Classical 91.5


Episode # 2125

6/19      How They Wrote the Songs  What’s the trick? How do they do it? Sometimes there’s no story at all. Somebody sat at a piano, wrote a song, and walked away. But sometimes there are songs whose invention is a good story. Never lose sight of the practicality, though. When somebody asked lyricist Sammy Cahn which came first, the words or the music, he said, “The phone call.”

4/24   Episode #21-17  

The Wit of Dorothy Fields The crackle of irreverence and intelligence set to the rhythms of everyday speech: that’s Dorothy Fields in a nutshell. Only she could subtitle a song, “A Sarcastic Love Song.” She could write the love ballads everybody expects from a songwriter, but she was a master of English colloquial speech and the wit that came with it.

Episode #1949

12/7      Three Decades of Ballard MacDonald  MacDonald moved successfully from Tin Pan Alley to Broadway to Hollywood, scattering hits along the way. His name may be largely forgotten but his songs include “Back Home in Indiana,” “Beautiful Ohio,” and “Somebody Loves Me.”

Episode #1946

11/16    Songs of Kalmar and Ruby Sometimes composer Harry Ruby worked with other lyricists. Sometimes lyricist Bert Kalmar worked with other composers. But when they began to collaborate as early as 1918, they began to turn out the hits for the next twenty years—from “Three Little Words” to “Who’s Sorry Now?”

Episode #1944

11/2      Lew Brown, Co-Lyricist Lew Brown, who came to America as an immigrant from Russia, wrote a lot of hit songs, beginning in the 1920s. Most of the time, though, there were three writers involved: a composer, another lyricist, and Brown. Unlike some other co-lyricists, he didn’t sit around and then claim a share of the royalties. Lew Brown worked.

Episode # 1924

6/15      One Damn Thing  Of course most songs are about love, but romance in today’s songs is generally incidental. These are mostly list songs—tributes to a lyricist’s inventiveness when it comes to laying out a catalogue of our endlessly messy lives.