George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight | Randy Bachman Offers Young Songwriters Some Helpful Tips On Writing A Hit


Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

New Episodes at CBC Music

New Episodes at CBC Music

Need more Strombo Show? Head over to our page on CBC Music for new episodes, playlists and video extras.

CBC Music Past Shows



Randy Bachman Offers Young Songwriters Some Helpful Tips On Writing A Hit
March 15, 2013
submit to reddit


Randy Bachman knows a thing or two about songwriting.

He's written or co-written some huge hits in his time including 'American Woman' and 'These Eyes' with The Guess Who and 'Takin' Care of Business' and 'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet' with B.T.O.

He just wrote a letter to young musicians for CBC Music, with some tips on how to write a hit song.

As the host of Vinyl Tap on CBC Radio 2, Randy shares his thoughts on music as well as his own time on stage and in the studio.

But it's pretty rare to hear specific, concrete tips on putting together a hit record from a celebrated songwriter.

Randy suggests studying the greats. That's how he started out - listening to Jagger and Richards, Lennon and McCartney, and trying to figure out how they do it.

One thing he noticed: a lot of those writers tend to repeat familiar phrases again and again - stuff people are familiar with. Not hard to see how you get to 'Takin' Care of Business' out of that.

He also suggests writing "sequels" to songs you like. So, when Petula Clark released 'Downtown', a young Randy put together a song called 'Uptown'. He never sent it to Clark, but he says it was great practice.

In fact, he suggests that imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery: it can also be a path to great new ideas. You start out by copying someone's music with new words, then you change the music, then you've got your own song.

Check out the full letter on the CBC Music site. It's an inspiring piece of writing for a songwriter, and really for anyone who creates art.

Bachman's advice might be useful for entrants in CBC Music's Searchlight Contest, which they're calling "the hunt for Canada's best new artist."


You can check out the long list of finalists on the Searchlight Contest page, and vote for your favourite.

There's a little something for everyone on the list: some hip-hop and dubstep, a little country, a touch of rock 'n' roll, some folk.

It's a great way to get a feel for the music being made across the country.

The finalists in each region will be announced next Monday, March 18 at 3 pm ET, so check back to see who's in the running.

Randy Bachman was in the red chair a couple of years back with his partner from B.T.O. Fred Turner. Check out that interview below.


Winnipeg Gets The 2014 Juno Awards, So We Pay Homage To The Best Musicians To Come Out Of The 'Peg

UPDATE: Canada's Latest Walk Of Fame Inductees: Finally, Phil Hartman!


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.