Four Greatest Song Writers of the Golden Age of American Song: 1920 - 1970

Facilitator:     Ralph Cafaro, 682-2661,                                       
Dates:            Wednesdays, January 14 - February 4, 2015                       (4 Weeks)                                         Time:             9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Text:              None

The first lecture deals with the life and songs of the dean of American songwriters: Irving Berlin.This was the man who wrote some 1500 songs in 60 years. His life from total poverty in Russia, without any formal education, to his tremendous success on Broadway and Hollywood, is the stuff of legends.

The second lecture is on a man I'll call Mr. X for now. He went on to become Hollywood's greatest songwriter. Everyone knows his songs, but almost nobody knows his name. I will disclose his name and tell his story, and we will sing his songs.

The third lecture will be on the greatest song lyricist of hit songs: Johnny Mercer. He wrote lyrics for Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy Van Heusen, Richard Whiting, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Harry Warren, Henry Mancini, and others. His songs won 4 Academy Awards, and Oscar Hammerstein himself said; "Johnny Mercer is the greatest American lyricist alive."

The fourth lecture will be on Cole Porter, the gifted sophisticate who was among the very few who could write both melody and lyrics for all his songs. Coming from Peru, Indiana, he became the socialite traveler and composer who hob-nobbed with the likes of Picasso, Gershwin, Noel Coward, the Rothschilds, and many of the crowned heads of Europe. Even after a terrible horse- riding accident, he continued to write his irresistible music while in great pain. Songs like: Night and Day, Begin the Beguine, In the Still of the Night, and countless others assure his place as one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century.