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Music From Obscure Broadway;

Songs From Early Broadway Shows.

 

The "Great White Way," Broadway, cradle of the American musical and stage. From it's earliest days, the theaters and music halls of Broadway in New York City echoed with some of America's best popular music and became the center of the music publishing industry in America. Without Broadway, there would have been no "Tin Pan Alley" for the huge congregation of theaters and performers became a magnet for the finest composers and lyricists that America had to offer. Broadway could be considered the seed for the tremendous development and growth of America's popular music.

 

When I first started planning this feature, I had in mind a single issue that would expose our readers to a sampling of the music from the early years of Broadway. When I began compiling music from our collection, it became clear to me that one issue would never suffice. We have hundreds of songs that had their origins in Broadway productions and to choose but ten or a dozen songs from the incredible treasure trove of music became an impossible task. As a result, I've decided to devote the next three (and maybe more) monthly issues to the songs of Broadway. In doing so I hope to share with you some of the incredible music from those early days, most of which you've probably never heard but deserve exposition to the light of the 21st century. Along the way, we'll learn about some shows that were smash hits and many more that were not. These issues will not be as much a history of Broadway but more a history of some of Broadway's forgotten music and productions.

 

Broadway is a place but much more than that. It's an experience and a concept as well. Called the "Great White Way" due to the lights of all the theaters, it is the center of the musical stage and has provided the world some of the greatest stage works of all time and some of the greatest lasting musical hits the world has ever known. Broadway had it's earliest beginnings with the construction of two theaters in on or about 1820 and continued to grow from that point onward. New York's Broadway continued to grow and soon became the center of entertainment that attracted stage works and performers from around the world. The first electric marquee appeared in 1891 and soon the theaters in the area were following suit, creating the "white way." The real boom for Broadway came after 1900 and that is where our focus will be. Although in the course of this article, we will provide some historical information about Broadway and some of its theaters, our purpose is to focus on the music from that era, not so much the history of the area itself. For a very complete and engaging history of Broadway, we highly recommend that you visit the excellent site "Talkin' Broadway" and its "Broadway 101" history of Broadway by Robert Rusie.

 

In addition, rather than rehash many of the best known songs from Broadway productions, we've chosen to provide you, in most cases, with music that is less well known or even long forgotten. This is in keeping with our desire to bring to light that part of our musical heritage that is less well known today but yet valuable to preserve and bring to light. As always, we hope you'll find the music enjoyable and delight with us in rediscovering a part of America's musical history that few of us are familiar with today.

 

If you are new to us, to enjoy the full musical experience, we recommend that you get the Scorch plug in from our friends at Sibelius software. The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the sheet music as the music plays and see the lyrics as well. Each month we also allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play the music yourself. It's a complete musical experience! Get the Sibelius Scorch player now.

 

Richard A. Reublin, October, 2005. This article published October, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or a company officer.

 


The Eminent Dr. Fizz

1901


Music by: Gustav Luders
Words by: Frank Pixley
Cover artist: Unattributed


For our first piece we present a very humorous novelty piece from the show, King Dodo. King Dodo premiered at Daly's Theater on May 12, 1902 and closed only a few weeks later after 64 performances. The book for the show was by Pixley with music and some lyrics by Luders. The show was produced by Daniel Frohman and Henry W. Savage. Among the stars in the cast were Ray Aldrich, Fred W. Bailey, John Barry and Arthur Deagon, none of whom are household names today. Daly's Theater was one of Broadway's earliest. The theater was erected in 1879 at 1221 Broadway by playwright and producer Augustin Daly. A rather plain edifice not at all very theater-like, Daly's theater burned down sometime before 1890 and Daly took over the Fifth Avenue theater and renamed it Daly's Theater. It was at this second "Daly's" that this play would have appeared.

