A couple of days ago, my good friend Daisy Brambleburr posted this on her new DAISY’S DIARY page. As people aren’t used to checking that yet, and as I thought she had some really good advice, I am reposting it here for everyone to see:
10/27/11 — I’ve been chatting with my friend Rie about writing a drinking song. What things you want to include, how to make it catchy, things like that. We’ve come to agreement on a few points we would like to share, because “Everybody Needs a Drinking Song” (available on Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits) all their own.
When asked what goes into writing a successful song, Steven Brust cited this list of criteria from Adam Stemple, and it seems like a good list to hold in mind: Humour, suspense, originality, or internal rhymes — a song needs at least one of these to be successful. (Well, someone will probably find an exception to that rule — but you know what they say about exceptions…)
Taking those requirements as a given, what else do you need to make a good drinking song specifically?
The first thing that you must have is a talented partner like Marc Gunn if you are musically inept and can only write lyrics. This is something that Rie made me promise to stress.
Secondly, you need a strong chorus, especially if you want the audience to be able to sing along. It is easier to teach a crowd the few lines of a chorus rather than the whole song at once. They will be happy to participate if you make it catchy and memorable. For example, check out the chorus in “We’ll Have a Pint of Stout”.
You’ll notice that this song also has internal rhyme and a bit of humor — so it fits Stemple’s list as well!
Finally, to be a great drinking song, some mention of liquor seems appropriate. You can’t have a good love song without mentioning love, can you? It’s the same with drinking songs — the best have a pint or two. Look at these examples: “Do You Fancy a Drink?”;“Everybody Needs a Drinking Song”; “Let’s Get Drunk Tonite”
Give it a try! Writing about drinking is fun — even if you don’t drink yourself. And be sure to let me know what you come up with!