An Overdue List of Songs in Which the Singer Refers to the Act of Songwriting, Even If Only To Use It As a Metaphor For Something or Other.

 

Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4.

Adrian Gurvitz – Classic.

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah.

Stephen Sondheim – Good Thing Going.

Cole Porter – Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.

Spandau Ballet – True.

Natasha Bedingfield – These Words.

Sara Bareilles – Love Song.

Jeff Bowen – Practically everything in [title of show].

 

Additions welcome.

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19 thoughts on “An Overdue List of Songs in Which the Singer Refers to the Act of Songwriting, Even If Only To Use It As a Metaphor For Something or Other.

  1. There’s Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” but I’m not sure if that counts as it just refers to the act of writing a letter (“Yours sincerely, L Cohen”), but the text of the letter is the song’s lyric (“It’s four in the morning, the end of December / I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better”)

    Anyway, it’s a great (and very spooky) song.

    • Big fat mea culpa there.
      Side-topic: John Lennon once expressed admiration for Taupin’s “Anyway, the thing is, what I really mean …” without noticing that it was pinched from his own “I think, I know, I mean – er yes, but it’s all wrong”.

  2. Another very famous song, but I didn’t think of it, is ‘So Far Away’ by Carole King.

    One more song about moving along the highway
    Can’t say much of anything that’s new

  3. They’re seeking me out. Just heard this gem from Randy Newman’s “I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It)”:

    When will I end this bitter game?
    When will I end this cruel charade?
    Everything I write all sounds the same
    Each record that I’m making
    Is like a record that I’ve made
    Just not as good

  4. Billy Bragg – New England – “I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long” … and just learned from Wikipedia … that Billy lifted this line from “Leaves Are Green” (Simon and Garfunkel … Sounds of Silence album).

  5. *smites forehead* as wife reminds him of:

    ‘Cause every time I try to tell you, the words just came out wrong
    So I have to say I love you, in a song

    – Jim Croce.

  6. More Randy Newman (from “I Miss You”):

    … you must be laughing yourself sick
    but I wanted to write you one before I quit
    and this one’s it

    Clearly, the confessional singer/songwriter types are fruitful territory for this sort of list.

  7. Hip hop doesn’t strictly have singers, and anyway it’s so self-referential that it would probably be more of a challenge to make a list of hip-hop tracks that don’t refer to the act of bustin’ our a rhyme.

    But that’s just by way of an excuse for me to link to this article.

  8. Yo, dawg, dat link iz da meta-bomb!
    And typos be whack. You want I should edizzle that biachizzle?

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