Songwriter Interview Comments

It’s very easy to get some truth by interviewing musicians who experienced the vicissitude of the music industry. In a meeting with songwriter Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David conducted by Song Talk, two sensitive topics manifested themselves.

Hits and Commercial Success

According to Bacharach’s memory, he was struggling for compromising on commercial proneness at his peak. He explained that making a living might necessitate commercial music creation, though he didn’t take it serious enough. However, Bacharach still maintained his personal songwriting criteria and didn’t lose any passion about pursuing good melody.

What Is a Good Song?

Not Surprisingly, the perfect pair of partners gave nearly the same answers. Any co-writer of a song should take both melody and lyrics into account, no matter what your inclination is. In the conversation with David, he said that “there are songs that I loved that weren’t hits and songs that I didn’t think would be hits that were hits.” Given the unbridgeable gaps between songwriters and listeners on subjective song reviews, it’s wise enough for creators to focus on what themselves like. People like what they like.


Perhaps commercial music could also be viewed as one type of genre, in which there are a few particular rules to obey and explore. As Bacharach mentioned in his interview, “I had some hits… they weren’t particularly innovative songs… They were just… what you might think of as commercial songs.” Something artistic exists in these songs as well.

Song hits are popular in a short time, but classical ones could be hits in the long term. During 1972-1977, Punk music went through its peak and valley. Since Punk intertwined itself with historical background in a polarizing way, it rescued teenagers from nihilism danger and temporarily dominated. As the kind of zeitgeist faded away, only the part of music capable of “devolving” into the music itself might survive in the long history, and this might be how I explain “classical.” Just like Bacharach and David reminisced how they produced “Alfie,” “music breeds its own inspiration, in which the tune is allowed to stretch and breath naturally, unhindered by the structures of chords and rhythms.”

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