Jump to content

Writing credits


Recommended Posts

Wow, I haven't been on here in awhile and was amazed at the long thread regarding the Blender article. I saw that Bernie had shut down that particular thread before I had a chance to post but wanted to give some of the members some additional insight as to what happens in the recording process here in Nashville.

Having sat in (hung out) on some sessions here in town with some great players, the process here would amaze a lot of you. Typically, a songwriter (or artist) will bring in a demo tape of just an acoustic guitar (or piano) and vocal. That's it. A 7 piece band consisting of the best players in town on drums, bass, keys, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, fiddle, and pedal steel will go in and listen to the song. Charting it out by numbers (Key of 'A'- 1 would constitute A, etc.), most of the guys will be joking around as they write out their chart on the fly. They get an idea of what they want to go for musically and in one or two takes will have the entire song finished. On to the next. Every musician comes up with a unique part, signature hook, fill, etc.. And the amazing thing is watching 7 musicians know INSTINCTIVELY where to solo and fill. Most of the songs on country radio are these exact songs. So next time you tune into a country station and hear a song that has a great guitar riff, horn riff, etc.. know that it's the studio musicians who came up with that and they are NOT credited as writers because they did not write the song.

Hope that gives you a different perspective on the credit discussion.

P.S. By the way, these guys will turn out complete albums in one day! A morning session will run 10-1 and they'll typically get 5 done. Break for lunch, come back at 2-6 and do the remainder of the songs. It's RIDICULOUS!!!

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting post, Paul. I had always kind of wondered exactly what the "charts" were. I remembered reading an old interview with Waylon Jennings where he was mentioning them as a pet peeve of his (to put it mildly), but considering the incredible output of recordings in Nashville, I figured they had to have found methods to get things almost down to a science. Thanks for the info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, Paul, what an insight into what goes on! It's a great window on the incredibly keen talent of the studio and session musicians there. Nashville is difficult to break into as a studio/session musician (it took a former member of my old band about ten years), but if one has the "chops" and the tenacity, it's the place to be! Thanks for the amazing post!

smile --Darlene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Another excellant example of that,Paul, is that of The Funk Brothers of Motown fame. Imagine playing on dozens of hit records, never to be recognized for the signature riff that gives the song identity! These guys were as much a magical mystery to me as were The Beatles regarding their recording process.Each song had incredible tightness, solid backbeat, and let's not forget James Jamerson's "walking bass" style...listen to Bernadette or I Was Made to Love Her. McCartney had mentioned that Jamerson's bass lines were inspirational to him. I recently visited the Motown Museum in Detroit and I can tell you I felt as though I was on hallowed ground standing in that studio.

So,yeah, Paul,you session guys are the magic in the melody and deserve incredibly more credit than you ever get!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had the great good luck to work with James Jamerson's "replacement" Bob Babbitt in New York back in the late 70's. He's like the "atomic clock." His timing was so good, he made the drummers sound wrong. He was incredible to work with and an absolute "prince" of a guy. He couldn't have been any better. Absolutely brilliant. ec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the studio scenario that Paul painted, the songwriter (or someone on their behalf) presents the main melody and lyrics – which may or may not be fully developed with chords and harmonies, but that is possibly the copyrighted version of the song? The process of musicians working out the charts for their instruments is the arrangement process, possibly even adding or modifying vocal harmonies. Have I got it right? If so, then that would explain why the riffs and some harmonies sung (which listeners identify as what makes the song unique) often are not in the copyrighted song itself.

It seems like more sheet music was produced in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. When singers like Frank Sinatra or Doris Day sang a song, sheet music was printed based on their modifications and arrangement credit was given to the singer or producer who worked out the arrangement. I have some that was even re-copyrighted as a new arrangement of the original song. Maybe a partial solution to giving credit where credit is due in the Rock world would be to lay down those riffs and whatever else on paper, and copyright the written version of the recorded songs, giving arrangement credit to those who contributed additional or modified parts. Is that ever done? It won’t settle the “he said, she said†(or the "he said, he said") regarding who contributed which part of the lyrics, bridge, etc., but it would be a start to giving recognition to those who deserve it. Life and business have become so complicated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eric, what was it that you worked with Bob Babbitt on?? He played on a track of yours??????? He and the rest of The Funk Brothers were featured on that DVD "Standing In The Shadows of Motown"... some great stories were told! Studio A at Motown was once a garage...dirt floor with the piano on a piece of plywood...the echo you hear on those Motown hits were the tracks being fed to the attic,bounced around,then re-recorded with a mic up there and fed back into the console. Imagine, 1965...2 incandescent lights hanging from the ceiling...hot (no AC)...everybody smoking...legendary songs pumped out daily! Whew!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...