Excerpts from the Two Songwriter Magazine Interviews with Bobby Goldsboro & Harry Warren
“But my songwriting really developed in the three years I was with Roy Orbison. He was a very big influence on me. Roy was writing more involved chord progressions and by playing in his backup ban, I was learning these things. He was not only a great guy to work with but he really was instrumental in my starting to use more chords.”
“I think back on songs I remember as a kid and more of them had a lot of minor chords in them. I like to use a lot of minor chords. I hate to sit and strum or sing several lines in the same chord. Minors keep the sound interesting so that you’re not bored with one chord for several lines.”
“When I write a song, I basically have the whole idea in my mind. Occasionally, I’ll get an idea and think to myself, ‘There’s two or three ways I can go with this. Which one will be the best?’ Now when I say the best, I don’t necessarily mean the most commercial, but the way to write the best song. Then I see if I can change it a little bit so that it could be more commercial and still have it be as good a song. If that’s not possible, I keep it the original way.”
“You have to really believe in yourself. I think if there was anything I was ever cut to be in life, it’s what I’m doing and I feel I have applied myself so that I’m doing it as well as I can.”
“As far as being commercial is concerned, I’ll put it this way… to me, being commercial is appealing to masses. If you write a song that millions of people can relate to and enjoy, what in the hell is wrong with being commercial? For the guy who says he doesn’t write for the masses, but only for a small segment of the audience, or writes for himself and a few musicians friend, why go in an record it in the first place?
You say you don’t know who Harry Warren is? Take a look at these credits and you’ll say “Oh my Gawd’!” You've gotta read Harry’s story. Look in a Songwrter dictionary and you'll see Harry's picture next to the definition of a “classic” songwriter!
“As a kid”, he recalls, “my mother made me be an altar boy and sing in the choir. The choir sang masses written by the great composers who all wrote masses . . . Beethoven, Schubert, all of them. I learned the importance of a good solid bass line from the masses because the bass line figured very prominently in the composition of the old composers. Even today, you have to have a good bass line for popular songs… it’s the foundation for the chord structure you use.’
“I also think that to successfully write songs, you have to think of a cadence where the rhymes are going to fall. When a composer collaborates with a lyricist, I think the composer is in control. The way I write, I know I’m in control. I would give the music to Al Dubin and he would put the lyrics to my melody. And good lyrics, too.”
“When I wrote with Ira Gershwin,” Harry relates, “we were working on a film called Barkleys of Broadway, and I felt the music should sound a little more sophisticated than ordinary popular music.
“When I worked with Johnny Mercer, it was a complete different approach. He’d sit in a room with you and just stare silently. I would play him a melody and he’d listen to it and then sit there without talking.”
Also in the issue is Some Thoughts On Creative Inspiration by Harlan Howard from the Nashville Songwriters Association. Harlan wrote Busted for Johnny Cash, The Chokin’ Kind, a C&W hit for Waylon Jennings, Melba Montgomery’s No Charge and many, many more to songs.
Lullaby of Broadway
This Heart Of Mine
You Wonderful You
We’re In The Money
You’ll Never Know
Forty Second Street
The More I See You
September In The Rain
I Only Have Eyes For You
Chattanooga Choo Choo
There Will Never Be Another You
On The Atcheson, Topeka and The Santa Fe
You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby