The Songwriter

Song Formulas

Daryl Williams - Singer - Songwriter
Daryl Williams – Singer – Songwriter

Brock Speer once told me that his Father G.T. Speer, had a formula for songwriting that he used on several of his compositions. Songs like I NEVER SHALL FORGET THE DAY, & THE DEAREST FRIEND I EVER HAD & OH THE GLORY DID ROLL, were written with this formula. Although it was a simple formula, it gave Dad Speer a direction for his song to proceed, before he wrote the first word.

This is the 2 or 3 verse song formula he used, in a nutshell. Verse 1 was usually written to describe his condition before salvation.

For example:

I NEVER SHALL FORGET THE DAY – verse 1 starts: “Long years ago, when out in sin, I had no hope, no peace within. . .”

OH THE GLORY DID ROLL – verse 1 starts: “I was kneeling one day, asking God to forgive me . . . ”

THE DEAREST FRIEND I EVER HAD – verse 1 starts: “When I was drifting out in sin . . . ”

Then for verse 2, Dad Speer would write about his condition after salvation.

I NEVER SHALL FORGET THE DAY verse 2 starts: “Now I can feel Him by my side, my feeble steps he comes to guide . . . ”

OH THE GLORY DID ROLL verse 2 starts: “I will praise His dear name for the wonderful victory down in my soul . . .”

THE DEAREST FRIEND I EVER HAD verse 2 starts: “When Jesus comes, the way is bright, for He’s the way, the truth the light, He cheers me on . . .”

When Dad Speer decided to use a 3rd verse, it was usually directed toward the unsaved listener.

I NEVER SHALL FORGET THE DAY 3 verse begins: “Oh sinner come to Jesus now, at His dear feet just humbly bow . . . ”

This may seem like a very simple formula, and it is. But it works. If you have trouble getting started on a new song, because you don’t have any direction of where it is going, then try making a diagram or an outline first, of where the song is going to go. You could even use this same formula that Dad Speer used so many years ago. It will still work, in any style of music. Or, maybe you want to write a song along a completely different line of thinking. This would be another option.

Verse 1

I’m going to explain our need to worship and praise the Lord


I’m going to present Jesus as that Savior who is worthy of our praise.

Verse 2

I’m going to describe how time is coming to a close and if we ever needed to by found worshiping him, now is the time.

Optional Bridge

I might talk about the second coming of Christ and the beauty of eternity with Him

This is just a simple outline, but it gives you a starting place. And if your lyric starts straying from your original outline, then you have a choice to make. Do you want to stick to your outline, and make the lyric accomplish what you originally intended to say, or do you want to change the direction of the outline?

If you do decide to change the direction of the outline, I strongly encourage you to write a new outline so that your lyric does not begin to wonder around aimlessly without any direction. It’s is perfectly acceptable to CHANGE directions, but make sure your lyric always has a DIRECTION!

Until next time, keep on writing . . .

Daryl Williams

Nominated for several awards including Grammys, Doves, Singing News Fan Awards, and Absolutely Gospel Music Awards, Daryl Williams has made an undeniable impact on the Gospel music industry. This prolific songwriter of over nine hundred songs has had his songs recorded by Larnelle Harris, The Gaither Vocal Band, The Cathedrals, The John Hagee Family, The Speer Family, The Nelons, Gold City, LuLu Roman, John Starnes, Jimmy Swaggart with Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and many more.
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