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Who writes the music?
Posted by: LongBeachArena72 ()
Date: July 13, 2017 16:44

I'm confused by this:

"As Tears Go By" was your first big, classic ballad. Who wrote that?
I wrote the lyrics, and Keith wrote the melody. But in some rock, you know, there's no melody until the singer starts to sing it. Sometimes there's a definite melody, but quite often it's your job as the singer to invent the melody. I start with one melody, and I make it another melody, over the same chord sequence.
-Mick Jagger, Rolling Stone magazine, 14 Dec 95

In a sense, I suppose it's silly to talk about who "writes" songs in a band like The Rolling Stones, since the songs are not written at all, in terms of having a score. But is what Mick is saying here really true? On a 'Keith' song, for example, does Keith develop a chord sequence, or a riff, or a lick, or whatever other non-specific term one can think of, and then NOT provide the vocal part?

That seems improbable to me. But if it's true, and Mick comes up with the 'melody line,' it really means that Mick and Keith both write the music, doesn't it?

In their vocal music, Bach and Mozart, for example, worked with librettists, with people who supplied the words. But they themselves wrote the vocal parts to these pieces. It would be ludicrous to think of a musician in that world writing the string and brass charts and then leaving it to someone else to write the vocal line(s).

But apparently that may be how Mick and Keith (and by extension many pop groups) work?

Re: Who writes the music?
Date: July 13, 2017 16:51

When hearing embryos of songs like Dandelion we hear this more clearly. The chords are down, and some of the melody is down from Keith. The melody then becomes somewhat altered by Mick's words and phrasing - and out of this springs a somewhat new song.

So, Mick's melodic work with the lyrics should never be underestimated, even though it is a "Keith-melody".

Yes, they both write melody that way.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: LongBeachArena72 ()
Date: July 13, 2017 16:57

Quote
DandelionPowderman
When hearing embryos of songs like Dandelion we hear this more clearly. The chords are down, and some of the melody is down from Keith. The melody then becomes somewhat altered by Mick's words and phrasing - and out of this springs a somewhat new song.

So, Mick's melodic work with the lyrics should never be underestimated, even though it is a "Keith-melody".

Yes, they both write melody that way.

Ok, cool.

So in the case of a band like The Who, though, I presume that Townshend provides the vocal line that Daltrey sings (since Daltrey doesn't get a songwriting credit)?

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 13, 2017 17:33

Quote
LongBeachArena72


Ok, cool.

So in the case of a band like The Who, though, I presume that Townshend provides the vocal line that Daltrey sings (since Daltrey doesn't get a songwriting credit)?

Pete usually came in with complete songs. In some instances they simply replaced parts of his home demos.

A very different set up to the stones way of doing things, atleast in Jones and Taylor years.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: marcovandereijk ()
Date: July 13, 2017 17:47

It's a pity we don't get more clips like this one (from the Mixed Emotions sessions)
to give us any more insights in the creation of songs.





I liked the DVD that Deep Purple put out with their last album, which gave us a real
good image of what went on during the recording sessions. I doubt if The Stones would
ever be as brave to give us something wonderful as that.

Just as long as the guitar plays, let it steal your heart away

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 13, 2017 17:49

Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 13, 2017 17:51

It should be noted that, Charlie, Bill, Brian, Taylor, Hopkins, Nitzsche etc etc wrote music too. grinning smiley

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Koen ()
Date: July 13, 2017 18:42

Quote
His Majesty
Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

Always wondered the same.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: RollingFreak ()
Date: July 13, 2017 19:09

Quote
His Majesty
Quote
LongBeachArena72


Ok, cool.

So in the case of a band like The Who, though, I presume that Townshend provides the vocal line that Daltrey sings (since Daltrey doesn't get a songwriting credit)?

Pete usually came in with complete songs. In some instances they simply replaced parts of his home demos.

A very different set up to the stones way of doing things, atleast in Jones and Taylor years.

Yeah, all bands are different. The Who its very much Pete's thing and the rest fill in, rather perfectly. The reason I've always rated someone like John Bonham as a better drummer than Keith Moon was always because, as far as I know, Zeppelin wrote their music together. So John Bonham came up with those inventive drum parts. Keith Moon, while obviously adding his own style, was basically copying what Pete laid out for him, cause I think Pete added electronic drums to his demos. Its minor, but its that extra inventiveness that gave Bonham the edge to me, cause Zeppelin was a "band" similar to the Stones. Jimmy Page wasn't writing everything, at least I don't think. It was all pretty equal.

