Garnish Music Production School | Los Angeles

Qualities of a Great Song

QUALITIES OF A GREAT SONG -Reliability/Message

-Melody (Contour)
-Progression (Chords)
-Lyrics [Imagery, word selection, alliteration, rhyme scheme

-Form Appeal (Universality), -Tells A Story, “Singability” -Memorability
-Dynamic Structure -Repetition

-Strong Sonic Appeal

-Phrasing (where you come in on the beat // leaving space), -Syncopation
-Social Awareness (Pop Culture)
-Authenticity/Identity-Word Play
-Lyrical Rhythm -Concept/Purpose -Clarity Of Message -Rhythm/Meter/Tempo -Form/Structure -Contrast-Shock Value
-Title/Title Placement
-Nostalgia (also bringing back older sounds) -Timelessness

Great song criteria:

1. Memorability (often accomplished by use of hook-a catchy phrase/refrain that repeats t/o song) 2. Strong Lyric & Imagery
3. Strong Sonic Appeal
4. Beginning, Middle, & End (like a story)

Great song criteria, beyond the writer:
1. Song gets appealing debut performance
2. Record Comp backs song
3. Recording distributed effectively t/o the country
4. Song & Recording suit taste of current market (interesting case: ie Meghan Trainor=throwback)

The Craft: begins with musical study (melody, harmony, rhythm, form, lyrics)

-Analyze the hits/your fav songs: line-by-line, chord by chord-What Makes Them Great?
-Build a thick skin, keep an open mind, filter the critique you receive (songwriting is subjective-Beatles turned down by every American label before massive stars)
-Collaboration: oftentimes 2 complementary writers can be greater than the sum of their parts -Copyright Registration: some copyright all songs, some copyright only when songs are ready to be used/released

GREAT REMAKES/COVERS – More proof of timelessness

“I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton (1973) / Whitney Houston (1992) “Torn” – Ednaswap (95) / Natalie (97) / Alec (2017)
“Don’t Turn Around” – Tina Turner (86) / Ace Of Base (94)
“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – Robert Hazard (1979) / Cyndi Lauper (1983) “Respect” – Otis Redding (1965) / Aretha Franklin (1967)

“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Arrows (1975) / Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1981)
“Manic Monday” – Apollonia 6 (1984) / The Bangles (1986)
“I Think We’re Alone Now”- Tommy James and the Shondells (1967) / “I Think We’re Alone `

Now” / Tiffany (1987)
“Don’t Cha” – Tori Alamaze (March 2005) / The Pussycat Dolls (April 2005)

THE BEAUTY OF A CROSSOVER – More proof that a great song is a great song Pop Vs Country Crossovers

“I Will Always Love You” (Dolly, Whitney)

Atlantic Records
“I Can Love You Like That” (John Michael Montgomery / All 4 One) “I Swear” (John Michael Montgomery / All 4 One)

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith / Mark Chesnutt)


Artists that sing it in both genres
“Crazy” – Patsy Cline (written by Willie Nelson) “This Kiss,” “Breathe”
“Amazed” (Lonestar)
“I Hope You Dance” (Leann Womack)

“How Do I Live” (Yearwood / Rimes)

The Perfection Of The Crossover
Shania Twain – “Come On Over”
6th Best Selling Album in the USA


-Billboard Hot 100 Vs ITunes?


-Songwriters and Singer/Songwriters -Burt Bacharach

-“That’s What Friends Are For”
-“They Long To Be (Close To You)” – The Carpenters -Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin

-Diane Warren
-“Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” -“How Do I Live”
-“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”

John Lennon / Paul McCarthy -Imagine

Michael Jackson / Quincy Mutt Lange

-Bryan Adams -Shania Twain -AC/DC

Max Martin
-Britney Spears

-NSYNC -Taylor Swift -Katy Perry

Holland Dozier Holland -Motown

R Kelley
I Believe I Can Fly

I’m Your Angel Ne Yo

Take a Bow
Hate That I Love You Let Me Love You Unfaithful

-Tony Braxton

-Boyz To Men

-“Best Thing I Never Had” -Beyonce Stevie Wonder

-“Nothing Compares To You” – Sinead O’Connor -Manic Monday – The Bangles

Bob Dylan
Bruce Springsteen

-Because The Night “Patti Smith” then 10,000 Maniacs Dr. Dre

Elton John
Mariah Carey Carol Bayer Sager

-The Prayer” – Celine / Andrea

Greatest songs ever written

Arms of an angel
Man in the mirror
Live like you were dying I will always love you

