From Library Journal
Gottlieb (editor, Reading Jazz) and Kimball (editor, The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin) have assembled 1000 popular American and English song texts dating from 1900 to 1975 and arranged them chronologically by lyricist's birth date. Focusing solely on theater and film songs, the editors profile more than 100 songwriters, including Cole Porter, Oscar Hammerstein, Yip Harburg, and Stephen Sondheim. Each entry details their musical contributions and three or more lyrics with verse(s) and refrain. Country, rock, folk, and blues numbers go unmentioned, as they would not have fit in this single volume. "One-hit wonders" are also listed at the back along with an index of song titles. The inclusion of lesser-known songs by major figures such as Irving Berlin or by little-remembered writers such as Mann Holiner or Sam Coslow seems to pad the volume rather than enhance its usefulness. Unfortunately, the title, too, is misleading: Reading Lyrics is more of a compilation than an interpretative work. This book is recommended, however, as a sanctioned print alternative to various lyric web sites for libraries serving a clientele seeking popular song texts and information.DBarry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most people remember a song better than they remember a poem. During the 1900^-75 scope of this sterling anthology, remembering a song was
remembering a poem. That span was the heyday of the classic American popular song, which re-expressed all the old emotions in language invigorated by the dialects of all the external and internal immigrants drawn to America's burgeoning industrial centers. The typical classic American popular song--any of the 1,000-plus examples editors Gottlieb and Kimball have chosen--is rife with those pnemonic aids par excellence, rhyme and wordplay. Accordingly, you could use the book for a party game, the object of which would be seeing who recalls the most songs and, beyond that, can sing them. With lyricists including all the superstars, from Cohan to Sondheim, and plenty whose songs' fame have outlived that of their names, such as Haven Gillespie ("Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town") and Edward Eliscu ("Without a Song"), the party could take all of a grand night for singing. Oh!--get a copy for the reference desk, too. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved