How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

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The Great Defector
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How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby The Great Defector » 16 May 2017, 18:48

For decades, songwriting duos dominated popular music: Lennon and McCartney; Jagger and Richards; Benny and Bjorn.

Not any more.

A new study by Music Week magazine shows it now takes an average of 4.53 writers to create a hit single.



http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-39934986
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Ragye
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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby Ragye » 16 May 2017, 19:21

Or a hellish lot of chimpanzees
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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby Muskrat » 16 May 2017, 20:00

This has been superceded for the trophy by some more contemporary singles, but at one point the number was ten. From my liner notes to a Pat Boone album:

August 23, 1962

Ten Lonely Guys
(Jerry Feldman-Robert Goldstein-Richard Gottherer-Stanley Kahan-Neil Diamond-Eddie Snyder-Larry Weiss-Cliff Adams-Wes Farrell-Lockie Edwards Jr.)


As the roster of ten credited writers would suggest, there’s a story behind Ten Lonely Guys. All of them were young and hungry, and hanging around the offices of Roosevelt Music in New York, to which some (but not all) were contracted. One night, on a whim, they wrote a song together. “It was really a country song. I’m not sure if every one of us contributed to it,” admits Larry Weiss. “I think Stanley Kahn and a bottle of Jack came up with the idea. We just made it up as we went along. Eddie Snyder was also very instrumental in the recording.” Neil Diamond was the singer on the demonstration record, which found its way to Randy Wood. “I met Neil several years ago, in an elevator,” Pat says. “He said, ‘Pat Boone, you made the first song I ever had recorded, and I’ve never gotten over that thrill!” Diamond finally made an official recording for his album ‘Up On The Roof—Songs From The Brill Building.’


Note that the writers name-check themselves as the "guys."


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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby bhoywonder » 17 May 2017, 08:26

This concept came up in a piece I wrote recently about the history of songwriting. The example I used was Beyoncé's Hold Up, which feature 15 people in the songwriting credit. In part, it stems from the way the 'records' are made, being pieced together in the studio, rather than written by a Brill Building type sat at a piano. Plus you have to include the songwriters of the records you sample. So it can soon get out of hand. On Hold Up, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman are both included in the list of songwriters.

If you're interested, you can rea dthe feature here http://www.udiscovermusic.com/features/ ... ggest-hits

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The Great Defector
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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby The Great Defector » 17 May 2017, 13:22

It's funny to think that, in the mainstream anyway, that all original music as been used up. The only way you can be original is to be a bit out there, the problem is you won't sell many records.
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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby bhoywonder » 18 May 2017, 10:33

The mainstream is a stitch up, though, isn't it? A closed shop. As though it was run by the tories. Which it is, I suppose.

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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby kewl klive » 18 May 2017, 10:42

Could it not be that, in a very litigious industry, proper credits now have to be shown?
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Re: How Many People Does It Take To Write A Hit Song?

Postby Bent Fabric » 22 May 2017, 18:53

I heard an anecdote (of moderate relevance) recently about the practice of "getting a piece of the publishing".

Evidently, Ian Hunter had written a song called "Ships" which Barry Manilow heard, loved and wished to record.

As the story goes, Manilow calls Hunter and says "Yeah, Ian - I LOVE "Ships", but there's a couple of lyrics I feel like I could do something with - maybe develop them a bit to suit my style a little better."

Hunter (not a young man then, and already fairly wise in the ways of the world) smells a rat - i.e. "This guy's gonna change a few 'the', 'a', 'of' type things around and get half of my song!"

So, he says to Manilow: "Which bits don't you like? What lines, specifically, would you like to improve?"

Manilow says "You know, let me think about it and call you back."

Never calls back, records the song as written, and Hunter buys a home with the proceeds.

Now - this has a bit of "The fish was THIS big!" about it, but...totally probable. Two sharp men meet and recognize each other on the front end of a business deal, and things move forward in some honorable fashion based on the very polite respect commanded.