One omnipresent cliche shot through with truth is that Popular American Song began its decline in the 50s & 60s. BUT, though the Gershwin/Porter/Kern glory days of Broadway/Hollwood/Tin Pan Alley were over, the songs emanating from the new “Youth Culture” bore attractive traces of the past: romance was the theme, the melodies had to be hummable, the spirit was largely positive. Life in song, though difficult, could still be beautiful.
IT WASN´T ALL NOISE draws out the best of what remained after The Golden Age. Now to everyone´s dismay, we brash kids of the 50s & 60s are also graying, but thankfully much of our musical youth is worth keeping:
Bill Haley, The Platters, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Sam Cooke, Johnny Mathis, Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Buddy Holly, Little Anthony, Ray Charles, songs by Carole King/Gerry Goffin, The Drifters, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Vee, Frankie Valli, Neil Sedaka, The Ronettes, Motown (Martha & The Vandellas, The Temptations, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson), Leslie Gore, The Beatles and the British Invasion (Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark) , Jobim´s sambas, the California Sound (The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas), Neil Diamond, Burt Bachrach/Hal David/Dionne Warwick, James Taylor…
All (and more) are represented in this wonderfully nostalgic turn back to a more innocent American era. This Lecture-in-Song proves beyond any doubt that IT WASN´T ALL NOISE. These are songs and singers worth recalling. And, to paraphrase Ira Gershwin, when we hear these songs, we´re young again.
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.