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HL #50449504
ISBN 0634017950

Songwriting Workshop: Writing Hit Songs
Songwriting: Writing Hit Songs
Move your listeners and express yourself more effectively by crafting your songs the way hit writers do.

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The Songs of John Lennon: The Beatles Years

by John Stevens
available from

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When it came to writing a hit song, John Lennon had a gift. The Songs of John Lennon explores Lennon's songwriting genius with a guided tour through twenty-five of his greatest hits during the Beatles era. Author John Stevens explains Lennon's intuitive talent from a technical point of view, through the lens of songwriting's three basic elements: melody, harmony, and lyric.

Through an in-depth analysis of John Lennon's music, Stevens shows how Lennon fashioned songs that were at once politically and socially relevant during the 1960s, yet remain ageless and timeless today. There are many books on all aspects of John Lennon's life, but until now, there has never been a text that honors Lennon's most important contribution‹his music. This guide is a necessary companion for all songwriters and fans of John Lennon.

Features musical analysis of Lennon's hits, including:

  • A Hard Day's Night
  • Ticket to Ride
  • You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Strawberry Fields Forever
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • I Am the Walrus
  • Come Together
  • And many more!

About the Author

John Stevens

John Stevens, an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music since 1976, is acclaimed for his insight into the life and music of John Lennon. For more than twenty years, he has taught "The Music of John Lennon," one of the most popular courses in the Berklee curriculum. Stevens is also a member of "The Blue Meanies," an all-Beatles band in which he sings all the Lennon vocals and plays all the Lennon guitar work.


The Songs of John Lennon sample chapter


The Music of John Lennon: The Beatles Years-


"I used this book in a songwriting workshop ...and found it to be a remarkable resource for illuminating Lennon's uncanny ability to be profound in the most understated ways. Author John Stevens shows Lennon as a master of forming extraordinary lyrics from seemingly ordinary experiences. This book would be a great read for anyone wanting a deep look into the work of a major songwriting icon or those simply looking for a trip back in time."

-The Muse's Muse newsletter (

"This book is a fascinating journey through a masterful pop songwriter's repertoire. Whether or not you were a Beatles' fan, you're sure to learn a lot about great songwriting from this unique book. This 'study guide' is filled with unbelievable detail and technical information about melodic, harmonic, and lyrical phrasing, song structures, rhyme schemes, prosody, and lyrical content for each of the classic songs written during the Lennon Beatles's era between 1964 and 1969."

- American Songwriter

"Through an in-depth analysis of John Lennon's music, Stevens shows how Lennon fashioned songs that were at once politically and socially relevant during the 1960s, yet remain ageless and timeless today."

-music inc magazine

"An interesting book that is at once both a guide to understanding songwriting theory in general, and, specifically, the classic songs of Lennon's Beatles era."

-Gig magazine

"Stands out against the flood of Beatles books...focusing on Lennon's distinctive integration of melody, harmony and lyric....A must for Lennon fans, songwriters, and music lovers seeking a better understanding of the songwriting process and the theories behind it."

-Performing Songwriter magazine

"The first-ever musical analysis of Lennon's talent from a songwriting perspective."

-Music Connection magazine

"You've got the Beatles' records and the John Lennon records; now with this book, you can have the Owner's Manual. This will tell you how the songs are built and how they work. Good stuff."

- Marshall Crenshaw, Singer/Songwriter

"John Stevens splendidly organizes and clearly analyses a large selection of Lennon's Beatles songs regarding background setting, structure, phrasing, and prosody, or music-lyric interaction. The four-part structure helps the reader understand the mechanics and psychology of John Lennon's magic. Stevens illuminates the work of a legendary twentieth-century songwriter with great enthusiasm. I couldn't put this one down!"

- Robert Squires, Classical Guitarist; Lead Guitarist with Beatle Juice

"In The Songs of John Lennon, John Stevens has provided a new and much needed perspective on the music of John Lennon. Rather than write yet another book about Lennon the "rock star," Stevens focuses on Lennon the "songwriter." Through comprehensive analysis of individual songs, we learn about the many devices and tendencies that make up Lennon's song craft and characterize his musical style. Though I grew up listening to these songs, John Stevens' insight has made it all new again. This book is a must-read for all lovers of the music of John Lennon and the Beatles.

- Jeff Friedman, Professor, Jazz Composition Department, Berklee College of Music

Sample Lessons on Berklee Shares

Samples from this title are available on, where you can download free music lessons and share them with your friends.