The Story Behind The Song


A Dozen Classics

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There’s a story behind every song, but some songs occupy such a prominent place in our collective consciousness that their particular stories beg to be told ahead of others.

This Lecture-in-Song covers a century on the American timeline and touches upon a dozen classic songs:

1851-“Old Folks At Home”
1892-“After The Ball”
1911-“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”
1914-“They Didn’t Believe Me”
1924-“The Man I Love”
1930-“Body And Soul”
1931-“As Time Goes By”
1934-“Blue Moon”
1938-“Lush Life”
1939-“Over The Rainbow”
1954-“The Man That Got Away”

The back stories to these musical landmarks range from tragic to comic, some changed musical history, some are perfect reflections of their eras or the state of the songwriting industry at the time, some simply had an impact that just won’t fade.

All are great American songs, and their stories are worth hearing if only to celebrate the great figures who created them and the Age of musical marvels in which they all thrived.

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.