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Songwriters Hall of Fame Welcomes Ray Davies -- and Donovan?

If, like me, you came of age loving music that was written and performed by artists based (more or less) on their own life experiences -- and you think today's "music" is tuneless, empty calorie junk -- then learning about Dr. Luke's "hit factory" presses all your "get off my lawn" buttons.

The trouble is, if you love "old" music that much, you also know that "hit factories" are nothing new:

You know -- "the star maker machinery behind the popular songs" stuff that hipper fans and musicians have been kicking against since the birth of rock and roll?

It's just, well, those old "factories" like the Brill Building churned out good music (and had more than three guys writing all the songs...)

Pre-rock, even fewer singers wrote their own material.

You can learn about the storied "Tin Pan Alley" composers and lyricists who created what we now call "the great American songbook"via Mark Steyn's delightful collection of essays on the topic.

One of the true masters of the form was Johnny Mercer, the man who wrote or co-wrote "Moon River," "One For My Baby" and over a thousand others.

No wonder Mercer later co-founded the Songwriters Hall of Fame.