Who knew that Paul McCartney originally referred to Yesterday as 'Scrambled Eggs' because he couldn't think of any lyrics for his heart-breaking tune? Or that Patti LaBelle didn't know what 'Voulez-vous couches avec moi ce soir?' actually meant? These and countless other fascinating back stories of some of our best-known and best-loved songs fill this book, a collection of the highly successful weekly The Life of a Song columns that appear in the FT Weekend every Saturday. Each 600-word piece gives a mini-biography of a single song, from its earliest form (often a spiritual, or a jazz number), through the various covers and changes, often morphing from one genre to another, always focusing on the 'biography' of the song itself while including the many famous artists who have performed or recorded it. The selection covers a wide spectrum of the songs we all know and love - rock, pop, folk, jazz and more. Each piece is pithy, sparkily written, knowledgeable, entertaining, full of anecdotes and surprises. They combine deep musical knowledge with the vivid background of the performers and musicians, and of course the often intriguing social and political background against which the songs were created.
America's Songs tells the stories behind the greatest songs ever to emerge from the Broadway musical, Hollywood movies, and the music industry of Tin Pan Alley. Heard in stage revivals, film soundtracks, jazz and cabaret, and recorded by performers as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, and Rod Stewart, these songs are the closest thing America has to a classical repertoire of song. In addition to recounting each song's inspiration, creation, and enduring popularity, America's Songs shows how these "standards" mirror American life from the years before World War I through the years after Vietnam.
I have completed this manuscript Just Remember This, or as American Pop Singers 1900-1950+, about music before the 1950s in America. It perhaps offers knowledge and insights not previously found in other musical reference books. I have moreover been working on this book very meticulously over the past twelve-plus years. It started as a bit of fun and gradually became serious as I began to listen along with the vocalists of popular music, of the era before 1950, essentially just before the dawn of rock and roll. If you can call it that! Indeed genre and labeling of American music started here, and then from everywhere. While the old adage of always starting from somewhere could be noted in every century, the 1900s had produced the technology. Understanding the necessity, more so, finds a curiosity on the part of a general public hungry for entertainment, despite 6 day work weeks, World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II.
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Tune In is the first volume of All These Years—a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world's leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record ("Love Me Do") behind them and the next ("Please Please Me") primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon. This is the lesser-known Beatles story—the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in. For those who’ve never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s time to press the Reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word. From the Hardcover edition.