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A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers

A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers by Will Friedwald
Nov 02, 2010 | 832 Pages
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  • Hardcover $45.00

    Nov 02, 2010 | 832 Pages

  • Ebook $24.99

    Nov 02, 2010 | 832 Pages

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“Top Five Books of the Year 2010: Friedwald chronicles the Great American Songbook, its creators, and its interpreters—a body of work that stands at the apogee of this nation’s civilization. Quirky, opinionated, shaped by exquisite taste and judgment, this feat of musical and cultural criticism offers an exuberant glimpse into the American character.”
—Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic

“A perfect holiday gift . . . An authoritative, comprehensive and oft-amusing guidebook that leads readers through the lives and recordings of hundreds of singers, from Louis Armstrong to Hank Williams.”
The Wall Street Journal 
“Incisive and useful . . . In this mammoth volume, jazz critic Will Friedwald does for jazz and pop vocalists what David Thomson has done so brilliantly in his New Biographical Dictionary of Film. . . . The author also acts as a consumer guide, steering the reader toward particular songs or albums. . . . Vastly entertaining.”
—Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post 
“In this passionately opinionated encyclopedia of the old-school virtuosos of the American songbook, music writer Friedwald celebrates 200-odd performers of jazz and pop standards, from the mid-20th-century titans to latter-day acolytes, with a raft of unjustly obscure singers in between. . . . [Friedwald] accords each a substantial career retrospective, selected discography and wonderfully pithy interpretive essay. His tastes are wide-ranging and idiosyncratic . . . However unconventional, his judgments are usually spot-on . . . Friedwald’s exuberant medley is that rarest of things: music criticism that actually makes you sit up and listen.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“A fun reference book to dive into, get lost in—and use to add more songs and singers to your collection. . . . When it comes to the Great American Songbook, Will Friedwald is the keeper of the flame. He’s written some of the best books on popular song of the past quarter-century, from his engaging Jazz Singing to . . . his Sinatra! The Song is You [which] is one of the best studies of a singer’s craft ever written. With A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, Friedwald gave himself a daunting task: put together essays on every singer he can who made a career singing those great songs. ‘Every’ is a lot, but Friedwald doesn’t miss too many, from the early 20th century to the cabaret singers of the post-swing revival. The essays—more than 200 in all, including pieces on multiple artists—are part biography, part career overview, focusing on the singers’ highs and lows while tossing in bits of fun trivia.”
—Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
“I think Will Friedwald’s Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers will be of real interest to anyone who cares about the music.”
—Hugh Hefner, editor-in-chief of Playboy
“If there were such a volume as the Great American Songbook, this book should be right next to it on your shelf.  It is truly the definitive work on those who sing and swing those songs.”
—Alan Bergman, Grammy and Academy Award–winning songwriter

“Will Friedwald has created an instant classic reference tome with his Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, the wealth of information and the breadth of knowledge being quite staggering. It is written without academic posturing but with wit and warmth and accessibility, covering in fascinating detail the careers of everyone from Jolson and Sinatra, of course, to Lee Wiley, Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich; from Armstrong to Doris Day, and everyone in between. It will surely be considered an essential text.”
—Peter Bogdanovich

“This extensive work is essential and comprehensive. In opinionated, sometimes witty essays, Friedwald sorts out the lives and careers of more than three hundred singers, some of the greatest vocalists of the twentieth century including such giants as Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Bessie Smith. There are also dozens of unexpected inclusions. For example, Martha Raye merits almost seven pages and her entry helps dusts off her historical reputation as not just a zany character but rather an incredibly gifted and complex artist. . . . Friedwald spent ten years researching this magisterial reference book and it is certain to delight and inform anyone with a passion for the iconic music of America.”
—Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen

