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Who Are Your Biggest Influences?
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 Posted: Mon Feb 22nd, 2021 06:46 pm
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JayDub
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This has probably been discussed at some point on these forums, but I haven't seen any recent conversations. I'm always curious as to who songwriters are inspired by.

For me, Jon Bon Jovi is at the top of the list. Bon Jovi made me want my first guitar, and I love the way he creates characters and tells stories in the songs he writes. The subtle nods to other artists and influences add a layer of "realness" that I just can't get past.

I'm also really into Eric Church's style as well as Chris Stapleton.

So who do my fellow lyricists look to as inspirations?

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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 12:50 am
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RainyDayMan
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Two strong influences on me are Cat Stevens and Carole King (yes, I'm showing my age). But they are still right up there for me as songwriters.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 01:09 am
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JayDub
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RainyDayMan wrote:
Two strong influences on me are Cat Stevens and Carole King (yes, I'm showing my age). But they are still right up there for me as songwriters.

Age has nothing to do with it man. I'm 33, and I love some Cat Stevens!

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 Posted: Thu Feb 25th, 2021 04:20 pm
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Al Mac
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Cat Stevens is one of my faves too. I used to have a passable version of "Trouble" in an acoustic set. Don McClean is another major influence, the Tapestry album is a masterpiece. I was lucky enough to see him live back in the 80's. Just him and an acoustic guitar. Beautiful. I started my journey with an acoustic guitar, so went for those guys big time.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 25th, 2021 04:20 pm
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Claus H
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In no particular order, some folks who have resonated with me:
Kris Kristofferson,
Dylan,
Leonard Cohen,
Tom Waits
The output of Goffin/King/Pomus/Shuman,
Willie Nelson, and many other 50s-60s country writers.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 05:33 pm
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M.P. Dudash
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I thought about this and I wrote this this morning about the topic. While I love styles my influence is internal. Appreciate the idea!

(Spoken)
I saw a post the other day asking
Who influenced your song writing?
I thought for a brief second about all the greats I’d come to know over the course of my lifetime then quickly realized. It was...

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

The script may not be
All sunshine and roses
There’s not one single person
Alive who I knows is

I’ll give credit I guess
To fate and my mind
One’s shown me hell
One’s grand design

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

I write in a language
Universally known
Restricted at youth
But learned as you grow

They can chisel in truth
These words on my stone....
Love, loss and deeper thoughts
Are all that he’d known

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

My influence.... life
I’m simply writing what I know

Copyright © Michael P Dudash 2021

Last edited on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 05:34 pm by M.P. Dudash



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 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 07:02 pm
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JayDub
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M.P. Dudash wrote:
I thought about this and I wrote this this morning about the topic. While I love styles my influence is internal. Appreciate the idea!

(Spoken)
I saw a post the other day asking
Who influenced your song writing?
I thought for a brief second about all the greats I’d come to know over the course of my lifetime then quickly realized. It was...

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

The script may not be
All sunshine and roses
There’s not one single person
Alive who I knows is

I’ll give credit I guess
To fate and my mind
One’s shown me hell
One’s grand design

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

I write in a language
Universally known
Restricted at youth
But learned as you grow

They can chisel in truth
These words on my stone....
Love, loss and deeper thoughts
Are all that he’d known

Love, loss, alcohol and pain
Words left and regret
A few women’s names
Highlights and bar life
Goodbyes and hellos
My influence life
I’m writing my show

My influence.... life
I’m simply writing what I know

Copyright © Michael P Dudash 2021


Awesome lyric! Never even thought of my question generating a song.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 11:34 pm
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M.P. Dudash
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Thank You JayDub!



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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 04:00 am
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Emmet Floyd
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Definitely the early beatles (and all the harmonies that they have ever done) and John Prine...that boy had a way with words! Been influenced by so many people and music styles, that was a tough question bro....

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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 03:22 pm
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JayDub
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Emmet Floyd wrote:
Definitely the early beatles (and all the harmonies that they have ever done) and John Prine...that boy had a way with words! Been influenced by so many people and music styles, that was a tough question bro....

John Prine is definitely one of the most underrated lyricists of our time! Excellent choice. Just curious, what part of WV are you from? I'm on the KY/WV border.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 10:11 pm
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Andrea
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Emmet Floyd wrote:
Definitely the early beatles (and all the harmonies that they have ever done) and John Prine...that boy had a way with words! Been influenced by so many people and music styles, that was a tough question bro....

