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Friday, May 23, 2008
Program Notes and Artist Bios: Did the American Songbook Really End in 1965?

The following are Program Notes and Artist Bios for the Lyrics and Lyricists show Did the American Songbook Really End in 1965? at the 92nd Street Y on May 31 to June 2.

“Round, like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever-spinning reel..."*

So goes the American popular song. Lyrics and melodies so perfectly intertwined that a fragment alone is enough to elicit a cascade of memories. From the very beginning our lives are scored. Ever since the advent of radio, we make stars out of singers, as words and music ride on an invisible breeze directly into our hearts. It’s not different for the baby-boomers and beyond. Songs still carry emotional resonance and thread their way into our history. Perhaps it’s singer/songwriters that you identify with, like Joni Mitchell or Carly Simon and their struggle to define a generation. Maybe it’s the “misty, water-colored memories” elicited by film and theatre lyricists like Stephen Sondheim which feel like an “Old Friend” to you or the reassuring refrain that things will be alright because, “You’ve Got a Friend.” If Hal David, Lennon & McCartney, Jerry Herman and Billy Joel helped you to capture what it means to fall in love, then the music of the past 40 years has been true to its roots, and the “standard” is safe and secure for generations to come.

“So hold this moment fast, and live and love as hard as you know how, and make this moment last, because the best of times is now!” **

—Lesley Alexander

* “The Windmills Of Your Mind” (Alan & Marilyn Bergman)
** “The Best of Times is Now” (Jerry Herman)

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