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Book Review

Reading Lyrics

Robert Gottlieb, Robert Kimball
Hardcover: 736 pages
Pantheon
November 21, 2000
ISBN: 0375400818
This book covers over 100 lyricists and the lyrics to over 1,000 songs. Since there is no sheet music it is more akin to a book of poetry. The very best lyrics read like a poem, but others can seem silly without the music. There is a brief biography of each lyricist and usually a short stylistic comment. The Coda covers over fifty songs not falling under the authorship of the lyricists covered in previous chapters.

The appeal of the book to jazz standards fans is having all of these lyrics compiled into one volume. Of course, knowing the melodies improves one’s enjoyment. An Index of Song Titles includes the publication date, where the song first appeared (i.e. show or movie), name of first performer(s) and sometimes the performer most closely associated with the song. The lyricists are covered in chronological order but there is no alphabetical listing by which to look them up.

Robert Gottlieb is the editor of Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now, The Collected Stories of Rudyard Kipling, and The Journals of John Cheever.

Robert Kimball is the editor of The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, and co-editor of The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart and The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin.


About the Bookstore
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The JazzStandards.com bookstore provides you with a catalog of 200 books associated with the jazz standards. Organized by category, each entry has an editorial comment to aid you in your research and guide you in your recreational reading.

 

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The books used to research and develop JazzStandards.com are listed in this bookstore and may be considered the site bibliography.

The primary focus of these books is not always the jazz standards per se, so each entry is annotated indicating the book's relevance to the subject. If there is a book you feel we have overlooked, please let us know the title and how it supports the research or recreational study of the jazz standards.

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