Singers and the Song
by Gene Lees (Author)
Led by Frank Sinatra, the generation that emerged during and after World War II raised the performance of the popular song to the level of art form. This book examines some of the most gifted of these singers--people like Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Peggy Lee, Jo Stafford, Sarah Vaughan, and Andy Russell.
_____Far from being the simple intuitive performers the public thought it knew, these people emerge as intelligent, skillful, and fully conscious artists dedicated to their work. Lees's insights and anaylsis reveal Sinatra in particular as we've never seen him before. Calling him "our poet laureate, the best singer we've ever heard," Lees points out Sinatra's technical virtuosity--his extraordinary breath control and ability to link one phrase to another, his exquisite enunciation (especially the way he can brilliantly sustain consonants like m, n, l, and r), his uncanny ability to sing into a microphone so that it seemed as natural as speech. As Julius LaRosa said, "He was able to turn a 32-bar song into a 3-act play."
_____But the book is not just about singers. It is also about composers, including the great film composer Hugo Friedhodfer, and the supremely talented lyricist Johnny Mercer. It is about language: a fascinating chapter compares English with French, revealing the implications for lyricists (for example, only four words rhyme with "love" in English while 51 rhyme with "amour" in French!). It is about the social history of twentieth century America, seen through the mirror of popular music. And it's about war--a theme that runs through the book, from the Viking conquest of northwestern France through World War II to the present. Humanity's creative impulse--the yearning to raise our voices in song--is contrasted to mankind's increasing destructivenss.
_____ The book's themes are linked at the end in the story of the making of one extraordinary album created by an international group of figures, with Lees himself as lyricist translating and adapting poems of Pope John Paul II, and Sarah Vaughan as the featured singer.
Singers & The Song by Gene Lees
- Publisher : Oxford University Press (October 22, 1987)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 019504293X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0195042931
- Item Weight : 1.05 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.88 x 0.95 x 8.56 inches