The Other Jewish Songwriters

BURTON LANE (1912-1997)
SAMMY FAIN (1902-1989)
AL JOLSON (1886-1950)

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When millions of Eastern European Jews poured through Ellis Island in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, no one could predict that this People would completely alter the culture of the American Promised Land.

Immediately responding to the American spirit of free enterprise, the Jews powered the entertainment industry from every corner. If they weren´t running the theatres, pushing talent or producing the films, they were writing the best songs of the day.

The most accomplished creative figures of that Golden Age of Broadway & Hollywood were predominantly Jewish: Gershwin, Kern, Rodgers, Berlin, Arlen, all bearing newly minted Americanized versions of their forefathers´ surnames.

THE OTHER JEWISH SONGWRITERS specifically deals not with the aforementioned heavyweights, each of whom merits his own Lecture-in-Song, but with several other outstanding but less prolific Jewish songwriters: Arthur Schwartz, Burton Lane, and Sammy Fain.

Pianist/singer/narrator Fred Miller focuses in his customary fashion on the lives, careers and, most significantly, the enduring songs of these 3 great musical artists.

Among the many familiar songs: Arthur Schwartz´s “Dancing in the Dark,” “You and the Night and the Music,” “That´s Entertainment,” “Something To Remember You By,” “They´re Either Too Young or Too Old”; Burton Lane´s “Everything I Have Is Yours,” “I Hear Music,” “Too Late Now,” “How About You?”, the Broadway scores for FINIAN’S RAINBOW and ON A CLEAR DAY; Sammy Fain´s “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella,” “Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine,” “When I Take My Sugar To Tea,” “I Can Dream, Can´t I?”, “I´ll Be Seeing You,” “You Brought a New Kind of Love,” “That Old Feeling,” “Secret Love,” “Dear Hearts and Gentle People,” “April Love,” “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.”

This tribute to Jews in songwriting concludes with a sing-along tribute to Al Jolson, perhaps the era´s single most brazenly visible symbol of Jewish ascendancy in modern American life. He, like his songwriting colleagues, brightened and beautified the world in ways, over time, that seem only to increase exponentially in value.

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.