The song title, “You Can’t Take That Away From Me” immediately raises the question, “What can’t you take away from me?” It drives the reader to want to investigate further and find out what the lyric says. It peaks our interest and arouses our curiosity.
A “catchy” song title will perk the interest and lead listeners to want to pursue more information about what the song is about.
When selecting a song title one must ask, “What is the song about?” Is it about winning love, losing love, rival love, or unrequited love? The topic of the song must be crystal clear in the mind of the songwriter and this central idea must be conveyed to the listener
1. What makes a good title?
The title of a song should summarize the essence of the song and should be used in a prominent place in the song, like the first line “Night and Day,” at the end of each verse “New York State of Mind,” or at the very end of the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Some of the strongest and best titles contain language that paints a verbal picture or suggests an image in the mind of the listener. “A Boy Named Sue” or pertains to a color “Blue Suede Shoes.” or mentions a place “Chicago,” or represents a name “Michelle,” or suggests a date “April Showers.”
2. Can I use a title that already exists?
It is fascinating to know that song titles, book titles, movie titles are not copyrightable, and therefore they can be used freely by anyone without cost or paying royalties. There are hundreds of songs with the title “I Love You” and this title might be classified as a cliché’ (an overused and worn out phrase). No doubt “I Love You” is a vitally important phrase to express particularly in love songs or ballads, but one must cleverly find another way to present clichés…offering a fresh and unique way to do it. The word “love” only rhymes with five other words, “glove” “of” “above” “dove” and “shove.” and is therefore very limited with rhyme couplings.
3. What’s wrong with the title, “I Love You?”
It is a good idea to find new and fresh ways to say the same old and tried phrases like “I Love You.” Such a title is “I Can’t Smile Without You.” or “You Light Up My Life.” or “Sometimes When We Touch.” Saying “I Love You” using different words with a new approach is catchy and refreshing.
4, Where can I find “catchy’ titles?
Where does one go to find fresh and “catchy” song titles? Practically anywhere will bring forth titles such as: book titles, phone conversations, newspapers, television, radio, advertisements, movies, conversations overheard in restaurants and so on.
The title can be considered the “hub” of a wheel and all lyric lines are the spokes that connect to the hub or title. Each lyric line should reflect back to the title and help the story develop.
Some writers begin with the title and then build a story around that title. The title must be unique and should bring to mind a clear image such as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”
It is interesting to note that the three most used words in song titles are “Heart,” “Night,” and “If.”
Here some ideas from which to glean song titles:
Purple Rain, Deep Purple, Little Green Apples, Blue Suede Shoes, The Lady in Red, It’s Not Easy Being Green.
New York State of Mind, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, St. Louis Blues, April In Paris, Stairway to Heaven, New York New York.
Two for the Road, Three Coins in a Fountain, Sixteen Tons, 76 Trombones, Three Times a Lady, One Note Samba.
Saturday Night Fever, Rainy Days and Mondays, April Showers, Ruby Tuesday, Sunday Kind of Love, September in the Rain, The Longest Time.
Night and Day, Strangers in the Night, Night Fever, Blues in the Night, Teach Me Tonight, Nights in White Satin.
If I Had You, If I Loved You, If I Had a Brain, If Ever I Should Leave You, If I Were a Rich Man, If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, If You Asked Me To.
Day In-Day Out, Here and Now, For Once In My Life, Too Close For Comfort, Opposites Attract, Nobody Does It Better.Question
Is That All There Is? Who Can I Turn To? Guess Who I Saw Today?
“What Kind of Fool Am I? Can You Read My Mind? How Am I Supposed to Live Without You? How Deep Is Your Love? Will You Love Me Tomorrow? What Have You Done For Me Lately?
You Don’t Buy Me Flowers, Can’t Smile Without You, Hurting Each Other, Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do, The End of a Love Affair, After the Love Has Gone, Almost Over You, You Don’t Know How It Feels, Missing You Now.
Our Love Is Here to Stay, You Are the Sunshine of My Life, If I Loved You, People Will Say We’re In Love, I Just Called to Say I Love You.
Let’s Go Crazy, Beat It!
Fly, Robin Fly; Bad, Bad Leroy Brown; I Want you, I Need You, I Love You; Enough Is Enough; Time After Time.
Alliteration (the repetition of initial consonant sounds)
Seasons In the Sun, The Way We Were, My Boyfriend’s Back, Touch Me In the Morning, You Light Up My Life, Done Somebody Wrong Song.
Simile (a comparison of two unlike things in which “like” “as” or “than”)
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Younger Than Springtime, The Song Is You, A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody.
Metaphor (a comparison of two unlike things in which the word “like” or “as” are not used)
You Win the Round, Jump Start the Economy, What’s the Bottom Line?
Need to Escape
Up, Up and Away; Slow Boat to China; Let’s Get Away From It All; Over the Rainbow; By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Fly Me to the Moon.
The Impossible Dream, Climb Every Mountain, I Believe, It’s a Wonderful World, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The Best Is Yet to Come; Easy Come, Easy Go; Wait and See; Signed, Sealed and Delivered, Beginner’s Luck. It’s Too Late!
Oxymorons( a single phrase that juxtaposes opposite terms)
Serious Fun, The Tender Trap, Cruel Kindness, Make Haste Slowly, My Happiest Mistake, The Sound of Silence, Killing Me Softly.
Peel Me a Grape, A Walk in the Spring Rain, That Goodbye Look, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Livin’ On a Prayer, Strawberry Fields Forever, Walking On Broken Glass.
Another Mr Right Just Left, Everybody’s Got the Right to be Wrong, If I Could Just Remember to Forget, The High Cost of Low Living, My Future Just Passed.
Full Moon and Empty Arms, Every Heart Should Have One, New Looks from an Old Lover, The Night We Called It a Day, Come Rain or Come Shine, Love at Second Sight, The High Cost of Loving.
Gone With the Wind, From Here to Eternity, Games People Play.
Personification=attributing human characteristics to inanimate objects.
Ol Man River, The Summer Knows,
To write a “catchy” song title takes careful thought and imagination of the songwriter. Using the hints above one can find inspiration for the best title–the right title—your title.