Abba's Benny Andersson On Songwriting
So many songs are now written by committee, and I don’t understand how that works because for me a song starts with melody combined with chords.
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Who are your favourite songwriters from any era?
Well if we extend it to include composers, it is Johan Sebastian Bach at number one – and then comes nothing for a long time. Then people like Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Lennon and McCartney, of course, Brian Wilson, one of my heroes, Ray Davies, Tony Hatch. I won’t be able to remember all the names. And I like the work of [fellow Swede] Max Martin; he knows what he’s doing.
But, so many songs are now written by committee, and I don’t understand how that works because for me a song starts with melody combined with chords. I arrange the song, with bass and drums, after the song is finished, not the other way around. If I start with the drums and the bass and then add some chords, randomly, and then try to write a melody… I don’t know how that works; I don’t get it.
What that lacks, I think, is a ‘sender’. If someone likes my music, that’s me; it’s me sending it to you. If there are seven people behind it, are they all honest? Do they all mean it?
– Benny Andersson, the founding member of Abba, in an interview published by Music Business Worldwide