Aretha Franklin “Respect,” Todd Snider, “Beer Run,” and The Kinks’ “Lola”. What do each of these songs have in common with each other? Each song relies on spelling a key word or phrase in the chorus. Here’s a famous example from Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”:
"Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today
Me and little J-O-E will be goin' away
I love you both and this will be pure H-E double L for me
Oh, I wish that we could stop this D-I-V-O-R-C-E."
Tammy uses spelling throughout her song “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” to drive her narrative. In the song, the parents spell out everything they don’t want their kid to hear “ he thinks C-U-S-T-O-D-Y spells fun or play.” It’s an excellent way to provide characterization for the scene, but it also helps the lyricists, Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, create rhymes. “Divorce” is a hard word to rhyme but the “E” sound in “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” lends itself to a wider universe of potential rhymes.
Today I want to challenge you to write a song that uses spelling in its chorus.
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