The Great American Songbook isn’t really a book at all. It’s actually the name given to certain songs written in the first part of the 20th Century. That’s a loose interpretation, but as you learn more about the Songbook, you’ll have a better idea of which songs we’re talking about and who wrote them and who sings and plays them.
There are a lot of reasons to love the Songbook. Many people who love these songs were introduced to them through a favorite singer, or musician. Others love them because they are Broadway theater fans or enjoy the old movie musicals. Regardless of how one comes to know the songs, the heart of these songs comes from their writers. If you spend any amount of time listening to the songs and then digging about to find out who wrote them, certain names come up over and over: George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, Comden & Green, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael…the list goes on. But it doesn’t go on for too long because this is an exclusive club. These writers managed to create music that would go on to live decades after they were gone. Not everyone can do that.
If you like what you hear and see on this site, I invite you to join me on Thursday Night Jazz on Aspen Public Radio. My sessions are filled with music from The Great American Songbook in a decidedly jazz way.
Thanks for stopping by!
(Photo Credits: Hal Leonard Corporation, Museum of the City of New York, World Telegram & Sun Collection)