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Old 01-25-2006, 02:36 PM   #1
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Adam's Part in Songwriting

I wasnt really sure where to post this thread, so i started here, feel free to move it. i was wondering what part the bassman plays in songwriting, has he ever influenced the creation of a song or is all the writing by Bono and Edge?
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:09 PM   #2
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Notice that all the songs are credited as written by Hewson/Evans/Clayton/Mullen. Which would mean that Adam would have some part of the writing process (One example of this happened in the ATYCLB sessions. Larry hummed a melody to Edge, who then changed it into a riff and a song. I'd assume Adam would do something similar along with his bass parts.)
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:08 PM   #3
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I think it's been pretty clear since at least AB and probably much earlier that most of the hard songwriting work is done by Bono and Edge (the songwriting credits on the current albums appear to back this up, notice how the songwriting is credited one eighth each to Larry and Adam but three eighths each to Bono and Edge. The way this works is that the music and words are each considered 50% of a song in terms of royalties. So they credit the music four ways, e.g. each gets an eighth of the overall song royalties, but if the lyrics are split only two ways, as they are, this means that Bono and Edge are doing three times as well as the other two from songwriting royalties... Songwriting credits are where much of the money is. In earlier years the split was indeed four ways, but this changed after - I think - Pop). I have no doubt Adam has made his contributions over the years, for example the bassline from New Year's Day was solely his, and was apparently inspired by his trying to copy the bassline from Fade To Grey by Visage, the bassline of which is very similar to NYD. I am sure that he has a role in interpreting how the bassline in a song will sound, though equally too I suspect that Edge gives him pretty strict instructions on some songs. Without wishing to take away from his own considerable achievements in other arenas, I think it would be hard to make a case for Adam being all that much of a songwriter. Which is probably just as well. How many songwriting genuises do you need in a band?
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Old 01-26-2006, 12:34 AM   #4
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Altho I believe most of the songwriting lyric-wise does credit to Bono and Edge, Larry and Edge and Adam contribute to the melody. But I believe the band has and aalways will split earnings 5 ways....the 5 equal partners being Bono, Edge, Larry, Adam and Paul McGuiness.
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:48 PM   #5
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From what I have read this 20 per cent each arrangement ceased to apply some time ago... I don't know exactly when or how much each gets but (for example) the subject of McGuinness's share was under discussion (with a view to reducing it) as far back as AB if the book "U2 At The End Of The World" is to be believed. I would be very surprised if Edge and Bono are not by far the better paid partners now given that songwriting royalties are such a major chunk of a band's income. Not that the others are doing badly of course and I expect that profits from touring and so on are still being split as before, so no-one's exactly short of change. There's probably something more concrete about this somewhere round here actually...
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Old 01-27-2006, 08:17 PM   #6
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It doesn't really matter to me, so I don't really care to know who makes how much. They are all talented, they are all fabulously wealthy (in many ways). It's really no one's business how they split their profits or who makes more or WHAT they make. I just enjoy the music.
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Old 01-27-2006, 11:02 PM   #7
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Not to be cheeky now Carek but I can't say I share your view about how it's none of our business... How they split their songwriting royalties is interesting and relevant because it gives us some idea of who contributes what to the creative process, which is essentially what the original question was about. Bear in mind that it's not as if they are trying to keep it quiet, the songwriting credits are there for us all to read. Perhaps they even want us to know... now there's a thought.
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Old 01-28-2006, 01:24 AM   #8
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:52 PM   #9
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Larry's big contribution probably consists whether or not to play 16th notes on the bass.

Just kidding.


Everybody contributes something in the creative process. Now one person may come up with a riff or the basics of a song, but the rest contributes by giving their interpretation of what is suggested. So while Bono or Edge may say here's Vertigo, full lyrics and stuff, if Larry doesn't want to play a simple beat as requested but instead adds in some extra bassdrum kicks to spice things up, that changes the song and is a contribution. The same goes for whatever Adam does. He has too because while a bass player sort of has to follow the guitar parts, he also has to keep notice of what the drum does. If the drummer does something slightly different he has to compensate.
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Old 02-02-2006, 03:06 AM   #10
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According to Edge, they write songs different ways. Sometimes he and Bono will have the basic parts of a song and Adam and Larry will contribute their parts. Other times they just start playing together and sometimes the beginning of a song will emerge.

