The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49574   Message #750456
Posted By: Jim Krause
18-Jul-02 - 11:28 AM
Thread Name: WHAT IS THE 'HOOK'?
Subject: RE: WHAT IS THE 'HOOK'?
OK, OK, OK! Ekj jäwe üt! (I give up!) I simply feel that reducing Oh Susannah or My Grandfather's Clockfor example to the hook distracts the audience or the scholar from the other little gems in each of these songs.

My Grandfather said that of those he could hire
Not a servant more faithful he found.
For it wasted no time but it had one desire
At the close of each day to be wound.
And it kept in its place
Not a frown upon its face
And its hands never hung by its side
But it stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died.

Wow! Talk about clever! Notice all the puns! THAT is more than a measly, cheap hook. That is sheer brilliance. The old folks I sometimes sing for always remember this song with fondness. The sad part is that a song of this sterling quality could never get airplay. Why? Because it demands to be really listened to, unlike so much pop drivel.

As for It Takes A Worried Man, I don't think that is a hook so much as it is a hard, straightforward statement of the facts as the anonymous composer saw them. That's pretty typical of the blues; hard and straightforward without any self concious attempt at a hook.

I do agree, however to the necessity of the title appearing in a predictable part of the lyric. One of my frustrations at listening to budding songwriters is that if I wanted to buy the record the song is on, I wouldn't be able to identify my favorite song because I couldn't find the title in the lyric. Somehow even this simple technique seems to rise above the level of The Hook.

OK, I've said my piece, and I'm going to quit. You can write your songs with hooks if you like. But me, I ain't gonna. I hope someday to be able to write as well as Henry Work, barring that, rising to the level of Bill Staines would suit me fine.