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  • mistermuse 1:01 am on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Harry Woods, , , , , piano roll, , , song lyrics,   



    In my last post (NOTES FROM THE ALLEY), I touched on TIN PAN ALLEY’s origins and location, but failed to mention where the name came from. For that, I quote from another book, FROM SAGINAW VALLEY TO TIN PAN ALLEY by R. Grant Smith:

    On a summer day in New York City, just before 1900, songwriter and journalist Monroe Rosenfeld walked down West 28th Street, on the way to his publisher, to demonstrate a new song he had written. As he passed the rows of music publishing houses, clustered together and piled on top of each other, he heard the sounds of hundreds of pianos, playing hundreds of pieces of music, pouring out of the open windows. The tumultuous noise reminded him of tin pans clanging together.
    Later that day, when Rosenfeld returned to his typewriter at the New York Herald, he wrote an article about what he had just experienced, referring to the area he had visited as “Tin Pan Alley.” This name would remain synonymous with the popular music publishing industry in America for the next sixty years.

    Think of THE GOLDEN AGE OF POPULAR MUSIC (which includes the storied Roaring Twenties) as TIN PAN ALLEY writ large, a coast-to-coast cacophony of sounds impossible to paint a complete picture of in these few sketches — but my hope is to convey at least a feel for the era….principally with clips of songs written and performed by composers and artists like those featured in the previous post. Picking up where we left off in 1921, I’ll resist the urge to test your forbearance with a 1922 triumph of treacle titled GRANNY, YOU’RE MY MAMMY’S MAMMY (I kid you not), and go instead with 1922 and 1923 hits about guys named Harry and Barney:

    Skipping past such 1924/25 doozies as DOODLE DOO DOO and DOO WACKA DOO, we come to 1926, a banner year for songs that became all-time standards, including one that a very young Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers blew out of the water — “The name of this song is DINAH”:

    Now we’re on a roll — here’s another 1926 standard, played by it’s Hart-less composer:

    But what’s a Richard Rodgers composition minus Lorenz Hart lyrics? It’s like romance expressed without a word, as proposed in another of their 1926 songs (1:40 into this clip):

    Hart died (tragically young) in the month of November, but many great Golden Age songwriters were born in this month, including Harry Woods, who began writing hits (like “I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover”) in the early 1920s….however, I’m going to jump ahead here with one of his lesser known songs from the 1930s — repeat, the 1930s:


    • arekhill1 7:41 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m a punk rock fan myself, Sr. Muse. But history needs to be tended by historians like yourself.


    • mistermuse 10:51 pm on November 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps six music clips in one post was too much of a good thing, even for those who are open to the oldies, Ricardo….so how about some history-making political news: Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, has just elected a new mayor — a two-year old pit bull named Brynn — to succeed Lucy Lou, the border collie whose bid for President went up in smoke months ago. It’s been a bad year for females running for the White House.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 5:19 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You mean we were watching Alfalfa in the 60’s and he was already over 30 years old?? 😉 That was certainly a blast from the past. ..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:03 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, I remember watching the Keystone Kops on TV in the 60’s when they were already 50 years old, so if Alfalfa was a blast from the past, the madcap Kops were an indignity from antiquity! 🙂


    • Don Frankel 9:24 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff Muse. Roger’s first song or one of his first. And of course Alfalfa. I remember that scene from when I was a kid.


    • mistermuse 11:48 am on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. I own a biography of Rodgers (titled SOMEWHERE FOR ME) which shows that his first published songs go back as far as 1919, however BLUE ROOM was certainly one of his first HIT songs (after MANHATTAN, written in 1925).


    • Cynthia Jobin 8:54 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t beat Bing, in my book….

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:01 pm on November 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I much prefer the voice of the young Bing to the 1940s-and-later Bing. His early recordings are classics, and I own most, if not all, of them.


    • D. Wallace Peach 10:46 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Lots of music! Most from before my time but I remember them! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:12 pm on November 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Diana. In a certain sense, if you remember them, they’re not before your time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , song lyrics, , , , ,   


    In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. –Tennyson

    As I write this on the eve (March 19) of posting it on the first day of spring, it might as well be spring because, as a once-upon-a-time young man, I’ve been turning to thoughts of love since I discovered it many springs ago….then I discovered that I hadn’t discovered it, but by then, it was too late to undiscover it. Or something along those lines. Love can be so confusing.

    Anyway, like spring itself this year in Ohio, I’m getting a head start. I need time to gather spring songs for this post, an idea which arose out of my time songs post on March 10. But there seem to be even more love(ly) songs with “spring” in the title than with “time” in the title– so many, in fact, that it’s going to be hard to limit my spring song list to fewer than I’d love to share. But at least the title of this post suggests where to start:

    For song #2, how about two for the price of one — both “spring” and “time” in one title:

    Next, a long-forgotten spring song that’s a particular favorite of mine because its lyrics (by George Marion Jr.) are a marriage of exquisite simplicity and sophistication:

    Wouldn’t you know it? Suddenly, the weather is turning colder. Now it looks like….

    Well, it could be worse. If you live in the southern hemisphere, spring will not arrive for six more months. Fancy that! Fie on thoughts of love so late 😦 — why should those ‘down under’ wait?

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    Then be not coy, but use your time.
    And while ye may, go marry;
    For having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry.

    –Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

    Carpe diem.

    • linnetmoss 6:37 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great post! I love Mandy Patinkin’s body language when he’s singing. And what an amazing tenor voice. Your title made me think of the Rodgers and Hart song “Spring is Here,” with very sad, very “Lorenz” lyrics…

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 6:57 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You should have been here, mister muse.

      This morning (early) on CBC, Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” was played. . .I thought of you right away! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 9:22 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Of course Muse, no rendition of Spring songs would be complete without…

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:05 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, you old romantic: just as I suspected, you’re a rank sentimentalist (as Claude Rains said to Humphrey Bogart in CASABLANCA). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 3:19 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Springtime For Hitler occurred to me immediately, but not immediately enough, apparently, to avoid being beaten out posting it here. ‘Twas Sir Don that seized the carp.


    • mistermuse 4:36 pm on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Never let it be said that I don’t give credit where credit is due, so you are a rank sentimentalist, as well, Ricardo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 6:48 pm on March 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Welcome Spring!!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:35 pm on March 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Spring has sprung
      The grass has riz
      I wonder where my gas can
      For the lawn mower is.


    • Mél@nie 6:20 am on March 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Herrick’s poem has reminded me of his French contemporary “pal” Pierre de Ronsard:”Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie.” – ”Pick up the roses of life this very day.“ – in other words: memento mori, carpe diem & gaudeamus igitur! = remember you’ll die, live now(this very day) and therefore, let’s enjoy it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:20 am on March 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Enjoy it, indeed (while not forgetting the many to whom fate has given thorns without roses).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 3:39 am on March 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        you’re right, Sir… wish you: health, courage, serenity and hope… respectful regards, MNB

        Liked by 1 person

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