The Song Is Ended: Songwriters and American Music, 1900-1950

William Hyland, Author
William Hyland, Author Oxford University Press, USA $27.5 (360p) ISBN 978-0-19-508611-9
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Focusing on his ``own arbitary taste and interests,'' Hyland, a research professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, treats in depth the works and lives of five great American songwriters active during the first half of this century: Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers. Dividing his well-researched book into three main sections--the dawn of the popular music publishing business on Tin Pan Alley in the early part of the century; the advent of the jazz age in the 1920s; and the lure of Hollywood in the '30s and '40s--Hyland weaves the stories of his subjects together and covers some of their most important works, including Porgy and Bess, Top Hat, Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. His treatment of each is enlightening for its incisive explanations of why American popular music developed as it did and how the greats become just that. Engagingly written and comprehensive, this excellent addition to the literature on popular music's golden age reminds us that the melodies linger on. (Mar.)
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