posted on October 17, 2009 at 3:24 am

you will find the title of the song walking through the city
you will find it whispered in the crush
you will hear it shouted down deserted alleyways
you will see it written down at the cenotaph
the rumble of the traffic shall be thy bassline
the clanking of trams and trains thy percussion
the thrust of the empire illustrated by guitar
persians n medes in chariots choogle to war bugles
lambs to the slaughter the bleat goes on
we shoot em down headlong in sound
i need to unscramble my sandals
a messenger will arrive with some lyrics
you will receive him in your tent at dusk
in the fertile valley of one thousand oases
(may the tisroc live forever!)
drive down park lane in your roles royce
but thats all in a future
songwriting involves deep concentration on certain secret numbers
for these secret numbers plus tips on hit singing
send 500 rupees to
secrets of hit songwriting
po box 13
bombay, nevada
oh look dont waste your money
heres one tip for free:
if youre looking for tips in the 1st place
maybe youre barking up a wrong tree
the action has already moved on
a thousand phrases assail yer brain
but only the astute pick em n catalogue em instantly
well little wolfgangs mother
she could see her sun
she could hear how he heard a universe in each note
for such a mind as a genius may have
is no different from the common lumpkin
except that the genius is like a man on a beach
examining every grain of sand
and seeing the vast mechanisms of creation
and being in tune
in tune with the great masters who went before
and bending tradition without shattering it
and being uniquely powerful
and god gave rock n roll to you
and as he did
he appeared framed in strobe
white light white fog
oh god its god
the god of music at least
the great god apollo
a golden iggy pop type
inexorably muscled and preening
and mugging for the camera
and iggy/apollo takes the podium
man his six pack like its etched in quicksilver flesh
he takes the mike
shakes back his tousled mane
and he laughs his melodious laugh you see
the band look to you
which song we playing they ask you
iggy/apollo glares at you man
you do what
you say
ok we better write a song write hear on the spot
right on
the words pop out
coz yer a frickin’ genius
here come the words
up in mount olympus….you scribble down hastily
what are the fuckin’ chords man
asks hermes/ricky the messenger
i dunno…oh…c….a minor…f….that’ll do
whats the fooking drums do asks mars ringo
something t rex you yell back
even tho this is one thousand bc
the atoms which will make up marc bolan
still swirl in the inchoate void
t rex i scream through the maelstrom of electric guitar
hermes/ricky with his amp n wah wah peddles
he sounds like every guitar that ever was all rocknrolled into one
(im on fire)
t rex like the thundering beasts of old
mars ringo fuckin well thumps the kit
boom whacka boom boom whack whack
the joint begins to finally rock
you finish the lyrics at the same time as you figure out the keys
you change a bass note to indicate a descent
the ground seems to fall away from beneath the audience
as the bass guitarist hits that note
that fuckin’ note which fell outta yer head so quick n easy
now look at the audience
you slew em
but you aint got time to gloat
you need to sort out the ending
and suddenly with that new bass note
the mellotron flutes sound a bit suss
apollo is grooving on yer lyrics man congratulations
lower the curtain down in corinth he croons
scrutinize the screen for another final thing to chuck in there
apollo sings lets go to nineveh it isnt that far…!!
and the crowd erupt as he cuts open his chest and bleeds his ichor on em
the ichor encore smirks hades the manager in the backroom
watching it all on closed circuit
you put on the finishing touches
sprinkle on the fuckin’ fairy dust
use your imagination for this bit
scroll thru yer options
have an open mind
jesus you fill spectral caverns with your walls of sound
years later an archaelogist will take off all that reverb
man you boogaloo’d with the gods at last
so you see how easy it can be
pure and easy
pure n simple
get in
get out
and then

19 Responses to “secrets of hit songwriting”

  1. avatar
    cazziem | 17 October 2009 at 5:09 am #

    I'd love to see today's blog as a sketch; it would be hilarious! I've never tried to write a song, but do write a lot of poetry, so for me it's the melody that's missing, cos I suppose a poem is just a song without music really? Oh, and God did give us music; just listen to the bird song early in the morning. Not quite rock n roll though – unless is winter time and the bird song is coming from a ‘Rocking Robin’. Haha!

