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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Abie, Abie, Abie, My Boy - The Song is Jew

Talking to Dave Brownlow recently we got to remarking on just how many of the better known lyricists and tunesmiths were of Jewish origin. Dave drew up the following list for starters:
Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Burt Bacharach, Lionel Bart, Jerome Kern, Alan & Marilyn Bergman , Burton Lane, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Leiber, Jerry Bock, Alan Jay Lerner, Sammy Cahn, Frank Loesser, Cy Coleman, Frederick Loewe, Hal David, Johnny Mandel, Howard Dietz, Anthony Newley, Sammy Fain, Randy Newman, Dorothy Fields, Richard Rogers, George & Ira Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg, Norman Gimbel, Arthur Schwartz, Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Johnny Green, Jule Styne, Marvin Hamlish, Kurt Weill, Oscar Hammerstein, Victor Young, Yip Harburg, Andre Previn, Lorenz Hart, Lalo Schifrin... These, says Dave, are only some of the better known names, there are many more.
Strangely, despite their ethnic background not many of the songs show traces of the composer's ancestry.
Needless to say, as well as providing material for films, shows and singers of all genré they also form the backbone of the jazz repertoire for which we should be eternally grateful.
Lance/Dave

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside, there is a great guitarist Steve Kahn who worked with The Breckers, etc. A really great 'modern' player up there with the Scofields etc. Well he is Sammy Cahn's son - he changed the spelling for some reason. Maybe he wanted to be judged only his own merits. And apparently Sammy himself changed it from Cohen.
Roly

Anonymous said...

That's an impressive list,and for all of my adult life having followed them I have marvelled at this host of Jewish talent. You are right Lance to remind us of the gratitude we should always hold.I seem to remember that it was Yip who we first discussed in those early days of our friendship.

Anonymous said...

Yup! That was Yip back in the days of Russell Davies on a Sunday afternoon.
"What Is There to Say" is one of my favourites. "If I Only Had A Brain" - he lyricised thousands many with Harold Arlen which is about as good a team as you can get. Much better than Lloyd & Webber.
My favourite title of his is a song I've never actually heard but just love the name of the tune -"I'm Glad I Did The Things I'm Sorry For."

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