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Old 05-05-2019, 06:14 PM
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Songs about writing song


In a meta way, songs about writing songs, especially songs about writing the song being sung, fascinate me in the same way that breaking the 4th wall does. What are some good examples?

I'll start

Sad Songs and Waltzes, by Cake
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:19 PM
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"You never even call me by my name"
Sang by David Allen Coe
Written by John Prine and Steve Goodman
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:21 PM
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Song Sung Blue, by Neil Diamond.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:27 PM
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25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:30 PM
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Hook by Blues Traveler comes to mind.

"It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel I'll convey
Some inner truth or vast reflection" etc....
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:34 PM
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Does the theme to The Gary Shandling Show count?
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:39 PM
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Your Song - Elton John
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:49 PM
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Breathe (2 AM) is Anna Nalick's big song from 2004. Unfortunately, even to this day, when she gets a chance to appear on TV, that's all they want her to perform. It's a great song, but she's written more in the last 15 years.

Here's the last verse:

Two AM and I'm still awake, writing this song
If I get it all down on paper, its no longer
Inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
'Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:54 PM
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This song's just six words long
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:57 PM
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Write You A Song - Jon Pardi

"And then I'll write you a song.
You might hear it on the radio.
Baby you never know,
But it's gonna be just about you and me,
How much I miss you.
You're the one that got away.
You're gonna hear your song someday."
(This is the chorus, the whole thing is on the same theme.)


Life Changes - Thomas Rhett

"And I wrote a little song about holding her hand and now everybody wanna die happy now"
(The line is a reference to his previous song Die A Happy Man. Life Changes is extremely - overly! - autobiographical.)

Last edited by MollyCatherine; 05-05-2019 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:01 PM
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“It’s Only A Northern Song” - the Beatles
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:15 PM
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And a song I was writing was left undone
I don't know why I spend my time
Writing songs I can't believe
With words that tear and strain to rhyme
Kathy's Song, Paul Simon
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:16 PM
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The Song that Goes Like This. from Spamalot

"Guitar and Pen" by the Who
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:19 PM
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James Taylor, Fire and Rain. "I woke up this morning, and I wrote down this song, I just can't remember who to send it to."
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Last edited by Cuckoorex; 05-05-2019 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:20 PM
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"Number Three" - They Might Be Giants
Quote:
There's only two songs in me and I just wrote the third
Don't know where I got the inspiration or how I wrote the words
"This Is the Title" - Swirling Eddies
Quote:
i’ve only come up with a few lines
a few lines, just a few lines
can only come up with a few lines
i just sang the lines
these are the lines
And then of course there's "I Write the Songs" (written by Bruce Johnston, but made famous by Barry Manilow)
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:45 PM
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This Song-George Harrison
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Song Sung Blue, by Neil Diamond.
Also by Diamond, Beautiful Noise.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:19 PM
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There's the beautiful "A Song For You", by Leon Russell, sung here by Ruby Wilson, the Queen of Beale Street.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"Guitar and Pen" by the Who
First cut from that same album: New Song


I write the same old song with a few new lines
And everybody wants to cheer it
I write the same old song you heard a good few times
Admit you really want to hear it


(aka Townshend's Lament...even in the latest interview, Pete re-affirms his deep desire to perform new material in concert as opposed to greatest hits. "All I've had to do is show up, play my guitar and swing my arm around." Unfortunately for him, 95% of the concert-going public wants to hear those same old songs)

Last edited by blondebear; 05-05-2019 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:45 PM
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There's that pretentious one by Barry Manilow, who did not, in fact, write it.
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Old 05-05-2019, 11:13 PM
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Generic Uptempo Folk Song by the Limelighters.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:17 AM
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Prince, 1999: I was dreamin' when I wrote this / Forgive me if it goes astray.

Pulp, Something Changed: I wrote this song two hours before we met /
I didn't know your name or what you looked like yet
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:48 AM
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"My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)" by Chilliwack:

"She didn't have to leave me
She didn't have to run
She didn't have to go without a word to anyone
I hope she's doing alright
I got no way to know
Unless she gets to hear this song
Hear it on the radio"
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:23 AM
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Jim Croce - "I'll have to say I love you in a song".

Also, from Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, he describes constructing the song within the song:
"It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah"
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:59 AM
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"Leaves That Are Green" by Simon & Garfunkel
Quote:
I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long
Time hurries on.
These may not count:
Joan Baez' "Time Rag" — "And just before I run out of words that rhyme"
Dylan's "Sara" — "Stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel Writin’ Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you"
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Old 05-06-2019, 03:37 AM
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A great cynical song by a great band - The Beautiful South Song For Whoever

Quote:
Deep, so deep
The number one I hope to reap
Depends upon the tears you weep
So cry, lovey, cry

Cry, cry
Cry

Oh Cathy, oh Alison
Oh Philippa, oh Sue
You made me so much money
I wrote this song for you (I wrote this song for you)
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:51 AM
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How about Like Patsy Would, by Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose and Lori McKenna?

