web site hit counter Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs for Broadway Shows and Hollywood Musicals - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs for Broadway Shows and Hollywood Musicals

Availability: Ready to download

In this warm and affectionate book, William Zinsser describes his lifelong love affair with American popular song and the American musical theater.


Compare

In this warm and affectionate book, William Zinsser describes his lifelong love affair with American popular song and the American musical theater.

30 review for Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs for Broadway Shows and Hollywood Musicals

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Hunter

    Early in his career, Richard Rogers wrote music, after which Lorenz Hart penned the lyrics to fit them. Later when Rogers worked with Oscar Hammerstein ll, Rogers wrote music to fit Hammerstein's already created verses. This little tidbit I didn't know. This versatility of Richard Rogers and so many composers and lyricists, who collaborated to tell a story and tell it well musically, and capture the hearts of audiences the world over is what this book lauds. William Zinsser loved Broadway songs Early in his career, Richard Rogers wrote music, after which Lorenz Hart penned the lyrics to fit them. Later when Rogers worked with Oscar Hammerstein ll, Rogers wrote music to fit Hammerstein's already created verses. This little tidbit I didn't know. This versatility of Richard Rogers and so many composers and lyricists, who collaborated to tell a story and tell it well musically, and capture the hearts of audiences the world over is what this book lauds. William Zinsser loved Broadway songs and songs written for films by the great writers of the 20th Century. From Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin to Cole Porter, Kurt Weill and Johnny Mercer, from Lerner and Lowe to George and Ira Gershwin: The composers, the lyricists, their songs and the sheet music art are all celebrated here. For American music before rock and roll, this book is a treasure.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Don

    If I were on death row and had to choose my last meal, there's no doubt in my mind that I'd go for German food. I'm not sure what I'd order, but I can tell you this: it would not be Sauerbraten. That's not because I don't like it; in fact, it's my very favorite German dish. The problem is that, based on past experience, it's likely that what I would be given would not be authentic; it would simply be slightly modified pot roast. Now pot roast is great, but calling it Sauerbraten is like serving If I were on death row and had to choose my last meal, there's no doubt in my mind that I'd go for German food. I'm not sure what I'd order, but I can tell you this: it would not be Sauerbraten. That's not because I don't like it; in fact, it's my very favorite German dish. The problem is that, based on past experience, it's likely that what I would be given would not be authentic; it would simply be slightly modified pot roast. Now pot roast is great, but calling it Sauerbraten is like serving a Big Mac and calling it filet mignon! Both are tasty, but replacing one with the other leads to disappointment. That's exactly the experience I had with William Knowlton Zinnser's "Easy to remember: great American songwriters and their songs." As most of you are well aware, I have had a lifelong love affair with the Broadway musical and, by extension, with the music that comprises what we now call the "great American songbook." I'm often fascinated by how these songs came to be. For instance, Richard Rodgers tells this wonderful story: he and lyricist Lorenz Hart wer in a Paris taxi one night with two girls. All of a sudden, a car came out of a side street and barely missed hitting the taxi. One of the girls exclaimed" "Oh, my heart stood still!" Hart, ever the observant lyricist, responded, "Say, that would make a great title for a song." And the rest, as they say, is history. For years, I have longed for a book which brought together all of these terrific stories. Somehow, I got the impression that this was the idea behind "Easy to Remember." So I just couldn't wait to get lost in its pages. Very soon, however, it became abundantly clear that, while the book is a tribute to the great American songbook, it is not the compendium of stories I expected. Strange as it sounds, I was devastated; in fact, I almost deleted the book and moved on. I'm awfully glad I thought twice though because it is in many ways worth the read. The book is basically a series of essays about the great American songbook. It is arranged somewhat chronologically and is quite comprehensive. The early essays are, in my opinion, the weakest. They are basically very short biographies of the lyricists and composers who began their work in the 20's and 30's along with mentions of some of the well known tunes they wrote. We read about many of the greats: Coal Porter, Rodgers and Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, etc. The problem is that the essays read like very short encyclopedia entries. They are well written and informative, but I soon became bored with them. As the book progresses, however, its tone changes and things get markedly better. It's evident that Zinsser has a much more personal connection with the lyricists and composers whose work is discussed in the second half. These later essays are so filled with passion that they completely captured my heart. I felt like Zinsser and I shared a very special bond based on the impact these perennial songs have had on our lives. I found myself wanting to respond to statements, ask questions, argue points, etc. While I wish these essays were a bit longer, they certainly are thought provoking and worthy of consideration. It's hard to know whether to recommend this book or not. On the one hand, it is extremely well written and comprehensive. Those who have little knowledge of the subject will learn a great deal in its pages. Singers may find tidbits of information which might prove useful when introducing a song or making decisions about how to perform it. However, those who are very familiar with the genre might have a more mixed experience. While I don't regret the read, I must say that I found nothing here that I didn't already know. I guess it comes down to this: Zinsser's book is no Sauerbraten, but it's a slice of pot roast worthy of savoring for a while.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Archibald

