Old School Riff Writing

I was watching this fantastic video of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing the classic song “Never Can Tell”…

As Bruce was singing the riff to the horn section something I heard a couple of years ago from a veteran hit songwriter came back to me.

He said earlier in his songwriting career he noticed several times when he was writing or in the studio recording demos with veteran songwriters that they would experiment writing riffs by humming them.

Now keep in mind these guys are Nashville songwriters. Many of them are great guitarists. They could play a great riff just fine.

But when he asked they explained to him that a riff has a better chance of sticking in your head if you can sing it easily.

That’s certainly the case with the riff in this song.

That also gives you an alternative way to come up with musical riffs in your songs…hum them or sing them.