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Songwriters On Songwriting: Revised And Expanded

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This expanded fourth edition of Songwriters on Songwriting includes ten new interviews--with Alanis Morissette, Lenny Kravitz, Lou Reed, and others. In these pages, sixty-two of the greatest songwriters of our time go straight to the source of the magic of songwriting by offering their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on their art. Representing almost every genre of popula ...more
Paperback, 752 pages
Published June 19th 2003 by Da Capo Press (first published 1991)
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Harry Mccoy
A treasure trove of insight into the songwriting process. I really liked that he asked the same questions of most of the subjects, to get a litmus test on each personality. Face it, they're all kind of saying the same thing, but Zollo has a knack for asking the right questions. And surprises from the most unlikely subjects. If you're a songwriter, this should be in your library.
Janice Marie Foote
This review is for others who are songwriters at any level using any instrument, I myself am an acoustic guitar singer-songwriter. I give it 5 stars for the variety of songwriters he interviewed, the knowledge he had of each songwriter interviewed, along with the questions asked each songwriter. This book is totally spot on in learning the behind-the-scenes of songwriting at the emotional and visceral level ala the meat and bones. It's definitely not a how-to-write-song book, but rather how one ...more
Motez Bishara
Terrific book and reference guide into the minds of some of the great songwriters of modern popular music.

There are dozens of interviews with heralded songwriters, from Dylan and Neil Young to Tom Petty and Joan Baez, but I found the most compelling chapters from the less likely sources. John Fogerty, Alanis Morissette, Madonna, and Lenny Kravitz were some of the most engaging reads in this treasure trove of songwriting styles and tips.

The Yoko Ono chapter was very cool too, mainly to hear Yoko
Originally my review just said, "indispensable".
Zollo gets songwriters of various formats to talk about the *craft* of songwriting. The process. He asks good questions. He is obviously talented at interviews, because he gets these writers to talk about the secret nuts and bolts of their craft: rhyming, lying, key signatures, crawling on the floor in tears looking for missing lyrics, etc. He brings out what appears to be a longing in these writers to talk about the nuts and bolts to
Enjoy writing songs? Read this book.
Enjoy listening to songs? Read this book.
The best book on songwriting that I've read. It's hard to imagine another book that would better cover the subject. The interviews are inspiring, but you won't really "learn" anything (like scales or chord theory). The whole point of the book is its in-depth description of the mysterious nature of songwriting. The Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen interviews are the highlights of the book to me.
I have read this book a few times over the past 12 years. I love it because it gives insight into each artist's personal method of creation. Even reading the interviews of writers that I'm unfamiliar with (or am not a fan of) is entertaining and educational as a fellow songwriter.
For every great interview, there are two mundane ones. Read them all, there is a lot of conventional wisdom for working writers. And by working, I mean you write regardless of whether you can help it or not sense, not in the monetary compensation sense.
In this book you have interview stories with a bunch of great singer-songwriters. It is so much fun to read how great songwriters like Bob Dylan think about songwriting and how they started their life in music. A must read for people who love music!
Interviews with various songwriters (mostly 60s and 70s people) about their process, specific songs, etc. It actually focuses pretty well on the songwriting and the mechanics of the songs, as opposed to being about personalities in the music biz.
Dusty Henry
The definitive collection of music journalism. I am so jealous of Paul Zollo being able to talk to these artists. His questions are thought provoking and specific. You really get to know the artists. Great journalistic work.
Aug 30, 2007 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone creative.
i know the title makes the target audience seem pretty specific.

but the way these writers talk about music, music-making, and songwriting is a very cool and interesting look into the creative process.
An awesome series of interviews with the best songwriters of all time. If you have ever wondered where songs come from and how they are written, this is a great journey into the minds of the best.
Jul 01, 2013 Frank rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tortured souls
Great variety; a page-turner. Too bad Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits aren't included. Quit reading after approximately 3/4 complete because I lost the book!
Peter Holst
Geeked out review of pretty much a range of 70's "songwriters", in the classic rock sense. A little esoterical and occasionally inspiring.
Good concept and interesting reading although too much emphasis upon American songwriters (some obscure?).
Jeff Shattuck
The best book on songwriters and songwriting I know of. Truly killer.
The Bible of the genre. A MUST read for any musician or music lover
Adrien Finckel
THe kind of book you can pick up when you need inspiration.
Feb 10, 2008 javier is currently reading it
so far, so good. i'll write more about it when i'm finished
Great collection of interviews. Very insightful.
I've yet to write a tune worthy of being interviewed by Paul Zollo, but this book will help you understand the creative process for some of the greatest songwriters on the planet
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Paul Zollo is a singer-songwriter, author, and music journalist. Since 1987, he's dedicated himself to interviewing the world's greatest songwriters. From 1987 to 1997, he was the editor of SongTalk, the journal of the National Academy of Songwriters. He's currently the senior editor for American Songwriter. Born in Chicago, he studied English and Music at Boston University and is the author of Th ...more
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