PARTNERS IN SONG
by Norman Warwick
A much-loved radio station has compiled a list of their perceived ten greatest song writing partnerships the world has ever heard. Spoiler alerts should be issued that there is no room in this particular top ten for the Motown greats of Holland Dozier Holland, there is no Boyce and Hart from the country scene and no Rodgers and Hammerstein and not even a sing-along chorus of Gilbert And Sullivan, or even Gilbert O´Sullivan.. It is, indeed, a top ten that is very Smooth fm indeed in its content. However come follow your art down sidetracks & detours to the Brill buildings, coffee houses, recording studios and bed sits where writers once got together and create their magic.
Smooth Radio fm published their list of greatest song-writing partnerships in reverse order from ten to one, with each notelet accompanied by a Getty image of the writing partnership described.
When Robbie Williams quit Take That in 1996, no-one would have guessed that he would have not only gone on to score a huge solo career, but would also become responsible for co-writing a long list of massive hits for himself in an era where pop stars were encouraged to churn out covers or let someone else do the work.
He, however, teamed up with Guy Chambers (left) and the pair clicked instantly and wrote for the majority of his albums and singles including Angels and Feel. Although they parted ways for a few years, they subsequently reunited to carry on where they had left off.
Bernard Edwards & Nile Rogers (right) are the funk duo credited with writing and producing some of the best soul and disco hits of the ’70s and ’80s. They met as session musicians in New York and formed many bands before teaming up with singer Norma Jean Wright to become Chic. Together, bassist Edwards and guitarist/vocalist Rodgers wrote hits like Le Freak, Good Times, Lost In Music and I’m Coming Out to name but a few.
The Rolling Stones of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (left) may not have always got on, but ‘The Glimmer Twins’ have written hundreds of brilliant rock tracks over the decades.
As well as writing for other artists, they collaborated on many iconic Stones tracks, such as Gimme Shelter, Wild Horses and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
The formerly husband and wife duo Carole King and Gerry Goffin (right) wrote many of the ’60s biggest hits, including Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Take Good Care Of My Baby and The Loco-motion
Their songs were recorded by everyone from Aretha Franklin, James Taylor and the Beatles.
Ashford And Simpson (left) was a pairing that really as a match made in heaven – husband and wife Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson wrote many songs for the Motown label.
Working with artists like Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, they had huge hits with ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ and ‘I’m Every Woman’.
The couple also had success as recording artists themselves, and who can forget ‘Solid’ (As A Rock)’!
Composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David (right) are responsible for many easy classics such as Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, I Say A Little Prayer, Close To You and Alfie.
Their songs have been recorded by Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Cilla Black and The Carpenters among many others.
“I try to create an emotion to which others can respond,” David has said of his lyrics.
The American duo of Leiber And Stoller (left) wrote or co-wrote over 70 rock and roll hits, including Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and Stand By Me’.
Their songs have been recorded and re-recorded by many musical legends including The Beatles, Elvis, The Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin and countless others.
The ABBA song-writing pair of Benny and Bjorn (right) met while both on the road with other bands and went on to form one of the most successful pop groups of all time.
The group had 18 number one hits worldwide, including memorable anthems Dancing Queen, Take A Chance On Me and Knowing Me Knowing You.
When the band broke up in 1983, the pair had continued song-writing success with musicals Chess and Mamma Mia!.
Early on, The Beatles legendary composing duo John and Paul (right) decided that all songs written by them as individuals or as a pair should be credited as Lennon-McCartney.
Between 1962 and 1969, they published 180 jointly credited songs with some taking the credit McCartney-Lennon. However, even the Beatles songs which one of them predominantly composed on their own, the other would more often than not provide some kind of song-writing element.
“He provided a lightness, an optimism, while I would always go for the sadness, the discords, the bluesy notes”, John Lennon once said about Sir Paul in an interview with Playboy.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin (right) wrote a combination of truly fantastic songs, but also sustained a partnership that has lasted for over 50 years so I guess it simply had to be Elton and Bernie at the top of the Smooth fm list.
With Elton as composer, Taupin’s lyrics have brought magic to songs like ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Candle In The Wind’ and countless others.
