Burt Bacharach

Songwriters Tip: Create hooks deliberately

Create hooks deliberately. Often you will be working on a song, you are well into writing the lyrics, but you haven’t given a single thought to whether the song has any hooks. Stop! Think! Can I create hooks out of what I already have? Can I express the point of my song in a memorable phrase? If the salesman says, ‘always be closing’ the songwriter says, ‘always be hooky’.

Burt Bacharach in his book ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music’ thought he was writing great songs, but couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having any hits. That was until he realised that his songs didn’t have any memorable, repeated bits that stick in people’s heads, i.e no hooks. We can safely say that figuring that out paid off, with 73 hits in the US Billboard 100 and 52 in the UK top 40.

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