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Writing hit songs

Only 308 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

Fear Factory

In the past few chapters you’ve learned that one of the major problems of today’s music is that it is being produced in a factory-like manner, as songwriting and production have mostly become pure services by professionals.

Today’s music is pure entertainment, it lacks spirit, it’s not revolutionary, and it’s definitely not great art.

But now, as you are reading the current chapter, you may wonder why I recommend writing songs using the so-called Golden Rules, by mixing up predefined ingredients. So will we be using the same methods and techniques all of those chart pop producers are using? Well, the answer is yes, at least partly.

We will use the same basic rules and ingredients, but we’ll use them in a very different way.

In fact there are a number of good reasons to follow some rules and recommendations here, namely the following ones:

  1. The chances to write a song with hit potential by chance is really, really small. So we need to make sure your potential hit and signature songs will meet the criteria in order to have some real impact. Because if you don’t manage to write one single song that really makes a dent, then you can simply forget about it. Forget about selling a lot of records, about getting a large international fanbase, about playing in front of tens of thousands of people, about your career, about being remembered, and about everything else.
  2. The Masters Of The Past were using those same rules and ingredients too – either intentionally, or without even knowing them. John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, James Brown, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kurt Cobain, Jack White, Amy Winehouse, and all of the other great artists, they knew those rules, and they were applying them in a highly artistic way. If those folks did it, then maybe you should do it too.
  3. Using those rules does not mean that the result will resemble current chart music, or that it will be boring in any way. Always remember that about 90% of all of the greatest songs of all time were written using those rules, it all just depends of how you will be using them. Most of your own favourite songs are probably following those rules too. Write songs that you can be proud of, that you would like to listen to, that you would buy if they were not yours, and that you would recommend to your own friends.
  4. Always remember that even writing songs in a more factory-like way does not mean that the result has to be bad. Motown Records were running their studio like a factory, and they had a bunch of highly talented professional songwriters. Phil Spector applied his Wall Of Sound technique to a large number of projects and artists. Nevertheless the resulting tracks are now considered to have been among the best songs of all times, those people really made history, and they’ll never be forgotten.
  5. Finally you will need to remember that you will only have a few songs following such rules on your record. All other songs won’t have to follow any rules at all. Remember that our plan will not be to put a whole lot of songs following the same basic rules onto your album – you will only write a few potential hit songs, while all of the rest of your record can be highly experimental, thus allowing you to show off your full potential.

That said, let’s start by taking a closer look at those Golden Rules to be followed…

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Chapter 5.2   •   Page 3 of 20

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