Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael

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Oxford University Press, Sep 17, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
Georgia on My Mind, Rockin' Chair, Skylark, Lazybones, and of course the incomparable Star Dust--who else could have composed these classic American songs but Hoagy Carmichael? He remains, for millions, the voice of heartland America, eternal counterpoint to the urban sensibility of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Now, trumpeter and historian Richard M. Sudhalter has penned the first book-length biography of the man Alec Wilder hailed as "the most talented, inventive, sophisticated and jazz-oriented of all the great songwriters--the greatest of the great craftsmen."
Stardust Melody follows Carmichael from his roaring-twenties Indiana youth to bandstands and recording studios across the nation, playing piano and singing alongside jazz greats Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and close friends Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong. It illuminates his peak Hollywood years, starring in such films as To Have and Have Not and The Best Years of Our Lives, and on radio, records and TV. With compassionate insight Sudhalter depicts Hoagy's triumphs and tragedies, and his mounting despair as rock-and-roll drowns out and lays waste to the last days of a brilliant career.
With an insider's clarity Sudhalter explores the songs themselves, still fresh and appealing while reminding us of our innocent American yesterdays. Drawing on Carmichael's private papers and on interviews with family, friends and colleagues, he reveals that "The Old Music Master" was almost as gifted a wordsmith as a shaper of melodies. In all, Stardust Melody offers a richly textured portrait of one of our greatest musical figures, an inspiring American icon.
 

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STARDUST MELODY: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael

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Jazz trumpeter and music writer Sudhalter (Lost Chords, 1999) details with considerable musical analysis the rise of an especially American tunesmith.Hoagland Howard Carmichael (1899-1981) was born in ... Read full review

Stardust melody: the life and music of Hoagy Carmichael

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Jazz trumpeter and author Sudhalter (Lost Chords) admirably fills a gap in the literature on American popular music with this biography of songwriter and performer Carmichael (1899-1981), whose own ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Daybreak
3
Discovery
15
Initiation
32
Sunshine and SockTime
44
Monk
54
Bix
69
Washboard Blues
85
Stardust Melody
103
Quests Failed and Fulfilled
205
A Poke in His Pocket
225
Movie Star
249
Tide Rise and Ebb
268
Period of Adjustment
289
Loss
310
Evntide
331
NOTES
347

Big Town Blues
124
Coming of Age
145
Bread Gravy and Cream
164
Paradise Perceived
183
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
401
CREDITS
405
INDEXES
409
Copyright

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About the author (2003)


Richard M. Sudhalter is a widely respected jazz trumpet player and noted critic, broadcaster and Grammy-winning historian, who has performed and recorded Hoagy Carmichael's music all over the world. His Lost Chords (OUP) won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Special Citation for Excellence, and was voted a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He was co-author of the National Book Award-nominated Bix: Man and Legend, still cited as the definitive Beiderbecke biography. A Challenge Records recording artist, he lives on Long Island's North Fork.

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