By songwriting, that means the entire song, not just the lyrics, but everything that makes the song.

Adam contributes because he comes up with the basslines to the songs.

I've also read from Bill Flanagan, that he's witnessed Edge suggest a drum beat for Larry to try out. Adam has picked up a guitar and suggested a line for Edge to try out.

Larry came up with a different melody line to one of the songs on ATYCLB but the title wasn't mentioned.

"Miracle Drug" started, was based around a bassline Adam came up with, according to Edge.

Adam and Larry may not contribute lyrically, but musically, they do their share.

Lyrics+music=songwriting.

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Old 02-04-2006, 03:58 AM   #11
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U2 have always spilt songwriting royalties 5 ways.

Always
Always.

Credits are credits.

They could credit Joe Buckshitz for playing a flute on a song, he gets no sonwriting royalites.

The royalties are listed as U2.
Meaning 5 ways, the band and Paul.
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Old 02-04-2006, 02:20 PM   #12
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The songwriters are not listed as U2 but as the individual members, excluding McGuinness, and a quick look at any of the albums would tell you that. The 20% each agreement is almost 30 years old now and there is documentary evidence that it was under discussion with a view to reducing McGuiness's, Larry's and Adam's share 15 years ago. The songwriting credits changed after Pop in Bono's and Edge's favour. What conclusion can we draw from that...? Don't get me wrong, I have no more inside knowledge than anyone else but doesn't any of this make you wonder at all...?
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Old 02-04-2006, 03:43 PM   #13
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I'm not sure where some of this information is coming from.

But here's how the credits work from the liner notes:

AB: "all songs written by U2"

Zooropa: "Music: U2, words: Bono(Except "Dirty Day" Bono & Edge, "Numb" Edge

Pop: Music: U2, Words: Bono and Edge

ATYCLB: Music: U2, Words: Bono and Edge

Bomb: Music: U2, Words: Bono
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:55 AM   #14
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Songrwiting and who contibutes is an interesting subject.
In my oppinion the whole band contirbute in equal measures in the creation of the final piece that appears on an album or single.

But every song has a starting place, usually either guitar parts or piano along with an idea of a melody.
Musical ideas usually come first then lyrics fit into place afterwards. Noteable exception, Elton John who fits music around lyrics and can usualy tell in five minutes if a song is going to work or not.

Bands who use more than one singer I.e The Beatles can usually have there songs identified by who does the vocal.

All parts of a song are crucial to its success, imagine New Years Day without the piano or With or with out you with out the drums!
Also the producers sound desk is as much a musical tool as is the various instruments, and the producer as much an artist as the Songwriter.You only have to watch a making of dvd to see how they weave there majic in the studio.

However, to me the measure of who should be credited with the song is by stripping it down, right down to the bones.

Take away the drums,Bass and all the fancy studio effects. Pick up an accoustic guitar strum the basic chords and sing the vocal. that is the song in its purest form and the peron(s) who came up with that should be given credit for it. They are the talented ones, and what I wouldn't give to have just a little of that talent that all great songwriters have.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:32 PM   #15
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Hmmm...maybe i should have thought more about the title of the thread. all this stuff about the money seems interesting, but as a musician i was interested in the songwriting process U2 will go through, is it a set process or does it change and as a bass player i was curious about the part adam plays in this process. thanks
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hornbag
Hmmm...maybe i should have thought more about the title of the thread. all this stuff about the money seems interesting, but as a musician i was interested in the songwriting process U2 will go through, is it a set process or does it change and as a bass player i was curious about the part adam plays in this process. thanks
According to Adam and Larry it changes, and it can be a bit "chaotic" how they write songs.

Think you'd have to be in the studio just to really know what goes on, see what and how they write songs.

*would love to be fly on the wall for that*
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