Ongoing History Daily: Songwriting serendipity

It’s impossible to predict what will inspire the creation of a hit song. Some songs emerged from the creator’s mind fully formed. Others slowly evolve in a completely unexpected way. Take this Franz Ferdinand situation where a big hit came out of some generic hillbilly music.

Guitarist Nick McCarthy had just formed a band with his friend Alex Kapranos which they called “Franz Ferdinand.” They were messing around with an old, junky portable organ once owned by McCarthy’s father. It had an effects pre-set called “Blue Grass.” McCarthy messed around with the sound from the organ while Kapranos experimented in guitar. Out of that came the basic structure of “Take Me Out.”

A cool indie hit by a Scottish band resulted from trying to understand American bluegrass? Like I said, inspiration can be found in some really unlikely places.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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