 

The song is a very cute novelty that could easily appear in a contemporary show. It is simple yet charming. The song is an exchange between Dr. Fizz who is clearly a quack and the chorus from the show who repeat certain lines for emphasis. The sheet music we've used here was published in the New York American and Journal on Sunday June 8, 1902 which was in the middle of the show's run. One thing that seems to be apparent about show music is that it is less dated than much of the popular music of the times. Show tunes have a certain quality that sets them apart from standard music, although it is true that many show tunes have become popular but few popular songs have moved from the popular arena to the stage. Of course that is generally because stage productions are in total a new creative work and there is some cohesion required so the music takes on the character of the show.

 

Gustav Luders (b. Dec. 13,1865 Bremen, Germany d. January 1913, New York, NY.) wrote a fairly large number of musicals and stage plays from the period 1900 to 1913. After a long absence, he produced one work in 1930 and nothing after that. His work, Sho-gun opened October 10, 1904 at Wallack's Theater and ran for 125 performances (Internet Broadway Database).
Musically trained in Europe, Luders emigrated to Milwaukee, WI, in 1888, when he was 23 years old, and started conducting theater and beer hall orchestras. The eminent composer, Charles K. Harris (After the Ball) encouraged him to follow career in music publishing, in Chicago. He found work as an arranger, in the Chicago office of Isidore Witmark Publishing, but also continued to conduct theater orchestras there

In 1899, Luders' first operetta Little Robinson Crusoe opened in Chicago. It starred Eddie Foy. Henry W. Savage heard it and commissioned Luders to score the operetta 'The Burgomaster', which also opened in Chicago. At this time, Luders formed a team with Frank Pixley, the editor of the Chicago Times-Herald Newspaper, with Pixley writing text and lyrics.

 

Hear this 1901 humorous song. ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 



Mister Dooley

1902


Music by: Jean Schwartz
Words by: William Jerome
Cover artist: De Takacs


You'd think that a show titled The Chinese Honeymoon would be the last place to find a song about a man named Dooley, but here we are. In researching this one, the actual title was "A" Chinese Honeymoon and the show premiered on June 2, 1902 at the Casino Theater, which I can find no information about. The show ran for a very impressive 376 performances till May of 1903 and then was revived in March of 1904 at the NY Academy of Music for 31 performances. The majority of the music and lyrics for the show were by Howard Talbot and George Dance but Jerome & Schwartz contributed "additional music." A musical comedy, the show featured a cast of 15 including the man pictured on the cover of the sheet music, Thomas Q. Seabrooke who played a gent called "Mr. Pineapple."

 

The song is a novelty song about a man by the name of Dooley who, if the lyrics are to be believed, was responsible for Napoleon's success as well as that of Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill. Quite the man! Written in 6/8 time, the song has a march quality about it. The music is entertaining but nothing particularly spectacular. In this case it was the lyric that made the song as is often the case in stage productions in order to tell the story.

 

William Jerome (b. 1865, Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, NY - d. 1932, New York, NY) One of Tin Pan Alley's and early Broadway's most important lyricists, he collaborated with many of Tin Pan Alley's greatest composers including Walter Donaldson, Andrew B. Sterling, Harry Von Tilzer and Lewis Hirsch. His main collaborator from 1901 too the 20's though was Jean Schwartz. Early in his career, like many of his fellow songwriters, Jerome performed in Vaudeville and Minstrel shows. He formed his own publishing house who's best known publication is George Cohan's great hit war song, Over There. He wrote music for a number of the Ziegfield follies as well as many stage shows including, In Hayti (1909), Piff! Paff! Poof! (1904), and Vera Violetta ( 1911). His most famous songs include Bedelia (MIDI), Chinatown, My Chinatown (MIDI) and Get Out And Get Under The Moon.

