The Bridge

The music Bridge, Break or the Get Down part in a song.

As usual in my travels while flying anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, waiting for connecting flights and setting up my portable system in the next hotel room. My personal music preference are the sounds of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and some early 90’s. But recently something interesting occurred. I’m not sure if my ear’s popped from all the travel or was it late reaction and revelation cause by great discussions and border line debates with friends in facebook forums? I finally notice the reason or in part what separates today’s R&B and Soul music from yester-year’s. There’s no Bridge! Where did the Bridge go!

The musical bridge or instrumental portion was the opportunity for the listener to let the words / lyrics sung in the song prior to sink in. Giving us an opportunity to really think about the words that usually had a message and meaning to get inside. Sometimes the second verse right before the Bridge was so powerful to and from the Writer and, or Producer that it was repeated again as the last verse before the song faded out to the end.

Mind you, what was said / sung in those songs wasn’t comprehended at first. If you’re like me sometimes it takes repetition from a radio station’s repetitious playlist, in a club D.J.’s set and my personal music devices repeating my favorite songs before one day after I finally say aloud…. “Hey… Oh wow I didn’t know that’s what this song’s about!”

Up until the late 80’s maybe early 90’s every R&B and (believe it or not) Disco record sometimes had at least a 45 second instrumental section in the middle of the song after the 2nd verse that eventually inspired Hip Hop music culture titled “The Brake”.

I strongly believe that the extinction of ‘The Bridge’, ‘The Get Down’ and ‘The Brake’ are because most of the words / lyrics today have become empty, have no substance and are soulless. If we did bring back the bridge today maybe, just maybe it will give us the opportunity to stop and think about what we’re subconsciously digesting in our ear gates, inner beings and spirit person.

Liken it to junk food. a food that not only lacks any nourishment, but actually over a period of time destroys the body. Don’t know about others but there are times that I need a bridge.

– C. Martin


  1. Good write up.. Yes I do miss the bridge. Though when I rhymed I use to argue that those type of changes were necessary to grow or stand out. I’m now learning to let my imagination ride the rhythm and get my heart and mind ready for the next line… No hook necessary.

  2. Dope post. I can recall many songs from the 70’s, 80’s (some before my time, but great songs nonetheless) that have amazing bridges. Maybe it had something to do with just shortening songs as well as to stay in-tune with society’s short attention span? BTW, what’s the last memorable bridge that you can recall? Last I can recall was LL’ “Jigglin'”.

  3. The best prescription for the “no-bridgeitis” is a dose of the James Brown, Stax, Philly International and Motown catalogs. If that doesn’t work try The Honey Cone’s Want Ads and Stick Up. The best thing about of all of them….NO TOLLS.

  4. My daughter is getting over being sick so I kept her home for one more day. Decided to give her an at home music education today and boy are you right, the lack of cohesiveness in new music is just sorely lacking. So glad I grew up in the era that I did. Being a 1971 baby, I definitely have an overwhelming appreciation for so many genres. I have to say, you were also a heavy influence on my musical tastes. A cross country drive In an Isuzu full of cassette tapes has a way of leaving a lasting impression! Anyway, I’m here “jammin” the “Dusties” forcing my kid to listen to MY playlist for a change! She’s been getting her groove on somethin’ serious, so I guess it’s working! My new Spotify playlist is gonna be named The Bridge is Not Over! (It Ain’t Over!)
    Gotta bring it back! Keep up the great posts. I always enjoy reading your work.

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