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Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:48 pm
by Len911
I thought I would share this clip I found with Gilbert O'Sullivan and how he approaches songwriting.
I found it insightful, as I would have thought he might start with lyrics.

Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:35 pm
by stevetwosheds
Thanks for sharing this video Len - Always loved Gilbert O'Sullivan's 70s songs and like you, was surprised to see he writes the melody first.

I've edited / deleted my original reply which was about 20 minutes of reading time, going off on all sorts of tangents - Perhaps I just needed to waste half a day typing - an odd form or relaxation - Had second thoughts when I saw how HUGE it was - embarrassing.

Hope you post any more songwriter videos like this you may find - I love them.


Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:32 pm
by Len911

Here's several more, probably better ones, including Gilbert O'Sullivan.
I've edited / deleted my original reply which was about 20 minutes of reading time, going off on all sorts of tangents - Perhaps I just needed to waste half a day typing - an odd form or relaxation - Had second thoughts when I saw how HUGE it was - embarrassing.
:lol: :lol: I know, except I usually don't get embarrassed, I figure not many people read them any way,lol! It's weird, but it sort of helps get my thoughts together, and I'm not going to write all that out for myself!

Otoh, that's how people learn, if nobody wrote anything down...

Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:29 pm
by stevetwosheds
Cheers Len - Wow, that lot will keep me busy a while but looking forward - some names I;d kinda forgotten about, Joe Jackson for instance - Wouldn't have thought he'd be known in the US though I could be wrong, but he had a cool, pretty distinctive sound - Taking me back to "better" times, I think.

Yeah, I get embarrassed at the slightest thing, though it's rather worse than embarrassment if I'm honest - Dunno if I had a nasty bump on the head as a kid or something but my head's been screwed up as long as I;ve been conscious and was finally diagnosed with Aspergers 10 years back - a kind of autism - all I know is every day is a challenge and a half, particularly troublesome when you're tryna break into an industry that requires the maximum common sense and minimum stupidity - I'm the other way round!

You could think of it (Aspergers) as an extreme social phobia although that's one of the symptoms rather than the thing itself - it's just a weird, weird life because nothing is straightforward - even nipping to the shops or putting the bins out gives me that "ugh" feeling that makes us avoid things - so going to see publishers, forget it - although I've done some pretty brave things hoping to conquer it, when I thought I was just "shy" - door to door selling a few years, public speaking, playing in a band a bit, a bit of karaoke but man, it's all pain no gain - makes not a jot of difference - You're either confident or you're not - You can't buy it or earn it or defeat it, I don't think but I always figured you could PROBABLY be given it - Or have it taken away, mainly in early life I guess - Oh I don't know, I'm just rattling on.

I've only ever once experienced what it must be like to be normal and not be embarrassed or more like terrified of pretty much everything, and that was when I was 18 and the dentist gave me Valium on top of cocaine they used to use to knock you out with while they drilled away - I woke up feeling "Wow! Let's go and say Hi to all those people queuing up!" It felt remarkable, amazing, utterly freeing to not worry. But that's probably a bit TOO confident and how people end up addicts.

Back to Gilbert a second then I;d better wrap up before this turns into another epic - I have to discipline myself - I saw him on TV a couple of years back, laying down string parts, real musicians, but they sounded so dated, like early 60's overly jolly British string parts - though I don't recall the end result, whether we heard it, I didn't feel encouraged he was about to make a comeback with sounds like that - I suppose it depends what the end use was and that I don't know. But he seemed like a really nice fella, the kind it would be nice to have a cuppa with - cup of tea that is - we're obsessed with tea here. Very shy apparently - which makes me feel all the better!

Nice to chat Len & thanks for those videos again, will watch ASAP - and hopefully learn from.


Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:49 pm
by Len911
Steve, I'm not familiar with Aspbergers. It sounds like a social thing, and if so, it sounds like it is probably a two sided equation, the individual and society, and that doesn't mean society gets off scott free. Aspbergers is probably the opposite end of the spectrum from narcissism??

The aspbergers are probably treated marginally in society while the narcissists are treated like kings.

One doesn't understand the deception the normals use, and the other does and is an expert at using those deceptions,lol!

The more you care about something, the more nervous you are going to be, until it becomes routine.

The more you take the focus off of yourself, and onto others or other things, the less nervous you will be. Be the interviewer, not the interviewee. Just don't ask questions the interviewee doesn't want to answer,lol! Ask the right question, and you won't be able to get a word in edge wise, no nerves, just boredom, and they will love you! :twisted:

And always remember, the other people are probably just as nervous as you are!

If you see someone sitting alone, invite them to sit at your table. Friendliness begets friendliness.

Anyway, I better shut up and go get supper,lol!

Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:35 am
by stevetwosheds
Cheers Len -

I appreciate the thoughtful comments and ideas - Some of them I've practiced to an extent, befriending others, focusing on them more than myself, which is a little easier now that I'm an oldie who cares greatly about the welfare of young people especially, much more than my own welfare or self image -

So I've tended to become an "agony uncle" to a lot of young people both male and female who realise that I am patient and will listen to their woes for hours, days, months, years in some cases and these become the good friends I can in turn rely on to not judge me for my odd ways. I live a quite perculiar lifestyle - windows blocked, partly for sound insulation purposes but it suits me to be locked away in my "padded cell" as one friend jokingly calls it, tons of soundproofing until recently when the local authority forced me to demolish my "studio", saying it was a fire hazard.

I'll explain as best I can what Asperger's is, if only because one of the most famous songwriters in the world has it, perhaps to a lesser extent than myself, not sure, but she mentions it in one of her videos, saying her shrink say's she has "a touch of Aspergers" though I'd rather not "out" her here -

You may be able to guess who though from the symptoms I am about to describe. She appears to benefit from it because it makes us stupidly tenacious, focused on just one thing usually. For life. We HATE holidays/vacations, even Christmas day we want to work, if at all possible. We make every excuse to escape social situations and get back to songwriting - or whatever our obsession happens to be.

Asperger's Syndrome is quite common - about 1% are estimated to have it to one degree or another - although almost ALL people have some of the elements that make up the condition, if only to a limited extent, you only end up with a diagnosis of Aspergers if you suffer these fairly common problems to such a degree that it massively affects your day to day life.

Let's say, difficulty making eye contact, which is often mentioned about "Aspies" - Almost EVERYONE has difficulty with eye contact to some extent, depending on the situation - it's uncomfortable maintaining eye contact in certain awkward situations - nothing odd a about that.

But most people naturally develop the ability to behave normally - they neither stare intensely nor look sheepishly at the ground, - most have the balance just right.

An aspie might have great difficulty getting that balance right - (This is only one example of an Aspergers symptom but it's an easy one to relate to) -

So I used to STARE at the ground when someone was talking to me and I simply assumed they realized this was because I was concentrating on what they were saying, less distracted by their pretty face or anything else for that matter - The equivalent of a piano tuner concentrating on the note better if he is either blind or closing his eyes (don;t know if that's a myth that blind piano tuners are better placed to do the job)

I didn't realize until it caused endless arguments with a girl I actually liked, that staring at the ground was perceived as rude, ignorant, like I wasn't listening - when to me, it meant the opposite. So she made me go to see a shrink about this and a host of other complaints she had about me!!! (We are still good friends though, now she understands it's something I can't totally control despite my best efforts)

Then when I tried to correct the problem, it took me years to realize I was over-compensating - I was staring people out without realizing! Making them feel uncomfortable but not realizing. But hey, I was trying.

It causes a LOT of misunderstandings in conversation because we often interpret things literally - A headmaster at a new school shouted at me for a minor mistake and said "You'll be shot!" and I LITERALLY thought I was gonna be taken outside and shot - I burst into tears - as you would at 11 years old! - it was just an old army expression, I guess, meaning they'll "throw the book at you" - but not literally a book!

And that female friend I mentioned earlier - I spent a happy evening with her once (just once!) convinced she had agreed to marry me or as good as, because she was talking about how in love she was and being extra nice - it felt GREAT - until I walked her home then she said "his name is ..." - that was when my ears stopped listening - Wow - what a mistake to make. I'm an idiot. Somehow I maintained a smile - a very fake one but couldn't wait to get away, legs feeling like lead.

I've tried to slot this story into a song, seeing as it's the most heart broke I ever felt, but it's a bit unusual, can't entirely imagine MOST people believing it's true, therefor perhaps not that relatable? Not sure. I need to test whether it's working, let a few people hear it shortly, but I'm a hopeless singer, so been a bit reluctant so far.

Other typical symptoms are having a life long OBSESSION with a subject, well beyond the normal or professional - it overtakes your life to the point that you BORE everyone silly, even people who share your passion for, say, trains, maps, or in my case, songwriting. Think of that guy, Sheldon Cooper in THE BIG BANG THEORY, except minus his intellect or talents! Unlike him I'm pretty dumb but I know it.

It would be difficult to explain the extraordinary lengths we go to - it consumes us 24 hours a day - I can get out of bed several times a night with an idea re songs - and that's just not normal or healthy or even beneficial. But it's what I either love to do or feel I have to do. I hate anything that drags me away from it UNLESS it's to help others - I'll give up a lot to help others, money, time, even music opportunities, not signing a deal that upsets the singer, say. - But that too is a little "sideline" obsession. It benefits me though - forces me out of my own little world!

Aspergers is a kind of autism - and autism means "of the self", I think - so it's essentially a SELF OBSESSED way of living, ironically perhaps coming pretty close to narcicism (sorry, can't spell) because we can't quite get to grips with the idea that no-one else is remotely interested in our diatribe on our one and only subject! We forget they only have a mild or professional interest, or a different view, and THEN they have a day off and do normal things - We don't, unless we are forced to.

