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Truth or Dare

Updated: Apr 15, 2019

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

Ok – that one isn't me. I’m quoting the legendary songwriter, educator and Vice – President of ASCAP- the great, Ralph Murphy.

Here’s why I needed you to look up the song, “Oh Susannah!”. Stephen Foster found the name “Sewanee River” in an atlas. He realized it sang better than the actual “Pirie River”. Still not satisfied, Stephen shortened it to be the iconic “Swanee River.“ The rest is songwriting history.

Paul McCartney, originally worked with the words “Scrambled Eggs” until he hit on the version you now know as “Yesterday.” The rest is big, songwriting history.

This should tell you something about process, editing and working method.

One more quick one –

Teaching the writing of a twelve- bar, Blues song. Not much to say beyond the fact that there are twelve bars, is there?

The rest of the information can only be conveyed by:

- listening to a couple of hundred blues songs

- understanding the historical context in which they were written

Perhaps, they were written at a ‘Crossroads.’


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