Jean Schwartz (b. 1878, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1956, Los Angeles, CA.) The Schwartz family emigrated from Hungary to New York City in 1891. Starting his American musical career as a songplugger at Shapiro and Bernstein, Schwartz went on to become one of America's greatest songwriters. His collaborations with the likes of Jerome Kern, William Jerome and Milton Ager resulted in some of our greatest songs and musical stage works. Schwartz was involved in music early in life and received his first musical training with his sister, who had received her training with the great composer and piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt. After his family emigrated to New York City, for several years they lived on the city's lower east side, in abject poverty. Jean worked at a number of odd jobs to help support his family. Although he did work as a cashier in a Turkish Bath house, mostly he was able to find musical work. One of his jobs was as a sheet music demonstrator in New York's Siegel-Cooper Department Store. This was the first sheet music department to appear in a major department store. During this time, he also found some musical employment and performed with an ensemble at Coney Island. Finally, he became a staff pianist and song plugger in Shapiro-Bernstein Inc., a Tin Pan Alley music publisher. In 1899, at age 21, Schwart'z first published work appeared, a cakewalk titled Dusky Dudes.

 


William Jerome, a well known lyricist, and Schwartz met in 1901. It was the start of a fruitful songwriting partnership. Over the next few years, they wrote some very successful songs for different Broadway shows, among them were: Don't Put Me Off at Buffalo Anymore, Rip van Winkle Was a Lucky Man, Hamlet Was a Melancholy Dane and what was one of their most popular works from the 1903 show The Jersey Lily; Bedelia sung by Blanche Ring. All of this success made the team of Schwartz and Jerome a popular act for the vaudeville circuits, where they were headliners for many years. Schwartz also was employed as the pianist for the Dolly Sisters' vaudeville act, and in time, he married one of the sisters, Rozika.

 

In 1913 Schwartz teamed up with lyricist Harold Atteridge to write songs for a number of popular shows including The Passing Show of 1913, and The Honeymoon Express that same year. In 1914 Schwartz, with Grant Clarke as lyricist wrote, I Love The Ladies and Back To The Carolina You Love . One of Scwartz's greatest collaborations was with Sam. M. Lewis. In 1917 they teamed up to write songs for the great Al Jolsen and ca,e up with Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody; Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Scorch format) and Why Do They All Take The Night Boat To Albany?


Schwartz continued to team up with talented lyricists and produced song after song for numerous shows as well as individual popular songs that did well. From 1931 until 1937, Schwartz and Milton Ager collaborated on several hits, including: Trouble In Paradise; Little You Know and Trust In Me, a 1937 hit. Schwartz wrote few songs after 1940 and lived in relative seclusion till his death in Los Angeles, CA, age 76 years.

 

Enjoy this wonderful old novelty song (Scorch Format)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


 


Friends That Are Good And True

1905

 


Music by: W. T. Francis
Words by Sydney Rosenfeld
Cover artist: Edgar Keller

 

On May first, 1901 The Rollicking Girl opened at the Herald Square Theater in the heart of Manhattan's theater district. The show was produced by Charles Frohman who had opened his own theater, The Empire, in 1893. The music for this show was by William T. Francis who had a large number of Broadway shows to his credit over a period of around ten years. None of those shows are known today. The Rollicking Girl ran for 192 performances till October 15 and then enjoyed a short second run at the New York Theater from during April and May of 1906 (31 performances).

 

This song was sung by Hattie Williams (1872 - 1942) who is described by Kinkle as an "attractive singer-comedienne in early Broadway shows." It is an interesting song as it has elements of comedy and seriousness. The music itself is wonderful. The song begins with a slow introduction that is quite beautiful. The verse is also very melodic and beautiful. The overall effect is a wonderful ballad that tells a great and true tale of the meaning of friends and who you can count on. Yet, the words of the second and third verses turn to the oft found betrayal of friends. In the context of the music, the words of the second and third verses must have caught the audience off guard and I'm sure there was a bit of consternation, then titters over the story. This is one of our "discoveries of the month" for this issue. It's a song that deserves hearing today.

 

Despite Francis & Rosenfeld's (1856 - 1931) relatively large and important output, the history books seem to have forgotten them and little can be found other than reference to their collective works.