And finally, the other main thing that kinda defines Asperger's, is our inability to adapt to change, changing surroundings, habits, processes -

it KILLS us to stop recording on tape and learn to use a DAW - or go from hardware DAW to computer - Or even normal things like getting a new TV - I want my OLD TV that takes two days to warm up! I want my OLD multitrack that took three years to build from scrap metal and wood- Yes, it DID set on fire and pick up CB radio, snatch and spill tape - but it was part of "me" and I knew how to make it work. (It's stupid really. I'm surprised I haven't had an official diagnosis to that effect..."Well, Steve, we've looked closely at your problems and realized that your are suffering from ... gross stupidity")

Daft things like that - or even having a new bin - trash can you might call it over there - I liked my old bin!

So it's LIKE being stuck in childhood to some extent - having to tear down my "studio" - a room built within a room - has knocked me back lately, for instance, because my environment has changed and nothing feels comfy any more - so I've been miserable about it despite complying - I will EVENTUALLY adapt because I have no choice.

Anyway, Len, I just wanted to put you in the picture in case it's any help in the future, or to anyone else who happens to see this, because you probably run into people with aspergers without knowing it, or even they might not know it for certain, perhaps not want to acknowledge it as it does have a bit of a stigma attached to it -

I'm never sure if it qualifies as a "mental illness", but it's along those lines and required the help of a specialist shrink to finally get help with it and a diagnosis. A lot of us oldies were never diagnosed early enough to be of much help but nowadays, in the UK at least, they pick on it very quickly at school age - and get preferential treatment - lucky so and so's.

That imaginary, quiet guy in the corner you referred to may possibly be an aspie so I do make a point of talking to such people if I can bring myself to - Although I THEN know what it must be like for people listening to me!...

... I spent 40 minutes trying to find the right moment to slip away from such a guy only last Saturday as I was waiting for a DJ friend I drive home / carrying gear etc - Not sure what his problem was apart from being very very drunk, but I always speak to him as I can see he has mental difficulties and an appearance to match, a lot of delusions and probably just one hell of a lonely guy who gets picked on a lot by all the normal, loud confident people in the pubs who dislike his long hair and odd manner, very slow speech, repetitive conversations etc -

He was tryna get me to go back to his place despite me explaining I was only there to drive the DJ home -so I felt sorry for him and listened patiently (staring at the ground again!) and inquired about his family etc to give him a chance to tell me whatever, show a little interest - But there's a limit how many such people I can listen to - I seem to attract them! I suppose they recognize a similar type. But it helps me too, I must admit.

I'm gonna have to try and get off the forum for a month or so to do some actual work - It's a bit of a novelty for me at the moment, gradually getting a little less scary with the kind words of such as yourself, not to mention the interesting videos and learning where I've been going wrong from the people doing it right, music wise, -

I keep meaning to get round to returning the gesture of allowing people to hear some of my own songs, as it only seems fair to let people have a laugh how bad some of us are - an effort to not take myself too seriously, not care what people think and remember most people are far more concerned with how they come across, how great their songs are or are not. So I'll try to figure that out (seen a few guides how to - I just need to act on it) then perhaps I should retire from the forums a little while and do some actual work.

As you can see, it becomes another little obsession that produces no work, no hit songs. I only ended up here because Michael Laskow urged us to join in the Taxi TV chat a couple of months back, so I bit the bullet, logged in and the forums then beckoned.

I'd been lurking, listening to TTV for as long as it's been going without logging in except when friends FORCED me to, to acknowledge I was the writer of a song he'd just played in a "just for fun" competition a few years ago - a daft competition getting us to write a song about "Taylor Swift Won't Date Me" - the least watched show ever!

That lifted my spirits a lot as I had expected the song to be ripped apart but it went down very well - though only 5 of us bothered to enter his competition! I don't think I'd have been played otherwise. It was just nice making music for the FUN of it, for a change, no serious outcome, although I did win an interesting book - all five of us did though, in fairness! Pity he didn't do another, but if few people watch, there's little point I guess.

Must discipline myself. I'll odd soff as we say here.

Cheerio Len


Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:35 am
by Len911
Well Steve, Aspbergers sound like stimulating people to be around!

Sort of the terriers of the people world,lol!

So many porch hounds 'round here layin' around nappin'.

I'm surprised they don't have a drug yet for Aspbergers, you know, to clone them to 'normal'. Must not be enough to profit from. Or a black market to get high from. :o

I suppose if someone complained to their vet that their terrier was too stubborn and hyper-active, the vet would tell them to choose a different breed. I suppose that's not practical with people,lol!! :lol: :lol:

Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:12 pm
by Susanstunes
Hey that was really interesting. I never knew who he was growing up but recognize some of the popular songs for sure. I thought it was fascinating that he normally writes lyrics based on the news! Thanks for sharing this.


Re: Songwriting w/Gilbert O'Sullivan

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:12 pm
by Len911
Susanstunes wrote:Hey that was really interesting. I never knew who he was growing up but recognize some of the popular songs for sure. I thought it was fascinating that he normally writes lyrics based on the news! Thanks for sharing this.

I bought an album as a kid for the song, "Alone Again, Naturally", but I think his best song was probably, "Nothing Rhymed", I keep listening to it over and over on youtube. and again now and again,lol!