Music by: Harry Von Tilzer
Lyrics by: Andrew B. Sterling
Cover artist: Hirt
It seems appropriate that we should board the bus, or boat or whatever
and head for dreamland to enjoy this month's feature. This song was quite
popular in its time and was a widely performed vaudeville song. It was
recorded by Edison with Byron G. Harlan performing. Like many of the songs
we will listen to this month, the song is a waltz time work. Waltzes lend
themselves nicely to a soaring sort of floating feeling and offer that
"dreamy" tone that many of the great ballads of the past have.
This song is no exception and sets a nice tone for this month's feature.
Thanks to an alert ParlorSongs visitor, Kathy, we have learned that this
song is unquestionably written about the Coney Island attraction, "Dreamland.
According to Kathy,
"Dreamland was only one portion of the
Coney Island collection of amusement attractions back in 1900 to about
1911 when Dreamland burned. And it makes perfect sense to get on the trolley,
or train, or whatever, to ride to Dreamland in Coney Island NYC. There
is also a "Dreamland waltz" out there somewhere I found one
time when poking on the internet."
Kathy also provided us with this fascinating and interesting
Thanks Kathy for
adding to our knowledge base about this old song!
Harry Von Tilzer (b. July 8, 1872, Detroit, MI, d. Jan. 10. 1946,
NY nee: Harry Gumm.) Harry, one of five children, was to find a career
in music as did his younger brother Albert. When still a child, his family
moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where his father acquired a shoe store.
A theatrical company gave performances in the loft above the store, and
that's where Harry learned to love show business.
His career really started in 1886 when, at age 14, he ran away from home
and joined the Cole Brothers Circus. By 1887, he was playing piano, composing
songs, and acting in a traveling repertory company. He changed his name
at that time. His mother's maiden name was Tilzer, and he 'gussied' it
up by adding the 'Von'. Thereafter he would be called Harry Von Tilzer,
and later his younger brother Albert would adopt the name also. Harry
met Lottie Gilson when the burlesque troupe with which he was working
reached Chicago. The popular vaudevillian took an interest, and induced
him to go to New York. In 1892, Harry, working as a groom on a trainload
of horses, arrived in New York, with just $1.65 in his pocket. He rented
a room near the Brooklyn Bridge and became a $15.00 per week saloon pianist.
He left New York briefly to work in a traveling medicine show, but returned
to again work in saloons and later as a vaudevillian in a 'Dutch' act
with George Sidney. At this time, Harry was writing songs, literally hundreds
of songs that were never published. He would sell them outright to other
entertainers for $2.00 each. But the tide was about to turn for Harry.
One of his songs was published, My Old New Hampshire Home, lyric
by Andrew B. Sterling. William C. Dunn, owner of a small print shop, purchased
it outright for $15.00, and issued it in 1898. It was a hit that sold
more than 2 million copies. In 1899, three more of Von Tilzer's songs
were published: I'd Leave My Happy Home for You, lyric by Will
A. Heelan I Wonder If She's Waiting, lyric by Andrew B. Sterling
Where The Sweet Magnolias Grow.The success of My Old New
Hampshire Home prompted Maurice Shapiro of Shapiro-Bernstein Music
Publishers to make Von Tilzer a partner, and the firm was renamed 'Shapiro,
Bernstein and Von Tilzer'. Harry then wrote his next big hit in 1900,
A Bird In A Gilded
Cage (Sibelius scorch format). In 1902, Von Tilzer quit the partnership
and formed his own firm 'Harry Von Tilzer Music Company'.
Andrew B. Sterling (b. 1874, New York City, d. 1955,
Stamford, CT) is perhaps one of the greatest American popular song writers
from the period. His most lasting partnership was with the great Harry
Von Tilzer but he wrote numerous songs in collaboration with other composers
such as Lange. Lange was a successful song composer for many years and
went on to write motion picture scores culminating in his Oscar nominations
in 1943 and 1944 for his songs The Woman in the Window and Casanova
Music by: Herbert Ingraham
Lyrics by: Ingraham
Cover artist: Unknown
In the earlier part of the 20th century, many love songs were exceptionally
passionate and this one is no exception. In fact, the chorus is wonderfully
emotional and oozes with passion. In addition, the song has that lilting
happy-go-lucky turn of the century flavor at the beginning. Musically
it is a real treasure and contains a marking rarely seen in popular music.
