The 10 commandments of rock'n'roll
Bring the vocals in earlier – the vocals are the living beating heart of a song and its spirit, without them your song is an instrumental, they should start in the first 10 seconds - 20 seconds is way too late.
Make the chorus simpler – the chorus tells the listener what the song is all about, it tells them the key emotion and key fact. So your chorus should have one simple message alone, no second thoughts or added related thoughts that belong in the verse - a repeated phrase was often enough for the Beatles.
Get the best singer - If you sing lead vocals and play guitar, ask yourself if you really are the best person to do both of these jobs. Would a solo singer chosen for their personality and vocal range be better suited?
Scream, sing falsetto notes, make any kind of sound with your voice that does not form a word - This might make you seem a little mad, but that’s half the point. The other half of the point is that all these sounds can often evoke emotions more powerful than a single line of lyrics.
Lyrics should be bold, shocking, mischievous or silly - If not, then do not bother. Introspective lyrics belong in a poetry book unless you can make the emotions universal. If you like writing about what is wrong with the world then become a documentary maker or a journalist instead, it’s a far better medium for changing the world.
Write fast - Working with a collaborator makes for faster work. Lennon/McCartney wrote most of their songs in a single three hour stretch. They reasoned if it was taking longer it was not worth bothering with.
Be wild, not cool - Cool in rock’n’roll nowadays means conforming to a standard rock look or sound that is about 50 years old. The original rock’n’roll stars took risks with their look and their audience and so should you.
Break musical rules - The Beatles wrote one chord songs, played stuff backwards, created songs that were a mad patchwork of unrelated ideas, trialled new instruments. Importantly these were all their own ideas, they did not come at the instigation of a studio engineer.
Take back control from the engineer - Studio engineers have a vast array of buttons to push, next to none of which are to do with the essence of good rock’n’roll which comes from a band playing together.
Record live - The chemistry that arises from a small unit of musicians playing in sync with each other after months and years of practice is what makes rock’n’roll special over music played by random groups of session musicians. Record the instruments separately and you lose this magic.