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Cover image for A biographical guide to the great jazz and pop singers
A biographical guide to the great jazz and pop singers
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Pantheon Books, ©2010.
Physical Description:
xiii, 811 pages ; 25 cm
Lorez Alexandria -- Ernestine Anderson -- Ivie Anderson -- Julie Andrews -- The Andrews sisters -- Harold Arlen -- Lil Hardin Armstrong -- Louis Armstrong -- Fred Astaire -- Gene Austin -- Harry Babbitt -- Mildred Bailey -- Pearl Bailey -- Chet Baker -- Josephine Baker -- Tex Beneke -- Tony Bennett -- Andy Bey -- Connee Boswell and the Boswell Sisters -- Al Bowlly -- Dee Dee Bridgewater -- Hadda Brooks -- Cleo Brown -- Michael Buble -- Jackie Cain -- Ann Hampton Callaway -- Cab Calloway -- Edith Cantor -- Una Mae Carlisle -- Hoagy Carmichael -- Barbara Carroll -- Betty Carter -- Ray Charles -- June Christy -- Peter Cincotti -- Buddy Clark -- Rosemary Clooney -- Freddy Cole -- Nat King Cole -- Natalie Cole -- Russ Columbo -- Perry Como -- Eric Comstock -- Harry Connick, Jr. -- Chris Connor -- Barbara Cook -- Sam Cooke -- Sir Noel Coward -- Bing Crosby -- Jamie Cullum -- Vic Damone -- Bobby Darin -- Sammy Davis, Jr. -- Doris Day -- Blossom Dearie -- Matt Dennis -- Johnny Desmond -- Marlene Dietrich -- Alfred Drake -- Jimmy Durante -- Bob Dylan -- Ray Eberle -- Bob Eberly -- Billy Eckstine -- Cliff Edwards -- Kurt Elling -- Ruth Etting -- Alice Faye -- Michael Feinstein -- Gracie Fields -- Ella Fitzgerald -- Helen Forrest -- Aretha Franklin -- Judy Garland -- Eydie Gorme -- Robert Goulet -- Buddy Greco -- Adelaide Hall -- Annette Hanshaw -- Mary Cleer Haran -- Allan Harris -- Marion Harris -- Johnny Hartman -- Dick Haymes -- Bill Henderson -- Woody Herman -- Al Hibbler -- Billie Holiday -- Shirley Horn -- Lena Horne -- Helen Humes -- Hutch (Leslie Hutchinson) -- Betty Hutton -- Marion Hutton -- Alberta Hunter -- Mahalia Jackson -- Eddie Jefferson -- Herb Jeffries -- Clarence Johnstone -- Al Jolson -- Etta Jones -- Jack Jones -- Louis Jordan -- Sheila Jordan -- Kitty Kallen -- Howard Keel -- Teddi King -- Eartha Kitt -- Irene Kral -- Roy Kral -- Diana Krall -- Cleo Laine -- Frankie Laine -- Lambert, Hendricks & Ross -- Dorothy Lamour -- Turner Layton -- Steve Lawrence -- Barbara Lea -- Julia Lee -- Peggy Lee -- Abbey Lincoln -- Julie London -- Nick Lucas -- Nellie Lutcher -- Gloria Lynne -- Gordon MacRae -- Kevin Mahogany -- Andrea Marcovicci -- Dean Martin -- Mary Martin -- Johnny Mathis -- Susannah McCorkle -- Audra McDonald -- Ray McKinley -- Carmen McRae -- Johnny Mercer -- Mabel Mercer -- Ethel Merman -- Helen Merrill -- The Mills Brothers -- Guy Mitchell -- Mat Monro -- Joe Mooney -- Helen Morgan -- Lee Morse -- Mark Murphy -- Rose Murphy -- Anita O'Day -- Patti Page -- Jackie Paris -- King Pleasure -- Elvis Presley -- Louis Prima -- Arthur Prysock -- John Raitt -- Ramona -- Lou Rawls -- Johnnie Ray -- Martha Raye -- Della Reese -- Dianne Reeves -- Irene Reid -- Ann Richards -- Jimmy Rushing -- (Little) Jimmy Scott -- Daryl Sherman -- Dinah Shore -- Bobby Short -- Nina Simone -- Ginny Simms -- Frank Sinatra -- Carol Sloane -- Bessie Smith -- Kate Smith -- Jeri Southern -- Jo Stafford -- Kay Starr -- Dakota Staton -- Barbra Streisand -- Maxine Sullivan -- Sylvia Syms -- Jack Teagarden -- Shirley Temple -- Teri Thornton -- Martha Tilton -- Mel Torme -- Sophie Tucker -- George "Bon Bon" Tunnell -- Rudy Vallee -- Sarah Vaughan -- Bea Wain -- Fats Waller -- Helen Ward -- Dinah Washington -- Ethel Waters -- Elisabeth Welch -- Margaret Whiting -- Lee Wiley -- Andy Williams -- Hank Williams -- Joe Williams -- Cassandra Wilson -- Julie Wilson -- Nancy Wilson -- Edythe Wright -- The birth of the croon: Cliff Edwards, Nick Lucas, Rudy Vallee, and Russ Columbo -- Torch singers and flappers: Marion Harris, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, and Annette Hanshaw -- African Americans abroad: Adelaide Hall, Josephine Baker, Elisabeth Welch, and Alberta Hunter -- Thre'll always be an England: Hutch, Layton & Johnstone, and Gracie Fields -- Female band singers I-Benny's babes: Helen Ward, Martha Tilton, and Helen Forrest -- Sing a song of Ellington: Ivie Anderson, Herb Jeffries, and Al Hibbler -- Sing a song of Miller-Male (mostly) band singers I: Bob Eberly, Ray Eberle, (Marion Hutton), Johnny Desmond, Tex Beneke, and Ray McKinley -- Singing songwriters: Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer -- Female band singers II-Big bands into pop: Edythe Wright, Bea Wain, Ginny Simms, and Kitty Kallen -- Male band singers II-Exceptional boychicks: Harry Babbit and George "Bon Bon" Tunnell -- Hollywood Divas: Alice Faye, Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Temple, and Betty Hutton -- Two inimitables: Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich -- Fats' femme followers: Lee Morse, Ramona, Cleo Brown, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Una Mae Carlisle, Julia Lee, Nellie Lutcher, Rose Murphy, and Hadda Brooks -- Big pop (male): Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Guy Mitchell, Johnnie Mathis, and Andy Williams -- Hipsters and bopsters: King Pleasure, Eddie Jefferson, Jackie Cain, Roy Kral, Irene Kral, Ann Richards, and Cleo Laine -- Lee Wiley's Boston connection: Teddi King and Barbara Lea -- Leading ladies: Barbara Cook and Julie Andrews -- Leading men-in defense of the Broadway baritone: Alfred Drake, John Raitt, Gordon MacRae, Howard Keel, and Robert Goulet -- Dinah's daughters-soulful ladies and local favorites: Etta Jones, Gloria Lynne, Teri Thornton, Irene Reid, and Lorez Alexandria -- Two soulful gentlemen: Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls -- Blossom's buds and Dearie's daughters: Barbara Carroll, Daryl Sherman, and Ann Hampton Callaway -- Rock goes standards!: from Connie Francis to Rod Stewart -- Dynasty: Freddy Cole and Natalie Cole -- Contemporary Male jazz singers: Allan Harris, Kevin Mahogany, and Kurt Elling -- Contemporary cabaret: Andrea Marcovicci, Mary Cleere Haran, Michael Feinstein, and Eric Comstock -- Harry Connick Jr. and the retro crooner boychicks: Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, Jamie Cullum, and Peter Cincotti -- Folk rock: Bob Dylan -- Gospel: Mahlia Jackson -- Rock 'n' roll: Elvis Presley -- Blues: Bessie Smith -- Country and western: Hank Williams.
"Will Friedwald's illuminating, opinionated essays--provocative, funny, and personal--on the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers anatomize the work of the most important jazz and popular performers of the twentieth century. From giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland to lesser-known artists like Jeri Southern and Joe Mooney, they have created a body of work that continues to please and inspire. Here is the most extensive biographical and critical survey of these singers ever written, as well as an essential guide to the Great American Songbook and those who shaped the way it has been sung."--Jacket.


