What Is the Gold Standard Song List?
What Is the Gold Standard Song List?
And What's It For?
Songwriting Doesn't Get Any Better
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Standard Song List (GSSL) is an
indexed database of information on 5,000 of the greatest songs in popular
music, composed over a 100-year period, in 14 genres ranging from ragtime
The GSSL was created specifically for
readers of the book,
How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition,
hundreds of songs from the GSSL to illustrate
points of excellence in both songwriting artistry and technical skill.
If you're a songwriter or performer (or producer or
lyricist-rapper) who aspires to break away from the pack by
developing a distinctive, signature sound, you will find the
Gold Standard Song List a particularly useful resource.
How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd
Edition, provides songwriters and
performers with specific, practical
information on how to
songwriting and performing skills. The book
focuses on techniques for creating memorable, emotionally powerful music and
For a quick VISUAL LOOK of the full Gold
Standard Song List,
Everybody learns by example.
So, if you write or perform popular music,
whether in hip-hop, rock, jazz, country, or any other genre, and you want
to improve your skills, these 5,000 songs—the “gold standard of songwriting”—serve
as an invaluable standard of excellence, a reference resource for you to
consult at any stage in your musical career.
You will probably find many songs on the GSSL that
you've never heard, but that will—if you seek out recordings of
them—inspire and enlighten you.
There's enough information on each
to enable you to find at least one or more recordings
of the song, as well as the lyrics.
Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition cites hundreds of Gold Standard
of songs, and recorded performances to illustrate points of excellence in
both songwriting artistry and technical skill.
composed is often earlier than the year the song was first
recorded or became well known.
Articles/determiners (a, an, the) appear at the end of the title (e. g.,
Love Supreme, A).
beginning with numbers are spelled out for alphabetizing purposes,
followed by the "number" title. For example, the song 1952
Vincent Black Lightning is listed as Nineteen Fifty-two Vincent
Black Lightning (1952 Vincent Black Lightning).
following 14 genres are represented on the list:
R & B/Soul
About the 14 Genres.
each of the 7 sorted versions of the GSSL on this website, each song is
listed only once. This has obvious implications for alphabetizing
the names of songwriters when there are 2 or more for one song.
On the GSSL, where 2 or more people wrote the song, here are the conventions:
composer-lyricist partnership, the composer is listed first.
For example, if you're looking for songs written or
co-written by the lyricist Johnny Mercer, who co-wrote numerous Gold
Standard songs in partnership with quite a few composers, type
Mercer, J (without a period after the J) into the search box. You will
find about 3 dozen Johnny Mercer songs.
of the songwriters is better known, that person is listed first: Domino, F., & Bartholomew, D. for
songs co-written by Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino.
partnership order is widely known, this order is preserved: Lennon, J., & McCartney, P.
for songs they wrote as members of The Beatles, even in cases where it's
generally known that only one of them actually wrote the song.
band is credited as songwriter instead of an individual member, the band is listed as songwriter (e. g.
no separate column for "performer" or "recording artist" because the
Standard Song List focuses on songs and songwriters. However, in the
"Songwriter" column, following the name(s) of the songwriter(s), there's
an abbreviation, REC, followed by the name of at least one
performer or group who has recorded the song.