Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb

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I’ve collected a load of songwriting books over the years but there is one that I return to, over and over again. It is a wellspring of insights, perspectives, methods, thought processes, tools, all laid out painstakingly, in a logical, methodical, passionate, narrative. My copy is dog-eared and worn after many years of mining its pages – especially in the long stretches in between one new song and the next. Jimmy Webb is a brutal truth teller whose hit songs are part of the fabric of songwriting. More than that, his songs are not formulaic . . . each is a gem. And he has an uncanny knack for communicating what he does when he is writing (and when he is not writing) in a way that resonated with me immediately and brilliantly and still does.

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