 


Listen to and see this interesting song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


The Lovelight Beaming From Your Eyes

1908


Music by: Julian Edwards
Words by: Chas. J. Campbell
Cover artist: Unsigned

 

For those who were born after about 1960, the word "gay" means simply happy and carefree. In today's world, many people might think that The Gay Musician was a play about something different. This show opened on May 18, 1908 and closed after only 21 performances on June 6. The show was never staged again. The short single run is a pretty good indication of a bomb. The show was staged at Wallack's theater, built by Lester Wallack, who managed it from the 1882 opening until 1887. After Wallack retired, there were many managers, including A. M. Palmer, who renamed it for himself. The original name was restored in 1895. In 1915, it was torn down and replaced by an office building. (Image and history of Wallack's theater from the Internet Broadway Database) The show had a rather large cast of 35 that included the lyricist Charles Campbell, a quite unusual arrangement.

 

The song is a very nice ballad that may have been one of the better experiences from the show. Certainly the fact that it was published as a "single," speaks to its quality. It seems out of place though within a comedy, although admittedly, comedies often have their tender moments. The song is seemingly much more formal than many of the songs we've looked at this month.

 

Julian Edwards (1855, Manchester England - 1910 Yonkers NY) wrote a number of operas and operettas as well as one symphony and an overture. Edwards was born D. H. Barnard and adopted his stage name while still in England. Edwards was conductor of the Royal English opera company in 1877. He came to the US in 1889 where he produced a number of comic operas in New York and Boston. His main works were: Corinna (1880), Victoria (1883), King Rene's Daughter (1893), The Patriot (1907), Madeleine, or The Magic Kiss (1894), The Jolly Musketeer (1898), Dolly Varden (1901), When Johnny Comes Marching Home (1902), Love's Lottery (1904), The Girl and the Governor (1906), The Gay Musician (1908), Miss Molly May (1909) and The Motor Girl (1909).

 

Hear this gay old song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics




If All The Moons Were Honeymoons

1909



Music by: Jos. E. Howard
Words by: Will. M. Hough & Frank R. Adams
Cover artist: Starmer


The Goddess of Liberty opened at Weber's Music hall on December 22. 1909 and closed in January after but 29 performances. Yet another bomb but with redeeming musical qualities. Weber's theater was located on Broadway between 29th & 30th Sts. A musical variety house, it was leased to the Weber & Fields comedy team in 1896, who made it a popular entertainment venue. But, in 1906, the duo ended their partnership (it would prove to be only temporary) and the theatre was renamed Weber's Theatre. In 1913, it became a movie house and remained so until it was torn down for offices in 1917. (Theater history from the Internet Broadway Database)

 

This song has an 1890's quality to it and is a very nice love ballad. It's a simple melody and one that is very pleasant but dated. It is very much in the style of popular song rather than having that Broadway style to it.

 

Joseph. E. Howard (1878 - 1961) Was a popular composer and vaudeville performer. His immortality can be found in the famous works Hello Ma Baby which he wrote with his wife Ida Emerson in 1899 and I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now. Howard wrote a number of popular works in addition, among them are; On a Saturday Night (1902), Goodbye My Lady Love (1904), What's The Use of Dreaming (1906), I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now with Will M. Hough and Frank R. Adams (1909) which Howard introduced in the Chicago show, The Prince of Tonight.

 

Will M. Hough (1882 - 1962) Was educated at the University of Chicago and wrote material for vaudeville and Broadway productions. His best known work is I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now with Will M. Hough and Joseph E. Howard (1909). He also wrote a number of books for stage productions that include; The Goddess of Liberty (1909), The Land of Nod (1907) and A Modern Eve (1915).

 

Frank R. Adams (1883 - 1963) Attended the University of Chicago at the same time as Will Hough. For a time he was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and then for the Daily News and Examiner. His most famous collaboration was with Will Hough and Joe Howard on I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now in 1909.