Stardust Melodies
“The closest thing we have to a standard text on American pop from the first half of the twentieth century . . . Friedwald is a deeply attentive and emotionally attuned listener. His descriptions of performances are so precise and detailed that Stardust Melodies could serve as a primer for how to listen to prerock music.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Excellent . . . [With] good humor and lively anecdotes, Friedwald brings an open mind to the kaleidoscope of musical stylings that these songs have been treated (or subjected) to.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Friedwald’s writing, both erudite and funny, complements the standards he so clearly loves, like a melody set to the perfect lyric.”
—Entertainment Weekly, “A”
“Informative and witty . . . So full of good stuff that I kept being distracted and forgetting what I was looking for.”
—Chicago Tribune
Sinatra! The Song Is You
“The most important book published about Frank Sinatra to date.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Indispensable . . . A man with unexcelled knowledge of American popular song, Friedwald looks intensively at [Sinatra’s] career . . . Sinatra! hits a welcome high note . . . Excellent.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Blithe, respectful, snappy, and smart, Friedwald catches the creative fire of the singer . . . This is the best book ever written about Sinatra’s deepest secret: his craft.”

Table Of Contents

This table of contents includes an alphabetical list of all the artists featured in the dictionary: individual artists, the five “extras” (iconic singers in other genres), and those included in multiple artist entries. These multiple artist groupings, which are in more or less chronological order, are also listed below for your reference.

Individual Artists
Lorez Alexandria
Ernestine Anderson
Ivie Anderson
Julie Andrews
The Andrews Sisters
Harold Arlen
Lil Hardin Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Fred Astaire
Gene Austin
Harry Babbitt
Mildred Bailey
Pearl Bailey
Chet Baker
Josephine Baker
Tex Beneke
Tony Bennett
Andy Bey
Connee Boswell and the Boswell Sisters
Al Bowlly
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Hadda Brooks
Cleo Brown
Michael Bublé
Jackie Cain
Ann Hampton Callaway
Cab Calloway
Eddie Cantor
Una Mae Carlisle
Hoagy Carmichael
Barbara Carroll
Betty Carter
Ray Charles
June Christy
Peter Cincotti
Buddy Clark
Rosemary Clooney
Freddy Cole
Nat King Cole
Natalie Cole
Russ Columbo
Perry Como
Eric Comstock
Harry Connick, Jr.
Chris Connor
Barbara Cook
Sam Cooke
Sir Noel Coward
Bing Crosby
Jamie Cullum
Vic Damone
Bobby Darin
Sammy Davis Jr.
Doris Day
Blossom Dearie
Matt Dennis
Johnny Desmond
Marlene Dietrich
Alfred Drake
Jimmy Durante
Bob Dylan
Ray Eberle
Bob Eberly
Billy Eckstine
Cliff Edwards
Kurt Elling
Skinnay Ennis
Ruth Etting
Alice Faye
Michael Feinstein
Gracie Fields
Ella Fitzgerald
Helen Forrest
Aretha Franklin
Judy Garland
Eydie Gormé
Robert Goulet
Buddy Greco
Adelaide Hall
Annette Hanshaw
Mary Cleere Haran
Allan Harris
Marion Harris
Johnny Hartman
Dick Haymes
Bill Henderson
Woody Herman
Al Hibbler
Billie Holiday
Shirley Horn
Lena Horne
Helen Humes
Hutch (Leslie Hutchinson)
Betty Hutton
Marion Hutton
Alberta Hunter
Mahalia Jackson
Eddie Jefferson
Herb Jeffries
Clarence Johnstone
Al Jolson
Etta Jones
Jack Jones
Louis Jordan
Sheila Jordan
Kitty Kallen
Howard Keel
Richard Kiley
Teddi King
Eartha Kitt
Irene Kral
Roy Kral
Diana Krall
Cleo Laine
Frankie Laine
Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross
Dorothy Lamour
Turner Layton
Steve Lawrence
Barbara Lea
Julia Lee
Peggy Lee
Abbey Lincoln
Julie London
Nick Lucas
Nellie Lutcher
Gloria Lynne
Gordon MacRae
Kevin Mahogany
Andrea Marcovicci
Dean Martin
Mary Martin
Johnny Mathis
Susannah McCorkle
Audra McDonald
Ray McKinley
Carmen McRae
Johnny Mercer
Mabel Mercer
Ethel Merman
Helen Merrill
The Mills Brothers
Guy Mitchell
Matt Monro
Joe Mooney
Helen Morgan
Lee Morse
Mark Murphy
Rose Murphy
Anita O’Day
Patti Page
Jackie Paris
King Pleasure
Elvis Presley
Louis Prima
Arthur Prysock
John Raitt
Lou Rawls
Johnnie Ray
Martha Raye
Della Reese
Dianne Reeves
Irene Reid
Ann Richards
Jimmy Rushing
(Little) Jimmy Scott
Daryl Sherman
Dinah Shore
Bobby Short
Nina Simone
Ginny Simms
Frank Sinatra
Carol Sloane
Bessie Smith
Kate Smith
Jeri Southern
Jo Stafford
Kay Starr
Dakota Staton
Barbra Streisand
Maxine Sullivan
Sylvia Syms
Jack Teagarden
Shirley Temple
Teri Thornton
Martha Tilton
Mel Tormé
Sophie Tucker
George “Bon Bon” Tunnell
Rudy Vallee
Sarah Vaughan
Bea Wain
Fats Waller
Helen Ward
Dinah Washington
Ethel Waters
Elizabeth Welch
Margaret Whiting
Lee Wiley
Andy Williams
Hank Williams
Joe Williams
Cassandra Wilson
Julie Wilson
Nancy Wilson
Edythe Wright
Multiple Artists

