As I’ve been getting more into music during retirement I’ve been curious about composing and songwriting. And the usual way I start to learn about a topic is by reading books on the subject. So recently I picked up a book on songwriting. I didn’t like it that much – it was primarily a “paint by numbers” kind of approach to how to write songs. I ended up not even finishing the book.
The second book on songwriting I picked up was quite different, though, and that one was one that I liked a lot and learned a lot from. That was Paul Zollo’s “Songwriters On Songwriting.” The book is a collection of interviews with diverse successful songwriters about songwriting. For example, the first five interviews are with Pete Seeger, Livingston & Evans (who wrote, among many other songs, Silver Bells, Mona Lisa, and the theme from the television show Bonanza), Willie Dixon, Sammy Cahn, and Mose Allison. After finishing this book I feel I have a better view of songwriting and those that have been successful at it. It was a quite enjoyable read.
There is a another volume (“More Songwriters On Songwriting”) and I’m putting that on my reading list. If you are curious about the creative process of songwriting I recommend this book.