Accentuate the Positive
Bing Crosby sings “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (music by Harold Arlen and lyric by Johnny Mercer, 1944) in an Army-Navy Screen Magazine “Sing with the Stars” film, accompanied by the Coast Guard Band. The song was first recorded by Mercer, then many other stars, including Bing Crosby, who made it a signature song and sang it in the wartime film, Here Come the Waves (1944.)
Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Michael performs Irving Berlin’s 1911 “Alexander's Ragtime Band,” Berlin’s first big hit.
All The Things You Are
Tony Martin sings “All the Things You Are” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1939) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The song “All the Things You Are” was composed for the musical Very Warm for May and was later interpolated into the films Broadway Rhythm (1944) and A Letter for Evie (1945). It was also used in the 2005 film Mrs. Henderson Presents starring Judi Dench.
The song is a favorite of singers and jazz musicians, and is known as one of the most difficult to fake. For one thing, in a twist on the usual 32-bar AABA song-form, the second “A” section modulates down a fourth, and the third “A” section adds four extra bars.
The song’s unusual chord changes were used by Charlie Parker for his jazz tune “Bird of Paradise”; Parker was quoted as saying the song had his favorite lyrics.
Any Bonds Today?
Liz Tilton and the Four Sportsmen perform “Any Bonds Today” (music and lyric by Irving Berlin, 1941) in World War II propaganda Soundie. A Soundie was a short musical film that played in a kind of motion picture jukebox, found in bars and restaurants.
“Any Bonds Today?” was based on Berlin’s “Any Yams Today”, which was sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1938 film Carefree, which itself had been recycled from Berlin’s “Any Love Today”, written in 1931. Berlin rewrote his lyric at the urging of the government, to encourage people to buy War Bonds. It was most famously performed by Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Porgy Pig in an animated short, which included a Bugs Bunny’s now infamous blackface parody of Al Jolson.
Anything Goes (Feinstein)
Art of the Arrangement
When Michael Feinstein and conductor/arranger/producer Bill Elliott decided to make a new recording of songs associated with Frank Sinatra, the last thing they wanted to do was a “tribute” album attempting to imitate Sinatra’s inimitable sound. “I wanted to try and recreate a certain kind of swing style,” Feinstein explains, “that would reflect him, but not copy him.”
As arranger, Bill Elliott’s job was to “channel Nelson Riddle” and imagine how he might have done the job 60 years ago, working with pencil and paper and a studio orchestra of top flight musicians who had all come up in the big band era. Fortunately, Elliott is an historian as well as an orchestrator, and knows exactly how bands were configured in the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, and how to accurately reproduce the sound of any era, from a Jazz Age dance band, with its emphasis on reeds and strings, to the brass-laden array Nelson Riddle and Billy May commanded at Capitol Records.
Begin the Beguine
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra perform “Begin the Beguine” (music and lyric by Cole Porter,1935) in a short musical film, with Buddy Rich on drums.
The song “Begin the Beguine” was written for the 1935 musical Jubilee but wasn’t recorded at the time. When Artie Shaw re-arranged it as a swing number four years later it became a huge hit, but remained largely known as an instrumental. Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell danced to it in the film Broadway Melody of 1940, and it was subsequently recorded by many famous singers, including Frank Sinatra and Tony Martin. The song is unusual in its structure; unlike most popular 32-bar popular standards which follow an AABA pattern, “Begin the Beguine” stretches for 108 bars and there are no repeated phrases.
Blame It on My Youth
Michael Feinstein performs “Blame It On My Youth” (music by Oscar Levant, lyric by Edward Heyman, 1934).
Can’t Help Loving That Man
Lena Horne sings “Can’t Help Loving That Man” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1927) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time, including an extended staged sequence from the ground-breaking 1927 musical Show Boat.
“Can’t Help Loving That Man” is first sung in the show by the character Julie, the mulatto leading lady of the showboat Cotton Blossom, and provides a key plot point because it foreshadows that Julie is “passing” as white. She and her white husband will soon be thrown off the showboat for miscegenation, the beginning of Julie’s tragic downward spiral.
