The Most Important Generator of Popular Songs In The Western world*

Is it a person, place or thing?  If you guessed THING, you’re correct.

The Brill Building has been called, “the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world”.  But why?

The Brill Building (built 1931) is an office building located at Broadway and 49th Street in New York City, just north of Times Square and not too far from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood. It is famous for housing music industry offices and studios, where some of the most popular American music tunes were written.

The Brill Building (named after the Brill Brothers, who owned a clothing store on the street level and who later bought the entire building) was intended as a financial office space for brokers and bankers. In the midst of the Depression, the timing couldn’t have been worse, and the owners resorted to renting space to music publishers, as there were few other takers. For this reason, the Brill Building became a centerpiece for the music industry in New York, and the country, with many publishers and writers using the space for their offices. By the 1960s, there were over 120 independent music businesses in the building.

The building was designated an official city landmark in 2010.

* “Eddie Snyder obituary”. The Telegraph. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-04-02.


Rewrite Your Songs

Regardless of what level writer you may be, it is a wise practice to put your “completed” song away for a few days before you declare it finished.  Come back to your song with a fresh mind and give it an objective review.  Don’t be afraid to toss out a line, or word, or rhyme if it’s not truly serving the song well.  Delete the lyrics that are trite, needless or mediocre.  Start over where you need to.  Make every word count for more than simply filling up space!

Don’t treat your first draft like it’s gold.  Be open to making changes, even months after the fact.  The key is that to see the possibilities for improvement, sometimes you need a fresh perspective.

Note: The Grammy Award winning song, Change The World was written years before its commercial release by one songwriter.  The song sat in our publishing catalog as a mediocre demo, somewhat unfinished.  It was only when the writer came back to the song years later and brought in a couple of songwriter friends to rewrite it with him, that the song became a world-wide hit, recorded by Eric Clapton.


Jim Morrison of The Doors was not only a songwriter, but a poet.  He would “sit-in” with one of his favorite local bands and recite his poetry to their music.  Jim liked to use the rhythm of the band’s music to move his words.  Interesting fact: This local band later changed its name to Kansas and went on to multi-platinum success. *

* info from Songwriting for Dummies. Copyright 2002, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Get a Real Job

When he was 15 years old, George Gershwin quit school and took a job as a song plugger in Tin Pan Alley, New York’s music-publishing district.  Song pluggers of that day were basically pianists who sold sheet music by demonstrating the latest tunes for singers, dancers and producers.

By songsphere Posted in Trivia