The Birth of the Croon: Cliff Edwards, Nick Lucas, Rudy Vallee, and Russ Columbo
Torch Singers and Flappers: Marion Harris, Ruth Etting, Helen Morgan, and Annette Hanshaw
African Americans Abroad: Adelaide Hall, Josephine Baker, Elisabeth Welch, and Alberta Hunter
There’ll Always Be an England: Hutch, Layton & Johnstone, and Gracie Fields
Female Band Singers I Benny’s Babes: Helen Ward, Martha Tilton, and Helen Forrest
Sing a Song of Ellington: Ivie Anderson, Herb Jeffries, and Al Hibbler
Sing a Song of Miller: Male (Mostly) Band Singers I—Bob Eberly, Ray Eberle, Marion Hutton, Johnny Desmond, Tex Beneke, and Ray McKinley
Singing Songwriters: Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, and Johnny Mercer
Female Bandsingers II—Big Bands into Pop: Edythe Wright, Bea Wain, Ginny Simms, Kitty Kallen
Male Band Singers II—Exceptional Boychicks: Harry Babbitt and George “Bon Bon” Tunnell
Hollywood Divas: Alice Faye, Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Temple, and Betty Hutton
Two Inimitables: Sir Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich
Fats’s Femme Followers: Lee Morse, Ramona, Cleo Brown, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Una Mae Carlisle, Julia Lee, Nellie Lutcher, Rose Murphy, and Hadda Brooks
Big Pop (Male): Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Guy Mitchell, Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams
Hipsters and Bopsters: King Pleasure, Eddie Jefferson, Jackie Cain, Roy Kral, Irene Kral, Ann Richards, and Cleo Laine
Lee Wiley’s Boston Connection: Teddi King and Barbara Lea
Leading Ladies: Barbara Cook and Julie Andrews
Leading Men—In Defense of the Broadway Baritone: Alfred Drake, John Raitt, Gordon MacRae, Howard Keel, and Robert Goulet  
Dinah’s Daughters—Soulful Ladies and Local Favorites: Etta Jones, Gloria Lynne, Teri Thornton, Irene Reid, and Lorez Alexandria
Two Soulful Gentlemen: Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls
Blossom’s Buds and Dearie’s Daughters: Barbara Carroll, Daryl Sherman, and Ann Hampton Callaway
Rock Goes Standards!: From Connie Francis to Rod Stewart
Dynasty: Freddy Cole and Natalie Cole
Contemporary Male Jazz Singers: Allan Harris, Kevin Mahogany, and Kurt Elling
Contemporary Cabaret: Andrea Marcovicci, Mary Cleere Haran, Michael Feinstein, and Eric Comstock
Harry Connick Jr. and the Retro Crooner Boychicks: Harry Connick Jr., Michael Bublé, Jamie Cullum, and Peter Cincotti


Folk-Rock: Bob Dylan
Gospel: Mahalia Jackson
Rock ’n’ Roll: Elvis Presley
Blues: Bessie Smith
Country and Western: Hank Williams

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