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Neil Sedaka: The public loved The Beatles' style. So my career was over. People used to walk up to me in the street 'Didn't you use to be Neil Sedaka?'

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Lamont Dozier: [Motown songwriters] Our job was to turn out hits. We were like Santa Claus and his little elves - you know, turning out the toys for Christmas.

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Nik Cohn: In 1964, if you had said to anybody, even the musicians themselves, that this was an art form they would have laughed. And in 1969, if you had said to any of the musicians that this isn't an art form they'd have hit you.

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Robbie Robertson: Discovering the soul of the music was what was really important. Getting the song across with as much emotion as you could, that was the objective. Not flailing away and blasting the walls down, that had nothing to do with it any longer.

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Robbie Robertson: There was no tricks. It was all about just writing songs that would have that timeless quality. This was like, "Okay, this is really who we are. Here it is. There's no thrills, there's no tricks, there's no nothing. It's just the real shit." You know, and that's as much as any of us ever really wanted out of music.

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Pete Waterman: People seem to think that pop songs are easy to write. They're not. They're the hardest thing in the world.

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Neil Tennant: Blondie took punk and polished it. Made it shiny and gorgeous and glamorous. And that's why it worked: they took all the best bits of punk - the discipline, the three-minute songs, the sort of we-don't-care attitude - but made it glamorous.

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Neil Tennant: In the 1990s the pop song was under threat in a way it had never been before because dance music became so prominent. And it wasn't about songs, a lyric would just get in the way. (... ) And then suddenly at the end of the 90s one strenght of the boyband thing, you know, is that it kept songwriters going, I suppose.

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Michael Chapman: Music never really strays too far away from pure pop. It always goes back. Because record companies and songwriters and record producers and artists see their future going down the drain as soon as it gets too heavy.

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Jon Pareles: Max Martin knows what he's doing. He has studied Abba who in turn studied every pop model they could get their hands on from Phil Spector to The Beatles. Who in turn studied, you know, Little Richard and Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael who in turn probably studied Stephen Foster who in turn studied, you know, whatever the farm heads on his neighborhood farm was singing. You know, there's always continuity here.

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