Can’t help falling in love with you Humble and kind
Don’t wanna miss a thing
Things change

Tears in heaven

My way
What Goes Around My Way
Still The One

If I could turn back time Toxic
Can’t get you out of my head Bye bye bye

One more time

I’ll make love to you
Empire State of mind Beautiful
We found love in broken place True colors

Girls wanna have fun Heart will go on
New York New York Unbreak my heart

Called to say I love you Mmm Bop
That’s What Friends Are For



HOW DO I LIVE, LeAnn Rimes, No. 2, 12/13/1997
UN-BREAK MY HEART, Toni Braxton, No. 1 (11 weeks), 12/7/1996 BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME, Celine Dion, No. 1 (6 weeks), 3/23/1996 LOOK AWAY, Chicago, No. 1 (2 weeks), 12/10/1988
NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW, Starship, No. 1 (2 weeks), 4/4/1987

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN, Milli Vanilli, No. 1 (2 weeks), 11/25/1989 WHEN I SEE YOU SMILE, Bad English, No. 1 (2 weeks), 11/11/1989 LOVE WILL LEAD YOU BACK, Taylor Dayne, No. 1 (1 week), 4/7/1990 DON’T TURN AROUND, Ace of Base, No. 4, 6/18/1994

RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT, DeBarge, No. 3, 4/27/1985

FOR YOU I WILL, Monica, No. 4, 4/19/1997
HAVE YOU EVER?, Brandy, No. 1 (2 weeks), 1/16/1999
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME, Cher, No. 3, 9/23/1989
I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING, Aerosmith, No. 1 (4 weeks), 9/5/1998
I DON’T WANNA LIVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE, Chicago, No. 3, 8/27/1988

I GET WEAK, Belinda Carlisle, No. 2, 3/19/1988
HOW CAN WE BE LOVERS, Michael Bolton, No. 3, 5/5/1990 SAVING FOREVER FOR YOU, Shanice, No. 4, 1/30/1993 JUST LIKE JESSE JAMES, Cher, No. 8, 12/23/1989
I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER, Taylor Dayne, No. 4, 7/14/1990

TIME, LOVE AND TENDERNESS, Michael Bolton, No. 7, 9/14/1991
WHO WILL YOU RUN TO, Heart, No. 7, 10/3/1987
IF YOU ASKED ME TO, Celine Dion, No. 4, 7/11/1992
SET THE NIGHT TO MUSIC, Roberta Flack with Maxi Priest, No. 6, 11/16/1991 WHEN I’M BACK ON MY FEET AGAIN, Michael Bolton, No. 7, 8/4/1990

SOLITAIRE, Laura Branigan, No. 7, 5/21/1983
I’LL NEVER GET OVER YOU (GETTING OVER ME), Expose, No. 8, 7/17/1993 I TURN TO YOU, Christina Aguilera, No. 3, 7/1/2000
THE ARMS OF THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU, Xscape, No. 7, 5/30/1998
THE ONE I GAVE MY HEART TO, Aaliyah, No. 9, 11/15/1997

WHEN THE NIGHT COMES, Joe Cocker, No. 11, 1/20/1990
CAN’T FIGHT THE MOONLIGHT, LeAnn Rimes, No. 11, 3/2/2002
MUSIC OF MY HEART, ‘N Sync & Gloria Estefan, No. 2, 10/16/1999
YOUR BABY NEVER LOOKED GOOD IN BLUE, Expose, No. 17, 5/26/1990 LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING, Cher, No. 17, 8/3/1991

LIVE FOR LOVING YOU, Gloria Estefan, No. 22, 12/14/1991
THERE YOU’LL BE, Faith Hill, No. 10, 6/30/2001
EVERYTHING CHANGES, Kathy Troccoli, No. 14, 4/25/1992
MISSING YOU NOW, Michael Bolton, No. 12, 3/14/1992
THROUGH THE STORM, Aretha Franklin & Elton John, No. 16, 5/27/1989