Then you have bands like Rush where the drummer writes all the lyrics and the bass player and guitar player write all the lyrics. And it just works perfectly, but its a unique way to write music and its how they've done it their whole career. Someone like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers I've never quite been able to figure out. Tom writes most of the songs and I guess I just assumed most of the music but maybe its a band effort like Zeppelin or the Stones. Or U2, I think thats very group oriented. I don't definitely know how the Stones do it but I always assumed it was democratic. Mainly cause I never thought Keith was competent enough to write full songs like Pete Townshend could. He's perhaps the best at coming up with a riff, and then Mick probably creates the melody lyricswise like he was saying, as all the other guys also fill in the gaps. But every band is different.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: July 13, 2017 19:29

Quote
His Majesty
Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

of course it was. If cams had been there when the music was actually written we wouldn't have bits like "hey how bout adding a F minor chord...?".

It would have been "hey SOB why did you call me a (beep) in that interview!?"

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: July 13, 2017 19:46

Quote
Koen
Quote
His Majesty
Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

Always wondered the same.

Interesting that Keith looks ragged and tattered (as always) by the island sun, while Mick looks ready for an interview dressed sharply with every hair perfectly in place.

The entire clip has an all around phony staged vibe to it.

.
.
_____________________________________________________________
Nothing to do, nowhere to go...you're talkin' to people that you don't know....

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: MelBelli ()
Date: July 13, 2017 20:45

Seems like a fairly organic moment to me. They're working out a sequence that would more or less become part of the bridge of "Mixed Emotions."

... as for songwriting credit apportionment, my rule of thumb is that there are three legs of a stool: a chord progression or riff, a melody, and lyrics. When Keith has a riff, he often has the ghost of a melody and some bare-bones lyrics. Mick cleans up the melody (listen to "If" turning into "Moon Is Up" to hear a perfect example).

The lines between who is responsible for what are often blurry; that's why it makes sense for them to just go 50/50 for everything.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Olly ()
Date: July 13, 2017 20:54

Quote
Koen
Quote
His Majesty
Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

Always wondered the same.


Not the only time Jagger's acting has left something to be desired.

Regardless, it's incredible (or would have been at the time) to think that that clip shows the Stones in the first half of their career.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: NICOS ()
Date: July 13, 2017 21:34

Basically you can say that Keith write all the music ar least till 1972............I remember another interview where Mick stated I don't write music (melody) Keith does, I think it was 1969

[www.youtube.com]



Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Rocky Dijon ()
Date: July 13, 2017 22:06

The best example of those sweeping remarks from the Glimmers has to have been in the seventies when a disapproving journalist noted all of the drug references in their lyrics and Keith responded, "Well, Mick always says he writes all the lyrics."

As for the truth of it, it's never so simple. While Mick and Keith wrote complete compositions independent of one another as early as the sixties despite sharing the credit, they generally speak of a song as belonging to one or the other if they originated the idea. They both have input on the final product, usually. Keith adds a descending melody line to one of Mick's songs or a bridge or an opening riff. Mick will add a bridge and sometimes a counter-melody to one of Keith's songs. Songs Keith sings had earlier versions with Mick on vocals. To think it's mainly all Keith or all Mick is just silliness. The Jagger-Richards partnership would never have endured without sufficient input from one another to justify sharing credit and royalties.

Do they take what they can from bandmates, sidemen, friends, producers without sharing credit? Sure, they're also unfailingly generous hosts and the same folks helped themselves daily for months on end to all kinds of otherwise expensive luxury items to help keep inspiration and energy going in the studio. They never seem to question that. Mac was a classic example, much as I loved his playing and personality.

People feel slighted when their role in success isn't credited. Someone like Chuck Leavell fought for his sole co-writing credit from Day One in the studio and got it. Others, even bandmates, won't fight from the first to ensure their contribution is credited starting with the session logs all the way to the label and inner sleeve, but they will bemoan the slight at a later date as if they expected others to look out for them.

Do Mick and Keith selfishly wish to minimize others' creative contribution? Often they do. Nothing odd about that. They have egos. In Hollywood, writer-directors rarely wish to publicly acknowledge a co-writer's contribution going all the way back to Orson Welles ignoring Herman J. Manciewicz's contribution to CITIZEN KANE. How many writers labor anonymously on scripts, then see their work on screen, but didn't receive credit? So it is with songs on the radio.

Do people sometimes exaggerate their contributions when they recollect events? Sure. Are they genuinely ripped off sometimes? Sure. That's life in the creative world. Credit is everything. It's no different than work-for-hire contracts limiting or denying creator rights. Is it moral? No. Is it legal?
Yes.

Being passive-aggressive or worse, too wasted to fight for your share from the start means you'll be steamrolled over. The meek might inherit the Earth, but they won't see any royalties.

As for who writes the music these days? I'll be a troublemaker and say Matt Clifford.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: LongBeachArena72 ()
Date: July 13, 2017 23:06

I'm beginning to think that the concept of the "authorship" of a Rolling Stones song is a murky one, indeed.

