by Jimmy Webb
published by Hyperion
© 1998 by Jimmy Webb
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From Kirkus Reviews
The only artist to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration,
Webb has written many of the most memorable songs performed by the Fifth
Dimension ("Up, Up and Away"), Donna Summer ("MacArthur
Park") and Amy Grant ("If These Walls Could Speak"),
among others. Here he seeks to impart the tools of the trade to songwriters
"who may be attempting the delicate transition from amateur to
professional." Covering technical matters from basic chord theory
and rhyme schemes to the protocol of pitching songs, Webb draws on a
trove of personal anecdotes from a career spanning more than two decades.
In addition to salient comments on today's music scene, Webb cites numerous
examples from the past and includes sections on writing for the stage
and film. Of greatest value, perhaps, are the exercises suggested for
developing song ideas, which will help anyone stumbling through a period
of writer's block. While Webb's fans will revel in the behind-the-scenes
details of his career and a candid view of his artistic process, others
may wish that the asides, finger pointing (at arrogant co-writers) and
Webb's own pet peeves (e.g., no-talent spouses who insist on songwriting
credits on their partner's records) had been left out. And Webb's nuts-and-bolts
approach somehow undercuts every songwriter's need for that spark of
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