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The Great American Songbook: Stories of the Standards [Paperback]

By Chuck Denison & Duncan Schiedt (Photographer)
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Item description for The Great American Songbook: Stories of the Standards by Chuck Denison & Duncan Schiedt...

Intriguing, Inspiring and Entertaining Stories of the Songs, the Singers and the Composers From Tin Pan Alley to Broadway and Hollywood, THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK: The Stories Behind the Standards tells the stories of our most popular songs with humor, drama and insight. This is timeless music written in unique ways that is constantly being reinterpreted by each generation. Isaac Stern made this distinction between talent and genius: "A person possesses talent; genius possesses the person." This is a book about singers, musicians, lyricists and composers taking their talent into the atmosphere of immortality. They are fascinating, and they set the standards by which popular music is measured. They may not have lived easy lives, but their creativity drove them to new heights and they changed the face of American music forever.

Music by a wide variety of artists is covered, including: George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Paul McCartney, Dave Brubeck, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, John Coltrane and many others. Some chapters tell the story of just one song; others sketch the life stories of the artists. Music lovers will find new facts and deeper understanding about old friends in THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK The Stories Behind the Standards, and readers unfamiliar with the standards will find the book accessible, easy to read, and delightfully entertaining and informative.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   111
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.46 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Robert D. Reed Publishers
ISBN  1931741425  
ISBN13  9781931741422  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > History & Criticism
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Popular
4Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Reference > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Great American Songbook: Stories of the Standards?

Learn the history of popular musicians and songs  Jan 30, 2007
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (1/07)

"The Great American Songbook: The Stories behind the Standards" is a pleasure to read. The author Chuck Denison has researched the history of singers, musicians, lyricists, and composers and tells their stories here. He tells the history of these people and how their lives interacted with their music. Some of the people written about include: George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra.

The majority of the people written about did not have easy lives, but it was the rough patches that these people lived through that gave their music an edge. Denison talks about the music genius that this people carried within them. He also discusses those that seem touched by a muse. He writes: "The muses, the supernatural forces of beauty, art and music capture us, and reveal themselves. In an instant, we hear the melody, catch the concept and dream the solution."

I enjoyed reading the stories behind many famous songs from the past. The ones that stood out to me included: "Silver Bells," "Mr. Ed," "Que Sera Sera," "White Christmas," "I've Got Rhythm," "Blue Moon," "Yesterday," "I'm in the Mood for Love," and "The Way You Look Tonight." By learning the background of the song, it increased my interest in what the music meant to the people creating it. I wish that I had had a book like this when I was taking music classes in high school and college.

"The Great American Songbook," is a great book for music enthusiasts. At only 111 pages, I wish that there was more to read about! Music teachers should definitely take note and consider this book as a supplement to textbooks. It will greatly increase the student's appreciation and understanding of the music.
The Changing Face of American Music  Jul 20, 2006
Chuck Denison has collaborated with jazz photographer Duncan Schiedt to produce this compact collection of stories of the origins of some of our most popular songs.

This work is not an encyclopedia of, nor a complete history of American music. It is a sampler to demonstrate the impact music has had on American culture. These are stories about artists, composers, and lyricists, the genius who set these standards. The book is made up of entertaining stories and background information on Broadway hits, Hollywood movies, and the songs that made them succeed.

Denison covers the whole spectrum of music from "avant garde" to "be-bop." He takes us behind the scenes to share insights from the lives of George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Paul McCartney, and dozens of others.

The author has created a nostalgic journey that takes us back in time to the early 1900's through the pre World War I days. He highlights the "Roaring Twenties" and takes us down memory lane with captivating stories from the days when radio was the center of family entertainment. The popular program "Hit Parade" was prime time entertainment.

He takes us back to the patriotic songs of World War II and the era that introduced the "Hollywood Musical". Denison likened the music of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and Beatlemania to a quasi-religious experience for the 60's generation.

The collection of Duncan Schiedt's photography reveal moments of musical history "captured for all time, an image of a memory." These images enhance the importance of this excellent work.

Inaccurate vanity press product  Aug 1, 2005
The book covers about thirty songs. The one song that I know the history of is totally incorrect!! Jimmy Van Heusen told me in 1979 that he co-wrote the song that we know as "Nancy" with Phil Silvers on the 20th Century lot. It was written as "Bessie with a laughing face". Bessie was the wife of Jimmy's partner, Johnny Burke. Later they used it at birthday parties for other woman...and finally at little Nancy Sinatra's fourth B-day. Frank cried...thinking they wrote it for her. This author claims Frank co-wrote it with Jimmy and Phil for Nancy.
Not Much There  Jul 13, 2005
I was really disappointed with the book. I am an aspiring performer, and have been doing a lot of research on the standards. I thought this book would same me a lot of time. The great american songbook includes hundreds of standards -- this book covers only about 30 of them. You can get all of this information on the internet. Save the $9+.
An excellent giftbook for popular music buffs  Dec 9, 2004
The Great American Songbook is an anthology of entertaining true stories behind a medley of some of the most popular songs Hollywood, Broadway, and other favorite songs. Brief yet enjoyable and fascinating trivial about great singers, musicians, composers, and more fill this amazing, defly researched and entertaining collection, which includes tibits about such hits as "White Christmas", "Blue Moon", "Get Happy" and more. An excellent giftbook for popular music buffs.

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