Harold Arlen (1905-1986)

Harold Arlen is a name that generally lacks the recognition factor of his great colleagues Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers, Berlin, and Porter. However, even a cursory recitation of Arlen´s song catalogue will dispel any doubts of his exalted place in the ranks of the aforementioned giants:

“Get Happy”, “Stormy Weather,” “Let´s Fall In Love,” “It´s Only A Paper Moon,” “Over The Rainbow,” “Lydia The Tatooed Lady,” “Blues In The Night,” “One For My Baby,” “My Shining Hour,” “Accent-Tchu-Ate The Positive,” “Out Of This World,” “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” “I´ve Got The World On A String,” “Sleepin´ Bee,” “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea,” “That Old Black Magic,” “I Love A Parade.”

Arlen´s masterful use of jazz and blues in popular song was a constant source of wonder to his admiring colleagues; and his versatility allowed him to write the most disarmingly simple ballads as well. To students of popular music, it remains a miracle that the same man who wrote “Blues in the Night” also gave us “Over the Rainbow.”

Harold Arlen´s career is one marked by consistent excellence and endless inventiveness. His story is the stuff of show business romance and legend: the dutiful son of a Jewish cantor from Buffalo who rose through the ranks of show business as a singer, bandleader, and rehearsal pianist to become one of the great songwriters of the century. In Irving Berlin´s estimation, “Harold´s best is the best.”

If you would like to engage Fred Miller for one of his Lectures-in-Song, please contact him directly at any time. For a full listing of all Lectures, click here.

Fred Miller’s Lectures-In-Song comprise a series of solo programs, each an historical, anecdotal and musical profile of some great personality or important aspect of American Popular Song. These Lectures are delivered by singer/pianist/narrator Miller at the piano, and each reflects his lifetime passion and appreciation for great music. He studied classical piano in his hometown of Albuquerque from ages 7-15 but early on gave up any notion of music as a profession. At that time, Fred assumed a musical career was either one devoted to the rigid discipline of classical music or being a freewheeling rock star, and he accurately decided he had no aptitude for either. However, at age 22, upon hearing Ella Fitzgerald sing Cole Porter, he found his calling and life’s mission.

Through the Seventies and Eighties, Miller studied and absorbed in minute detail the life and times and songs of nearly all the great American composers and lyricists who thrived during Broadway & Hollywood’s Golden Age between the two World Wars. In 1987, he founded Silver Dollar Productions in order to produce operettas, dramas, musicals and small cabarets. Silver Dollar Productions required ensemble casts, props, costumes and, most significantly, the challenges of publicity and selling tickets, and for a dozen busy years, the company presented an unbroken string of varied and highly lauded performances.

In 1999, Miller was simultaneously underwritten by both his local Hunterdon County Library and the Art Alliance of Philadelphia to present a series of six solo Lectures-In-Song, each devoted to one of the premiere Broadway/Hollywood songwriters: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.

In presenting history, biography and psychology while sitting at a piano singing the superlative songs of his heroes, Miller has found a single performing medium that utilizes most of his intellectual and musical passions.The list of Lectures-In-Song that began with six in 1999 is now more than seventy(and growing!), a joyful tribute to the boundlessly rich field of American Popular Song.