Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jerome Kern, 1885 - 1945

 One of the Broadway Biggies: Jerome Kern.
Born on Sutton Place (when it was the brewery district)
in 1885, Jerome showed an early talent for music making.
High school shows, rehearsal pianist,
Tin Pan Alley song plugger...

 700 songs (and over 100 musicals) later...
Shows like The Red Petticoat, The Girl From Utah, and Sally
from the early 1900s, though no longer mounted,
hold the standards that we know today.
His partners "in writing crime"
read like a Who's Who of librettists:
Guy Bolton, Otto Harbach, P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Fields...
and above with Oscar Hammerstein II (on left)
and theatrical producer Flo Ziegfeld. 

 Show Boat...done in 1927, with Oscar,
and produced by Ziegfeld.
The only Kern musical still revived,
and arguably his masterpiece.
 Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel
in the 1951 movie version of Show Boat...
"Make Believe"
 Judy Garland, in the movie Till The Clouds Roll By,
singing "Look For The Silver Lining,"
a song originally written for Zip Goes A Million,
by Kern and B.G. DeSylva,
and reused in Sally.
Kern wrote music for silent pictures as early as 1912,
and returned to Hollywood in the 1930s
for Swing Time, You Were Never Lovelier, and Cover Girl.
 Who DIDN'T record Kern?
Jeanette MacDonald did...we'll hear her rendition of
"They Didn't Believe Me", with lyrics by Herbert Reynolds.
But how do you pick from Jerome's wonderful melodies?
 All The Things You Are,
Long Ago And Far Away, The Last Time I Saw Paris...

 Couldn't resist a digression to a Jeanette movie poster,
with Nelson Eddy...
"I'm No Prude!"

Marilyn...and A Fine Romance,
a Kern melody, with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
(BTW, how do you choose just one photo of MM?)
Jerome evidently hated jazz arrangements of his songs,
but today so many of his songs live on
because of those very jazz interpretations,
he should be pleased. :)

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