Hi Emmet, Welcome to the forum. It's great to see you joining in. Please take a momnmet and read the rules and introduce yourself.

http://www.thesongwritersforum.com/forum/view_forum.php?id=2

http://www.thesongwritersforum.com/forum/view_forum.php?id=12

Thanks,
Andrea



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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 10:19 pm
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Andrea
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I guess I'm mostly in the M.P. ballpark -I usually I just write in my own way.

I do have some lyrics that were inspired by bands I adore. Metallica has defintely inspired more than one of my metal lyrics. I would love to write something with an easy and fun chorus like AC/DC. I need to work on this more 🤣

On the softer side, if I could, I would write like Simon and Garfunkel.



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 Posted: Wed May 12th, 2021 01:58 am
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fasstrack
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I listened to and wrote instrumental music---largely jazz---before ever thinking about writing a word, so that's my baseline, the jazz greats from all periods.

But I like so many things that I just let them wash over me and figure out what it is I'm writing after I do it. But there has to be melodic content or my attention drifts.

In the pop realm I always loved Stevie Wonder; think Billy Joel is a hell of a craftsman (ditto for Carole King); Donnie Hathaway---VERY underrated; Beatles, once they matured, Paul Simon; Janis Ian is quirky and wonderful; Laura Nyro was unique---just to give an idea.

I also respect writers who've studied and know form---learning being a lifetime undertaking. Like you can tell that writers like Elton John; Randy Newman and Billy Joel studied and know classical forms (Elton John also worked as a jazz pianist in the beginning, under his birth name of Reginald Dwight). Paul Simon studied later in his career, but he did study, and you can hear it. It shows in the way they construct a melody and the harmonic architecture it's framed in.

Then there's rhythm---which goes hand in hand with melody. That's another topic for another day, but if it's rhythmically not happening I ain't buying it.

I've been going back to the basic raw blues lately, since my LP collection and me are finally back together. I've had many of these records since my teen years: Little Walter; Albert (and B.B. and Freddie) King; Mississippi John Hurt; Memphis Slim; some of the great white bands like Canned Heat and Butterfield. It never gets old---and it gets you back to basics.

I want to finish by saying that IMO the pedants who write books on the 'Great American Songbook' have had a narrow view of what it should include. Of course I adore and have learned from the classic Broadway & film writers---Gershwin; Porter; Berlin; Dorothy Fields, etc., etc. How could you not? But I view American music in a more expansive and inclusive way and say we have to include all of the above and more (Gospel; Latin---so many others). We're a nation of immigrants and a once enslaved people, and American music is a big stew of all the contributions from so many cultures. If it was made here it's American Songbook fodder.

OK, off the soapbox!...

Last edited on Wed May 12th, 2021 02:30 am by fasstrack



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 Posted: Sat May 15th, 2021 10:20 pm
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MarkRhodes
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Funny thing about influences. When I was a kid, I thought the question of influences was the question of 'who do you like?' (or 'who do you like best?') Later it morphed into, 'who would you like to be associated with?'
Now (and I'm 62) I think two of my deepest influences were Johnny Rivers and Booker T & The MGs. The latter played instrumentals exclusively (though they backed a lot of vocalists on record) and Johnny had these catchy songs with cool little guitar parts ("Secret Agent Man") that I always loved. John Fogerty of CCR was like that for me too---he wasn't a 'guitar hero' but he sure wrote a lot of great songs with cool little guitar parts in them.
So while I may talk about Dylan and Leonard Cohen---both of whom I enjoy and admire---I think deep-down I want to write simple songs with cool guitar parts that are fun to play and easy to sing.



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 Posted: Tue May 25th, 2021 12:46 am
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popitup
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Well I grew up being influenced by all those great British bands like The Beatles, Genesis, Supertramp, Elton John, Led Zeppelin . . . but also, living here in Canada, we have a lot of great folk music . . . so, I've also been touched in my songwriting by Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea, Fortunate Ones, Gordon Lightfoot. I've only recently discovered the greatness of Leonard Cohen.

