opposed to "telling") way of writing a first person lyric conveying shyness and the overall impression with most folks is one of sweetness and sincerity, but I think it's EJ's music that sways the material into that sweet spot. Monty Python could easily add a few more verses and made it a funny parody..that never gets to the "sweet eyes" line, and where the singer disregards personal space and gets really close when singing "how wonderful life is.." with the singee obviously getting irritated..

I just think it could have been more concise, even if that lack of concision might be what makes it feel more "homey" and real to most folks. And by "think" I mean "IMHO."

Thanks for sharing yours, you know I value it. smile

And I addressed this to you cuz I know you understand I am being mostly playful in my presentation.

Later ol' friend.. smile

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 07/04/19 06:10 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154896 - 07/05/19 03:36 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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I think "Your Song" is intentionally self-deprecating, a narrative in which the narrator is clearly flawed. It's probably what I like about it most, other than the fact that no other song really sounds like it. A slow, plodding, awkward bit of simple beauty, to me.

#1154898 - 07/05/19 04:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
I think "Your Song" is intentionally self-deprecating, a narrative in which the narrator is clearly flawed. It's probably what I like about it most, other than the fact that no other song really sounds like it. A slow, plodding, awkward bit of simple beauty, to me.


Hi Mark,

I must have an extra "why" chromosome or something..(smiling when I said that..) I'm okay with being in a minority about "Your Song."

No, I mean..I get what you're saying and have understood that about the song, but it still feels phony to me..

You say, "flawed narrator" --but have you considered perhaps it to be an authentic young narrator?

I could imagine that BT really wrote the lyric when he was fourteen or something. I think I'd like the song, actually, if it was coming out of the mouth of an adolescent, cuz then the stammering shyness makes more sense to me.

Or if Randy Newman wrote it, him being a guy who changes characters with every song he sings--I'd imagine that same 14 yr old POV..

If it actually came out as some point that BT DID write the lyric when he was a kid, would that change how you felt about it?

Since the lyric could possibly double as that of adolescent writing, it's remarkable that the majority of folks quickly suspend disbelief with EJ, a grown man and now mature man, singing it.

It could be argued that at least the lyrical phrasing is beyond what an untrained kid could write..I'm not so sure..

It could be called "The Being There Effect" in that everyone in that movie ("Being There") thinks Chauncy Gardner a sage, but we in the audience know he's just repeating what he's seen on TV. So with "Your Song" --we think it genius! But ANY 14 yr old with a crush on someone coulda written the lyric. EJ is mostly responsible for the great phrasing of some awkward line constructions..again..all my conjecture and opinion..

You have to admit it's an easy song to poke fun at and I confess part of me doing that was me mining for stand-up material, since I'm trying to get that solid 8th and 9th minute of a ten minute monologue that I can rap by heart, in a club in front of people cuz I plan on doing that at some point, and really, let's face it, there's nothing like dying in front of a room full of people! --don't worry, I won't quit my day job.

Side note--Rocketman/Yesterday mashup in my brain..I imagine if BT and EJ actually HAD hooked up, there would be no catalogue of songs as we know it.

Perhaps Bernie wrote "Your Song" for Elton after Elton made an unsuccessful pass or confessed his feelings, giving Elton "true words" to sing, cuz those always sing with more passion. "I'm not one of those who can easily hide" could be interpreted as him realizing he can't stay 'closeted' forever, since he was no Liberace but still pretty flamboyant..

Thanks for making having different opinions fun again. wink

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 07/05/19 08:44 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154908 - 07/05/19 08:41 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Hi Mike,

Hey..yes, playful and persuasive! I agree the lyric of “Your Song” is universal in scope. I actually have the sheet music because it’s a song I learned to play on the piano when I was a teenager. smile The lyric talks a lot more about him & his musings and yeah...he doesn’t spend that kind of time on personal attributes of the receiver. I get what you're sayin'. But it's the best he can do at this moment on the roof....lol...ya know?

