"Embraceable You." "Someone to Watch Over Me." "Alexander's Ragtime Band." "My Funny Valentine." "White Christmas." Irving Berlin once wrote a song entitled "The Song is Ended, But the Melody Lingers On," and surely the title is a perfect epitaph for an incomparable era of American songwriting that endowed us with so many of our most beloved ballads and rousing showstoppers.
The Song is Ended is the story of the Golden Age of American popular music, and a celebration of the enduring melodies and colorful life stories of five of this century's most engaging songwriters: Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers, with a fond bow in the direction of Victor Herbert and George M. Cohan. Author William G. Hyland provides an expert analysis of trends in popular songwriting during the first half of this century, escorting readers on a fascinating tour of the sights and sounds of fifty-odd years of American music, from the scratchy victrolas and Old World melodies of New York's teeming Lower East Side, to the hustle and bustle of Tin Pan Alley, to the hot rhythms and smoky clubs of the Jazz Age, to the sound stages of Hollywood and the glittering Broadway triumphs of "Showboat", "Anything Goes", "Porgy and Bess", "Pal Joey", and "Oklahoma!". Nostalgic lovers of good music will delight in the stories behind some of their favorite songs: Irving Berlin, for example, originally wrote his tender and romantic classic "I'll Be Loving You, Always," for a Marx Brothers revue (he wisely cut it), and he first composed "God Bless America" as an enlisted soldier in 1918, only to put it aside for almost twenty years when the pianist helping him rehearse for an army benefit complained "Geez, another patriotic song?"
From Cole Porter's light-hearted and irrepressible "You're the Top" to Rodgers and Hart's wistful "Blue Moon" or the unforgettable "Summertime" from George Gershwin's masterful "Porgy and Bess," The Song is Ended captures the charm, freshness and vitality of a truly great era in American musical history. The melodies from this golden era truly linger on, just as Berlin predicted, and reverberate on every page of this superb volume.
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From Publishers Weekly:
About the Author:
William G. Hyland was Editor of Foreign Affairs for many years, and is currently Research Pofessor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. After a long and successful career at top levels of the State Department and the White House staff, he returns here to his first love, the songs that America sang and danced to through World War II.
Focusing on his "own arbitary taste and interests," Hyland, a research professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, treats in depth the works and lives of five great American songwriters active during the first half of this century: Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers. Dividing his well-researched book into three main sections?the dawn of the popular music publishing business on Tin Pan Alley in the early part of the century; the advent of the jazz age in the 1920s; and the lure of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s?Hyland weaves the stories of his subjects together and covers some of their most important works, including Porgy and Bess, Top Hat, Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. His treatment of each is enlightening for its incisive explanations of why American popular music developed as it did and how the greats become just that. Engagingly written and comprehensive, this excellent addition to the literature on popular music's golden age reminds us that the melodies linger on.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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