American Song: The Complete Companion to Tin Pan Alley Song

American Song: The Complete Companion to Tin Pan Alley Song

by Ken Bloom

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Library Journal - Library Journal
These companion volumes to Bloom's important American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion (LJ 7/96) and Hollywood Song: The Complete Film and Musical Companion (LJ 3/15/95) focus on popular songs from the early 1890s to 2000, defining "Tin Pan Alley" broadly to incorporate tunes ranging from George M. Cohan's patriotic gems to "easy listening" (e.g., Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach). Rock, country, folk, and other genres are not treated here. Although these works are presented as Volumes 3 and 4 of American Song, they act as a stand-alone set despite some overlap with Bloom's previous works. Volume 3 is an alphabetical listing by songwriter; Volume 4 includes collaborator, title, and chronological indexes. Bloom uses "songwriter" to mean either composer or lyricist, including those who penned at least five standards within a larger body of work, as well as important creators with fewer standards and some of his personal favorites, making a total of 164 writers with over 54,000 titles. Each songwriter entry begins with a short biographical sketch and the titles of standards for which he or she merits inclusion. Song titles are then listed chronologically under each in two groupings: "pop" and "show" (which includes film). There is some duplication of titles within the lists (e.g., all of the songs from Finian's Rainbow are listed under Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg), and one misses some duos who failed to make the cut (e.g., Bock and Harnick, Adler and Ross). These, however, are minor drawbacks in an otherwise praiseworthy effort. The title/collaborator indexes refer to the main songwriter list and include years, which is helpful in placing songs in their historical context. Dick Jacobs's Who Wrote That Song? (o.p.) and Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America (LJ 6/1/91) cover some of the same territory, but both are somewhat dated. Recommended for collections owning the previous volumes and all music reference areas as budgets allow. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this two-volume set, Bloom (author of two previous volumes on American and Hollywood song) identifies 125 Tin Pan Alley composers and lyricists (from 1880 until today) who wrote at least five standards, or who were otherwise important writers, or were his own personal favorites. In Volume 3, entries are arranged alphabetically and include a biographical sketch followed by a chronological list of his or her complete works, including the name of the show or film in which a composition was performed, and the names of collaborators and lyricists, where applicable. Volume 4 contains three types of indices: alphabetical, chronological by song, and collaborators who do not have a full entry. Cross-indexed by title, year of song, and collaborators. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Cengage Gale
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