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Songwriting Structure


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This will probably be a big "duh" to some people, but it was just this morning that I began to contemplate...the two biggest hits Eric wrote for Raspberries, the very first two, GATW and IWBWY...when you look at them, their structure is really kind of unusual because the verses in both of them are nothing but, well, single sentences/partial sentences...you get a sentence, then wham, right into the chorus...sentence, chorus...bridge, chorus.

I mean, here are the "verses" to GATW:

1. Didn't know how complete love could be 'til she kissed me and said...

2. Couldn't say what I wanted to say 'til she whispered "I love you so..."

And here are the verses to IWBWY:

1. If we were older we wouldn't have to be worried tonight

2. Someday's a long time and we've been waiting so long to be here

Whereas, verses in many, many songs consist of four lines, each of which could be a sentence (or at least two) on its own.

Just interesting. I'm wondering whether it was Eric's passion for the great rock 'n' roll single that is only two-plus-minutes long that caused him to come up with two early Raspberries songs that ended up as singles that both had very little in the way of verses, and pretty much got down to business with a big chorus very quickly...

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But Trindy the third hit steps away from the format you mentioned to the more traditional..

Let's Pretend

I can't sleep nights

Wishing you were here beside me

Can't help feeling

That's way it ought to be

You know we could run (run, run) away

And I couldn't bear to hear

The things they'd say

Oh no

More words or fewer words, the sentiment expressed in his music then and now...stands alone and the test of time..But then we know that don't we.. wink

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Eric commented on exactly what you asked in an earlier post:

"You could just as easily make the case that the verse of "I Wanna Be With You" is similar to the verse of "Go All The Way." It is. I did it on purpose. I wanted to see how fast I could get to the chorus, so I'd have lots of time for at least three choruses and a good bridge. That was the song construction I happened to like back in 1972.






I was trying to cram as much into three minutes and change as humanly possible.Intros, outros, big meaty choruses."

So, there you have it :)

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Kirk, I remember reading that somewhere as well. I think he also added that usually people like the chorus more than anything so he wanted a shorter verse getting to a longer chorus as fast as possible. I could be wrong about that but I think I did read that. Nonetheless, however he has chosen to write songs, he is so phenomenal at doing exactly what is right for the song he is writing at that moment. I am always so amazed at people who have the ability to write songs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's why those songs were so great...Short verses...Long majestic and hook filled choruses...Eric Carmen got right to the best stuff without waiting around...and he got his point across lyrically...When you're trying to write a pop hit...I think Eric's way is the best way...Kill 'em with the chorus...If you can get people to sing along...then you've likely got a hit...Not only that...You've got a hit song that will last and be remembered many years later because it was top heavy with the best stuff.

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