Call Number
920.978165 Friedwald 2010

On Order



Will Friedwald's illuminating, opinionated essays--provocative, funny, and personal--on the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers anatomize the work of the most important jazz and popular performers of the twentieth century. From giants like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Judy Garland to lesser-known artists like Jeri Southern and Joe Mooney, they have created a body of work that continues to please and inspire. Here is the most extensive biographical and critical survey of these singers ever written, as well as an essential guide to the Great American Songbook and those who shaped the way it has been sung.
The music crosses from jazz to pop and back again, from the songs of Irving Berlin and W. C. Handy through Stephen Sondheim and beyond, bringing together straightforward jazz and pop singers (Billie Holiday, Perry Como); hybrid artists who moved among genres and combined them (Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé); the leading men and women of Broadway and Hollywood (Ethel Merman, Al Jolson); yesterday's vaudeville and radio stars (Sophie Tucker, Eddie Cantor); and today's cabaret artists and hit-makers (Diana Krall, Michael Bublé). Friedwald has also written extended pieces on the most representative artists of five significant genres that lie outside the songbook: Bessie Smith (blues), Mahalia Jackson (gospel), Hank Williams (country and western), Elvis Presley (rock 'n' roll), and Bob Dylan (folk-rock).
Friedwald reconsiders the personal stories and professional successes and failures of all these artists, their songs, and their performances, appraising both the singers and their music by balancing his opinions with those of fellow musicians, listeners, and critics.
This magisterial reference book--ten years in the making--will delight and inform anyone with a passion for the iconic music of America, which continues to resonate throughout our popular culture.

Author Notes

Will Friedwald writes about music for The Wall Street Journal and was the jazz (and cabaret) critic for The New York Sun . He is the author of eight books, including Stardust Melodies: A Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs; Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond; Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art; and The Good Life (with Tony Bennett). He has written nearly five hundred liner notes for compact discs, for which he has received eight Grammy nominations. He has also written for Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, American Heritage, and The New York Times, among other publications.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this passionately opinionated encyclopedia of the old-school virtuosos of the American songbook, music writer Friedwald (Sinatra!) celebrates 200-odd performers of jazz and pop standards, from the mid-20th-century titans-Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra-to latter-day acolytes like Diana Krall and Harry Connick Jr., with a raft of unjustly obscure singers in between. (Forget the Andrews Sisters-get a load of the Boswell Sisters!) Friedwald is all about the music; he primly shies away from his subjects' scandal-prone personal lives, but accords each a substantial career retrospective, selected discography and wonderfully pithy interpretive essay. His tastes are wide-ranging and idiosyncratic: he plumbs the artistry of Jimmy Durante's and Shirley Temple's novelty voices, decries the bombastic narcissism of "sacred monster" Barbra Streisand-"I remain completely unconvinced that she's a person who needs people"-and considers perky Doris Day's pop gems "the most erotic vocalizing you'll ever hear." However unconventional, his judgments are usually spot-on, as in his compelling reassessment of Elvis as the last great Crosbyesque crooner. Friedwald's exuberant medley is that rarest of things: music criticism that actually makes you sit up and listen. (Nov. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