At the beginning in the verse, the lyrics carry the marking Recititavo,
a singing style more often found in classical music and in Oratorios rather
than common popular song. Of course the composer Ingraham was a noted
composer who worked in theater, orchestral music and popular music and
no doubt his broader background resulted in the use of musical methods
usually not found in popular song.
With this song we encounter perhaps the most common "dream"
theme in popular music; that of the dream lover or the girl (or man) of
one's dreams. You'll see this as a common and continuous theme in the
"dream" songs of early American popular music.
Herbert Ingraham (1883 - 1910) Ingraham was born in Aurora, Illinois
in 1883 and was considered a musical prodigy early in life. As a child
he conducted his own theatrical company and organized an orchestra in
Chicago. He moved to New York and became a staff composer for Shapiro,
Bernstein & Co. and was on his way to spectacular success when he
contracted tuberculosis and he died at only 27. In the last year of his
life, he had several hits including, All That I Ask Of You Is Love,
You Are The Ideal of My Dreams and Good-by Rose. Roses
Bring Dreams of You (MIDI) was one of his greatest hits and a
couple of comedy songs; Because I'm Married and Hoo-oo! Ain't
You Coming Out Tonight? His untimely death ended a very promising
Music by: F. Henri Klickmann
Lyrics by: Charles F. McNamara
Cover artist: Bouthillier(1), unknown(2)
Here is a work that we have two different copies of with different covers
so we have included both covers as a "rollover" (put your cursor
over the cover image). The first image is by a cover artist who is rarely
seen, he must have done only a few covers, in fact, we can find only one
other song listed with him as artist. Regardless of art, this is yet another
song with a great deal of passion. Harmonically, it has
that special sound of the turn of the century works. In waltz time, it
offers a tender melody and sweet lyrics about dreams of the one he loves.
(See the lyrics link below to review the full lyrics or view the score
as it plays).
F. Henri Klickmann has a fairly large number of
works to his credit, yet biographical information on his is sketchy at
best. He was well known as not only a composer but as an orchestrator
and arranged music for a number of acts including the famous Six Brown
Brothers who were responsible for the popularization of the saxophone
in vaudeville and recording. Klickmann composed a number of pieces they
recorded in 1916 and 1917 as well as published commercial arrangements
of them including the tune Chicken Walk. There is an audible
improvement from 1914-15 in the sophistication of the writing., attributed
to Klickmann. Klickmann composed in a wide range of popular styles and
his hits include; Sweet
Hawaiian Moonlight (Sibelius scorch format); Good-Bye
(1914) a "hesitation waltz"; Knockout Drops Rag; The Dallas
Blues (1912), and My Sweetheart Went Down with the Ship,
a 1912 tear jerker about the Titanic.
Can I Forget You (Dreaming of You All The While)
Music by: Harry Verona
Lyrics by: Verona
Cover artist: Starmer
This is one of the few songs this month not in 3/4 time. In "common"
time (basically 4/4), it still comes across as a nice dreamy tune. Here
though, rather than singing about someone in their dreams, we are singing
about a lost love and the protagonist's inability to forget his lost love
because of recurring dreams of her. Of course, for some, those dreams
might be nightmares, but not in those times. Romance was always in the
air so it seems and love was always a topic for melancholy or joy.
Harry Verona, it seems is a victim of no-one dreaming of him for
he seems long forgotten. A search of the net reveals no other songs by
him and a review of our complete collection of references comes up empty.
I hope someone out there who knows about him will let us know so we can
preserve his biographical information. In the meanwhile, enjoy this fine
work by him and dream about someone you love.
Music by: Joseph Nathan
Lyrics by: Douglass Overin
Cover artist: unreadable signature
Here we have another of the many Sunday newspaper supplements that were
printed in the early 20th century. With pianos gracing nearly every home,
music was a national past-time and the newspapers knew that adding "free"
sheet music was a way to bolster interest in the Sunday editions. Of course,
for those without pianos, the music may have made a nice liner for the
bird cage. Unfortunately, the format and distribution of this music has
resulted in the loss of many otherwise unpublished works. Thanks to a
few farsighted people though, some of the works have been preserved. Of
course, due to the extremely short lived nature of high acid newsprint,
we are finding fewer and fewer of these to preserve and the condition
of most is deplorable. For more information about this form of music publication,
see our feature
on Sunday supplement music .
