Stardust Melodies by Will Friedwald

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In Stardust Melodies, Will Friedwald takes each of these legendary songs apart and puts it together again, with a staggering wealth of detail and unprecedented understanding.

Each chapter gives us an extended history of one song—the circumstances under which it was written and first performed—and then explores its musical and lyric content. Drawing on his vast knowledge of records and the careers of performing artists, Friedwald tells us who was responsible for making these songs famous and discusses in depth the performers who have left their unique marks on them. He writes about variations in performance style, about both classic and obscure versions of the songs, about brilliantly original interpretations and ghastly travesties. And then there’s the completely unexpected, like Stan Freberg’s politically correct “Elderly Man River.”

This is a book for all lovers of American song to explore, argue with, and savor.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Will Friedwald

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The week Will Friedwald was born, Frank Sinatra commemorated the occasion by recording Point of No Return. The author of Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond and a regular contributor to The Village Voice and The New York Times, Friedwald has also written for New York magazine, Entertainment Weekly, New York Newsday, L.A. Weekly, and The New York Observer, as well as for numerous music and film journals. He has been a consultant on many television documentaries and has produced and annotated hundreds of compact disc reissues, including several Grammy-winning packages. In 1990, Nancy Sinatra Lambert invited him to write an essay for Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Years. Since then he has contributed to compilations of the music of Frank Sinatra on all four labels on which Sinatra has recorded.
Published July 1, 2009 by Pantheon. 418 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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To the author’s credit, his text eschews the kind of gossip that characterizes much other writing about pop music, although some of the more businesslike passages about key changes, chording, and arranging are so technical they may actually make readers wish for “a glimpse of stocking.” He descri...

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Publishers Weekly

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"The American Popular Song is like a car full of clowns at the circus: from the outside it looks small and unassuming, yet you can't believe how much is contained inside," notes Friedwa

Mar 04 2002 | Read Full Review of Stardust Melodies

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