Considering how unspectacular The Eagles' big reunion went as compared to Don's solo career, we want to bring a little bit of Don's magic to your very own home. Soon you'll find yourself cranking out top 10 hits in your spare time. Interested? Read on..
Never think too hard about a song's lyrics.
Look at guys like Billy Joel. Sure, he can write great lyrics. But they're so complex that he usually forgets them at concerts. That's not only really embarrassing, but where are your big lyrics then, huh pal?
Think up some phrase and use it over and over and over again. If you're lucky, you'll only have to write half a song.
They're pickin' up the prisoners and puttin' 'em in a pen And all she wants to do is dance, dance Rebels been rebels since I don't know when And all she wants to do is dance Molotov cocktail-the local drink And all she wants to do is dance, dance (whatever you can think of to fill the time) And all she wants to do is dance (but better make sure every other line will rhyme) And all she wants to do is dance, dance
It's that easy! And easy to memorize, unlike, ahem, other artists that we won't bring ourselves to mention.
Before you get to the chorus, end each verse with the same phrase (N.B. that pre-chorus phrase is generally refered to as "the hook").
You can make money, you can make good friends You can make mistakes and you can make amends You can make it easy when push comes to shove, but- You can't make love You can make advances, you can make big plans Plant sloppy kisses all over her hands You can tell her everything you're dreamin' of, but- You can't make love Love's a little word that's been kicked around Used too much, beaten down What in the world are you thinkin' of? You can't make love
See the pattern? "You can't make love" is an okay expression all by itself, but if you end all of your verses with it, it becomes almost magical.
More advanced students will learn to modify the hook a little teensy bit each time.
You don't really need to find out what's going on, You don't want to know just how far it's gone, Just leave well enough alone, Keep your dirty laundry. Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies, We got our fingers in ev'rybody's pies, We love to cut you down to size, We love dirty laundry. We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing. When it's all over we haven't told you a thing. We all know that crap is king, Give us dirty laundry. .. And a burning desire For every breath, for every day of living And this is my Thanksgiving I've got a back that bends For every breath, for every day of living This is my Thanksgiving For every winding road that brought me here For every breath, for every day of living This is my Thanksgiving And for everything that broke my heart For every breath, for every day of living This is my Thanksgiving [Contributed by Dr. Betsy]
Discovering the hook for this song is left as an exercise to the reader. The advantage to making all of your hooks the same is that your band will never be confused when the chorus is coming up. This will let them abuse harder and harder drugs while they're playing, but they'll still sound okay, plus they'll know when to change key, etc.
Write all of your choruses in 30 seconds or less.
Who goes around humming a Sting-esque chorus? Think about your target audience. Even marketing majors know that the MTV generation can't remember what they wore yesterday. Make it easy on them. Stretch chorus-quality phrases for all they're worth.
I wanna stay in the land of the living I wanna stay here with you I wanna stay in the land of the living I wanna stay here with you Kick 'em when they're up, Kick 'em when they're down. Kick 'em when they're up, Kick 'em when they're down. Kick 'em when they're up, Kick 'em when they're down. Kick 'em when they're up, Kick 'em all around. How bad do you want it? How bad do you want it? How bad do you want it? Not bad enough Turn this thing around I will not go quietly I will not lie down I will not go quietly I will not lie down I will not go quietly I will not lie down I will not lie down In a New York minute Everything can change In a New York minute Things can get pretty strange In a New York minute Everything can change In a New York minute This ain't no Shangri-La To you, no Shangri-La This ain't no Shangri-La Nobody knows no Shangri-La The way you dance The way you walk The way your drive The way you talk [Contributed by Dr. Betsy, from Don's Inside Job album] You can't get the genie back in the bottle You can't get the genie back in the bottle You can't get the genie back in the bottle You can't get the genie back in the bottle And everything matters, everything matters Every little thing you do [Contributed by Dr. Betsy] Down at the Sunset Grill Down at the Sunset Grill Down at the Sunset Grill Down at the Sunset Grill
Relax about rhyming. Seriously.
Dr. Betsy, a famous researcher with a degree in Don-ology, discovered that Don is able to bend the laws of language and the heretofore thought-to-be-immutable fabric of music. The resulting dynamic allows Don to create rhymes that seem effortless.
Examples from Inside Job:
There were days, lonely days When the world wouldn't throw me a crumb But I kept on believing That this day would come A lot of things have happened since the last time we spoke Some them are funny Some of 'em ain't no joke And I know that kind of notion--well, it just ain't cool So send me back to Sunday school
"Hi, I'm Don Henley. I'm sure you'll love my school of songwriting."
What more do you need to hear? Contact Don Henley's School of Songwriting today! Classes are forming for next term, but hurry, space is limited.
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