How To Write Hit Songs: Hooks


This page seeks to answer your question on how to write hit songs. In particular, we shall continue talking about song hooks.

What is a hook?

A hook is a brief, memorable musical idea, passage or phrase, that is catchy and helps a song stand out. It is meant to catch the ear of the listener. She will remember the song even after hearing it only once.

Coming up with great hooks

Looking to come up with some great song hooks/song titles? Make a list of common sayings and phrases – things people say all the time. An example of this is “Why Didn’t I Think of That” by Paul Harrison and Bob McDill.

Or how about adding a twist to a well known phrase. All you have to do is change one or two words in that phrase to give it a new meaning. This was done by Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Lee in “Friends in Low Places”, recorded by Garth Brooks.

Since these are things people say all the time these phrases are naturally popular. So you could well understand how easily people will be hooked when they hear your song. And every time they use that particular phrase they will be reminded of your song.

How to write hit songs: a number’s game

My focus nowadays is on writing more and more songs that contain memorable hooks. I know that if I have a great hook, I have a better shot at having a great song.

And at the end of the day it will be nothing but a number’s game. I am trying to write songs more regularly and approaching my songwriting as a number’s game. Let’s say I write twenty songs. Most likely all twenty will not be hits, but perhaps one of that twenty could be. Now what if I write a hundred songs? I am increasing my chances at coming up with a hit song. And we all know what just one international hit song can do.

How to write hit songs: writing for the radio

Radio stations are hook-driven. You see, all a radio station wants to do is keep you interested and stop you from switching channels. A song that contains a memorable hook will have you listen from start to finish and you will stay tuned to that particular station.

If you want to sell records, if you want a song that gets played on the radio, you had better concentrate on coming up with some memorable hooks. Decades later people will still remember and sing your song. Why? The hook.

Further reading

How To write A Song Page One.
How To write A Good Song Page Two.
How To write A Hit Song Page Three.

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