Stardust Melodies

Stardust Melodies Cover

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


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 is the author of "Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond; Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art; The Warner Bros. Cartoons;" and "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies." One of the leading contemporary writers of liner notes for music albums, Friedwald lives in New York City.