Irving Berlin’s Amazing Range
Rhythm ballads, sob songs, syncopated dance tunes, ragtime songs, double songs. There was nothing the protean Irving Berlin couldn’t write.
The Dark Side
We like to think that songs are sunny, but the also inhabit and portray a demi-monde where anything and everything goes.
Hearing That Song Again
Giving songs new life by making a ballad into a blues, a waltz into a rag. Popular songs keep remaking themselves.
Abe Lincoln in Song
Campaign songs, comic songs, and soaring anthems: how the songs of his time portrayed America’s 16th president.
Americans may claim wanderlust as their birthright, but we also like being home or making a home.
Not Your Everyday Rain Songs
When you take a common image and make it sing, you’re making the familiar into something fresh; it’s what songwriters do.
Two Kinds of Musicals
Astaire and Rogers at RKO helped us escape the Depression; the Gold Diggers at Warners gave us the everyday grit and struggle.
Cole Porter at First
Typically, the earliest songs of Cole Porter could have been written by anyone, but even then the wit, the arched eyebrow, and the urbanity were beginning to appear.
That Toddlin’ Town
New York gets most of the attention in songs because it’s the home of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, but Chicago, as usual, is The Second City.
Mark Twain’s America
The music Huck and Tom might have heard on their way along the Mississippi.
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