Breathe Again – Toni Braxton
When Can I See You – Babyface
End of the Road – Boyz II Men from “Boomerang”
Diggin’ on You (L.A.’s Live Mix) – TLC
Best Thing I Never Had – Beyonce
When You Believe – Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey from “The Prince of Egypt” Rock Wit’cha – Bobby Brown

Nothin (That Compares 2 U) – The Jacksons
I Wanna Love Like That – Tony Thompson (the only collaboration between super producers Babyface and Teddy Riley)
Long Way from Home – Johnny Gill
The Day (That You Gave Me a Son) – Babyface

Why Does It Hurt So Bad – Whitney Houston from “Waiting to Exhale” Slow Jam – Midnight Star
Never Forget You – Mariah Carey
Let It Flow – Toni Braxton from “Waiting to Exhale”

Rock Bottom – Babyface

Truly Something Special – After 7
Boys & Girls – Tony! Toni! Ton! “Soul Food” All Night Long – SWV from “Waiting to Exhale” Lady, Lady – Babyface
Have I Never – A Few Good Men

Feels So Much Better – Johnny Gill Tears – The Isley Brothers
Until You Come Back – Whitney Houston Every Time I Close My Eyes – Babyface One Night – After 7

You Are the Man – En Vogue from “Soul Food” Something in Your Eyes – Bell Biv DeVoe
You Said, You Said – Jermaine Jackson
Good Enough – Bobby Brown

Secret Rendezvous – Karyn White

There U Go – Johnny Gill from “Boomerang” Roses Are Red – The Mac Band
Sunshine – Babyface
Try It On My Own – Whitney Houston

Love Saw It – Karyn White featuring Babyface Rock Steady – The Whispers
Gotta Learn My Rhythm – Damian Dame
And Our Feelings – Babyface

Why Do I Believe? – Pebbles

Last Night – Az Yet from “The Nutty Professor” Pretty Girl – Jon B

Soon As I Get Home – Babyface
Love Shoulda Brought You Home – Toni Braxton from “Boomerang” Let’s Get the Mood Right – Johnny Gill

Right Down to It – Damian Dame Whatever – En Vogue
You Mean the World to Me – Toni Braxton Tender Lover – Babyface

Never Keeping Secrets – Babyface Red Light Special – TLC
Always in My Heart – Tevin Campbell Water Runs Dry – Boyz II Men

Another Sad Love Song – Toni Braxton Miracle – Whitney Houston
For the Cool in You – Babyface
Seven Whole Days (Live) – Toni Braxton Take a Bow – Madonna

Count on Me – Whitney Houston & CeCe Winans from “Waiting to Exhale” Where Is My Love? – El DeBarge featuring Babyface
Humpin’ Around – Bobby Brown
The Way You Love Me – Karyn White

Backyard (Outta the Hood Remix) – Pebbles featuring Salt-N-Pepa

Superwoman – Karyn White
Heat of the Moment (Remix) – After 7
My Kinda Girl – Babyface
On the Line – Michael Jackson from “Get On the Bus” Every Little Step – Bobby Brown

Exhale (Shoop Shoop) – Whitney Houston from “Waiting to Exhale” Two Occasions – The Deele
Baby-Baby-Baby – TLC
Sittin’ Up in My Room – Brandy from “Waiting to Exhale”

You’re Makin’ Me High – Toni Braxton

A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men from “Soul Food” Where Will You Go? – Babyface
Can We Talk – Tevin Campbell
Roni – Bobby Brown

Fairweather Friend – Johnny Gill

Exclusivity – Damian Dame
Dial My Heart – The Boys
Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige from “Waiting to Exhale” Whip Appeal (12″ Version) – Babyface

I’m Your Baby Tonight – Whitney Houston
On Our Own – Bobby Brown from “Ghostbusters II”
Sweet November – Troop
We’re Not Making Love No More – Dru Hill from “Soul Food” Someone to Love – Jon B featuring Babyface from “Bad Boys”

Love Makes Things Happen – Pebbles featuring Babyface
It’s No Crime – Babyface
I’ll Make Love to You – Boyz II Men
I Care ‘Bout You – Milesone (K-Ci & JoJo, Kevon & Melvin Edmonds, Babyface) from “Soul Food”

I’m Ready – Tevin Campbell Can’t Stop – After 7
Ready or Not – After 7
Giving You the Benefit – Pebbles Girlfriend – Pebbles