In fact, 33 million people bought Candle In The Wind in 1997 as a musical tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, becoming the biggest-selling song ever.
Elton once said that “without Bernie Taupin there would be no Elton John.”
So, it is easy to think that everything ion the song-writing world is peaceful and harmonious but a recent spat, now resolved with apologies, slightly disproved that assumption.
Massively successful songwriter Taylor Swift did not take kindly to Damon Albarn (left) claiming that she “doesn’t write her own songs” in a Los Angeles Times interview published Sunday, criticizing the Gorillaz and Blur vocalist on Twitter Monday after the outlet excerpted Albarn’s interview in a tweet.
“I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs,” Swift, (right) tweeted, tagging Albarn. “Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW.”
“PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering,” she added.
Albarn has since apologized to Swift, seemingly attempting to argue that his quote was taken out of context. “I totally agree with you,” he responded. “I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait. I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand. – Damon.”
Swift fans don’t appear to accept Albarn’s apology, and are telling him so en masse, to no one’s surprise. Swift herself has yet to acknowledge it publicly.
For the record, here’s the bit in question from the L.A. Times Albarn interview:
She may not be to your taste, but Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.
She doesn’t write her own songs.
Of course she does. Co-writes some of them.
That doesn’t count. I know what co-writing is. Co-writing is very different to writing. I’m not hating on anybody, I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes. Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great. And some of the greatest singers—I mean, Ella Fitzgerald never wrote a song in her life. When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there. I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense. A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker—less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.
Swift collaborators including Jack Antonoff and Maren Morris have come to her defence, with the former tweeting, “I’ve never met Damon Albarn and he’s never been to my studio but apparently he knows more than the rest of us about all those songs taylor writes and brings in´, before adding, “Writing songs with songwriters means you’re a songwriter.”
Still, with apologies issued by Damon the following day it was soon time to move on,……..there was really nothing to see here, no blood had been spilled on Songwriter Street,……but today, only two days later, there is more disturbing news,,,,
Morrissey (left) has hit out at Johnny Marr, accusing his former bandmate in the Smiths of ‘using my name for clickbait’.
In a lengthy open letter, the former lead singer of The Smiths requested the group’s ex-guitarist refrain from speaking about him publicly, because he ‘doesn’t know him’.
The pair were bandmates for six years in the Eighties and released four albums together alongside Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, but Morrissey noted that they haven’t spoken for 35 years.
In a blog entry on his Morrissey Central website, the musician began: ‘This is not a rant or an hysterical bombast. It is a polite and calmly measured request: Would you please stop mentioning my name in your interviews?
‘Would you please, instead, discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music? If you can, would you please just leave me out of it?
‘The fact is: you don’t know me. You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings. Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts.’
The iconic Manchester band split in 1987, due to conflicts between the two members, but Morrissey revealed he wants Johnny to stop making out that he is to ‘blame for everything’.
He continued: ‘We haven’t known each other for 35 years – which is many lifetimes ago. When we met you and I were not successful. We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today. Can you not just leave it at that?
‘Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin?’
Continuing in his lengthy rant, Morrissey told Johnny to ‘stop using my name as click-bait’.
He said: ‘Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as click-bait.’
Morrissey concluded: ‘I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of ‘Louder than bombs’ and ‘Strangeways, here we come’, yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon.
‘Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982.’
It all makes me smile. When I think back on the almost a hundred songs Colin Lever and I wrote together (none of this kind of quality, you could rightly argue) I don´t recall one word of dissent about who wrote what, whether it was attributed as Warwick Lever or Lever Warwick, every song was a Lendanear song. Everything we wrote was part of the Lendanear story, and those songs are now on the light years of travel that all songs take, as invisible angels, to carry us from sadness to gladness.
Colin is currently experimenting in whether he can translate those songs into a semi-biographical novel and eventually into a comedy radio series telling that Lendanear story in a different way. I have used them to write a novel and as a platform for the work we do here at Sidetracks And Detours.
Surely all musicians write for the sake of the song ?
please note logo The primary source for this piece was written for the print and on line media by Ted Giola at his on line site, The Honest Broker Other authors and titles have been attributed in our text wherever possible
Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where categorised as images free to use.
For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April 2023 entitled Aspirations And Attributions.