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Laura Marling
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“I have to give a little credit to not knowing anything. That’s probably why I write, because I’ve got so many questions unanswered. And also I don’t know my instrument very well, which has helped me a lot.”

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Lily Allen
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“LDN was inspired by Wordsworth’s Composed Upon Westminster Bridge. That was one of the poems I studied for GCSE English at school. I remember thinking, ‘I want to write about London,’ and looking at that poem online and thinking, ‘That’s what he thought, what do I think?’”

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Jarvis Cocker
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“I used to leave myself voicemails when I had ideas. In one case, I was away a week and a half and when I came back it had been deleted. I asked the phone company to access my voice messages, but they wouldn’t. “

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Noel Gallagher
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All that Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory, Be Here Now stuff was written while I was still on the dole. I had the chords, the arrangements, the melodies; just bits of lyrics to fill in.

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Damon Albarn
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“22 years in, I have no idea how to write a hit single. I genuinely don’t. I may never write another. I’m sure Paul McCartney secretly feels the same way… just one more”

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Lee Mavers
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“Although all the interviewees have something interesting to say, Rachel’s conversation with Lee Mavers is particularly enlightening. A man with obvious gifts, natural gifts, but dogged by suspicion of the music industry, and almost crippled by a Brian Wilson-esque inability to capture on tape the sounds in his head – which is why we’ve not heard any new music from him in decades.”

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Sting
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“You can create chaos and mayhem and heartbreak as a way of stimulating creative juices. I don’t want to do that. I want to live a calm, quiet, balanced life.”

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Chris Difford & Glenn Tilbrook
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“”Is That Love” was about the domestic situation I was in at the time. We’d just got married, the whole nesting thing had been taken care of and now we were just man and wife. The ring was by the soap, the beds were being made. It had become very mundane: is that love? “

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Johnny Marr
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“What you’re doing’s great and very important. The questions are brilliant, really interesting…sometimes you know straightaway if someone’s going to be trotting out the same old stuff. You’ve obviously got a real feeling for the esoteric, romantic and spiritual side of it. “

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Annie Lennox
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“Singing is a great experience. But writing and performing your own songs is a deep and powerful means of self-expression”

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Madness
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“Pink Floyd had written that song “Teacher, leave them kids alone”. I remembered how put-upon the teachers were at my school so I decided to make the chorus “Oh what fun we had, but at the time it seemed so bad” to try and put both sides of that coin.”

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Andy Partridge
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“I’d stand there staring out of the window or at the black wooden floor with a guitar, just trying to pull stuff out. I thought, I’m going to write a single. How do you write a single? What’s the most moronic thing I can think of? I know, Manfred Mann’s “5-4-3-2-1″.”

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Paul Weller
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‘Some (songs) are autobiographical, but very few. I don’t live an interesting enough life to write about it all the time”

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John Lydon
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“Adults bring their own filthy minds into a
thing. They don’t quite perceive it as a child does. Oh, Johnny’s used
a naughty word. “Bodies” was from two different points of view. You’ll find
that theme runs through a lot of things I write like “Rise” – “I could be
wrong, I could be right”. I’m considering both sides of the argument,
always.”

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Chaz Jankel and Ian Dury
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“He wrote in rhyming couplets nearly always. They were well constructed sentences that Ian would just do on the beat, and because he was the master of lytic writing they had their own natural rhythm”

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Bryan Ferry
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“I’ve always been very wary about analysing songwriting. It’s always been a mystery to me where ideas come from.”

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Robin Gibb
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“I was astounded by his knowledge and even after all these years to be asked original questions that surprise you was very impressive.”

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Ray Davies
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“I still wake up and wonder what I’m going to do when I grow up. Why am I a songwriter? That’s the way it ended up. I used to describe songwriting – when I was writing Waterloo Sunset – as like whittling down a stone and smoothing the rough edges.”

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Isle of Noises
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“‘This is without doubt the finest book I’ve ever read about songwriters and the songs they write. Fantastic insightful interviews. I remember being interviewed for it at the time and thinking I wish all interviews were like this.’ Noel Gallagher”

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