Songwriting Tips


Budding songwriters often ask me, how I set about writing a commercial song, I answer, create a list of song titles.  If you have a song title then at least you have a subject to write about. Let’s analyse the song –  ‘Single Handed’ Haywoode. The chorus lyric states:  ‘Single handed, don’t wanna’ be Single Handed. Boy what’s the good if you follow a star when you’re Single handed.’

When we strive for something great, ‘follow a star’ we need to have someone at our side through the highs and the lows of our journey – we ‘don’t wanna’ be Single Handed.’

This song title is loaded with possible things to say about being ‘Single Handed’.  Listen to the song to hear what I wrote in the verses.

You need to get into the habit of wearing your song title glasses, then everywhere you look you will see song titles.


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The Saturdays (Crashing Down)

In 1981, in my flat in Islington, I wrote the song ‘Crashing Down’ and recorded a demo of it on my 4-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. The track and the vocals had a mid-rock feel. It reminded me of Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’.

In 1982, The Nolans recorded a sped-up version of ‘Crashing Down’. Unfortunately, although the girls sang the song well and looked great performing it, it failed to make the UK Top Twenty.

In 1985, Legear’s High-Energy remake of ‘Crashing Down’, gained popularity in the UK gay clubs and the dance scene in Europe.

‘Crashing Down’ lay dormant for the next 24 years.

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In 2008, The Saturdays classy techno-pop remake of ‘Crashing Down’  found a home on the B/Side of ‘Up’ – The Saturdays second UK hit.

The history of ‘Crashing Down’ goes to show that a good song is timeless and can be reworked to suit almost any music artist/genre.






Billy Ocean

Wow, talk about bringing back memories!

At the time when I went to Billy Ocean’s flat in Aldgate East to do some songwriting Billy’s was Les Charles. In 1976 I was 23 years old with Les being three years older than me. I met Les through a friend and played him some of my songs. He liked them and we were at his flat to co-write and record demos of a couple of my songs. Les had an upright piano in his bedroom and I brought along my trusty acoustic guitar. We demoed two songs – ‘Soul Rock’ and ‘Chequer Queen’ on his four-track tape recorder.

downloadOn this day Les gave me my first songwriting lesson. I had fallen into the trap of believing my song ‘Soul Rock’ was a finished song. It wasn’t until Les added a middle-eight to my song, which key changed into a third verse that I realised how a polished finished song should sound.

This  year, 2020, Billy Ocean is to receive an OBE for his services to music. As the two of us ran to catch a bus way back in 1975 neither of us could have imagined that Les would become a worldwide mega recording artist?