The Anatomy of a hit song

All hit songs (not all great songs, mind you) can be broken down into a certain formula. a bit of this, some of that and a bucket load of those, churn them together and voila! You have a radio hit ready to mint money for your record label
Yes, it is that simple.

To illustrate this point, I bring you the smash hit Free bird by the band known by most people for that one song sweet home Alabama, Lynrd Skynrd. I highly recommend you have the song ready to play , as you read this post.
I would post the youtube link for easy reference but we are breaking new ground here, this post is being typed and published via mobile and hyper-linking, unfortunately, is not supported.
So then, lets begin.
Pay attention to the first verse, the song begins with a gentle melody and the lead singer waxes on about how he cannot be chained, with the tempo, and possibly his temper, rising as the verse progresses. By the end of the first verse you realise that the song is already peaking. The songsmiths working with the band realised this as well and sent them back to add some more material.
Verse 2, the band works hard and essentially repeats the whole of verse one with slightly modified lyrics, its the same wine and the same bottle, but you are made to drink it via your nose.
By the end of the second verse, the writing is clear on the wall. This song is going to be just two verses of male angst and desperate proclamations of being a free bird.
Pause for a moment, as I assume the band and the producers did as well. A 3 something minute song with the same verse repeated twice! No body would ever buy this Shit!
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and boy were these times bad. The band looked to the guitarists, I presume, and said something to the effect of “fuck this creativity thing, we have no idea how to do this. Lets just fucking rock out”
And they did, and how! What you have at the end is an 8 minute song with 3 minutes used by one verse, sung twice, and 5 minutes of insane guitars.
That my friend is a radio hit. So why don’t you too go ahead and make your own radio smash hits using the formula that we learnt today.
Till then,


2 thoughts on “The Anatomy of a hit song

  1. Riddhi (as usual!!) :) says:

    Hee…he!!!! I dont know how you think and analyze so much……..but yea….you are absolutely right! 🙂

  2. Sakhi says:

    Did anyone tell you, you’re funny, boy!! 😀
    LOL @ ‘we’re breaking new ground here…’

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