Writing From a Title

songwritingby: Peter Linseman

A strong title can ensure that people will remember your song. Many music supervisors and publishers have to sift through thousands of titles to find the right song for publishing and licensing opportunities, so your title is a key marketing tool.

Choose fresh and innovative words and themes, then mix them together with the common words and themes. An example of this would be “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, or “Stairway to Heaven”.

As you build a list of potential titles, why not create a “Hook Book?” Most Nashville songwriters keep there titles and themes in a Hook Book and refer to it in co-writing sessions.

Titles, Titles, and more Titles

Use this list of title categories to brainstorm ideas on new titles which will hopefully lead you to new songs.

  1. Questions: What’s Love Got to do with it?
  2. Commands/Requests: Lets go crazy, Beat it
  3. Political/Social, Current Events: Imagine, We are the World
  4. Character/People: Alejandro, Vincent
  5. Places: Born in the U.S.A, N.Y. N.Y.
  6. Objects: Little Red Corvette
  7. Emotional State/ Condition of Mind: Just Can’t Get Enough, All Shook Up
  8. Action/Activities: Dancing in the street, Run to You
  9. Dates/Times: Workin’ 9-5, Last Friday Night
  10. Metaphors: Love is a Battlefield, Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall
  11. Similes: Like a Rock, Like a Virgin
  12. Numbers: 9 Crimes, Route 66
  13. Rhyming: My Guy, Rock around the Clock
  14. Alliteration: Seasons in the sun, The Way We Were
  15. Assonance: Rolling in the Deep, Sweet Dreams
  16. Music: Play that Funky Music, Your Song
  17. Novelty/Nonsense Word Titles: MMMMBop, Na Na Hey Hey
  18. Dance: Twist, Macarena
  19. One word: Blow, Fame
  20. Opposites: Ebony & Ivory, Sound of Silence
  21. Humorous: Forget You (FU)

3 thoughts on “Writing From a Title

  1. Nothing better than an evocative song title. Makes you work that much harder to make sure the lyrics live up to it. 😉 …when you’re writing one that is. As for listening, an interesting title compels me to press play.


  2. I worked on a number of musical shows with the same producer/author -he would supply me titles and I would write the songs based on that. It was always a great jumping off point -a very specific starting window . The titles did not always remain the same but the ideas they inspired were always vital.


  3. Pingback: Working with a title | superpapa67

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