“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” was a signature number of torch singer Helen Morgan, who played Julie in the original 1927 stage production of Show Boat, as well as the 1932 revival and the 1936 film version. (Helen Morgan died young, in 1941, much like the tragic figures she portrayed.) Lena Horne’s performance in Till the Clouds Roll By should have nailed the role for her when MGM remade Show Boat in 1951. However, uneasiness by studio executives about casting an actual light-skinned African-American in the role of a light-skinned mulatto caused them to hand the part to Ava Gardner, whose singing had to be dubbed.
Come Fly with Me
Michael Feinstein performs “Come Fly with Me” (music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyric by Sammy Cahn, 1957).
Don’t Fence Me In
Bing Crosby sings “Don’t Fence Me In” (Cole Porter, 1934) in an Army-Navy Screen Magazine “Sing with the Stars” film, accompanied by the Coast Guard Band.
Porter originally wrote the song for an unproduced movie called Adios, Argentina, never produced, for which 20th Century Fox requested a cowboy song. Porter bought a poem from a Montana civil engineer named Robert Fletcher, and reworked it. Porter was the only one credited in the original published sheet music.
It wasn’t until 1944, when Warner Brothers gave the song to Roy Rogers to sing in the movie Hollywood Canteen that it became a hit. In addition to Rogers, who made it a theme song, “Don‘t Fence Me In” was also recorded by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters in 1944, selling more than a million copies and topping the charts for two months. It’s been said that Crosby had never heard or seen the song before he went into the recording studio.
After it became a hit, Robert Fletcher sued Porter’s publisher to be given co-author credit, and won. Porter maintained it was his least favorite of his own compositions.
Drop Me Off in Harlem
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks perform “Drop Me Off in Harlem” (music by Duke Ellington, lyric by Nick Kenny, 1933) at their regular Monday night gig at Sofia’s Club Cache, in the basement of the Edison Hotel in New York City. Their shows regularly attract a group of excellent swing dancers.
Episode 1 (clip)
Putting On the Tail Fins (1950s–1960s)
Episode 1 focuses on the 1950s and ‘60s when the Great American Songbook was in competition with new forms like rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues.
As Michael criss-crosses the country performing with big bands, symphony orchestras, and jazz combos, we learn how iconic singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Rosemary Clooney kept the Songbook alive by reinventing pop standards from the 1930s and ‘40s.
Episode 2 (clip)
Best Band in the Land (1940s)
Episode 2 examines how popular songs provided emotional solace and patriotic inspiration during World War II.
While preparing an original patriotic song of his own, to be performed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Michael weaves in the history of 1940s big bands, USO shows and V-disks, and war bond rallies, and the powerful role popular music played in boosting morale.
Episode 3 (clip)
A New Step Every Day (1920s–early 1930s)
Episode 3 explores the fast and furious 1920s and ‘30s when jazz was hot, credit was loose, and illegal booze flowed freely in underground speakeasies.
Between performances, Michael explores the impact of talking pictures, the dawn of radio, and the fledgling recording industry and introduces us to collectors and musicians who keep the spirit of the Jazz Age alive today.
Exactly Like You
From J. Fred MacDonald’s collection, a clip from The Frankie Laine Show, a syndicated film program released 1954–1955. The co-star of Laine’s program was Connie Haines, who sang solos and duets with the boss. Here Frankie swings with “Exactly Like You” (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields, 1930).
Pianist and Historian Peter Mintun performs this song by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Gus Kahn, on his Welte Mignon player piano. “Harlem Serenade” was introduced by Ruby Keeler in the 1929 show Ziegfeld Show Girl (whose score included “Liza” and “Do What You Do”).
