Tuesday, 12 February 2013

What makes a great song?

In the movie Eddie and the Cruisers Michael Pare' says to Tom Berrenger words and music man, words and music.

That is true but arrangement is more important.

I will give three examples.

First Van the Man


This is his best song. Listen to the different instruments. They are all in harmony. the lead guitar, the bass, the wonderful piano, the drums simple beat and the horns playing Smokey Robinson style.

Next Carol King


From her album Tapestry. A very simple drum beat, light bass, James Taylor playing tasty but brief steel guitar and the piano. Add to that the much slower playing. The song is transformed into the sad song it is.
Joni Mitchell and James Taylor help with backing vocals.

Lastly from the first album I ever bought.


To my mind it is Neil's best song. The acoustic guitar is slight but basic as are the drums and bass but the song is made by the banjo mainly however the slide guitar also helps.


One interesting thing about great arrangments in the studio is they just cannot be replicated live.