There’s no paint-by-numbers way to write a timeless song. If such a thing existed, songwriting textbooks would be flying off the shelves and almost anyone could write a Top 40 hit within their lifetimes. But while no one can teach you a foolproof method for writing a truly memorable song, there is much to be gained by gleaning insights from the musicians who have written songs that reached mass audiences.
Tom Morello is known to millions as a founding member of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, a touring lead guitarist with Bruce Springsteen, and the solo artist known as The Nightwatchman. Here are some of Morello’s insights on the art of songwriting.