    This book is basically a textbook with personality, which is what I was looking for. I've always loved music from the 20's through 40's, thanks to my parents and grandparents, but I wanted to put them in historical context. This book, written by an avid Broadway fan who remembers when these songs debuted, was a great crash course in the music written for Hollywood and the stage in this era. It was fun to hear the stories behind the songs and the composers. I wouldn't have enjoyed it if I hadn't This book is basically a textbook with personality, which is what I was looking for. I've always loved music from the 20's through 40's, thanks to my parents and grandparents, but I wanted to put them in historical context. This book, written by an avid Broadway fan who remembers when these songs debuted, was a great crash course in the music written for Hollywood and the stage in this era. It was fun to hear the stories behind the songs and the composers. I wouldn't have enjoyed it if I hadn't known so many of the songs -- I kind of skimmed the parts about songs and songwriters I didn't know.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This is a great book with an odd last 50 pages. It purports to explore the songwriters of the "Great American Songbook", which it does really well for the most part, giving a general overview on all the usual suspects (Porter, Berlin, Gershwin etc.) as well as a few lesser known composers, mixed in with some of the author's personal experiences. Many of these composers wrote for either Broadway or movie musicals, so musical theatre is discussed throught. It's when we start to head into the 60s t This is a great book with an odd last 50 pages. It purports to explore the songwriters of the "Great American Songbook", which it does really well for the most part, giving a general overview on all the usual suspects (Porter, Berlin, Gershwin etc.) as well as a few lesser known composers, mixed in with some of the author's personal experiences. Many of these composers wrote for either Broadway or movie musicals, so musical theatre is discussed throught. It's when we start to head into the 60s that I think this book gets weird. There's a chapter on Sondheim which seems to exist solely to say that while a great composer Sodheim doesn't write in the same tradition as the previosu composers discussed. I agree with that, but why is the chapter even in there? Then we have a chapter on Lerner and Loewe, which says roughly the same thing about their music. While they did wrote some great muscials I don't think any of their work can really be considered "Great American Songbook". I wouldn't consider anything they wrote to have become a standard. I Could Have Danced All Night probably comes the closest. The next chapter is on Kander and Ebb, who Zinsser does consider to be part of the tradition, which I guess I can agree with. New York, New York and Maybe This Time could be considered standards. However, these last three examples, in my mind, were composing for theatre in a much more book oriented, story driven way, which is incongruous with most of the writers of the "Great American Songbook". I'd even suggest Zinsser's earlier writing in this book agrees with this. He seems to include these writers on the basis that he likes their music, which I wouldn't take umbrage with if he owned up to those sentiments. Instead we get an insipid conclusion in which he rails against modern Broadway musicals. Yes the landscape of the American musical has changed drastically in the 20ish years since this book was published, but Zinsser comes across as nothing more than a grumpy old man set in his ways. It's a shame he couldn't have just ended the book earlier.

