Why Is The First Verse So Important To Songwriting?

by Marty Dodson
Feb 6, 2024

Writers often overlook the importance of a great first verse.

A first verse can make or break your song. Here’s why:

1) Industry people don’t have a lot of time to spend on each song.

If your first verse doesn’t grab them, they will turn off your song and not even listen to the rest, no matter how amazing it might be. In fact, the opening LINE of the song has to be really compelling. You want to make the listener want to hear the rest of the song based on that opening line.

2) The first verse establishes characters, context and setting.

If you do a good job of that in verse one, your listener is armed with everything they need to truly “get” what your song is about. Establishing those important elements in verse one is crucial to making your song make sense.

3) The first verse is your introduction to the listener.

It shows the listener your writing ability and your ability to connect them to a universal “big idea”. If you do a good job in verse one, the listener becomes your friend and they feel like you understand them. That’s the key to making fans and having hits.

4) Writing a great first verse elevates the rest of the song.

If you dig deep and write something compelling in verse one, it gives you incentive to keep the rest of the song at that level. I can’t count the number of times that I have scrapped a second verse because it wasn’t as good as the first verse. It’s great to set the bar really high and to challenge yourself to stay up there above the bar. A great first verse makes settling for anything less out of the question for the rest of the song.

There you have it! Work at writing an amazing first line and first verse. Then, don’t drop the ball. You’ll be well on your way to a great song!

Write on! ~Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi #1 songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing


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