The Great American Songbook can generally be defined as encompassing jazz, popular, and Hollywood or Broadway musical songs written between the 1930s and the 1960s (usually excluding folk, rock, and blues). Author Friedwald provides biographies of singers who have brought this music to life from the early days of the songbook until today. Friedwald's expertise in this area is evident looking at some of his other books: Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond (Da Capo, 1996) and Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art (Da Capo, 1997). In this volume, he offers a casual writing style that drifts into humor and subjectivity at times. The entries are full of detail. More than 200 singers are featured, and for each the author discusses his or her musical background, albums, club performances, stage presence, and personal lives; and he sometimes muses about his own experience meeting them or hearing them sing live. This is a broad category of music, and the cross section of performers is equally diverse. Featured artists range from old-school crooners like Perry Como to so-called singing stars like Doris Day and rhythm-and-blues singers like Ray Charles. The book covers an expansive time period, but the primary focus is on singers born before 1930 who performed during the heyday of the songbook (roughly the 1940s through the 1960s). Short profiles of younger performers, for example, Michael Buble and Diana Krall, are included in separate thematic articles covering multiple artists. Many of the singers in this volume likely appear in other reference books, but the context Friedwald creates around the Great American Songbook, the inclusion of lesser-known singers, and the in-depth nature of the entries make this an interesting addition to collections in academic and large public libraries.--York, Steven Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

IN his sweeping new book on singers in America since the dawn of the electrical microphone in 1925, Will Friedwald functions as cicerone on a grand cultural journey. Roaming across the decades in A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS (Pantheon, $45) - he started out with David Thomson's "Biographical Dictionary of Film" as his model - he spins off intelligent portraits that begin alphabetically with Ernestine Anderson ("who is never less than subtle, whether belting the blues or tearing up a torch tune") and conclude on Page 539 as the curtain falls on Nancy Wilson. At that point, Friedwald shifts to a series of search-and-inform essays on assorted themes that crisscross generations, idioms, performing styles, record labels, the entertainment industry's evolution and a galaxy of careers, from Marlene Dietrich to Bob Dylan and Harry Connick Jr. Mahalia Jackson appears in a coda, as the author, wisely, genuflects to gospel music as a popular form. "Songs were the essential criteria by which artists were or were not included," says Friedwald, who writes about music for The Wall Street Journal. "My first consideration was to focus on those who primarily sang the American songbook." Defining the American songbook is about as easy as explaining democracy in a country where people wonder what voting actually means. Friedwald opines on hundreds of songs and singers without pinning himself down to the semantics of the proverbial songbook. Musicals constitute a major category: how songs of stage and screen found devotees in millions of people who never saw a Broadway show. Radio, film and television made singers famous. Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday receive the longest profiles, 13 pages each. But how does one account for Doris Day netting six pages, while Louis Armstrong gets only four? Fats Domino, whose honeyed Creole baritone set baby boomers dancing and sold 110 million records, is not profiled at all. Of the selection process on which he and his editor. Robert Gottlieb, settled, Friedwald says, "There simply wasn't room to write everything that needed to be said about every performer worth talking about." Getting the guilt off your chest is a smart move in a book like this. Friedwald is an elegant stylist whose passion for the music shimmers through the pages. Nat King Cole, he writes, "possessed an almost saintly charisma, which endeared him to the same listeners who were attracted to the touch of the rogue in Sinatra." You like Frank Sinatra? You'll get lots of Sinatra in this book. "He was able to put so much of himself into every performance, into every song, on every level; he simply covered more ground, both stylistically and philosophically, than anyone else," the author writes, and he's just warming up: "We envied his unending list of boudoir conquests, and even though we hardly approved of his consorting with notorious figures of the underworld, we still couldn't take our eyes off him. He was everything we wanted to be: swinging, romantic, erotic, melancholy and even a little bit dangerous." At times, Friedwald betrays a serrated edge. "You feel she's going to stalk you and cut your brake wires, put a snake in your boots, and rocks in your cornflakes," he writes of "Cry Me a River" as sung by Barbra Streisand. "This isn't a song about heartbreak and disillusion, this is a song about calling 911 and filing a restraining order." In fact, Friedwald has written a book about love, the songs and singers (Streisand included) who captured him in their world of enchantment. The surprise is that on Page 811, he stopped. - JASON BERRY