My, My, My – Johnny Gill
Don’t Be Cruel – Bobby Brown
Give U My Heart – Babyface featuring Toni Braxton from “Boomerang” ‘Til You Do Me Right – After 7
Queen of the Night – Whitney Houston from “The Bodyguard”


(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You – Heart Animal – Def Leppard
Any Man Of Mine – Shania Twain

Back In Black – AC/DC

Breathless – The Corrs
Bringin’ On the Heartbreak – Def Leppard
Burn It to the Ground – Nickelback
Do You Believe In Love? – Huey Lewis & the News Foolin’ – Def Leppard

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) – AC/DC Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean Girls Got Rhythm – AC/DC
Give a Little More – Maroon 5

Goodbye’s (The Saddest Word) – Celine Dion

Gotta Be Somebody – Nickelback Hands All Over – Maroon 5
Have a Drink on Me – AC/DC Hell’s Bells – AC/DC

High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night) – Def Leppard

Highway to Hell – AC/DC
Hysteria – Def Leppard
If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback Juke Box Hero – Foreigner
Let Me Put My Love Into You – AC/DC

Love Bites – Def Leppard
Love Hungry Man – AC/DC
Lovin’ Every Minute of It – Loverboy Luanne – Foreigner
Magic – The Cars

Misery – Maroon 5
Never Gonna Leave This Bed – Maroon 5 Night Prowler – AC/DC
Out Of Goodbyes – Maroon 5
Party For Two – Shania Twain

Photograph – Def Leppard
Please Forgive Me – Bryan Adams
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard Rock N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – AC/DC Rock of Ages – Def Leppard
Shakin’ Hands – Nickelback
Shot Down In Flames – AC/DC
Something in Your Mouth – Nickelback This Afternoon – Nickelback

Touch Too Much – AC/DC

Waiting For A Girl Like You – Foreigner
What Do You Do For Money Honey – AC/DC
When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going – Billy Ocean Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under? – Shania Twain Women – Def Leppard

You and I – Lady Gaga
You Might Think – The Cars
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
You Win My Love – Shania Twain
Michael Bolton – “Only a Woman Like You” from Only a Woman Like You, 2002 You’re Still The One – Shania Twain

Michael Bolton – “Said I Loved You…But I Lied” from The One Thing, 1993 Urgent – Foreigner


Peak Pos., Title, Artist, Peak Date
“Do You Know (What It Takes),” Robyn, 8/2/1997
“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” Backstreet Boys, 9/6/1997 “Show Me Love,” Robyn, 11/29/1997
“Everybody Backstreet’s Back,” Backstreet Boys, 5/9/1998

“…Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears, 1/30/1999 “I Want It That Way,” Backstreet Boys, 6/26/1999 “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” Britney Spears, 11/13/1999 “That’s the Way It Is,” Celine Dion, 3/4/2000

“Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” Backstreet Boys, 3/18/2000

“Oops!…I Did It Again,” Britney Spears, 6/10/2000 “It’s Gonna Be Me,” ‘N Sync, 7/29/2000
“Shape of My Heart,” Backstreet Boys, 12/2/2000 “Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson, 4/9/05 “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” Kelly Clarkson, 6/11/05

“U + Ur Hand,” P!nk, 5/5/2007
“Who Knew,” P!nk, 9/29/2007
“Hot N Cold,” Katy Perry, 1/22/2008 “I Kissed a Girl,” Katy Perry, 7/5/2008 “So What,” P!nk, 9/27/2008

“My Life Would Suck Without You,” Kelly Clarkson, 2/7/2009 “3,” Britney Spears, 10/24/2009
“Whataya Want From Me,” Adam Lambert, 5/1/2010 “California Gurls,” Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, 6/19/2010 “Dynamite,” Taio Cruz, 8/21/2010

“Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry, 9/18/2010
“DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” Usher feat. Pitbull, 10/9/2010 “Teenage Dream,” Glee Cast, 11/27/2010
“Raise Your Glass,” P!nk, 12/11/2010
“Hold It Against Me,” Britney Spears, 1/29/2011

“F**kin’ Perfect,” P!nk, 2/12/2011
“Blow,” Ke$ha, 3/19/2011
“Loser Like Me,” Glee Cast, 4/2/2011
“E.T.,” Katy Perry feat. Kanye West, 4/9/2011 “Till the World Ends,” Britney Spears, 5/14/2011

