We're gonna have two things here. First, links to a
few well-selected places to find lyrics. Second, we'll
offer some sites relating to the craft of songwriting.
Copyright questions have become big in connection with
lyrics on the web, and several large lyric collections have been forced to close down.
What's clear is this: folks who write music and lyrics are entitled to be
paid for their use, in accordance with applicable law. However, us regular
folks who just like to sing and play for our own non-commercial entertainment don't have
to pay every time we play a tune. If you want to learn a tune, and you can find
lyrics rather than do what we often have to do -- sit and type them while listening to a
recording -- nothing wrong with that. If you want to publish and sell the lyrics in
your book of lyrical analysis, that's different.
It's pretty safe to assume that you can use any lyrics left
by the artist on his/her own site, or which are in the public domain. Otherwise,
you're on your own. Just because you may find some lyrics by using these links does
not constitute an invitation to violate copyright protection, and in the end you're
expected to know the rules.
Looking for lyrics you can't find here? Try using Google and just type the title, or search for
the writer or artist who sang the song, if you know. Many artists list most of their
lyrics on official sites.
Blues Lyrics & Tabs
Claims to have over 3,000 lyrics to old blues tunes here.
This is where I go to start looking for such things.
is the official Dylan site, and includes a complete chronological and alphabetical listing
of all albums and songs, together with lyrics to all of the songs he wrote. I offer
it as a great example of an official artist site where the artist has decided not to make
you type his lyrics or buy a book to look at them. Hurray for Bob (or Bob's people,
at least). There are many others who do the same thing, so a place to start is the
web site of the particular artist.
Grateful Dead Lyrics
Although I was in college when they came into prominence, I
started paying attention to the Grateful Dead's music in the early 80's, partly because I
learned how they were influenced by folk and bluegrass music. This site is an
astonishing academic-type analysis of their music, by a guy who obviously was paying
attention (unlike significant numbers of Deadheads).
Franke's Songwriting Notes
Bob is a Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter who has taught songwriting
workshops all over the country for many years. These are the notes he hands out at
workshops and makes available through his web site.
Jeff Mallett's Songwriter Site
This is a rich site of links to other sites of interest to songwriters, articles,
publications, and much more. Simple and clean, and explorable for days!
Muse's Muse -- Songwriting Tips and Tools
This site is hard to describe: part newsletter, part web promotion
business, link site, just a lotta stuff. Provides an online (free) newsletter for
Songwriting Education Resource
Run by a couple of Nashville singer/songwriters.
Music Theory For Songwriters
OK, it's mainly chord theory for guitar players. There are certainly more
comprehensive theory sites, books, etc., but I like simplicity, and this one is easily
digestable for the "theory-challenged."
Lyrical Line Songwriting Resource
Online songwriter's magazine, with articles, links and other items of interest,
including a free online newsletter.
The Princeton NJ Chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International
(NSAI) was formed to provide aspiring songwriters with educational activities to promote
learning the art, craft, and business of songwriting.
Tools for Songwriters
-- Rhyming Dictionary & Thesaurus