Researched Suggestions for Writing the Next Hit Song in America

A new study published in the Journal of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts suggests that the most popular songs in American culture these days are increasingly about oneself, especially one’s angry or antisocial behaviour (DeWall, C. Nathan; Pond, Richard S., Jr.; Campbell, W. Keith; Twenge, Jean M., Mar 21 2011).

See the more complete and easier to read Miller-McCune article here.

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Guitar and Ukulele Tabs for Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (Pete Seeger)

If I had to choose one song which I thought best exemplified great songwriting, I might well choose Where Have All the Flowers Gone? by Pete Seeger.

It is a simple song to learn or teach for chords and catchy tune. Not a lot of vocal range or skills required. One true verse with a few interchangeable parts. Very meaningful lyrics with a lot of symbolism to say more than just words can say. Very vivid imagery. Tells a story based on a simple concept and closes it all off. Works great with just the singing, one instrument, without drums, or any number of instruments, and in pretty much any style you’d like to perform it. Sounds even better performed in a group. I’m not sure what else you’d want in a song.

My tabbed version is closest to the version by the Kingston Trio in the video below (minus all the picking as I try to keep things simple).

Pete Seeger

Otherwise, I’d have posted a version sung by Pete Seeger himself like this one

This one by Peter, Paul and Mary, with instructions to the audience as they sing it is nice, too.

I hope you will give the song a try if you haven’t already played it.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger Guitar Tabs Letter Sized PDF

Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger Guitar Tabs Tabloid Sized PDF

Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger Ukulele Tabs Letter Sized PDF

Where Have All The Flowers Gone, Pete Seeger Ukulele Tabs Tabloid Sized PDF

These tabs all fit on one page to avoid the inconvenience of page turns. However, the letter size tabs (8.5″ x 11″) may be too small for your eyes. If so, you can either enlarge to tabloid size (11″ x 17″) using an automatic enlarge feature on many photocopiers, or download the tabloid sized versions for printing. The tabloid size tabs can be inserted into a typical letter sized binder on the 11″ size, and folded almost in half to fit. You just open each tab to use it.

Please click here for guitar and ukulele tabs and chords to other songs on this blog.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Readability Level: 5.3

No-no Song, Covered by Ringo Starr (Lyrics and Video)

I heard the No-no Song for the first time this morning when I woke up and thought it was hilarious. I heard the Jimmy Buffet version, but this cover version by a character like Ringo Starr is a perfect match. Ringo’s cover version went to No. 3 on the charts in 1974, off his Goodnight Vienna album.

I liked the song instantly so much I decided instantly to add it to my Best Songs Heard for the First Time in 2010 list. Some of the previous songs I added to my list can be found through links in these posts.

I also think the song is a fine example of simple, efficient and effective songwriting.

A fan video and lyrics are below. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Huh-huh! Huh-huh
(Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)
(Aye-aye-aye-aye)

A lady that I know just came from Columbia,
She smiled because I did not understand.
Then she held out some marijuana, ha ha!
She said it was the best in all the land.

And I said,
“No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more,
I’m tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.”

(ah-ah-aye-aye)

A woman that I know just came from Majorca, Spain,
She smiled because I did not understand. (parazzi! Parazzi!) (ole!)
Then she held out a ten pound bag of cocaine,
She said it was the finest in the land.

And I said,
“No, no, no, no, I don’t (sniff) it no more,
I’m tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.”

(aye-aye-aye-aye)
(aye-aye-aye-aye)
(aye-aye-aye-aye)
(aye-aye-aye)

A man that I know just came from Nashville, Tennessee, oo, (oh no!)
He smiled because I did not understand.
Then he held out some moonshine whiskey, oh ho,
He said it was the best in all the land. (and he wasn’t joking!!!)

And I said,
“No, no, no, no, I don’t drink it no more,
I’m tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.”

Well, I said,
“No, no, no, no, I can’t take it no more,
I’m tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.”

Hey yeh!


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Dave Carroll Launches Second United Breaks Guitar Video

Dave Carroll of the group Sons of Maxwell has released the second of three songs and videos chronicling how United Airlines baggage handlers carelessly thrashed his high quality $3500 Taylor guitar and won’t be accountable for it.

The short of Dave’s broken guitar story is as follows:

“In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world.”
— from davecarrollmusic.com that also has the full story

Dave-Carroll1

The first video was a huge hit, shown at bottom for your convenience in case you didn’t see it. It is now bordering on 5 million YouTube views as of this writing on Aug 19 2009. The story of its success, as Dave has told audience, was that after posting the first video and going to bed, there were six views… five of which were probably his. The next day, there were 300 views, and he was ecstatic. He called Curve Productions, who produced that first and this second video, but they told him to not get too excited. However, when he was out in little Pictou doing a show the next night and someone told him the LA Times wanted to talk to him, Dave knew for sure he was on to something big.

Well, at 5 million views in 6-7 weeks, you’re doing super great, Dave! Much better than your initial goal of 1 million views for all three videos within one year!

Despite all this grief, though, Dave maintains a great attitude towards United. He has said he may fly United again one day, if this gets settled adequately. That would mean they’d have to meet his challenge:

“If United would go online and on record saying that they were going to make substantive changes to customer service and make the experience better for people, I’d be inclined to write about that. [The third song] is still not written and it’ll be released in the fall, though. If United wants to take part, they just have to come to the table and share what they’re going to do to make it better for everybody.”
Yahoo News

Dave Carroll was my former songwriting teacher at Sherbrooke Village, Nova Scotia, in a great Road to Stanfest songwriting camp they have there. I’m extremely happy for him and his success, and wish him all the best to resolve his guitar tragedy with United Airlines. His viral first video is below for your reference.

Short link: http://wp.me/pr5TE-1sl

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.1