It's not like these guys bring in charts for their band-mates. "'ere, Bill, 'ere's your bass line,' e.g. There seems to be more or less universal agreement that at least in the days that mattered most for their ultimate legacy (i.e., the Jones and Taylor years) that while Keith wrote more music and Mick wrote more lyrics, they also more than occasionally crossed those lines.

It also seems to be generally accepted that the band on many of their best albums spent a lot of time "jamming" the songs into existence. In these instances, one of the Twins brought in something, a fragment, a riff, a chord progression, perhaps even a roughed out 'song,' and the band bashed it out for a while, twisting and turning it as they went. I'm sure that every band member on most of those occasions had a musical 'opinion' on how his part ought to be played. Probably those opinions were embraced in some cases by either Keith or Mick and incorporated into the song; probably in others ("no, it goes like this, Charlie") those initial efforts were corrected and the band moved on.

I guess a lot of this comes down to how fleshed out the 'writer' or 'creator' of the song's ideas were. Were there times ("Gimme Shelter," perhaps) when Keith came in to the studio like a Duke Ellington or Gordon Jenkins or Nelson Riddle and said "Ok, everybody, here's how it goes and here's what I want everybody to play"? Were there times ("Brown Sugar," perhaps) when Mick played that bandleader role and the rest of the group seemingly followed his 'instructions'?

Another observation: collaborative songwriting must be a nerve-wracking process. No matter how secure you are or how long you've been doing something, in any creative field, at some point you've got to put your cards on the table and say 'this is what I've got.' And then hope your partner doesn't smirk or turn away or shake his head or grumble. You're putting yourself out there in a very naked way and hoping your partner is someone you trust whose every instinct and whose entire focus is on making your embryonic stumblings into a beautiful child.

At one point in their careers, Keith and Mick had something very intimate and private together. Part of it might have been just an intense friendship, part of it might have been stewardship of the band, its success, its survival, etc. But a big part of it was also probably this creative collaboration they had, in which, one could guess, they trusted each other to help each other along the way in this brave new world of songwriting ... a world fraught with anxiety which they never imagined themselves conquering.

My guess is that the Twins don't do any of this anymore. They basically just negotiate which tracks stay and which tracks get cut. And the band simply mimics the demo provided as best they can. Blue & Lonesome may have been different ... or maybe it wasn't ... could be that the "demos" they were playing to were simply the original versions of all those old blues songs.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: RollingFreak ()
Date: July 13, 2017 23:13

Quote
Rocky Dijon
Being passive-aggressive or worse, too wasted to fight for your share from the start means you'll be steamrolled over. The meek might inherit the Earth, but they won't see any royalties.

Thats what I always think when that silly Stairway To Heaven/Spirit lawsuit comes up. Was it stolen? Who knows. Yeah, maybe, but we're not positive. And Randy California had YEARS to do something about it and never did. Presumably because it wasn't stolen or because he didn't mind. I don't think its cause he wouldn't have won. Its only been an issue since his death, when other people want the money. It was Randy's fight and he never did it. Therefore, if it is stolen, congrats to Zep for a successful theft, cause at this point its theirs without question. As you say, its the nature of the beast.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Rocky Dijon ()
Date: July 13, 2017 23:19

While I think that's generally the case, LongBeachArena72, there are still examples as recent as 2005 where bits of Mick color a track like "Infamy" and bits of Keith color a track like "Let Me Down Slow."

It's really no different than Henry Mancini composing all those songs but when you hear the records he's subsequently arranged them for his orchestra or the chords he picked out on piano are now played by Plas Johnson on tenor sax. Did Johnson contribute creatively? I would say so as a fan. He might have thought so, too. The credit stays with the guy who first picked the tune out on piano.

How does this relate to The Stones? Well for starters, Ronnie owns Plas Johnson's tenor sax that he used when cutting "The Pink Panther Theme" in 1963, but the bigger issue is credit for contributions will always be fraught with controversy.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-13 23:21 by Rocky Dijon.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: LongBeachArena72 ()
Date: July 13, 2017 23:34

Quote
Rocky Dijon
While I think that's generally the case, LongBeachArena72, there are still examples as recent as 2005 where bits of Mick color a track like "Infamy" and bits of Keith color a track like "Let Me Down Slow."

It's really no different than Henry Mancini composing all those songs but when you hear the records he's subsequently arranged them for his orchestra or the chords he picked out on piano are now played by Plas Johnson on tenor sax. Did Johnson contribute creatively? I would say so as a fan. He might have thought so, too. The credit stays with the guy who first picked the tune out on piano.

How does this relate to The Stones? Well for starters, Ronnie owns Plas Johnson's tenor sax that he used when cutting "The Pink Panther Theme" in 1963, but the bigger issue is credit for contributions will always be fraught with controversy.

