March 2019 Assignment

Monthly Assignment March 5, 2019

Rework a popular song in your own style.

Monthly Assignment March 5, 2019

Rework a popular song in your own style.

What? Play a cover at a meeting of songwriters? Last couple of times we did this, members found that the way they reinvented other writers’ songs revealed much about their own songwriting.

If you show up in March just covering the song the way it was recorded, you did it wrong. Don’t feel bound by the popular version’s vibe, tempo, chord structure or lyrics (notice I referred to the “popular version” of the song — the original version, or the way the writer originally wrote it, may be far different from the popular version you know).

It’s easy to fall into a rut without knowing you’re there. Sometimes the easiest way to lose your mojo is to think too much about what you do. The goal of this exercise is to get the group to show you, through their questions and comments, patterns you may be prone to repeating, for better or worse. Reinvent the song in your image, play it for the group and expect to answer detailed questions from your songwriting colleagues about why you might choose the choices you chose (see what I did there with all the … never mind).
Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Hear how the original or early versions of these songs compare with later interpretations.

“Chains” by Gerry Goffin / Carole King

The Cookies

The Beatles

For No One by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

The Beatles

Emmy Lou Harris

Leonello Casucci, 1929

Betty Boop cartoon movie featuring Irene Bloom, 1932

Louis Prima, 1956

David Lee Roth, 1985

“I’m Just a Gigolo (I Ain’t Got Nobody) Actually two separate songs. The first part, written in 1924 and 1929 about social collapse in Austria after World War I, had many incarnations in several languages. The second part was added as a duet in 1945 — performed as a single song it’s been reinterpreted many times by everyone from Louis Prima to The Village People to David Lee Roth.

Comfortably Numb by Roger Waters Pink Floyd

Luther Wright & the Wrongs