As with many of the Sunday supplement songs, this one is not necessarily
the stuff of hits. Though a pleasant tune, it somehow lacks the combination
of music and lyrics that makes a hit. Often, publishers would offer their
slower selling songs to the newspapers to increase interest in the work
or the composer. Published Sunday, Aug. 20, 1905 as a supplement to the
New York American and Journal, this may be the one of only a few surviving
copies .The song begins with an introductory verse in common time that
is almost familiar, as though it were from another work. I cannot identify
its source, but it is somehow familiar. At the chorus, Nathan moves to
the dreamy waltz time and it is quite nice.
Joseph Nathan, (1858-1929) & Douglass Overin (b. NY.
1884?) are yet another pair of songwriters who have vanished into the
past. Searches for information about both reveal just this one song although
I feel sure that they must have produced more but once again, we have
lost our musical heritage, at lease for the moment.
Music by: Charles L. Johnson
Lyrics by: Johnson
Cover artist: Fred Craft
I think this song is a fine example of the "dream song" as
it has a wonderful 3/4 time melody with lyrics that fit well with the
music. The flow of the music is emotional with good harmonics and a languid
flow that makes you want to close your eyes and join the singer in dreaming
of your love. In this case, we are taken to dreams of days gone by, better
times when two lovers enjoyed happiness and a life without care or worry.
A quite nostalgic song, the lyrics and music well integrated to create
a real and palpable mood of the past. This work is by one of early American
popular music's earliest and finest African -American composers. It is
also unusual in it's style as Johnson is best known for his Rags and this
song is somewhat of a rarity from his most productive years. Given its
source, it is no wonder that Dream Days is clearly from the pen
of a master songwriter.
Charles Leslie Johnson was
born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 3, 1876. He started taking piano
lessons at age six and at sixteen was studying composition and music theory.
Incredibly talented, he taught himself to play the violin, banjo, guitar
and mandolin. He not only was a composer and performer but also an important
patron of the arts in organizing a number of string orchestras. Like many
great composers of the times, he was a song plugger early in his career,
playing for J.W. Jenkins Sons' Music Company. His first published rag
was Scandalous Thompson, published by Jenkins in 1899. Later,
Johnson was associated with Central Music Publishing and then Carl Hoffman
Music Company. While working at Hoffman in 1906, Johnson was working on
a new rag when the bookkeeper walked in and asked him what the name of
the new work was. Johnson had not named the song yet but noticed the man
carrying a carton of dill pickles. Johnson supposedly replied, "I'll
call it 'Dill Pickles Rag.' " After the success of Dill
Pickles (Sibelius scorch format), Johnson started his own publishing
firm which was purchased by Will Rossiter in 1910 with the stipulation
that Johnson not reenter publishing for at least one year.
Johnson became one of the most prolific composers of the period and expanded
his compositions to cover all types of music other than rags. He was published
by all of the major firms and was so productive he even resorted to using
pseudonyms to make it look like he had a staff of composers working for
him. In all, Johnson wrote thirty two rags including Porcupine Rag
in 1909 and Blue Goose Rag in 1913. His biggest money making song
was Sweet and Low in 1919. Considered a clever and creative composer,
Johnson's high sense of humor was often reflected in his works, as it
is in Dill Pickles. Always a homebody, Johnson stayed in his hometown
of KC for his entire life and died there on December 28, 1950.
Music by: A Fred Phillips
Lyrics by: Richard Howard
Cover artist: Starmer
Yet another love lost dream song came to us from the team of Phillips
and Howard, neither of which are now, or were then, household names but
who nonetheless created a wonderful ballad that speaks of a girl of dreams
who he has never met except in his dreams and who leaves him with the
dawn each day. A very nice melody with romantic sentiments and again,
that nostalgic touch that seems to permeate "dream" songs from
A. Fred Phillips is yet another of the many "missing in action"
composers from the early 20th century golden age of song, there is virtually
no information available on him other than listings for three of his songs,
the present one and Got Her Off My Hands But Can't Get Her Out Of
My Mind from 1951, and popularized by the Mills Brothers and Got
The Bench, Got The Park But I Haven't Got You from 1931. It seems
he wrote a song every twenty years or so. He also seemed to have a penchant
for long titles. It seems his partner in writing this son, Richard
Howard, has suffered the same fate with only three songs to his credit
and little else about him to be found. His works include this one and
Face To Face With The Girl Of My Dreams, 1914 and When The
Leaves Come Tumbling Down, 1922.
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