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What are hooks and how do you use them?


As the name implies a hook is a short segment which captures the audience’s attention.


It most often is:

  • An instrumental intro
  • The title repeated as the first line of the verse or chorus
  • A memorable refrain


Most, but not all, hit songs will contain at least one hook.


Here are two famous examples almost everyone regardless of their age has heard played on the radio.


Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones has an instrumental intro hook and the title as the first line of the chorus hook.


Jackie Wilson Said by Van Morrison is probably the greatest example of hook writing of all time. It has:

  1. A vocal acapela intro hook
  2. Title as the first line of the first verse hook
  3. Refrain hook “Let it all hang out”
  4. Pre-chorus hook “Brang a lang a lang, Brang a lang a lang”
  5. Chorus hook “I’m in heaven when you smile”


What are some examples of hooks which you have used in your own work?

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Nothing is a hook if it exists in isolation. It requires repetition. Unfortunately, in many cases, the hook is repeated ad nauseam.


The great hooks have somehow tapped into the music of the spheres ... they invoke a gut-level endorphin-releasing reaction in us. No one has yet has discovered the actual formula (thank goodness), though many writers occasionally fly close to the source.

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@Popthree @GregB


Is avoiding the topic question simply because you have never intentionally written a hook or because the question was too vague?


"What are some examples of hooks which you have used in your own work?"

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1 hour ago, VoiceEx said:

My approach to hooks is a bit unconventional being as I do not care what the general audience might be interested in. My music is intended 'for' me, so I cater everything around my personal preferences exclusively, without attempting to 'reel' in the audience.


We have both similarities and differences.  I generally write for myself also but use intro hooks. The Baroque organ which is not repeated in Immortal, the cicadas chirping in Jamón Con Patatas Fritas, the thunderclap at the beginning of Primordial are all deliberate attention grabbing intro hooks.

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9 hours ago, Popthree said:

It's the internet. You don't always get the answers you want.


That is very true.


What I wanted was not an opinion on the use of hooks but examples which might be helpful to aspiring artists who are members or visitors of this forum.  There is a younger audience which visits here to learn.


My intent was to encourage other members of this community to show their knowledge in practical use. In other words by giving instances which are not from well known songs to exhibit their skill, expertise, and reasoning for using the models of their professionalism which they posted.

Edited by Clay Anderson Johnson
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Hooks don’t need to be repeated, though they often are.


Hooks simply grab and hold onto listeners (or viewers for hooks in visual media). Repetition places emphasis on the hook, strengthening it. As does particular placement.


I wrote an article about hooks a few years ago. It is still in the site library, though I would  like to update it.


The Power Of Song Hooks

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