Heart of My Heart
Snooky Lanson and company sing “Heart of My Heart” (music and lyric by Ben Ryan, 1926) on the TV program Your Hit Parade in 1953. Your Hit Parade was a radio, then television program sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes in which a regular cast of singers would perform the top billboard hits of the week. One of the challenges, when certain songs inexplicably stayed on top for week after week, was to come up with novel interpretations of a song that audiences had heard endlessly before. This Caveman version, which predated the Flintstones, is an example of how far the show’s cast and creators were willing to go to give an old song a new twist.
“Heart of My Hearts” was a really old song, mostly sung by barbershop quartets, when it was rediscovered and recorded by The Four Aces on Decca Records in 1953 and went to #7 on Billboard. A subsequent version recorded that same year by Don Cornell, Alan Dale, and Johnny Desmond also hit the charts; hence, its repeated appearance on Your Hit Parade.
From J. Fred MacDonald’s collection, a 1941 Soundie starring Thomas “Fats” Waller and a bevy of beauties performing “Honeysuckle Rose” (music by Waller, lyric by Andy Razaf, 1928). Soundies were an earlier version of what we now call music videos. They were played on a kind of motion picture juke box found in bars and restaurants, and were generally made on low budgets in a single day, with the performers lip synching to a previously recorded track (which explains why the sync often looks off—because it is!).
How’d You Like to Spoon
Angela Lansbury and chorus perform “How’d You Like to Spoon With Me” by Jerome Kern, 1905, in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By, 1946. The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The song “How’d You Like to Spoon With Me?” was one of Kern’s very early efforts. He was working in London at the time and was hired by a theater impresario to write tunes that could be interpolated into Broadway versions of London shows. This song was used in The Earl and the Girl when the show transferred to Chicago and New York in 1905.
A clip from Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook: Season 2, Time Machines. Michael Feinstein visits with American Songbook collector Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.
I Won’t Dance
Lucille Bremer and Van Johnson perform “I Won’t Dance” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, 1935) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The song “I Won’t Dance” was originally composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach, for the 1934 musical Three Sisters, which was a flop. The song was recycled for the 1935 movie musical Roberta, but with different words. Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh completely revamped the lyric, keeping only the title, which Hammerstein had originated. The Fields and McHugh lyric made the song a standard that has been recorded by nearly every major popular singer of the 20th century.
I’ll Be Seeing You
From J. Fred MacDonald’s collection, a clip from Liberace (sometimes called The Liberace Show) a syndicated series from Guild Films (defunct by the late 1950s). It ran for 113 half-hour episodes between 1953-55 and was syndicated into the 1960s. Fred has about 75 of the films. George Liberace, Lee’s brother, was the lead violist and head of the musical accompaniment for Lee.
I’ll Get By (Whiteman)
Bandleader Paul Whiteman accompanies singer Ilene Woods in “I’ll Get By” (music by Fred E. Ahlert, lyrics by Roy Turk, 1928) in a 1944 “Sing with the Stars” film for servicemen in World War II. Ilene Woods, who died in 2010 at age 81, was most famous as the singing voice of the animated 1950 Disney film Cinderella. She began singing and acting at the age of 2and by age 14, she had her own radio program on ABC radio entitled The Ilene Woods Show.
I’m an Errand Boy
1947 short starring Nat King Cole performing his song “I’m an Errand Boy for Rhythm.”
It Don’t Mean a Thing
Duke Ellington and his orchestra perform “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” (music by Duke Ellington, lyric by Irving Mills, 1931) from a 1943 short musical film. Ellington’s longtime multi-talented band member Ray Nance does the violin solo and first vocal solo.
Just One of Those Things
Michael performs Cole Porter’s 1935 “Just One of Those Things” from the musical Jubilee.
Just One of Those Things
From J. Fred MacDonald’s collection, a clip from The Billy Daniels Show, the first network sponsored show with an African-American lead. (Hazel Scott and Bob Howard had short-lived unsponsored musical programs circa 1950). MacDonald says “No one else in the world has that show! (It's in my BLACKS AND WHITE TV book online)”. In this premiere episode, Daniels sings “Just One of Those Things” (Cole Porter, 1935).
