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Book details
  • Genre:MUSIC
  • SubGenre:Instruction & Study / Songwriting
  • Language:English
  • Series title:The Great Songwriters
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:60
  • eBook ISBN:9781483521091

The Great Songwriters - Beginnings Vol 1

Lennon & McCartney Bob Dylan

by Michael J Roberts

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Songwriting insights and inspirational stories surrounding the greatest songwriters of all time. If you’ve managed to find this book in the sea of words, firstly, thank you. Secondly I would hazard a guess that a large proportion of readers are looking for ways to explore the full dimension of possibility in their songwriting, and this book is designed to aid that quest, both for the amateur, the professional and the dreamers. I heartily recommend that the reader listen to the specific songs in concert with the reading to extract full benefit. Luckily in this day and age, all of the songs are but a ‘click’ away. Happy listening, happy reading. Michael J Roberts
In the second decade of the new millennium it’s apparent that the song writing benchmarks established by these three men at virtually (and remarkably) the same time in history, are still the gold standard by which all that followed is judged. Almost every aspect of the modern songwriter’s art is defined and encapsulated in their body of work, and from these giants others have taken the torch and carried on their traditions. The trio rose to prominence via their own use of the shoulders of giants like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in Dylan’s case, and Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Little Richard in the case of the young English boys. Common to all three was an adolescent passion for the King of rock and roll, and the reason the youth of the world fell swooning at the earth shattering sound of the era, the charismatic boy from Memphis, Elvis Presley. Not only did Presley excite the airwaves of Duluth in Minnesota, where the young Bob grew up, but his clarion call crossed the Atlantic and lit up the radio in Liverpool, England, a place still reeling from the calamity of World War II. "Nothing really affected me until Elvis." "Before Elvis there was nothing."
"When I first heard "Heartbreak Hotel," I could hardly make out what was being said. It was just the experience of hearing it and having my hair stand on end. We'd never heard American voices singing like that”. – John Lennon  While Presley’s significant legacy can not be understated in a performing sense, it set the template for success in the music world; Presley did not write his own material. The true game changing aspect that the three post Elvis icons came to represent was the idea of self sufficiency. In the rock world songs were mostly sourced via the publishers of Tin Pan Alley and Denmark Street, and in truth the folk world was not entirely different, even though many of the songs were in the public domain. The commercial aspect of the music business meant that the performers who supplied specific arrangements for these folk songs could claim writing royalties to the same effect of actually having written the song themselves. Dylan worked in this tradition and then completely changed it, in that sourcing traditional material became unacceptable in the mainstream which, thanks to what Pete Seeger dubbed “the great folk scare” of the 1960’s, is where Dylan’s music found itself. The Beatles revolutionised the concept of the sourcing of ‘product’ in the pop world to such an extent that after 1965 no self respecting act could not supply its own material. “I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow” – Bob Dylan While both The Beatles and Dylan shook the world in the early 1960’s, and they both went on to mature successes and even greater glories in their latter years, it’s their beginnings that occupy us here. They were working from different ends, Dylan primarily occupied in the political atmosphere of the struggle for civil rights and The Beatles interested in the escapist fun, and youth culture rebelliousness of rock and roll. They were such notorious and famous examples of different ends of the musical spectrum, but given their common antecedents and their common impulse to push boundaries in their art, it would seem destined that they would interact. They did establish personal relationships, and certainly they were to profoundly influence each other, but to go back to the start is to meet three starry eyed dreamers who were ready to take on the world….
About the author
Michael J Roberts is a Sydney based musician, producer and writer with extensive experience in the music industry. Michael began as singer-songwriter in bands in Hobart in the late ‘70’s, having two local top twenty hits with songs co-written with his Albatross band mate, and song writing partner, Anthony Ackroyd. Anthony and Michael signed to Glenn Wheatley’s Tumbleweed Music as 19 year olds, before re-locating in the 80’s to Sydney and signing a contract with Chappell Music. The pair worked extensively in musical theatre and comedy shows, before writing ‘Raging’, the first song ever played on ABC’s iconic video show ‘Rage’. Michael also worked in theatre, writing and performing the children’s musical with Judy Nunn and Bruce Venables, The Riddle of the Trumpalar. Michael has produced and supported the successful, award winning children’s group Captain Bandanna, as well as albums for folk stalwarts Kate Delany and Phyl Lobl. Michael co-scored the low budget horror-satire film, Mad Bomber in Love with Phil Rigger, as well as several documentaries for Government agencies. Michael has produced multi Mo Award winning artist Rikki Organ’s debut and follow up albums, My Dad’s First Album, and A Tribute to JOK. Michael produced two UK Americana number one albums for Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter Karl Broadie, in Nowhere Now Here and Black Crow Calling, touring the UK extensively in Karl’s band in 2005 to promote the second, Golden Guitar nominated album. Michael also produced Red Dust, the debut album from Den Hanrahan, and the debut album from ex Home and Away star Craig Thomson, called Long Way There. Michael nurtured and produced Katie Brianna’s debut album, Dark Side of the Morning. Michael writes about his passion for feature film on his own website, Filmycks, (www.filmycks.com) and is currently working on a feature film screenplay and a book on the counter culture of the 1960’s. Michael is a multi-instrumentalist, a piano player and guitarist primarily, but has contributed variously on accordion, mandolin, to albums by Chuck’s Wagon and The Dear Orphans, as well as playing bass on his brother Paul’s debut EP. Michael’s wide experience and extensive knowledge and passion for modern song writing leaves him perfectly positioned to communicate his incisive and informative analysis of the artistry and skill needed to write great songs.