Donovan talks about his experiences with the Beatles on their famous retreat to India in 1968, and shares the story behind his hit “Sunshine Superman.”
In 2004 the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Henry Mancini, portraying the late composer with baton in hand, in front of a movie screen. There’s a partial list of the films he scored: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, Charade, Peter Gunn, The Pink Panther, Two for the Road, Touch of [...]
On what would have been Nat King Cole’s 94th birthday, Performing Songwriter honors the man with one of the most influential pianists and memorable voices in American music.
Harold Arlen once described his melodies as “tapeworms.” Though not the first thing that leaps to mind upon hearing the breathtaking beauty and artistic invention of his songs, Arlen did have a point. As a composer, he routinely broke out of Tin Pan Alley’s standard 32-bar model to let his songs wind and wander, but [...]
A Few Songs by Johnny Mercer Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive, Autumn Leaves, Blues In The Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me), Come Rain Or Come Shine, Days Of Wine and Roses, Emily, Fools Rush In, Hooray For Hollywood, I Wanna Be Around, Jeepers Creepers, Laura, Moon River, My Shining Hour , One For My Baby (And One [...]
When asked many years ago what he most wanted out of life, Shel Silverstein answered, “Everything.” It was a characteristic answer from this elusive, legendary artist who was born in Chicago on September 25, 1930 and died in Key West on May 10, 1999. He wanted everything out of life, but like the famous subject [...]
When I interviewed Harlan Howard some years ago, I asked him who his favorite songwriter was. Harlan didn’t hesitate for a moment. “Cindy Walker,” he said. “She’s the greatest country songwriter I’ve ever heard.” One of the pioneers of the “three chords and the truth” school of writing, Walker penned classics such as “Not That [...]
So famous are the classic musicals he created as part of not one but two of America’s most celebrated songwriting duos, that his name is rarely heard or seen alone. More commonly it’s linked to the name of one of his lyricist-partners, either Lorenz “Larry” Hart or Oscar Hammerstein, because it’s as the musical half [...]
Behind the legendary songwriting duo of such classics as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Love Hurts” and “Rocky Top.”
The typical songwriter who rolls into Nashville is an unknown hopeful with an acoustic guitar and a notebook full of half-finished songs and titles. When Harlan Howard arrived in 1960, he was already famous, with his first No. 1 and a $100,000 royalty check in his pocket. Not that he hadn’t paid his dues. After [...]
Richard and Robert Sherman tell the stories behind working with Walt Disney and writing the classic songs for Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and more.
He was America’s first professional songwriter. He was also the first songwriter to be unfairly exploited by music publishers. Although his songs never generated the fortune Stephen Foster deserved during his brief life span, many of them, such as “Oh! Susanna,” “Old Kentucky Home,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Old Folks at Home,” [...]
“I never stopped writing, even when they stopped playing me on the radio,” says Dolly Parton. “I write something every day, and I take myself more seriously as a songwriter than anything else.” Over the past decade, Dolly has followed the passion of her songwriting right into a major career renaissance. Embracing her Smokey Mountain [...]