Lady Is a Tramp
Michael performs Rodger’s & Hart’s “Lady Is a Tramp” from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms.
Look for the Silver Lining
Judy Garland sings “Look for the Silver Lining” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Buddy DaSylva, 1920) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
“Look for the Silver Lining” is from the 1920 hit musical Sally, with a book by Guy Bolton and staged by Florenz Ziegfeld, starring Marilyn Miller (Garland portrayed Marilyn Miller in Till the Clouds Roll By).
In the 1970s, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union approached the Jerome Kern Estate to ask permission to license that song to use as their theme song, with a few modifications. The estate refused, saying they wouldn’t let Kern’s music be used for that kind of commerce. So, the ILGWU went out and hired a composer to write a sound alike song that had just enough different notes that they wouldn’t be sued, thus giving us the unforgettable “Look for the Union Label.”
Lost and Found
A clip from Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook: Season 2, Lost and Found. Michael Feinstein visits with collector Ron Lawson.
“Lost and Found” reveals Michael’s discovery of an undocumented, unknown song by one of the giants of American popular music, and follows his quest to verify its authenticity.
Along the way, he persuades another musical legend, Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, to teach him an unpublished, unrecorded song from his songwriting “trunk” that’s never been prior to this broadcast.
Between live performances in Dallas, Palm Desert, CA, and Clinton, CT, Michael’s journey takes him to New York, Los Angeles, and Madison, WI. Guest appearance by Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole.
Lover - Liberace
From J. Fred MacDonald’s collection, a clip from Liberace (sometimes called The Liberace Show) a syndicated series from Guild Films (defunct by the late 1950s). It ran for 113 half-hour episodes between 1953-55 and was syndicated into the 1960s. Fred has about 75 of the films. Here Liberace performs the Rodgers and Hart standard “Lover” (1932) as an instrumental accompanied by a variety of mysteriously appearing sidemen.
Tony Martin sings “I Drift Along with My Fancy” and, with Kathryn Grayson, “Make Believe” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1927) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The songs were part of an elaborate sequence of musical numbers from Kern and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking musical Show Boat, with Martin playing the leading man Gaylord Ravenal, and Grayson playing the leading lady Magnolia. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Kathryn Grayson ended up playing Magnolia when MGM remade Showboat in 1951, but with Howard Keel in the Ravenal role.
Michael Feinstein performs “My Romance” (music by Richard Rodgers, lyric by Lorenz Hart, 1935).
New York, New York
Michael Feinstein belts out “New York, New York” (music by John Kander, lyric by Fred Ebb, 1978) in a live performance at London’s Shaw Theatre, backed by a 17 piece big band conducted by Bill Elliott.
As Feinstein tells it, Kander and Ebb had been hired to write the score for the musical film starring Robert DeNiro and Liza Minnelli. When they brought what they had created as the title song to the film’s director Martin Scorcese, Minnelli, and DeNiro and performed it for the first time, there was a long pause, after which DeNiro said, “I don’t like it.” Kander and Ebb were stunned, but had no choice but to go back to their studio and make up something else. Channeling all their frustration, anger, and resentment into their work, they came back with a new title song to play for their finicky star. This time DeNiro said, “I like it.” And that’s the song that was sung by Liza, later commandeered by Sinatra, and became a worldwide standard…and the bane of every piano bar pianist.
Night & Day—Sinatra
Frank Sinatra sings “Night and Day” (music and lyric by Cole Porter, 1932) from a series of Italian commercials for Perugina chocolate candy—created and shown in Italy just before his 1962 world tour began there. This archival film comes from the collection of J. Fred MacDonald.
“Night and Day” was written for the 1932 musical Gay Divorce, and was introduced by Fred Astaire, who reprised it in the 1934 film version retitled The Gay Divorcee.
