This is the second in a series that examines cover songs that went on to be huge hits, even though the original versions were mostly unknown. This post covers Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross.” Read the post.
How did a forgotten 1965 B-side become a 1981 smash? “Tainted Love” had hidden elements that Soft Cell unlocked to turn it into an enduring (and often covered) hit song. Read the post.
These songs from decades past show us that, really, more is less. Let’s explore the magic of the bVII-I progression and how two chords can make a song. Read the post.
While it might be difficult to keep a song interesting if you limit it to one chord, it can also help create tension, highlight your lyrics, or drive a hypnotic groove. Read the post.
Augmented chords can add drama and tension, as shown in these examples from popular songs from the ’60s through the ’80s. Read the post.
While Nashville tuning uses the same notes as a standard guitar tuning, used by itself and in layers with other guitars, this tuning can bring an articulate presence to a recording. Read the post.
Ever sit down to learn a song and find that no matter what chord you play, it’s just not the right one? We investigate two mystery chords in two classic songs. Read the post.
This post explores some common — and some of the more obscure — alternate guitar tunings to inspire you to write your next masterpiece. Read the post.
For some extended guitar chords — like a fully voiced thirteenth — there are more notes in the chord than there are strings. That’s where slash chords come in … with a little help from your bassist. Read the post.
Eleventh chords can liven up music in any genre, but they can be confusing. Here are some charts and examples to help guide you in your pursuit of extended chords. Read the post.
Music arrangement might be the invisible art, but the results can spell the difference between a smash hit and a “nice” song. Dr. Richard Niles has a storied history as an arranger and shares some thoughts and insights in this interview. Read the post.
The fade out, the cold ending, the endless loop, the key modulation… there are so many approaches to a song ending — at least on record — so, how are you gonna do it? Read the post.
As an independent music artist, you’ve got a few seconds — at most — to reel a listener in to your single or lead-off track. Here are some strategies to craft a song intro that will make your listeners pay attention. Read the post.
Though labeled a Lennon/McCartney song, “She Said She Said” was more truly a Lennon/Harrison song that was a late addition to one of the pivotal albums in the Beatles’ esteemed catalog. Read the post.
We take a look at the true innovation and widespread influence James Brown had as he evolved his sound and created funk music in the process. Read the post.