 

Enjoy this great stage song (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



Wonderful World

1910



Music by: Paul A. Rubens
Words by: Paul A. Rubens & Arthur Wimperis
Cover artist: Unsigned

 

The Balkan Princess opened at the Herald Square Theater on February 9, 1911 and after only a few days, for some unknown (to me) reason, was moved to the Casino Theater on February 27. It closed at the Casino after only 108 performances on May 19, 1911, a fairly good run if the prior shows we've looked at were any indication. The show was produced by the Schubert Brothers (J.J. and Lee) and the book was written by Frederic Lonsdale and Frank Curzon. Paul A. Rubens wrote all the music and lyrics were written by him and Arthur Wimperis. The cast included the Broadway debut of Alice Brady (1892 - 1939) who not only starred in more than 33 Broadway shows all the way from 1910 to 1933. She also went on to become a Broadway producer in her own right.

 

The song is a wonderful waltz song, marked quasi lente so it's a little slower than most of the "dance" waltzes we featured last month in our feature on the waltz in American music. The melody, pace and lyrics of the verse make for a wistful bit of reverie that speaks to the condition of the world. The refrain is a bit of a love song to the world and the implication is that the singer has somehow found freedom to wander the world at will. I'm sure if we knew the entire story, we could make sense of it. For now, just relax and enjoy this comforting song.

 

Paul A. Rubens wrote a substantial number of books, lyrics and music for Broadway shows. Though his dates are not to be found in any of my references (and the net is flooded with articles about the Flemish painter Paul Rubens) but we do know the titles of many of the shows he wrote. Few of his songs found success outside the context of the shows they appeared in. His first musical was A Country Girl in 1902 and he continued writing shows till at least 1925. Among his other works are; Three Little Maids (1903), Miss Hook Of Holland (1908), The Sunshine Girl (1913) and Naughty Cinderella (1925).

 

Listen to this great piece (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



Just 'Round The Corner From Broadway

1914



Music by: Gus Edwards
Words by: Blanche Merrill
Cover artist: E. H. Pfeiffer

 

Aside from musical plays Broadway was the venue of numerous musical revues, shows with a rather loose story line, or none at all, connecting a number of musical works that were otherwise unrelated. In some cases, revues were produced by songwriters simply to showcase their music such as Irving Berlin's Music Box Revues. Consider them the music videos of the era. Singers, choruses and various extras danced their way around the stage whilst the music was played and sung, often by the major stars of the days. Gus Edwards was one of Tin Pan Alley's greatest composers (see bio. below) and wrote hundreds of hit songs. Like Berlin, Edwards rounded up performers to stage revues of his music and this song came from Edwards' Revue of 1914. Unfortunately, I've been unable to locate the venue for the show or other information so we only have this one song to know this production.

 

The chorus girls on the cover makes for a fabulous cover, in spite of Edwards' rather stern visage staring down at them from the top right. This is a really upbeat and exciting song. Much in the manner of Cohan, Edwards has written about a demure and modest "Mary" who lives just 'round the corner from Broadway. In 2/4 time, it's a march-like tune that is just plain fun to listen to. The song refrain is in the same gay style and we discover that dear Mary it is hoped will remain unsullied by the sordid goings on just 'round the corner. Enjoy!

 

Gus Edwards (1879 - 1945) Was born in Hohensalza, Germany and at the age of eight his family brought him to America. Considered by some to be the most important songwriter to come out of vaudeville, as a boy he worked as a tobacco stripper at an uncle's cigar store. Gus used to sneak into theaters and somehow made friends with several vaudeville performers, among them, Lottie Gibson who used the boy as a boy stooge in her act. Blessed with a fine voice, Edwards soon was performing in an act, "The Newsboy Quartet". During this period, Edwards met and received coaching from some of the most prominent performers of the time including George Cohan, Emma Carus and Imogene Comer. With Cohan's encouragement, Edwards began writing songs and his first song was All I Want Is My Black Baby Back in 1898 and performed as a part of the Newsboy act. Edwards did not know how to read or write music so had to enlist someone else to notate the melody for him. During the Spanish American war, Edwards was entertaining troops bound for Cuba and met Will D. Cobb, at the time a department store salesman who wrote songs as a hobby. The two hit it off and decided to work together writing songs. From that collaboration came a long list of hit songs including this featured song and Goodbye, Little Girl, Goodbye (scorch format) in 1904. Edwards worked with other composers and with each, wrote other hits. Among his greatest hits are In My Merry Oldsmobile (see our February, 2001 feature), By The Light Of The Silvery Moon in 1909 and Tammany in 1905. Edwards continued to stay involved in vaudeville till it finally died out in the late 30's. He retired in 1938 and lived to see his life story made into a movie, Star Maker (1939), starring Bing Crosby. Edwards died in Los Angeles in 1945.

