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Song Man: A Melodic Adventure, Or, My Single-Minded Approach to Songwriting

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Song man is the endearing sequel to Will Hodgkinson's Guitar Man, wherein our hero, having learned to play guitar (badly) in six months, endeavors to unlock the process of songwriting and ultimately record a single. Featuring pithy, humorous, and illuminating one-on-one songwriting lessons with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Ray Davies of the Kinks, Andy Partridge o ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Da Capo Press (first published 2007)
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Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is such a charming book on a thirty-something British man's attempt to write songs. Especially when he doesn't have any obvious talents in doing so. So what he has done is made a goal for himself to write some songs and record them.

And with that in mind he interviews Andrew Loog Oldham, Lawrence (from Felt), Andrew Webber, Ray Davies, Richard Hawley, Lamont Dozier, Jake Holmes, Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Keith Richards, Chip Taylor, among others about the nature, the craft and the art of so
Nov 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Charming first person account of a journo learning to write songs, interspersed with marginally enlightening interviews with Cat Power, Andy Partridge, Ray Davies, Keith Richards, and others. The premise is a little too cutesy to get too deeply into the craft. While it's a pleasant read, I think I learned more about songwriting from Paul Williams' deeply dorky books about Dylan. ...more
John Landolfe
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As much as I love music and songwriting, I find most writing about it a pretty tedious exercise in celebrity worship, lists of biographical facts, and treacly nostalgia. The author sidesteps this pitfall by focusing on a much more interesting topic: The actual song craft. And by detailing his own journey, he provides a narrative arc that keeps us grounded in the present and interested in what comes next.
Shaun Belcher
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
I have just finished this book by Will Hogkinson. A companion to his first tome 'Guitar Man' it pretty much what it says on the label. A series of encounters with various songwriters underpinning his first and possibly last recorded work being recorded at Liam Watson's Toe Rag studios and then released as a 7" single.

A charming book. As my drunken Rockabilly band also recorded at Liam's Toe Rag as did a unheard of garage band called The White Stripes everything described rings true. I found the
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those who love a great pop song and want to know a little bit about how one is made
Recommended to Greg by: Wes
I learned that most song writers don't want to think too much about how they create a song or where it comes for fear they may lose the muse.

Format is author's memoir about trying to write and record his own pop song so he talks to all these great song writers. Interesting sections on certain song writers. Andy Partridge from XTC sticks in my head for fact that he is a professional songwriter - it is what he does and he doesn't really do anything else. Author's voice and personal voyage gets a
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. The sequel to Guitar Man finds our hero now learning to write songs. Both song and guitar man have inspired me beyond words to continue my own pursuit of playing guitar and making some sort of recording. Always funny and interesting it also contains some great pearls of wisdom from some of todays most prolific song writers. An entertaining read for anyone whether a musician or not. It's written as a memoir with the final goal being to record the songs he has written with a band. A spi ...more
Michael Anderson
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having learned to play the guitar in six months, badly, the author sets out to learn about writing a decent song and put out an album containing one or two of them. Following the format of his first book, he interviews a lot of established songwriters, some more famous than others, and companionably describes his journey to get his own songs recorded. All in all, I enjoyed this book as much as Guitar Man, and frankly would read about him learning drums, bass, keyboard, studio mixing, etc, for at ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
If you are interested in the process of songwriting (a subject difficult to explain even by the "experts") you will enjoy the author's journey as an amatuer musician to write and record a song of his own devising. I especially enjoyed the interviews with some great songwriters I am familiar with, Ray Davies, Gruff Ryhs, Keith Richards, Andy Partridge, Arthur Lee & Chan Marshall. I do hope that Lawrence is able to get his act together someday... ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Maybe I'm delusional, but Hodgkinson is coming off as somewhat sexist to me. Any woman in the book is a "muse" or a singer; all the songwriters he talks to are male. WTF? I do like when one of them can't stop deriding his hilariously bad first song, though.

(Later) I quit. This book is leaving on the next train to Half Price Books.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read it because it's ostensibly about how to write a song. Well, you won't learn how to write a song by reading this book. But you will be thoroughly entertained by the author's journey. Laughed out loud a lot and loved this book. ...more
Casey Bottono
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great book which gives the beginner songwriter something to aim for. I.E. write a better song than "Mystery Fox". That aside, it's a witty account of Hodgkinson's first steps in songwriting, the ideal companion to "Guitar Man". ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Not sure I gained any insight on songwriting or the songwriting processes of the musicians interviewed, but a very wry and entertaining book.
And Will has great taste in music heroes.
And I find myself searching for a copy of "Mystery Fox"!
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a sincere but facile attempt to figure out how rock 'n' roll songs work (though not necessarily what they are). ...more
Ian Fiddes
8/10. This is well worth a look. Fascinating insights from the various musicians Hodgkinson meets along the way.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Quite good- with an impressive cast of interviews
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This book has lots of lovely laugh-out-loud sentences.
Not my cup of tea, but I did enjoy the facts about other bands. I also liked learning the process to song writing. I just found the book to be boring, with some good stuff mixed in.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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