Want to write a tribute song for a milestone birthday at your Zoom party?

Well it’s your husband’s 60th coming up and the expectation is to do something special so when a Zoom party is suggested you grab the opportunity straightaway. There’s plenty of advice about what to include for a disparate bunch of people gathering in 2 dimensional mode for an evening’s celebration: charades , murder mystery and bingo have all been quoted across the web.


What about something unique which celebrates your hubby? A dedicated poem will always have a warm reception: several people could contribute although getting everyone to use the same rhythm technique could be tricky. Now a unique customised set of re-written lyrics to your husband’s favourite song would be a really special touch! How easy is it to organise? Here are a few steps to take:


Step 1:
Find a way of gathering information about your husband from everyone who is going to be there (and maybe those who can’t): childhood friends, post school friends, work colleagues and relatives too. You might set up a WhatsApp, closed Facebook page or similar group to collect all the information in one place.

Step 2: Decide what you want to find out: anecdotes and maybe events before your time with him: “I remember the time when your hubby stole a milk float after one too many beers in town” or his lifelong love of Penguin biscuits. Include his great achievements: captain of the 3rd team, scorer of many a goal, rising through the ranks at work, travelled to where ever on a very tight budget. Be sure to include examples of his great qualities too: his kindness and care for his friends. It’s probably ok to include his small failings too: will he ever learn how to stack the dishwasher?


Step 3:
Once you’ve got together a mix of achievements, humorous stories and a sense of what the tribute is, group them so that they can be joined together in a connected way in the song.

Step 4
Choose your song carefully! It should be a song that a number of people could sing: a basic verse and chorus works best. Words should be audible without requiring too much focus for the listener. So for example: Ed Sheeran’s Take it back would be a major task to adapt. He takes 12 seconds to get through this verse!


“I’m not a rapper, I’m a singer with a flow
I’ve got a habit of spitting
Quicker lyrics you know
You found me ripping the writtens
Out of the pages they sit in
And never once I get bitten
Because plagiarism is hidden
Which I would sit on the rhythm
Prisoner with a vision”


However Lionel Ritchie’s All Night Long gives a much more even rhythm to adapt. he takes 40 seconds to sing this verse: much more manageable!


“Well, my friends, the time has come
To raise the roof and have some fun
Throw away the work to be done
Let the music play on (play on, play on, play on…)
Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself in wild romance
We’re going to Party, Karamu, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along!
We’re going to Party, Karamu, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along!”


STEP 6:
Find a karaoke version you can use: http://www.karaoke-version.com have a good service by providing the opportunity to choose which instruments you wish to use and even change key so that it fits in comfortably with everyone’s voices. Download and store safely!


Step 5
Writing in the lyrics is the most painstaking step: You should try to keep the scan of the original words and even include some of them if you can in the re-written version. Say the line several times and count the number of syllables and then create a line which will match using your own content.

In this example our special person left her family home in Cornwall (hence the reference to “maid”, a very Cornish term for young lady) to go to university at Warwick.

Well, my friends, the time has come
_1___ 2_____3_____4 ___5___6____ 7
To raise the roof and have some fun
_1___2___3___4____5___6______7___8
Throw away the work to be done
_1_____2_3___4____5__6__7____8
Let the music play on
_1__2___3__4___5___6

Well, my friends, the time has come
_1_____2____3_____4___5____6____7
To celebrate and have some fun
_1__2_3__4____5____6____7____8
A handsome maid once left her home
_1__2____3____4_____5____6__7____8
Warwick was where she roamed
_1____2___3_____4____5_____6

It won’t always be possible to do this syllable by syllable but whatever happens your party people should be able to easily follow the words! Make sure your song ends with a real and fitting tribute!!

You’ll want to have some rhyming words of course and you may find some natural rhymes: if you can’t check out RhymeZone (www.rhymezone.com) which will suggest potential rhymes for line ends or elsewehere.


Step 6:
Complete your first draft and then share with a few people and ask for suggestions to improve because you can always make little changes here and there: but of course that depends on your deadline!


Step 7.
Make a slideshow of the lyrics using Powerpoint and maybe add a few photos to exemplify or just add a great background to your words. Then import the audio and you can even record the timings of the slide changes as the song goes through.

Alternatively http://www.karaoke-version.com offer an opportunity to add your own lyrics to a karaoke song with a highlight to show where the words come in the song. They do this for a reasonable one-off fee and then download the video to your computer.


Step 8
You now have the lyrics in a slideshow with a karaoke version. Who will sing this song on the night? It may be your children or friends who will perform this to the backing track. Here technical details count! The singers will need to share their screen with the other participants in the Zoom party. Tick the box when sharing which allows your computer audio to be heard. Then your singers can lead the singing at the right point and everyone can join in! There will be a lag from other participants but the singers will be able to lead in time with themselves. You’re advised to practise this in advance! It’s great fun and your special person will have a souvenir which will last a very long time!

Of course you could commission http://www.celebrationsongsforyou.com to create your song!!

Adapted from “All Night Long”