 

Blanche Merrill wrote lyrics for a number of Broadway productions including parts of at least two of Ziegfeld's famous follies series. She also wrote complete songs as for example her 1936 song Trailing Along In A Trailer. She wrote a number of songs in collaboration with a number of major composers including Jazz Baby (1919) with M. K. Jerome and Just 'Round The Corner From Broadway (1914) with Gus Edwards. Jazz Baby was later revived by Carol Channing in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967.

 

Listen to this 1914 "revue" song (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



My Hero

1909



Music by: Oscar Straus
Words by: Stanislaus Stange
Cover artist: Unsigned

 

The Chocolate Soldier was an import to the USA from Germany. First staged there, it came to the US in 1909 and became a very big hit. Among the shows for which we've presented music this month, this show is probably the most successful and most lasting. The show has been staged at least seven times since the first time in 1910. The US premiere was at the Lyric Theater on September 13, 1909 then it moved to the Herald Square, back to the Lyric and then to the Casino. The show enjoyed 295 performances before closing on May 28, 1910. It was restaged again in October 1910 at the Circle Theater, December 1921 at the Century, January 1930 at Jolson's Theater, September 1931 at Erlanger's, May 1934 at The St. James and finally, March to May of 1947 at the New Century Theater. The 1947 performance earned two Tony's, one for best costume design and one as the Theater World Award. In 1941, The Chocolate Soldier was made into a movie starring Nelson Eddy and Risë Stevens. In 1954 it was made into a TV movie starring Eddie Albert, Risë Stevens and Akim Tamiroff. Quite impressive!

 

This song is one of the more popular from the play and enjoyed several reissues over the thirty year history of the show in America. Despite it's popularity, it's not my favorite of this month's works. It begins with a bit of a military sounding verse/introduction in 6/8 and then quickly moves to a slow waltz marked Valse lento. I've presented it here in a lento tempo but in spite of the marking, it seems a bit too slow so if you agree and are using the scorch player, just use the tempo slider bar to adjust the tempo to your own taste. It's a bit of a smarmy love song with tremolos that reveal it's age a bit too much. I guess modern times just pushed this one out of the way after that last performance.

 

Oscar Straus (1870 - 1954) was born in Austria, and a pupil of Max Bruch in Berlin, Oscar Straus followed the advice of Johann Strauss, Jr., who told him to gain experience by conducting in provincial theatres. In Berlin he won some fame in the Überbrettl cabaret, for which Schoenberg also wrote. Returning to Vienna at the turn of the century, he began to write operetta in a series of works that rivalled in popularity those of Lehár. In 1939 he moved to Paris and then to New York and Hollywood, returning after the war to Bad Ischl, (Austria) where he died in 1954. Interestingly, though most of his life was lived in Europe,he found his most fame in America. He wrote a number of successful Broadway shows after the success of the song My Hero in the comic opera The Chocolate Soldier in 1909. His most famous individual songs were My Hero and While Hearts Are Singing in 1931. Strauss also enoyed a career that included writing scores for a number of films in America and Europe. Among his film scores were; Married in Hollywood (1930), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), One Hour With You (1932) and Make A Wish (1937). Some of his other musicals were; My Lady's Glove (1917), The Last Waltz (1921), A Wonderful Night (1929) and The Three Waltzes in (1938). Straus was brother to the famous Isidor Straus, and his wife, who, refusing to be parted, went down to their death together when the Titanic foundered. On that occasion, Strauss was inundated with messages of sympathy from, among others, Among the first to send messages were Teddy Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt, Mrs. Grover Cleveland, President Finley of New York University and Mrs. Finley and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew D. White.

