America's Songs: The Stories Behind the Songs of Broadway, Hollywood, and Tin Pan Alley

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Taylor & Francis, 2006 - Music - 328 pages
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"America's Songs" tells the "stories behind" the most beloved popular songs of the last century. We all have songs that have a special meaning in our lives; hearing them evokes a special time or place. Little wonder that these special songs have become enduring classics. Nothing brings the roarin '20s to life like "Tea for Two" or "I'm just Wild About Harry"; the Great Depression is evoked in all of its pain and misery in songs like "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?; "God Bless America" revives the powerful hope that American democracy promised to the world during the dark days of World War II; "Young at Heart" evokes the postwar optimism of the '50s. And then there are the countless songs of love, new romance, and heartbreak: "As Time Goes By," "Always," "Am I Blue..".the list is endless.
Along with telling the stories behind these songs, "America's Songs" suggests, simply and succinctly, what makes a song great. The book illuminates the way each great song melds words and music - sentiment and melody - into a seamless whole. America's Songs also traces the fascinating but mysterious process of collaboration, the give-and-take between two craftsmen, a composer and a lyricist, as they combined their talents to create a song.
For anyone interested in the history of the songs that America loves, "America's Songs "will make for fascinating reading.
 

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Contents

19101919
1
19201929
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165
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19701977
291
Bibliography
297
Index
305
Back cover
329
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About the author (2006)

Philip Furia is one of the best-known writers on popular music, having authored critical biographies of Johnny Mercer (2003), Irving Berlin (1998), and Ira Gershwin (1995), and the award-winning book Poets of Tin Pan Alley (1992). He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Michael Lasser is host of National Public Radio's "Fascinatin' Rhythm," a weekly program that focuses on the great American popular songs. It has been on the air since 1980, and was awarded a Peabody Award in 1995.

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