I love this website!

Re: Who writes the music?
Date: July 13, 2017 23:52

Long Beach, you need to sit down with the Satanic sessions for a few days. It will answer many of your questions.

And, yes, the writers do instruct - even geniuses like Nicky smiling smiley

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: hopkins ()
Date: July 14, 2017 00:50

Quote
Olly
Quote
Koen
Quote
His Majesty
Isn't that staged for the cameras though? grinning smiley

Always wondered the same.


Not the only time Jagger's acting has left something to be desired.
.

ouch!

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 14, 2017 00:56

Quote
DandelionPowderman
Long Beach, you need to sit down with the Satanic sessions for a few days. It will answer many of your questions.

And, yes, the writers do instruct - even geniuses like Nicky smiling smiley

Yes! A wonderful and revealing listen is to be had. thumbs up

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: July 14, 2017 01:02

...whooooooo gettin' away from grandma and then The Satanic sessions...
WOW .............. you's gonna a BIG BIG week LongBeach ...HHaaahhheehh

ROCKMAN

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: RipThisBone ()
Date: July 14, 2017 01:28

Quote
NICOS
Basically you can say that Keith write all the music ar least till 1972............I remember another interview where Mick stated I don't write music (melody) Keith does, I think it was 1969

[www.youtube.com]



Mick wrote Brown Sugar in Australia while filming the Ned Kelly movie, july 1969.
Ofcourse a song grows with a whole band playing it rehearsed, but in this video you see Mick doing an embryo version of Brown Sugar backstage in MSG, NYC 1969.

video: [youtu.be]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-14 01:34 by RipThisBone.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: wonderboy ()
Date: July 14, 2017 02:05

Opinion to follow.
In the beginning, Keith was the primary songwriter, with Mick pulling ideas out of him, helping him organize his many ideas and writing some lyrics.
As Mick learned to write songs, he began to put more and more input into things, until about the time of Sticky Fingers, he was able to write entire songs.
I don't think Keith told people what to play (he has said that), but I do think a lot of their extended jams are a product of him working out the riffs to his satisfaction while at the same time waiting for Bill and Charlie to play parts that he liked. When he heard something he liked, he would look at them and they would deliver the backing track.
That process was probably frustrating to Mick, and I think he stopped bringing lyrics to the studio and started writing them on the spot. Then when the song track was complete and not a dead end, he would go back and polish them up on his own.
I think Keith's backup vocals probably shaped a lot of melodies.
A lot of it is really hard to figure out. Keith comes in with Beast of Burden supposedly about not being a burden to Mick in his addiction fight, and Mick turns it into a different kind of meaning.
After Some Girls and ER, I don't think they wrote songs together at all, just came in with their own demos and then contribute to each other songs.
Each owes the other a debt, otherwise they would have broken up. I believe Keith taught Mick how to write songs, but I don't believe Keith would have written songs without Mick being there.
And I'm sure they respect each others' ideas and believe the other one helps.
Like I say, just opinion.

Re: Who writes the music?
Date: July 14, 2017 02:11

Quote
RipThisBone
Quote
NICOS
Basically you can say that Keith write all the music ar least till 1972............I remember another interview where Mick stated I don't write music (melody) Keith does, I think it was 1969

[www.youtube.com]



Mick wrote Brown Sugar in Australia while filming the Ned Kelly movie, july 1969.
Ofcourse a song grows with a whole band playing it rehearsed, but in this video you see Mick doing an embryo version of Brown Sugar backstage in MSG, NYC 1969.

video: [youtu.be]

They finished it in Essen 1970, but felt the need to record it in 1971. One of the biggest ego efforts of the glimmer twins.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 14, 2017 02:16

I think it's clear that, say for the first 10 years or so, without Keith the large majority of songs simply wouldn't exist.

Re: Who writes the music?
Date: July 14, 2017 02:21

Quote
His Majesty
I think it's clear that, say for the first 10 years or so, without Keith the large majority of songs simply wouldn't exist.

True, but that doesn't diminish the quality of the songs performed live versus "strictly from commercial" studio products.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-14 02:22 by TheflyingDutchman.

Re: Who writes the music?
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: July 14, 2017 02:22

Quote
TheflyingDutchman


They finished it in Essen 1970, but felt the need to record it in 1971. One of the biggest ego efforts of the glimmer twins.

The basics were recorded in December 1969, no?

Re: Who writes the music?
Date: July 14, 2017 02:23

Quote
His Majesty
Quote
TheflyingDutchman


They finished it in Essen 1970, but felt the need to record it in 1971. One of the biggest ego efforts of the glimmer twins.

The basics were recorded in December 1969, no?

So what? Played on Taylor's request. He knew how the Stones sounded best live, it seems.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-14 02:25 by TheflyingDutchman.

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