  5. 4 out of 5

    LeAnn Swieczkowski

    Published 2001 by Godine, Publisher, Inc. "Easy To Remember: the great American songwriters and their songs" contains the history of transitioning from America's Tin Pan Alley music, to the Great American Songbook era (1927-Show Boat thru 1960s-Rock). Born in 1922, Mr. Zinsser was an acclaimed writer and editor (NY Tribune) and a Yale University instructor. He's also a part-time jazz pianist. Mr. Zinsser is a terrific writer who shares his personal journey through the hay day of the popular song Published 2001 by Godine, Publisher, Inc. "Easy To Remember: the great American songwriters and their songs" contains the history of transitioning from America's Tin Pan Alley music, to the Great American Songbook era (1927-Show Boat thru 1960s-Rock). Born in 1922, Mr. Zinsser was an acclaimed writer and editor (NY Tribune) and a Yale University instructor. He's also a part-time jazz pianist. Mr. Zinsser is a terrific writer who shares his personal journey through the hay day of the popular song era. He describes the book as "...the story of my lifelong romance with American popular song..." It's worth your time to check out Mr. Zinsser's well written website and Facebook page. He is now 92 and still working. I'm as much taken by Mr. Zinsser as I am of his wonderful book and his love of "my" music. In the Feb 15, 2015, NY Times Book review, Michael Feinstein says of "The B Side" by Ben Yagoda, that, "Other writers have examined various areas and genres of popular music, but no one has ever traced their larger framework or connected their interactions in such detail." Although Mr. Zinsser does trace the larger framework of popular music, Mr. Yagoda's book does contain more history than Zinsser's. I'm happy to report that Mr. Zinsser includes chapters on not just the song writers and lyricists, but also on the Anatomy of these songs (the verse, the chorus and the lyric), the sheet music (with plenty of pictures of these gems) and the singers. He has plenty of lyric's in print in the book and as you read you can hear the music in your head. That's very satisfying. He also includes some excellent lists including songs by category (time, weather, meteorology, questions, places, destinations, real estate, finance and others). And two indexes, one of several hundred listed musicals and movies and another of song titles. I intend to use these indexes to check off my viewing of the movies and my study of these songs and their creators.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I read this solely for book club and can only recommend it for people who like show tunes. It’s less a book than an encyclopedia. It discusses Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc. I do not like musicals and showtunes so I am very biased against this and cannot objectively judge the book. The writing is fine but I can’t remember details about any of the topics of the book. As one commentator once said about something he didn’t like, “This is the type of thing that will appeal to those who li I read this solely for book club and can only recommend it for people who like show tunes. It’s less a book than an encyclopedia. It discusses Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc. I do not like musicals and showtunes so I am very biased against this and cannot objectively judge the book. The writing is fine but I can’t remember details about any of the topics of the book. As one commentator once said about something he didn’t like, “This is the type of thing that will appeal to those who like this type of thing.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynne

    "It is a de-lovely biographical companion to the Great American Songbook." If you like the songs of the 30's and 40's, then this is a must have book. Lots of great pictures and sheet music covers. "It is a de-lovely biographical companion to the Great American Songbook." If you like the songs of the 30's and 40's, then this is a must have book. Lots of great pictures and sheet music covers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    Profiles of lyricists and composers from the golden age of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. Less personal and less quirky than Wilfrid Sheed's similar book, "The House That George Built." Profiles of lyricists and composers from the golden age of Broadway, Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley. Less personal and less quirky than Wilfrid Sheed's similar book, "The House That George Built."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A catchy look at the creation of the great American song book and the mostly Jewish songwriters who created it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura Pursell Byrnes

    As a singer who sings many of these songs, I'm finding this book extremely informative...it puts the songs into context. As a singer who sings many of these songs, I'm finding this book extremely informative...it puts the songs into context.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    For the first time in my life, I feel like listening to show tunes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judith

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rolf

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ellen C. Peters

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Miller

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  17. 4 out of 5

    David

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne Russell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary Hartzell

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Lynn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark Spano

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Macias

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Gillies

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric To

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kugel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.