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The Art of American Popular Song: Restocking the Great American Songbook

On this week's "Art of American Popular Song" we seek new songs to add to the venerable Great American Songbook. We also look to put to rest the belief by some that the craft of great song and lyric writing died somewhere around 1955. After all, that's what the American composer, writer, and commentator on popular song, Alec Wilder, said in his book "American Popular Song: The Great Innovators." But is it really so?


The “truth-meter” may surprise you. On the other hand, you might be dismayed at the suggestion that Bob Dylan has a rightful place in the Great American Songbook. Or maybe some will take issue with certain Disney songs being suggested as songbook material. It's nothing if not lively, this honest and broad assessment of where the American song stands in the Twenty-first Century.


Join KPAC for the final episode of "The Art of American Popular Song," Sunday afternoon at 2. The music ranges from Jerome Kern to Rodgers and Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim. There are also several songwriters never associated with Broadway or the movies, the two traditional wells for the American Songbook. See what musical theater historian Aaron Gandy suggests as we restock the shelves. We'll also consider suggestions from local crooner Ken Slavin and KRIS/KZTV-Corpus Christi News Director Paul Alexander.


Creativity is alive and well.


Episode 8 Playlist

Episode 8-1 End of An Age [24:16]


Jerome Kern: The Way You Look Tonight

Faith Hill, Tony Bennett


Irving Berlin: The Song is Ended (But the Melody Lingers On)


Harold Arlen: Last Night When We Were Young

Sylvia McNair, Andre Previn


Alec Wilder: While We're Young


Roger Miller: King of the Road

Roger Miller


Harold Arlen: I Had a Love Once

Peggy Lee



Hugh Martin: I Have Something to Say to You

Michael Feinstein


Richard Rodgers: Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Bryn Terfel



Episode 8-2 Lerner and Loewe [21:17]


Lerner & Loewe: My Fair Lady: I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face

Pierre Huybregts, Carol Wallace Payne

Elite 120


Lerner & Loewe: My Fair Lady: I Could Have Danced All Night

Oscar Peterson Trio



Lerner & Loewe: My Fair Lady: The Rain in Spain [2:39]

Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews



Weill/Ira Gershwin: Tchaikovsky and the Other Russians [:46]

Danny Kaye

Sony 62869


Lerner & Loewe: Camelot (selections)

Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops

Telarc 80375


Lerner & Loewe: Camelot: I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight [1:58]

Cast recording

Sony 60542


Lerner & Loewe: Camelot: If Ever I Would Leave You

Cast recording

Sony 60542


Episode 8-3 Dylan and Lees [7:33]


Bob Dylan: Blowin' In the Wind

Bob Dylan


Bill Evans/Gene Lees: Waltz for Debby

Gene Lees


Episode 8-4 Disney [15:49]


Richard and Robert Sherman: Chim Chim Cher-ee

Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews


Richard and Robert Sherman: The Aristocats

Maurice Chevalier


Alan Menken & Howard Ashman: Part of Your World

Jodi Benson



Episode 8-5 Webb, Pankow and Wainwright [16:27]


Alec Wilder: Such a Tender Night

Manhattan Chamber Orchestra

Newport Classics


Milton DeLugg and Willie Stein: Orange Colored Sky

Ken Slavin

CD Baby


Bobby Troup: Route 66

Ken Slavin

CD Baby


Jimmy Webb: Wichita Lineman

Glenn Campbell


Pankow: Just You'n'Me



Rufus Wainwright: Damned Ladies

Audra McDonald

Nonesuch 79862


Episode 8-6 Stephen Sondheim [36:06]


Bernstein/Sondheim: West Side Story: Something's Coming

Jim Bryant

Sony 48211


Jule Styne/Sondheim: Everything's Coming Up Roses

Ethel Merman

Sony 60848


Stephen Sondheim: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Comedy Tonight

Zero Mostel



Sondheim: Company: Sorry-Grateful

Charles Kimbrough



Sondheim: Company: Being Alive

Larry Kert

Sony 65283


Sondheim: Follies: The Road You Didn't Take

Cast recording



Sondheim: A Little Night Music: Send In the Clowns

Glynis Johns

Sony 65284





James first introduced himself to KPAC listeners at midnight on April 8, 1993, presenting Dvorak's 7th Symphony played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Soon after, he became the regular overnight announcer on KPAC.