“I Wanna Go,” Britney Spears, 8/20/2011
“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” Katy Perry, 8/27/2011
“The One That Got Away,” Katy Perry, 1/7/2012
“Domino,” Jessie J, 2/18/2012
“Part of Me,” Katy Perry, 3/3/2012
“Scream,” Usher, 8/4/2012
“Wide Awake,” Katy Perry, 8/11/2012
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift, 9/1/2012 “One More Night,” Maroon 5, 9/29/2012

“Beauty and a Beat,” Justin Bieber feat. Nicki Minaj, 1/5/2013 “I Knew You Were Trouble.,” Taylor Swift, 1/12/2013 “Daylight,” Maroon 5, 2/23/2013
“Roar,” Katy Perry, 9/14/2013

“Dark Horse,” Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, 2/8/2014

“Problem,” Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, 6/7/2014
“Break Free,” Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, 8/30/2014
“Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift, 9/6/2014
“Bang Bang,” Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj, 10/4/2014 “Love Me Harder,” Ariana Grande & The Weeknd, 11/22/2014

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift, 11/29/2014
“Love Me Like You Do,” Ellie Goulding, 3/7/2015
“Style,” Taylor Swift, 3/21/2015
“Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, 6/6/2015 “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi

STARGATE katy-perry-rihanna

“Irreplaceable” – Beyonce “Firework” – Katy Perry “With You” – Chris Brown “Take a Bow” – Rihanna “Rude Boy” – Rihanna

“Diamonds” – Rihanna
“Only Girl (In The World)” – Rihanna
“What’s My Name?” – Rihanna featuring Drake “So Sick” – Ne-Yo
“Don’t Stop The Music” – Rihanna

“Black Widow” – Iggy Azalea featuring Rita Ora “Closer” – Ne-Yo
“Black and Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa
“Miss Independent” – Ne-Yo

“Hate That I Love You” – Rihanna featuring Ne-Yo

“Unfaithful” – Rihanna
“Tattoo” – Jordin Sparks
“Same Old Love” – Selena Gomez
“Come & Get It” – Selena Gomez
“Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)” – Ne-Yo


“So Sick”
“Because Of You” “Sexy Love”
“Go On Girl”
“Miss Independent”

“Take A Bow” – Rihanna “Irreplaceable” – Beyonce
“Hate That I Love You” – Rihanna “Let Me Love You” – Mario “Unfaithful” – Rihanna

SIA – Very female voice

“Titanium” “Chandelier” “Elastic Heart” “Alive”

“Pretty Hurts” – Beyonce “Diamonds” – Rihanna


“Dance With Me” and “Peaches & Cream” – 112 (from the album Part III, 2001)
“Round Up” – Blu Cantrell (from the album Bittersweet, 2003)
“My Petition” – Jill Scott (from the album Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, 2004)
“Caught Up” – Usher (from the album Confessions, 2004)
“My Chrome” and “Lovin’ This” – Big Boi (from the album Got Purp? Vol. 2, 2005)
“Just Like Me” – Amerie (from the album Touch, 2005)
“Work” and “Comeback” – Kelly Rowland (from the album Ms. Kelly, 2007)
“I Can Transform Ya”, “What I Do” and “Fallin Down” – Chris Brown (from the album Graffiti, 2009)
“I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now”, “Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways)” and “Coming Up” – Lupe Fiasco (from the album Lasers, 2011)
“Bitch Bad” – Lupe Fiasco (from the album Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, 2012)
“All That Matters”, “Hold Tight”, “Recovery”, “Bad Day”, “All Bad”, “PYD”, “Change Me” and “Swap It Out” – Justin Bieber (from the album Journals, 2013)
“Where Are Ü Now”, “What Do You Mean?”, “Mark My Words”, “Company”, “No Pressure”, “Life Is Worth Living”, “Children” and “Purpose” – Justin Bieber (from the album Purpose, 2015)
“Little More (Royalty)” – Chris Brown (from the album Royalty, 2015)
“Black and White (Interlude)” – King Los (from the album GodMoneyWar, 2015)
“What Are We Here For” – Trey Songz (from the album Tremaine The Album, 2017)
“2U” (featuring Justin Bieber) – David Guetta (2017)
“Would You Ever” – Skrillex and Poo Bear (2017)
“Angel” – Fifth Harmony (2017)
“I’m The One” Justin Bieber

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