The Power of Great Songs
I usually rail on this issue but am just as guilty as the rest of the self promoting musicians out there. Promoting your music to the world is part of the game and the entire responsibility generally falls onto the act itself which usually means one person, who is solely responsible for pushing the word out about the music.
Something struck me the other day and after I let it rumble through my rumbling thought process it made me realize something. The first something was this: There are many accounts of Chuck Berry and the way in which he did business through (I am guessing on the exact time frame) the early 60’s on through to maybe even now (don’t hold me to that last bit.) Mr. Berry would show up to an event with his guitar, expect payment upfront, plug-in, and be ready to rock with whatever band the promoter put together to back him up.
I thought, being a person who has tried to do many incarnations of bands in the past, giving up years ago of any real hope of holding something like that together, how great a concept that is for the artist. No headaches of keeping everyone happy or at least motivated and well paid. With this arrangement that was the domain of the promoter. Chuck just needed to show up and be Chuck. But then I realized I was lacking something that Chuck had, and much of, GREAT SONGS!
I do not consider myself any slouch as a songwriter but only a limited amount of people have ever heard one of my songs, Chuck Berry on the other hand has piles of them and people back in the day knew them all or at least were very familiar with them. These were his laurels and he could literally rest on and let them do the work for him. Even if his back up band sucked, which I am sure some of them were not up to par at all times, it didn’t matter because he was Chuck Berry and you came to hear him do those songs you loved so much.
Let me keep this simple. This one example, if it does nothing else, should point out to you how important great, timeless material is. In this instance, to use a baseball analogy, you are not hoping to get a flare or a ground ball with eyes, you are swinging for the fence every time you come up to bat. Sure you are going to whiff, most of the time, but mediocrity and weak song craft will never hit one “outta the park” , which is what you have to do if you want to get people’s attention in this world. Want to promote your music? Write some great songs, record them to the best of your ability and then let as many people as you can hear them. They might just do the job for you.