Anyway....it’s one of my faves of his...but I couldn’t say why exactly...maybe because it’s been around so long...lol....and to me, it feels like he knows no other way....and as in Mark’s description of him there, being self-deprecating and flawed...I feel for the guy. Ever notice how he chuckles after he sings, “If I were a sculptor...”? Like, no way, how ridiculous, he could never be that! That’s revealing! (and it’s not in the lyric either). I like the piano too.

As with anything, art & music are subjective. That’s what makes it so exciting!

It’s fun to toss about these thoughts and ideas. I do believe talking about lyrics and songs helps us all be better writers!! smile

Kristi


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
#1154909 - 07/05/19 08:54 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kristi McKeever]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Originally Posted by Kristi McKeever
Hi Mike,

Hey..yes, playful and persuasive! I agree the lyric of “Your Song” is universal in scope. I actually have the sheet music because it’s a song I learned to play on the piano when I was a teenager. smile The lyric talks a lot more about him & his musings and yeah...he doesn’t spend that kind of time on personal attributes of the receiver. I get what you're sayin'. But it's the best he can do at this moment on the roof....lol...ya know?

Anyway....it’s one of my faves of his...but I couldn’t say why exactly...maybe because it’s been around so long...lol....and to me, it feels like he knows no other way....and as in Mark’s description of him there, being self-deprecating and flawed...I feel for the guy. Ever notice how he chuckles after he sings, “If I were a sculptor...”? Like, no way, how ridiculous, he could never be that! That’s revealing! (and it’s not in the lyric either). I like the piano too.

As with anything, art & music are subjective. That’s what makes it so exciting!

It’s fun to toss about these thoughts and ideas. I do believe talking about lyrics and songs helps us all be better writers!! smile

Kristi


Hi Kristi,

Thanks for making me smile big time and for your generous, nice response.

I truly wish when I heard those opening piano tones, my heart would rise instead of sink, and then the awful permeating dread..Yes, YS generates a visceral response..

I am slowly remembering sitting and listening to YS over and over..for over an hour..in a Public Library, when it first came out..with a friend, at the time, who had bought the 45 and then played it and nothing else for well over an hour. I remember trying to get Jerry to play something else, instead of the same record over and over. Didn't happen..I had to be what? Twelve thirteen..I had forgotten this for..hmmm...over a few decades..I am no psychologist, but I remember feeling like..okay, dude, I know the song by heart, now can we hear something else already? I would hate to think all my theories about YS are just smokescreens for a frustrating adolescent drama I went through, LOL..

BTW, I am with you on writing songs with real friends in mind. The actual content does not need to be real stuff that happened, just that there be an imagined (though real) recipient at the other end. That helps generate real emotion, I believe. smile

But anyway,

Always nice talking. smile

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 07/05/19 10:02 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1154924 - 07/06/19 11:32 AM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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Posts: 1,232
I think we think of songs as just a story or a succession of lines all packed into a structure.

But the singer is a character, hes playing the role that the writer came up with. At least in Your Song, he's playing the role of an every day Joe. You can almost see/hear some ordinary Joe saying this to somebody and not really knowing if his words are making an impact. Im pretty sure he could have written a different line, he just felt that line was right...

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 07/06/19 11:33 AM.
#1154940 - 07/06/19 05:44 PM Re: Why are there so many lyric-only folks? [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Kristi McKeever Offline
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Kristi McKeever  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 3,807
USA
Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
.... I would hate to think all my theories about YS are just smokescreens for a frustrating adolescent drama I went through, LOL..

BTW, I am with you on writing songs with real friends in mind. The actual content does not need to be real stuff that happened, just that there be an imagined (though real) recipient at the other end. That helps generate real emotion, I believe. smile


I get that feeling with a few songs from high school.... grin

And I find writing a lyric in first person is an effective way to express emotions in a story and connect with the listener. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s MY story....the "I" is a character like fdemetrio stated. I see comments to songwriters (including myself) w/the assumption the writer was the one who went thru what was written. Sometimes they have...of course.


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write,
if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be,
he must be. -- Abraham Maslow, American Psychologist
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