Along with Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby, Russ Columbo was the model crooner of the late 1920s, with a smoothly sentimental ballad style. His mellifluous but melancholy voice spoke to many Americans still drifting in the malaise after World War I and at the beginning of the depression. But unlike most crooners, Columbo not only wrote and sang songs about lovestruck dreamers but also lived out such stories, unable or unwilling to separate art from life. Based on material from the singers personal effects, including original music transcripts, photographs, diaries, and love letters, the biography also includes concise histories of the most important crooners and the controversies their theatrics often elicited.
Crosby, Vallee, Columbo. They are their own trinity. Bing is the universal dad. Rudy the misbehaving son. "That leaves Russ. The holy ghost."
New York, 1931: The curtain falls on the Ziegfeld Follies, a victim of the rising popularity of talking pictures; Rudy Vallee, radio's wildly popular " Vagabond Lover, " worries that increasingly sophisticated microphones and Hollywood-minted heartthrobs will make his megaphone-amplified vocals passe; a pugnacious, hard-drinking baritone named Bing Crosby cleans up his act, preparing to take America by storm on CBS radio; and handsome twenty-three-year-old Russ Columbo, a former violinist dating a Ziegfeld girl, makes his debut on NBC radio.
In an America poised to take its dominant place on the world stage, the Crooner points the way forward. With his heated core of sex appeal wrapped in well-tailored layers of cool distance and cigarette smoke, the Crooner brings something new to the country's self-image: this is no Yankee-Doodle Dandy, but a suave and seductive figure, sophisticated as any European, flush with youthful strength and energy. It's all there in his voice, his croon: a soft, intimate, sensual form of singing that combines jazz sensibilities with the smooth and danceable rhythms of the Big Band sound and Swing.
But who would embody the new archetype? Vallee crooned too soon. That left Crosby and Columbo to duel it out over the airwaves. Hailed as " The Romeo of Radio" and " The Valentino of Song, " romantically linked to actresses Pola Negri and Carole Lombard, Columbo is all but forgotten today, his limitless promise cut short in a tragic and controversialaccident as he stood on the verge of winning the stardom that Crosby, his great rival, would soon achieve.
In this impressionistic tour-de-force- a musical history combining the drama of a bestselling novel and a soundtrack from the Golden Age of Broadway and Hollywood- master musician and critic Lenny Kaye trains a spotlight on Columbo while crooning a love song to an earlier America- a pitch-perfect evocation of one of the most romantic, creatively exuberant periods of our past- an era whose influence still burns brightly in the music and popular culture of today.
On the heels of the popular motion picture based on Cole Porter's life called De-Lovely Noel and Cole presents a fresh and often surprising portrait of these two geniuses. The author provides insight into both men's private lives - including a frank discussion of their homosexuality - while illuminating their musical achievements. Born an ocean apart - one in Indiana, the other in England - Cole Porter and Noel Coward have come to represent the ultimate in sophistication and urbanity. Noel and Cole will be an essential reference as well as a fascinating dual biography of two men who brought style and dazzle to the art of popular entertainment. Based on access to previously unpublished manuscripts, lyrics, scores, and letters, plus dozens of interviews. Includes a chronology and a section devoted to the analysis of select works.
From 1958 to 1963, Neil Sedaka sold 25 million records--more than anyone except Elvis Presley. He thought he could do no wrong, but a year later he was all but off the charts, swept away by The Beatles and the British Invasion--a blow he never saw coming. The deejays stopped playing his records, and the public stopped buying them. For 12 agonizing years, Sedaka battled to get back on the charts--back to respectability. He tried everything: working with hip, young songwriters, playing on demo sessions, and even enduring the rough and tumble of working men's clubs in remote corners in the UK. Then, one magical night, he performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. His new songs, including 'Solitaire, ' were greeted with thunderous applause. Shortly thereafter, Elton John offered to sign Neil to his new label, Rocket Records. "Great songwriters always re-establish themselves," Elton writes in the foreword to this book. And that was it. In October 1974, 'Laughter In The Rain' showed up at number 95 on Billboard--Sedaka's first appearance on the charts in over a decade. Sixteen weeks later it reached number one. This vivid and authoritative book, written with full access to Sedaka and those closest to him, tells the absorbing story of how he overcame one obstacle after another to become the ultimate rock 'n' roll survivor
From "Strike Up the Band" to "Love Is Here to Stay," each of the twelve chapters highlights one of the Gershwins' classic songs, exploring the brothers' lives, illuminating what the music meant to them, and telling the stories of how their iconic tunes came to life. Throughout the star-studded narrative, Feinstein unfolds the moving chronicle of his own life with the Gershwins, describing his vision for their enduring presence today. No other writer could give us such an authoritative inside perspective on these titans of American culture--and no other writer could include such a soulful collection of music as the accompanying CD packed with Feinstein's original recordings of the twelve songs.
A timeless classic and the definitive account of the Gershwins and their legacy, The Gershwins and Me will having you humming with every turn of the page.
Sinatra's conductor reveals what it's like to work for legendary singers Frankly - Just Between Us, is an entertaining and insightful behind-the-scenes look at the world of playing piano and conducting for Frank Sinatra and other contemporary music legends. This book chronicles the illustrious career of Vincent Falcone from his days at Syracuse University and tuning pianos and performing casual dates in Las Vegas, to playing piano and conducting for music icon Sinatra during the apex of his career. Falcone also played for such music greats as Andy Williams, Jack Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, the McGuire Sisters, Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, Paul Anka, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, and many others. Frankly contains many great stories about playing and conducting for some larger-than-life music personalities of the '70s, '80s and today, and the highs and lows of playing for this caliber of entertainment.
small tear to dust jacket; otherwise like new