 

Listen to this great Broadway hit song (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



The Ragtime Pipe Of Pan

1915



Music by: Sigmund Romberg
Words by: Harold Atteridge
Cover artist: Plummer

 

A World of Pleasure played one run at the Winter Garden Theater from October 14, 1915 to January, 1916. The show played 116 performances and then seems to have permanently been forgotten. The show was produced by the Schubert brothers and featured a cast of unfortunately long forgotten (to us today) performers. The one exception would be a young but seasoned Sydney Greenstreet playing in his eighth Broadway production. Greenstreet went on to play in many more shows well into the 1940's and also appeared in a number of films.

 

I guess I would characterize this song as "interesting." It's a bit of a jazzy ragtime thing that has some catchy lyrics (among some very corny ones) and a very "classical" sound to it that includes a number of runs that I assume were to imitate the sound of a panpipe. There's a lot of creativity in this song. After the "classical" section, the song moves into a very lively and jazzy, ahead of it's time with a bit of the 20's sound to it. I think you'll enjoy it.

 

Sigmund Romberg (July 29, 1887 – November 9, 1951) was a composer best known for his operettas. He was born in Nagykanizsa in Hungary. He went to Vienna to study engineering, but also took composition lessons while there. He moved to the United States of America in 1909 and, after a brief stint working in a pencil factory, was employed as a pianist in cafes. He eventually founded his own orchestra and published a few songs, which, despite their limited success, drew him to the attention of the Schubert brothers who hired him to write music for their shows in 1914. That year he wrote his first significant operetta, The Whirl of the World.

Romberg's adaptation of melodies by Franz Schubert for Blossom Time (1921, produced in the UK as Lilac Time) was a great success. He subsequently wrote his best known operettas, The Student Prince (1924), The Desert Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928) which are in a similar style to the Viennese operettas of Franz Lehár. His later works, such as Up in Central Park (1945), are closer to the American musical in style, but they were less successful.

Romberg also wrote a number of film scores and adapted his own work for film. He died in Hartsdale, New York. Romberg was the subject of the 1954 Stanley Donen-directed film Deep in My Heart, in which he was played by José Ferrer. (From Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia" used in accordance with the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.)

 

Listen to this wonderful song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



Oh, Those Days

1915



Music by: Sigmund Romberg
Words by: Harold Atteridge
Cover artist: De Takacs

 

For our last piece this month we have another Romberg/Atteridge composition from their production, Maid In America. This work, like the prior one, was staged at the Winter Garden from February 18, 1915 to May after but 108 performances. A very similar life span for each. Of course Romberg wrote two blockbusters, The Student Prince and The Desert Song to make up for the weak showing of these two.

 

This song is my number one "discovery of the month." It's a fabulously creative song that simply must be seen and heard to appreciate Romberg and Atteridge's skill. The song begins with a dramatic flourish then a strutting melody that sounds almost like a slow cakewalk, it then moves to a more upbeat chorus melody that tells the story Atteridge has written. With lots of dissonance and a strong minor key sound, this is truly one that should never be forgotten. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Listen to this "Roman" song. (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


This article published October, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or an officer of the corporation. Though the songs published on this site are often in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected by copyright as recorded performances.

 

Thanks for visiting us and be sure to come back again next month to see our new feature or to read some or all of our over 120 articles about America's music. See our resources page for a complete bibliography of our own library resources used to research this and other articles in our series.

 

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A great deal of work and effort has gone into these pages. The concept, design, images, written text and performance (MIDI and other recordings) of these works, the web pages, custom images and original content are Copyright © 1997-2017 by Richard A. Reublin or Richard G. Beil. Before using any of these images, text or performances (MIDI or other recordings), please read our usage policy for standard permissions and those requiring special attention. Thanks.

We respect your privacy and do not collect or divulge personal information see our privacy policy for more information


E-Mail us for more information or comments or read our FAQs to get instant answers to our most often asked questions.


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