As I get older, I relate much more to acoustic instruments and seem to write more using those. When I hear a great new song, or one I haven't heard before . . . I remember the initial excitement of wanting to hear it again, and wanting to know who it is, and how did they record it ? Then, as a songwriter, I find myself going through the process of how and why did they write that song ? What was the method to creating something so unique ?
My example would be the first time I heard "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak on the radio, instant like, need to turn the volume up.

Mostly, I've been influenced by all the great songs I've heard in my life, one hit wonders, pop phenoms, etc . . . maybe a list too long to write here.

My latest fav song is "Love Again" by Dua Lipa . . . yeah, old dude likes new stuff . . . is it actually a "Dua Lipa" song ? . . . it is simply a great song, gets me thinking, who, what, when and how did they come up with that ?



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 Posted: Thu Jun 3rd, 2021 09:39 am
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Making the choice of being a versatile songwriter is that your influences have to come from a plethora of avenues, so this question is always interesting to me.

I think that's what it is for me, though, the constant exploration for who is pushing the boundaries. I'm from Philadelphia, PA where Pharrell Williams says emcees are born. Yes, highly-skilled songwriters, with a very wide range of musical influences.

Familiarity doesn't breed gratitude, only contempt?

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 Posted: Sat Jun 12th, 2021 10:49 pm
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As a lyricist, I relate to good lyricist. Ira Gershwin was my favorite for years, since I was a kid. There are many others, especially librettists, that I love also. I find that a lot of musicians who write their own lyrics should have had a lyricist write them. When I listen to song lyrics closely, I usually find mistakes and stuff that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t relate to the theme of the song. But very seldom with songs where lyricist wrote the lyrics. But when I get critical, I end up not listening to a song I like musically with problematic lyrics. Anyway…

Good songs with bad lyric are sellable but bad song with good lyric are not.

Charles



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2021 12:14 am
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I'm sure it's easy for anyone to tell who my strongest influences are just by listening to my music, from the Fab Four on down, but I like to think that I've got an open mind when it comes to appreciating all kinds of styles and genres. I can be inspired by anything that grabs my attention.

cmaja wrote:

Good songs with bad lyric are sellable but bad song with good lyric are not.

Charles


Well said!! You have a very valid point here, I agree with you! The airwaves have been jammed, both past and present, with songs that have just horrible lyrics but have killer music and production behind them and were tremendous hits but rarely do you see it the other way around.



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 Posted: Mon Jul 12th, 2021 11:27 pm
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cmaja wrote:
As a lyricist, I relate to good lyricist. Ira Gershwin was my favorite for years, since I was a kid. There are many others, especially librettists, that I love also. I find that a lot of musicians who write their own lyrics should have had a lyricist write them. When I listen to song lyrics closely, I usually find mistakes and stuff that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t relate to the theme of the song. But very seldom with songs where lyricist wrote the lyrics. But when I get critical, I end up not listening to a song I like musically with problematic lyrics. Anyway…

Good songs with bad lyric are sellable but bad song with good lyric are not.

Charles
You hit the nail on the head about musicians that can't write lyrics shouldn't. It's like a commercial featuring Dave Winfield playing clams on an organ---tag line: 'Don't play another man's game'.

Horace Silver, a very beloved jazz pianist-composer, started several projects with messages---good ones---but using his own wince-worthy lyrics. Why didn't he just hire someone and communicate his ideas---or at least get a coach? I still dig those records, though, for the strong melodies; great casts; and Horace's heart and good intentions that came through. But what if?

I was late to the party, comparatively, in writing lyrics. But I started after I both knew musical form; had written much instrumental music that could easily have had lyrics set; and was old enough (49) to have some insight into life (or THOUGHT I did!). My 1st efforts sucked, but I studied the masters same as learning to play. Now I feel well-trained and can say things that may resonate---and the learning process will go on as long as I'm drawing breath...



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 Posted: Thu Oct 14th, 2021 08:50 pm
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I perform with "Robbin' Crooks" and we cover a lot of songs from the writer rather than how it was recorded by someone else. I love to listen to a song as it was interpreted by whoever made it famous but I have no interest in performing it as a tribute or copy of how they did the song. It takes the strength of a song to capture my interest, not necessarily how someone else interpreted it. My influences are Townes Van Zandt, Willis Alan Romsey, Nancy Griffith, Danny Flowers, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, John Prine, Bob Dylan, and a host of others that broke the pop mold.



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