Ol’ Man River—Sinatra
Frank Sinatra sings “Old Man River” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1927) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
“Ol’ Man River” is the most famous song in Kern and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking musical Show Boat, where it was sung by the African-American character Joe. It introduced the then-daring subjects of racial discrimination, miscegenation, and social inequality; topics not common in the frothy musicals of the era.
Paul Robeson did the most famous version(s) of the song and was associated with it through his career. He played “Joe” in the 1928 and 1932 stage productions, the 1936 film version, and appeared in a Los Angeles stage revival in 1940. Beginning about 1938, Robeson changed a few of the lyrics of “Ol’ Man River”, most notably in the verse that begins “Niggers all work on the Mississippi.” He substituted “darkies”, and in subsequent recordings and productions the lyric was uniformly changed to “colored folks work on the Mississippi.”
It may seem odd, even in an all-but-fictitious bio-pic, to give this iconic song to a white performer. However, that precedent had been set already in 1928 when Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra made a no. 1 hit recording of the song with Bing Crosby on vocals and Bix Beiderbecke on cornet. (Whiteman later recorded the song with Paul Robeson on vocals.)
Over the Rainbow
Judy Garland sings “Over the Rainbow” (music by Harold Arlen, lyric by E. Y. Harburg, 1939) in an episode of “Command Performance—Strictly G.I.” a radio/film series made by the War Department during World War II for servicemen and women. The series featured all the big stars of the time, and the shows were not seen or heard by the general public.
“Over the Rainbow” became Judy Garland’s signature song after the film The Wizard of Oz.
A clip from Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook: Season 2, Saloon Singers.
“Saloon Singers” examines the allure of musical nightlife, from Mississippi juke joints (where Michael dazzles the crowd with some impromptu boogie-woogie blues) to the neon of Las Vegas, where he gets a private tour of the now-closed Liberace Museum, and plays one of the rhinestone encrusted pianos.
While keeping up his own busy schedule of live performances at his New York nightclub, and the brand new performing arts center in Carmel, IN, Michael delves into the history of nightclub entertainment, from the Cotton Club in Harlem to Sinatra’s Rat Pack.
He goes through the archives of composer Jimmy McHugh—whose career spans Vaudeville to Vegas—and visits with nightclub pioneers Rose Marie (she literally “opened” Las Vegas in the 1940s) and the poet and author Maya Angelou, who used to make her living doing a calypso club act in San Francisco.
1943 short starring Frank Sinatra performing “Stardust” by Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish on the Lucky Strike Hit Parade.
The Last Time I Saw Paris
Dinah Shore sings “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1940) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
“The Last Time I Saw Paris” was published in 1940 and was sung in the 1941 film Lady Be Good by Ann Sothern. It was one of many popular songs lamenting the fall of European cities to the Nazis during World War II. Hammerstein was quoted as saying the song was “not written to order”, but it became an instant huge hit. Kate Smith purchased exclusive radio rights for the song for six weeks. The song earned Kern a second Academy Award for Best Original Song, and a first Oscar for Oscar Hammerstein.
The Man I Love
Lena Horne sings “The Man I Love” (music by George Gershwin, lyric by Ira Gershwin, 1927) in an episode of G.I. Jubilee, a radio/film series made by the War Department during World War II for black servicemen. The shows featured all the big African-American stars of the time, and were not seen or heard by the general public. Lena Horne was one of the favorite “pin-up girls” of black soldiers.
“The Man I Love” was originally written for the anti-war musical satire Strike Up the Band and was cut from the 1930 version of the show but went on to become a popular standard anyway.
The Scat Song
Cab Calloway sings “The Scat Song” (music and lyric by Cab Calloway, Mitchell Parish, and Frank Perkins, 1932) from a short musical film. “Scat” singing and nonsense lyrics were very popular during the late 1920s/early ‘30s.
They Didn’t Believe Me
Dinah Shore sings “They Didn’t Believe Me” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Herbert Reynolds, 1914) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946.) The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
“They Didn't Believe Me” was first heard in the 1914 Broadway musical The Girl from Utah. It was also used in the 1949 MGM musical That Midnight Kiss as a duet by Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson and has been recorded by scores of popular singers.
