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Chris de Burgh songwriting tips



Chris de Burgh tips on song construction.

Chris de Burgh has been writing songs for over 30 years and has proved himself to be one of the most talented singer-songwriters of our time. Being able to skillfully craft any type of song from a sensitive ballad like 'The Lady In Red' to rock classics like 'Don't Pay The Ferryman' and 'High On Emotion' are the main reasons why he has sold over 40 million records worldwide.


So how does he do it?

The quotes below from Chris de Burgh himself may give us a valuable insight into his successful songwriting process and preparation.

"My personal song writing process can be approached in a variety of ways. The first one is the disciplined way, where I will go to my studio, my piano, my guitar with a project in mind and start sifting through the deep recesses of my subconscious for ideas that may have been planted in there over the last few months or indeed years. Alternatively I can get a sudden idea or a phrase. Or thirdly there could be a way of having something that interests me or upsets me or excites me that I want to write a song about. A current idea, for example, I am calling "chain of command". Because I always find it extraordinary how people will accept commands, particularly in the military to do things that otherwise they would not do ever, particularly if their own personal safety is at high risk. And indeed in like for example the First World War it was almost guaranteed that anybody going over the top of the trenches to run towards the enemy would be shot down in a hail of machine gunfire. Why did they did do that? These are little things that occupy my head. I use tape recorders as a notebook. I have a 16 track recorder in my studio, which I build up ideas on. "

Chris de Burgh - Man On The Line July 2007

“To write songs, for me, is not exactly a positive thing-it's more a natural thing. It's a form of expression almost as natural as breathing, especially when it comes to things that upset, or which I would like people to look at in a slightly different light. What I try to do is match the marriage of the word to the music. Quite often, you'll get a word that, with a particular melody or sentence, doesn't work at all-but if you change one inflection on the word it suddenly becomes whole; the marriage is complete. I find myself psychologically well- balanced through all of this because song writing is a form of therapy to me.
Every time I get unhappy or upset about something-I write a song about it. It's wonderful. It's just nice to stir people's imaginations. People often say that, stripped of the music, my songs are like poetry. I don't make a conscious effort to do that-and I think I'd make a lousy poet anyway, because the discipline of poetry is completely different. If my lyrics read poetically, then it's a bonus ~it's not deliberate. When I write, it usually involves several key things ~all of which I'm so aware of now that it's almost like a game I'm playing with my sub ~conscious. The first thing is that I have to be mentally relaxed-but searching in my mind, nonetheless. Secondly, I have to be playing an instrument; quite often it's just the sound of a chord that will suddenly trigger something off.
Suffice to say...writing songs is a complex business for me. I see everything very clearly, and! tend to view my songs in a very filmic way. They are like movies for the ears. I allow my mind to run riot with images-and the great part about all this is trying to get that sense of imagery over to the listener.”


Chris de Burgh - Into the Light tour brochure 1986

"It's very important for me to switch off everything else that is going on in my head. I'm very good at that. I can actually concentrate on one thing 100 percent and then move on to something else rather than be caught drifting between the two of them. I also believe in what the Beatles used to say, it's if you can come back to a melody the next day and you can remember it, then it's worth remembering. Otherwise I'm sure I've forgotten loads of melodies that I've started, but if they are not much good, I don't remember them. It's just as well, I suppose."

Chris de Burgh - Man On The Line 2003

"It's almost impossible for me to sit down and deliberately write songs. They always sneak up on me, I'll think of a word and a song will just build itself around it. I believe in the ability of the subconscious, the creativity of the unconscious mind. All the creative writer has to do is lift the drawbridge and suddenly all the information you've gathered, all your heritage, all your tradition, is in there. I don't know how I do it, everybody has their own way. I like to just sit and relax and mumble to myself and suddenly it all comes out. But to reach this point of release can mean weeks of agony, and usually does. The most natural songs come out that way. The ones that come from your inner emotions are the ones which work best, because they come naturally."

Chris de Burgh - From A Spark To A Flame by Dave Thompson 1987

Additional insight, courtesy of Tony Clayton -Lea
"Before starting work on a new album, Chris enters into what is now a ritual for each of his records. He writes down the previous concert tour set list, looks at the performance holes in it and figures out what he needs to do to plug them. Chris then enters into a very fierce dialogue with himself about what is required, where he has gone wrong and what he is trying to achieve with his next batch of 'live' songs."

Chris de Burgh The Authorized Biography by Tony Clayton - Lea 1996 is the perfect place to express your feelings of love via songs.Read love songs, share them with others, even write your own song dedicated to love of your life.

This section of is for the fans and fans to be of Chris de Burgh. Check out some of the amazing things to do and see here including:

Chris de Burgh - The Storyman
The Storyman: An in depth look and latest news.

Chris de Burgh - The River Sessions
Revealed - this superb new CD recorded in Glasgow 1981.

New Album by Chris de Burgh
Chris High reviews the new album from Chris de Burgh.

Ferryman Productions
Unofficial information about Ferryman Productions Ltd.

Rosanna Davison
Biography of Miss Ireland 2003/ Miss World 2003 plus latest information.

Chris de Burgh Guitar Solos and Riffs
A look at some of the amazing guitar solos in CdeB album tracks.

Chris de Burgh The Simple Truth 1991
An in depth look at The Simple Truth concert of 1991 in aid of Kurdish Refugees including pictures and streaming video.

Chris de Burgh Record Collector
Chris de Burgh has featured twice in Record Collector Magazine.

Mike Doud art for Chris de Burgh
The paintings of Mike Doud for the 1986 Chris de Burgh records.

The Chris de Burgh Story
A ten minute streaming video presentation - 'The Early Years'.

There's a New Star Up In Heaven Tonight
A tribute to Princess Diana and her connection with Chris de Burgh.

CdeB Rare Facts
A collection of hard to find and uncommon CdeB facts.

Bargy Castle - Interactive Tour
An imaginary tour of Bargy Castle by Chris de Burgh himself.

Chris de Burgh - Soundalikes
An in depth look at the Chris de Burgh Soundalike/Tribute acts.

Chris de Burgh - A Child Is Born
This truly amazing 2 minute video shows Chris de Burgh morphing from a baby to the present day - awesome!

Chris de Burgh - This Is Your Life
A Flash presentation adapted from the UK British TV series in 1992.

Chris de Burgh - Memory Games
A Selection of CdeB memory games to test you.

Chris de Burgh - Album Covers Game
How well do you know the CdeB album covers? Why not test yourself here.

Chris de Burgh - Song Title Quiz
Can you work out the clues to discover the correct CdeB song titles?

Chris de Burgh - Picture Puzzles
Rearrange these 5 CdeB single covers online - dynamic puzzles.

Chris de Burgh Java Applet Games
Highly addictive Chris de Burgh Java games - Great Fun!

Chris de Burgh Crossword Puzzles
Either play online or print out to do later, both easy and hard levels.

Chris de Burgh Competition
A Chris de Burgh MP3 music quiz - win a copy of 'Untrained Melodies'.

Chris de Burgh DHTML Zone
Dynamic HTML effects, just a bit of fun with some familiar pictures.

Chris de Burgh - Subliminal
A look at the possibility of reverse lyrics found in Chris de Burgh songs.

Chris de Burgh talks about wine
CdeB talks about his wine collection and what good wine means to him.

Chris de Burgh links
We've scanned the Internet to bring you some of the best CdeB websites.

Are you a songwriter; Or maybe just a fan of this style of music?
We would love to hear your comments or suggestions about this site, you can also ask Chris High a question or to just say hello and tell us where you are from -



“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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