Say It with a Beautiful Song: The Art and Craft of the Great American Songbook

Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2024. 230p. ISBN 9781538192887. $38. MUSIC
Lasser (City Songs and American Life, 1900– 1950) and Greenblatt (editor, Understanding the Music Business) easily break down the history and talent displayed in the Great American Songbook. From well-known songs to hidden gems, they break down what made the songwriters of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and more so timeless. This is a well-rounded account of popular music from the late 1800s to the 1950s, and it doesn’t get too bogged down with a lot of biographical information on the songwriters. Lasser and Greenblatt know when to home in on specifics or pull back to look at the big picture, which is much appreciated in a book covering such a large timeline. Excellent photographs of songwriters, performers, and historic landmarks help immerse readers into the period and bring the stories to life.
VERDICT A valuable addition for collections or courses on popular culture or music history. Fans of old musicals, movies, and music will appreciate learning more about the names and tunes they love.
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