Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters And Their Songs

Today we are fea­tur­ing music from the “Great Amer­i­can Song­book” — with music by writ­ers includ­ing Gersh­win, Arlen, Berlin, Kern, Carmichael, Porter and many more, in a pro­gramme inspired by William Zinsser’s book on the music of the mid-20th Cen­tu­ry, Easy To Remem­ber.

In real­i­ty, there is no real defin­i­tive “Great Amer­i­can Song­book”: it’s a broad term giv­en to what many com­men­ta­tors regard as the most sig­nif­i­cant songs of the ear­ly to mid-20th Cen­tu­ry. Many of the songs start­ed life as Broad­way show tunes or, less com­mon­ly, were writ­ten for film sound­tracks, by a range of pro­fes­sion­al com­posers such as Irv­ing Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and George Gersh­win, who were often part of long-run­ning song­writ­ing part­ner­ships. Lat­er on the songs were often picked up by lead­ing jazz musi­cians, and today many are jazz standards.

Today’s pro­gramme includes many well-known songs from the era, but also a num­ber that are more sel­dom heard, by com­posers who per­haps con­tributed only a song or two to the music of the period.

And don’t for­get to tune in at 12 noon or 4pm Pacific/SLT, 8pm or mid­night in the UK, for an ALL-NEW episode of our pop­u­lar Sec­ond Life trav­el­ogue, “Where Have You Been?” — where Cale­do­nia Sky­tow­er and Elrik Mer­lin look at places to go and things to do around the Sec­ond Life grid. This time, we vis­it The The­atre On The Hill.

Please note that some orig­i­nal peri­od record­ings may con­tain neg­a­tive stereo­types or lan­guage now regard­ed as offen­sive. Such mate­ri­als should be seen in the con­text of the time peri­od and as a reflec­tion of atti­tudes of the time. The record­ings are part of the his­tor­i­cal record, and do not rep­re­sent the views of Vir­tu­al Com­mu­ni­ty Radio.