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Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised And Expanded Paperback – June 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 4 Expanded edition (June 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780306812651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306812651
  • ASIN: 0306812657
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


Brain Pickings, 5/26/14
“[An] excellent and extensive treasure trove…[The] insights on songwriting extend to the broader realm of creative work in a multitude of disciplines…A magnificent read in its hefty totality.”

Brain Pickings, 7/20/14
"[An] impressive interview compendium."

About the Author

Paul Zollo, a singer-songwriter and the editor of SongTalk, has written for magazines such as Sing Out!, Acoustic Guitar, Musician, and more. He lives in Hollywood, California.

Customer Reviews

Great interviews spanning a couple decades.
Steve H
The focus is on intangible artistic creation, vs. mechanical songwriting techniques.
jg_music
This book is great for anyone interested in songwriters and songwriting.
A. Popa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
By MICHAEL TEARSON
Paul Zollo, himself a singer-songwriter , has assembled a mighty and important book here. He has gathered 52 interviews he conducted for SongTalk. The subjects are a virtual who's who of songwriters. Zollo has an obvious love of song and songmaking and a curiosity about the process that won't quit. These qualities are reflected in his interviewing. So, too, is Zollo's uncanny knack for putting his subjects at ease so they will open up to him and candidly reveal more than they might have expected to. He probes intelligently, asking questions that evoke true responses. I often found myself thinking how good his questioning is. He clearly does his homework so that he can display an encyclopedic knowledge of the artist's full career, often asking specifically about the damnedest, most obscure songs. Two pieces juxtaposed early in the book form a kind of core around which this collection revolves. These are lengthy interviews with first Bob Dylan and then Paul Simon. In each of these, Zollo shows how well he listens and responds in his questioning. Both interviews are tremendously revealing and rewarding. This collection is about just what it is singer-songwriters of all stripes do, plus the how, in the way their various processes work, and the why of their drive to create. Essential questions all. This is compelling, don't-you-dare-miss-it stuff for anybody who writes songs, and equally for anybody else who listens to songs and cares about them.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey J. Sanders on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love this book. It really delves into the heart and soul of the songwriter and the idea that the songs don't come as much from themselves, but an unseen force which they are conductive channels to.... I started with the interviews with artists I'd known, like Carlos Santana and Paul Simon, and when I'd eventually gotten to the ones I'd never heard of is when the genius of this collection became more apparent. There is something beautiful and inspiring to be learned from everyone in this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thelma on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many great stories from these interviews with some of the most succesful songwriters through time, and as an aspiring songwriter myself I found this book both useful and entertaining.

For example, I had experienced what is commonly called "writing block" for quite some time, and I kept telling myself it was just because really, I had nothing to say. Then I read what one songwriter had said about writer's block: That it's just a mind blockage, because you don't want to face what you have on your mind, so therefore you keep telling yourself "I have nothing to say". When I realized that I actually had lots of things to write about (I just didn't want to face it) I broke out of the writer's block and wrote one of the best songs I've ever written. This book is INSPIRING!

There's some advice to find directed at young and aspiring songwriters, as well as some interesting and funny stories about songwriters and the songs they've written. Sammy Cahn for example, said that he wrote with a cowriter "Let it snow" when it was really hot outside (which I found quite amusing). Instead of going out to swim, his partner said: Let's stay in and write a song about the winter.

Realizing that all of these amazingly talented and glorified songwriters are actually people just like us, made of flesh and blood, that made me feel closer to ALL songwriters. One of the interviewed said that "All songwriters are links in a chain". That's how this book made me feel, and that's why I bought it: Because I have no serious songwriters that are so utterly devoted to their craft as these are around me, and this book made me feel as if I had a group of old teachers who just happened to be some of the world's greatest songwriters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
By LAHRI BOND
Paul Zollo has had the good fortune of talking shop with some of the best songwriters from the fields of folk, country, blues, and rock and roll. Collected in this volume are 52 interviews with such early originators as Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. He also talks with seventies innovators such as Rickie Lee Jones, Van Dyke Parks, Walter Becker and Todd Rundgren as well as modern songsmiths like David Hidalgo and Louie Perez of Los Lobos and Jules Shear. As the title suggests, this book features songwriters exploring their influences, inspirations and craft.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By jg_music on November 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
The author interviews songwriters about their songwriting habits, attitudes, experiences and inspirations. Each songwriter has something unique to say. The interviews are educational, insightful, and occasionally inspiring. There are many interviews, so the book is a very good value for the price.
This book tells you how songwriters think and feel. The focus is on intangible artistic creation, vs. mechanical songwriting techniques.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Imran on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone who doesn't like this book is obviously NOT a songwriter himself. Like Paul Simon says in this book, "If you are not a songwriter, you don't know what the hell you are talking about." This book is worth its weight in gold for anyone who loves songwriting and has himself put in a lot of heart and sweat writing songs. If you don't write songs, then I'm not sure how well suited you are to appreciate this book. Otherwise, you'll thank the author for taking the time (over 10 years) to complete this book!!!
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Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised And Expanded
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