Till The Clouds Roll By
June Allyson and Ray McDonald perform “Till the Clouds Roll By” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, 1917) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The song “Till the Clouds Roll By” was introduced in the stage musical Oh Boy! which was the most successful of Kern’s Princess Theatre musicals.
A clip from Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook: Season 2, Time Machines.
“Time Machines” explores how technology has preserved—and altered—the way we think about the great songs and singers of the past.
On a coast to coast tour that with stops in New York, Palm Springs, Kansas City, upstate New York, and even the storied Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, Michael Feinstein introduces viewers to Soundies (the original music videos,) the historic Kansas City building where “jam sessions” were born (which still hosts after-hours gigs,) and an eclectic array of performers and collectors who help keep the music alive, including the avid collector and music lover Hugh Hefner, who shares rare footage of cabaret legend Bobby Short, and the British crooner Al Bowlly.
We Dreamed These Days
Michael Feinstein and the US Marine Corps Band perform “We Dreamed These Days,” music by Michael Feinstein and lyrics by Maya Angelou.
Where the Good Songs Go
Lucille Bremer sings “The Land Where the Good Songs Go” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by P.G. Wodehouse, 1917) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
The song “The Land Where the Good Songs Go” was composed for the musical Oh, Boy.
Paul Whiteman leads his band in several versions of his 1920 hit “Whispering,” the first record to sell a million copies. In this 1944 “Sing with the Stars” film for World War II servicemen, he does an “old-fashioned” version and a modern one.
Bob Kennedy sings “Whispering” (music by Vincent Rose, lyric by Richard Coburn and John Schoenberger, 1920) in a 1947 Soundie. Soundies are short musical films which were played in a kind of motion picture jukebox in restaurants and bars.
“Whispering” was first recorded by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and became the first record to sell a million copies. Bob Kennedy was a singer and actor whose daughter Karen invited Michael Feinstein to come to her father’s New Jersey home, after his death in 2007, and go through her father’s collection of sheet music, manuscripts, recordings, and other memorabilia. Among them were unpublished lyrics and arrangements of historical importance. Karen donated the materials to the Michael Feinstein Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook.
This Soundie was discovered in the course of making the PBS series, in the film collection of J. Fred MacDonald.
Rosemary Clooney sings “Who Cares?” (music by George Gershwin, lyric by Ira Gershwin, 1931) on her 1956 television series, in a Nelson Riddle arrangement. The song was originally written for the musical Of Thee I Sing.
Judy Garland and male chorus sings “Who?” (music by Jerome Kern, lyric by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, 1925) in the star-studded bio-pic of Kern, Till the Clouds Roll By (1946). The film features lavish renditions of famous songs from his musicals, performed by MGM’s stable of musical stars of the time.
“Who” was written for the 1925 Broadway musical Sunny by Jerome Kern, and was used in the film version of Sunny (1930) starring Marilyn Miller. Judy Garland played Marilyn Miller in Till the Clouds Roll By.
Why Do They Call a Private
In this 1944 “Sing with the Stars” film for World War II servicemen, Broadway belter Ethel Merman wonders “Why Do They Call a Private a Private?” as written by Frank Loesser and Peter Lind Hayes.
You’re Just Another Memory
Rudy Vallee sings “You’re Just Another Memory” (music by J. Fred Coots, lyric by Lou Davis and Ray Klages, 1929) accompanied by his band The Connecticut Yankees in a short musical film. Vallee was one of the first to adopt a singing style suited to the new electric microphone, and was forefather to all the crooners to come.
You’re the Top
Michael Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce duet in “You’re the Top” (music and lyric by Cole Porter, 1934) in a live performance at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, Michael’s Manhattan nightclub. The song was written for the musical Anything Goes and Feinstein and Hyde Pierce added their own seasonal lyrics to mark the holiday season.