Stardust Melodies

The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs

By Will Friedwald
Pantheon Books, Hardcover, 9780375420894, 416pp.

Publication Date: April 23, 2002

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In Stardust Melodies, Will Friedwald takes each of these legendary songs apart and puts it together again, with a staggering wealth of detail and unprecedented understanding.

Each chapter gives us an extended history of one song—the circumstances under which it was written and first performed—and then explores its musical and lyric content. Drawing on his vast knowledge of records and the careers of performing artists, Friedwald tells us who was responsible for making these songs famous and discusses in depth the performers who have left their unique marks on them. He writes about variations in performance style, about both classic and obscure versions of the songs, about brilliantly original interpretations and ghastly travesties. And then there’s the completely unexpected, like Stan Freberg’s politically correct “Elderly Man River.”

This is a book for all lovers of American song to explore, argue with, and savor.

About the Author
Will Friedwald writes about jazz and popular music for "The Wall Street Journal", " "where he has written the weekly column "The Jazz Scene" since 2010. He is the author of eight books on music and popular culture, has received ten Grammy Award nominations for album notes and production, and is internationally recognized as a leading authority on jazz and adult pop music, as well as Broadway shows, jazz and pop vocalists, big bands, and classic American pop.
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