Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Classic Songs

Some of the songs on the Top 100 singles chart 50 years ago this week: Soul Man - Sam & Dave, I Can See For Miles - The Who, Your Precious Love - Marvin Gay/Tammy Terrell, Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin, Never My Love - The Association, Holiday - Bee Gees, I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Gladys Knight & the Pips, Kentucky Woman - Neil Diamond, She Is Still a Mystery - the Lovin' Spoonful, How Can I Be Sure? - the Rascals, Daydream Believer - the Monkees, Wild Honey - the Beach Boys, The Letter - The Box Tops, People Are Strange - The Doors, The Look of Love - Dusty Springfield, Big Boss Man - Elvis Presley, I Second That Emotion - Smoky Robinson & The Miracles, By The Time I Get To Phoenix - Glen Campbell, Goin' Back - The Byrds, and Love Is Strange - Peaches & Herb.

"I like words. I like the way they clash around together and bang up against each other, especially in songs." 

"The creative processes are so mysterious."

"I believe strongly in inspiration, inspiration literally meaning 'full of the spirit.' I do believe that it comes to you."

"We as songwriters are in the same position as a professional fisherman. Our fishing grounds are kind of fished out."

"You certainly don't hear any country music on pop radio today. But for a while you did, and it was a lovely thing to have all the different genres of music co-habiting the Top 40 - the folk sound, The Beatles, the British sound, the Motown sounds, that kind of light country - it was a welcome relief after a few hard rock records. Everyone was sharing the airwaves, and I think it was a beautiful time for American music."

"Even if chords are simple, they should rub. They should have dissonances in them. I've always used a lot of alternate bass lines, suspensions, widely spaced voicings. Different textures to get very warm chords. Sometimes you're setting up strange chords by placing a chord in front of it that's going to set it off like a diamond in a gold band. It's not just finding interesting chords, it's how you sequence them, like stringing together pearls on a string. Interesting chords will compel interesting melodies. It's very hard to write a boring melody to an interesting chord sequence."

-- Jimmy Webb