When I first saw the title, I thought, how could there be a whole book about one song? I Read the editorial review and since I'm really into music and collecting stuff, decided to take the chance (also getting it way under retail helped too).
I have looked over it couple times now, I am still in awe about all the events, products and people that have been involved in ONE song. The sheet music, toys, videos, cards, performances and of course records.
Afer reading about the first recorded version, it made me want to go out and buy a music cylinder that plays on those 100 year old Thomas Edison players to hear it. But wait, my dream came true, I didn't have to pay 500.00 to do that, a CD that comes with it and has that first recorded version! Plus a bunch of other versions, that dont seem to be the same song, but are, as they are so diverse in sound.
Not to bore, my favorite piece in the book is how one of the authors (Andy Strasburg) solicited the USPS to get a stamp done for the 100 year anniversary of the song, which comes out June this year. I Googled to find out when it was coming out and the USPS stamp images say 41 cents, while in the book it is 42 cents. Looks like the book has newer images/information than the post office itself. Also a Frank Sinatra (he is in this book and sang the song) stamp comes out in May, I will be using his stamps til I get a couple sheets of Take Me Out to the Ball Game stamps to keep and use.
This book includes just about everything you would want to know about baseball's anthem. Backgrounds on the song's authors Jack Norworth (lyrics) and Albert Von Tilzer (melody) are included, along with numerous historical photos, and what baseball was like in 1908. Take Me Out to the Ball Game is the third most listened to song after Happy Birthday and The Star Spangled Banner. Songs about baseball rank only below songs about love in our nation's history. A listing of all commercially printed music about baseball in the Library of Congress' collection is also provided. I didn't see the song entitled The Umpire recorded in 1950 on the flip side of Take Me Out to the Ball Game sung by Tommy Henrich, Ralph Branca, Phil Rizzuto, and Roy Campanella along with the Carl Yastrzemski song listed. The rendition by Henrich, Branca, Rizzuto, and Campanella is in my collection from my childhood and is an excellent version. My favorite rendition of the song, however, is the version by Carly Simon from Ken Burns' Baseball special included on Ken Burns' CD. It includes the entire song and is first rate. The three authors list their top ten baseball songs. In addition to the game's anthem by Carly Simon I like It's A Beautiful Day For A Ball Game, Gee, It's A Wonderful Game, The First Baseball Game, Van Lingle Mungo, There Used To Be A Ball Park by Frank Sinatra, and Talkin' Baseball by Terry Cashman. The CD that accompanies this book has sixteen tracks, but none of them add anything of significance to the book. However, if you are a baseball fan I would strongly suggest you add this book to your collection.