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After the Hit Parade Had Gone
Charlotte Savary General Elektriks Remix. General Elektriks. Walk the Line feat. The Others Mr Gib Remix. Mr Gib. Yagoda the chance to take a revisionist angle on the s music era—as a sort of crossroads of American pop music, when the old guard gave way to a new and vital yet debased sensibility. Finally, in a too-brief, codalike finale, he describes the emergence of a new breed of songwriters who carried the songbook tradition forward, if in diminished form.
Yagoda makes clear, it was a mostly male, mostly Jewish, bastion of innovators like Jerome Kern: classically trained but with an ear for the folk-tinged sounds of the street. These sounds included the blast of blues and jazz from nightclubs as well as the half-remembered echoes of songs brought by their parents from the old country. These minor-key melodies are unmistakably eastern Mediterranean. Out of thousands, a few hundred fitted the criteria defined by Mr. For decades, the standards thrived in Broadway shows, on the radio and in the movies—and on records. It was in the record industry that the trouble began.
In the late s, as Mr. By then, Mitch Miller, first at Mercury and then as artist-and-repertoire director at Columbia, had discovered the popularity of gimmicky novelty songs. He treated a composition as just another ingredient in a studio concoction, where sound effects were as important as lyrics. In the new scheme of things, they were too expensive.
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Not only that, they were old-hat and slightly pathetic, peddling their songs as if nothing had changed—as if Benny Goodman was still the King of Swing. In , Schwartz tried to pitch a song to Miller, who turned him down but suggested a few tweaks to the tune. It was the final insult.
Overnight, seemingly, the rules had changed.
B-Sides & Remixes
The suit claimed that their works were being systematically stifled, and it dragged on for years. In both instances I got not one single recording. Despite these setbacks, songwriters coming of age in the mids managed to get some quality songs recorded. They are at the heart of Mr. A key figure in this group is the lyricist Carolyn Leigh, who was 27 when she had her first hit.
Even with her early success, Leigh struggled against a nemesis nicknamed the Big Beat, which soon dominated the music industry. Behind the scenes and far from the charts, Mr. Yagoda shows, a quiet revival was happening in the same sort of jazz-scene milieu that had helped make the music undergirding the songbook so special in the first place.
The revival continues to this day. In Mr.
Related B-Sides and Remixes: A Novel
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