American Popular Song Composers: Oral Histories, 1920s–1950s by Michael Whorf

By Michael Whorf

During this quantity, 39 of the mythical composers from Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood and Broadway of the Twenties in the course of the Fifties talk about their careers and proportion the tales of making a number of the so much loved songs in American track. Interviewed for radio within the mid-1970s, they comprise such giants as Harold Arlen, Eubie Blake, Cy Coleman, George Duning, Sammy Fain, Jerry Herman, Bronislaw Kaper, Henry Mancini, David Rose, Arthur Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Jule Styne, Jimmie Van Heusen, Harry Warren, Richard Whiting, and Meredith Willson. pictures and infrequent sheet track reproductions accompany the interviews.

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Michael Church has spent a lot of his profession in newspapers as a literary and humanities editor; due to the fact 20
10 he has been the tune and opera critic of The autonomous . From 1992 to 2005 he said on conventional musics world wide for the BBC international provider; in 2004, subject documents published a CD of his Kazakh box recordings and, in 2007, additional CDs of his recordings in Georgia and Chechnya. members: Michael Church, Scott DeVeaux, Ivan Hewett, David W. Hughes, Jonathan Katz, Roderic Knight, Frank Kouwenhoven, Robert Labaree, Scott Marcus, Terry E. Miller, Dwight F. Reynolds, Neil Sorrell, Will Sumits, Richard Widdess, Ameneh Youssefzadeh

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That rainbow appeared on April 25, the day Harold Arlen was buried. 4 BENNIE BENJAMIN 1907–1989 As difficult as this may be to believe, Bennie Benjamin’s career spanned a duration of nearly 60 years. He was a true Tin Pan Alleyite (although there is no such word) for he was typical of those who would constantly worm their way into a publisher’s office, or meet an associate at two in the morning at some dimly lit café to write a song. Bennie was an excellent guitarist, so he was able to sell his own songs.

Like when the audience starts humming the music from a show they’ve just seen ... you know something’s happening. ’ In 1921, I wrote a waltz. At the time there was a headliner of the day whose name was Miss Lottie Gee, who was the female lead in Shuffle Along. I played the waltz for her and she couldn’t sing it, or should I say she was hesitant about singing it. You see, the producers were asking, ‘Whoever heard of a waltz in 5. ’ I said, ‘Sure there is ... there’s a waltz in a show called Abyssinia.

That music and the dance came to Broadway, and stardom came to Florence Mills, Bessie Smith and Josephine Baker. It paved the way for James P. Johnson, Lucky Roberts, and composers Andy Razaf and Fats Waller. It was also the right time for Eubie Blake. “I’ve always thought of myself as having been kind of ‘special’ right from the beginning. Maybe that’s not the right way to express it, but I was forever receiving opportunities. When I was six years old I strayed from my mother’s side when she was shopping at a department store and I hopped up on a stool and started horsing around with a pump organ.

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