So what makes a hit song nowadays ?. I have been pondering this question for many's the year and have come up with
a few answers.If your a singer / songwriter and your not famous, you can write the greatest song in
the world and nobody
will ever hear it. If a well known singer writes the same song then it becomes a hit record. Or if you manage to get
your greatest creation to that well known singer and he records it then you have a hit record and everybody knows
you. Take the record that Finbar Furey recorded from the Television show ''The Hit'' , which was written by Gerry Fleming.
If Gerry hadn't entered that song into the show
it would be still sitting at home and would never see the light of
day. Or if Gerry had recorded it and placed it on youtube it would probibly get a few hits and fade away because
Gerry wasn't as well known as Finbar. Plus the fact that his song was on national television.
Recently a man sent
me a song he had written and wanted it included here on the site. It's called ''The old wino that sleeps on the quay''
, I thought it was excelent. Several thousand people have seen it here on this site but that's only because this
site gets a massive amount of traffic. I have no doubt that if a famous singer like Christy Moore decided to record this Thomas
Keatley song it would be an instant hit record. The same applies to the couple of hundred others who sent me songs in
the past 12 years.
Lets change the situation a little bit. Say a well known band or singer included a
track on their latest album and the song was really bad. That same track would become famous just because the singer
was well known. I'm not just talking folk music here, the same applies to all kinds of music. We have all heard really
crap records and wondered how the heck did that make it onto the radio, well the average D.J. will play anything once
it's by a well known band.
In times past [ 100 years ago ] when a song was written it was usually handed by the
writer to a vocalist who would preform it in the music halls and the writer a little money in return. Then in the 1930's singers
would record their hits and the Lyricist started to make some good money. If the song was really popular other singers would
try and make some money off the song by recording it. Take the song ''Danny Boy''
written in 1910, according to Wikipedia
it was recorded 58 times in the last 100 years. I don't know where Wikipedia get their information from but it was recorded
over 100 times in America along and at least 50 singers in Ireland have recorded it. The man who claimed he wrote it
never had to work another day in his life and lived off the royalties. It was a bit different in Ireland, if you wrote
a song you got it printed and The Ballad Singer would bring it around the towns of Ireland selling the printed lyrics.
He's first sing the song to let you hear what you were buying and to give you a listen to the air of the tune.
that was then and this is now and it's much more difficult to have a hit record nowadays. A small amount of bands who work
hard on the pub scene and write their own music will make it. But they are few and far between, and it's not as if there are
record company scouts doing the rounds checking for talented bands anymore. Thousands of young and old enter these competitons
like The X Factor hoping for success. Very few make it and of the few that do make the final their glory is usually
Usually a great song will have three or four verses and a chorus. I say usually but the Danny Boy song had no chorus and was still a massive hit. If this song was written today I'd bet it wouldn'd stand a chance of getting
radio time. It was a different era with the general public having a higher attention span when it came to music. Another song
with no chorus was the Eric Bogle hit ''The Green Fields Of France'' , this ballad like many others told a good story that
is encaptivating to the listener. I remember listening to an interview with the singer / songwriter of The Kinks, Ray Davies
who said that anytime he wrote a song that had a ''Riff'' in it it became a hit record and when he left the riff out
the record didn't sell as well. Shane MacGowan from The Pogues must have heard the same interview because most of his
writing include a riff. So there you go, that's another tip.