Quote:
If it comes from the whiskey, then pour me a drink
If it comes from the heartache, let me feel the sting
If it comes from the spirits, set 'em loose in this room
Either way tonight it's just me and the truth

I wanna pray like Jesus is listenin'
I wanna play it like I'm made of strings on wood
I wanna write it down like Hemingway
Like it's the last damn thing I'll ever say
And try to sing it like Patsy would
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:53 AM
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Hamilton Loomis - My Pen
Quote:
Sat down, to write a song
One that everyone could sing along
With some style, little bit of groove
But my pen just wont move

I think its happening again
I think theres something wrong with my pen
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Old 05-06-2019, 06:55 AM
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Steely Dan - "Deacon Blues"

I cried when I wrote this song
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Old 05-06-2019, 08:38 AM
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There's Arlo Guthrie's "Motorcyle Song". The actual singing part of the song has nothing about writing songs, but the spoken words part is all about the process of writing the singing part (and, IMHO, the spoken words are inseparable from the singing part).
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
In a meta way, songs about writing songs, especially songs about writing the song being sung, fascinate me in the same way that breaking the 4th wall does. What are some good examples?

I'll start

Sad Songs and Waltzes, by Cake
That’s actually a cover of a Willie Nelson song.

Here’s one: 26 Second Song:
https://youtu.be/6Gf0N6FOSk0
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:02 AM
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"Hearts", by Marty Balin:

Is everything okay?
I just thought I'd write a song /
To tell the world how I miss you
Cause each and every day
I think of all the words I never said /
And all the chances that I had to
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson View Post
That’s actually a cover of a Willie Nelson song.
Thanks, I know Cake does a lot of interesting cover songs, I should have done a search at least on the writers.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
There's Arlo Guthrie's "Motorcyle Song". The actual singing part of the song has nothing about writing songs, but the spoken words part is all about the process of writing the singing part (and, IMHO, the spoken words are inseparable from the singing part).
On his live alive "The Compleat Tom Paxton," he tells the marvelous tale about how he write his first song "The Marvelous Toy" in the strangest circumstances imaginable: "on a typewriter while doing some graduate work at a place called Fort Dix, New Jersey."
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:41 AM
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Sara by Bob Dylan
Quote:
Stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel
Writin’ “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” for you
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:55 AM
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Last Song by Edward Bear
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long
Time hurries on.
The initial couplet was also used by Billy Bragg in New England.
  #38  
Old 05-06-2019, 10:43 AM
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School's Out by Alice Cooper

"We can't even think of a word that rhymes."
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"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 05-06-2019 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:46 AM
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"Fountains of Wayne Hotline" from Robbie Fulks

Robbie calls the hotline to help him finish his (rock/pop) song which is titled, "Fountains of Wayne Hotline".
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:18 AM
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Love Song by Melissa Ferrick

The lyrics refer to singing a love song but it's really about her inability to write one since, at 21, she has had no experience to draw upon.

Well you ask me
To sing you
A love song
And I smile
I smile and say
Hold on
Let me think
That would be an old one
But how strange
At twenty-one
And I never even had one

Last edited by Gus Gusterson; 05-06-2019 at 11:18 AM.
  #41  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:40 AM
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Silly love songs by Paul McCartney:

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs
And what's wrong with that
I'd like to know
'Cause here I go again
I love you, I love you
  #42  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:47 AM
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"After the Lovin'" by Englert Humperdinck.

Pardon the glurge . . .

"So I sing you to sleep after the lovin'
With a song I just wrote yesterday"

urp
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:32 PM
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A Road Song by Fountains of Wayne

I just wanted to say hey
I've been writing you a road song
It's a cliche, but hey
That doesn't make it so wrong
And in between the stops at the Cracker Barrel
And forty movies with Will Ferrell
I need some way to occupy my time
So I'm writing you a road song
I sure hope you don't mind

Last edited by blondebear; 05-06-2019 at 12:32 PM.
  #44  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:26 PM
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One Down by Ben Folds

I'm really not complaining
I realize it's just a job
And I hate hearing belly-aching rock stars
Whine and sob
Cause I could be busing tables
I could well be pumpin' gas
Yeah, but I get paid much finer
For playin' piano and kissin' ass
This is one I wrote just an hour ago
And three-point-six at last


This Is Just a Modern Rock Song by Belle & Sebastian

This is just a modern rock song,
This is just a sorry lament,
We're four boys in corduroys,
We're not terrific but we're competent.
  #45  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
A great cynical song by a great band - The Beautiful South Song For Whoever
I came in here to say this one.
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:14 PM
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How about “they just don't write 'em like that anymore
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:33 PM
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I write the songs - Bruce Johnston
  #48  
Old 05-06-2019, 02:47 PM
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"not gonna write you a love song today"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_S...Bareilles_song)

Brian
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:54 PM
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Todd Rundgren's Chain Letter is about the act of writing a song:

This is how I thought I'd start my song
And it seems a little silly when I think of it
But now I'm so far along
And no one really wants to know that he's wrong

...

Now I'm in the middle and I just don't know
If I'll make it any further if the words don't flow
  #50  
Old 05-06-2019, 03:35 PM
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David Bowie - Sound and Vision
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