Do you want to be a great songwriter? Then you must learn about and listen to great songwriters! When students ask me how they can be a better songwriter, I always ask them who they are listening to, who they are studying, picking apart, digging deep into the catalog of, researching, listening, watching, reading, etc. Curiosity goes a long way in becoming a better musician. If you want to get better, you must listen to the best. Preferably with an open mind, open ear and some knowledge of how chords work.
Here’s a cool piece about the legendary Allen Toussaint and his lost masterpiece~ good to have an appreciation for this man’s contributions! Do you know who he is? You should!
He’s responsible for so many great songs in the American songbook, many of them more well-known by other artists performing them. One of my favorite Toussaint songs is “Southern Nights” as sung by Glen Campbell, which is the version that hit on radio. Here it is:
Just for comparison, here’s Allan’s own version, which has its own distinct flavor. It’s great in its own way, but you can see how Campbell’s version was more radio friendly with the funky backbeat. Either way, the original is a treat:
Keep listening to great songwriting so you can hear different paths across the chord matrix, as well as enjoy some truly amazing music awaiting your discovery. Remember: In music, success is for the curious!