  2. avatar
    lily | 17 October 2009 at 7:28 am #

    Hey SK!

    Maybe I missed a mention of this in a previous blog, but tonight I saw a TV commercial for Lincoln and UTMW was in it! (Sung by someone else, a female voice, not NEARLY as good, of course.) I was just really surprised. I've also seen a Lincoln ad with BOC's "Burning For You". They must be trying to cool up their image a bit. 🙂

  3. avatar
    Saint Louie | 17 October 2009 at 7:34 am #

    "years later an archaelogist will take off all that reverb
    man you boogaloo'd with the gods at last"

    …is my favorite part!


    P.S. Lookin' furward to dee new Operetta EP…awesome dawg!

  4. avatar
    Forrest Gump | 17 October 2009 at 7:47 am #

    My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

  5. avatar
    princey | 17 October 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Yeah right, it's so easy peezy writing a hit, will try it tonight, with a bullet too!

    I'm itchin' for one of your new short'n'sweet songs timey being, hoping it'll come soon.
    luv Amanda

  6. avatar
    matthew | 17 October 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    nice to see the Tisroc get a look in now and then… may he live forever…

  7. avatar
    vortex | 17 October 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    So who do you have to convince it's a hit song before your song makes it to the airwaves and the bobtoob?
    Maybe we've all written hit songs but the ever so illucent gatekeeper is missing to bid passage on to our forward thoughts…

  8. avatar
    Melquiades | 17 October 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    enter entwined
    mentor the deranged
    keep me driving
    gliding thorugh this reign

  9. avatar
    Freddie | 17 October 2009 at 7:06 pm #

    Songwriting…ya either got it or ya ain’t.
    Your shirt is makin’ me homesick.
    As a wee child back hoe in KY
    I would go into the forest
    and pick leaves like that to feed my pony.
    Those were his favorite.

  10. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 October 2009 at 11:09 pm #

    rare as rockinghorse poo,you are!!!;-D:D xo

  11. avatar
    eek | 18 October 2009 at 4:59 am #

    "oh look dont waste your money
    heres one tip for free:
    if youre looking for tips in the 1st place
    maybe youre barking up a wrong tree
    the action has already moved on
    a thousand phrases assail yer brain
    but only the astute pick em n catalogue em instantly"

    No kidding. I couldn't write a song if my life depended on it. I am very grateful to (and a bit jealous of) those who can.

    And so to read about it is like a trip into a totally different and exotic world. Pretty cool. 🙂

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 October 2009 at 7:09 am #

    ya can't explain how to write a hit…either you're the blessed vessel to transport the melody and words, or yer some wanker in a boy band!

  13. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 18 October 2009 at 7:51 am #

    …loved the way you mentioned the city there as music…..the night music of the city was amazing when i was down there……

    listened to starfish a couple of times day before yesterday…..jesus man, there's divinity in you however much you may deny it…..

    love always……

  14. avatar
    Jasperina | 18 October 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Can you teach imagination?

  15. avatar
    Celticat | 18 October 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Killer, just a heads up. Phoned Albies Bar in Busselton tonite.

    Has you down as there 4th Nov. Bird taking booking assures me its the 5th so I haven't booked yet. I will catchyou in Perth, Busso anybloodywhere but thought you should know maybe check?

    love Celticat

  16. avatar
    davem | 18 October 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    We've got to get in to get out, sk.

  17. avatar
    bc | 19 October 2009 at 12:10 am #

    a messenger… at dusk; i'll be waiting.
    grateful for secrets sk

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 October 2009 at 12:54 am #

    hey, didja see the interview with Donovan on the ABC on SAT just past.
    Really good,what a lucid fellow with a great story to tell, with some great tips on hitsongwriting

  19. avatar
    DONT TREAD ON ME | 19 October 2009 at 2:56 am #

    a song in the future
    maybe there's somethin to it
    we'll see how it goes
    long before u knew it

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