(7/14/01) A press release from BRAVO on a series that will contain several Beatle moments (parts 2, 5 and 6):
This August, BRAVO Unveils an 8-Part Anthology of the Music That Defined a Century ``POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY'' Shakes, Rattles & Rocks Onto BRAVO On Sunday, August 12
NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--July 13, 2001--For eight weeks this summer, BRAVO will bring viewers on a century-long journey through the history of popular music via the U.S. Television Premiere of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY, an 8-part series featuring contemporary and archive interviews and performances from the most well-known names in music - a total of almost 150 writers, performers and producers who have individually and collectively made an indelible mark on the history of modern music.
A compelling history of the popular music which has been the soundtrack of the past 100 years, from the songs sold as sheet music on Tin Pan Alley at the turn of the 20th century to the billion dollar pop industry of today. Featuring an unrivaled list of contributors and contemporary and archival footage from every era of popular music in the last century, POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY is a chronicle of the development of the modern music industry on both sides of the Atlantic. From Bing Crosby to Elvis Costello, Irving Berlin to the Beatles, they're all here in this sweeping look at the history of popular song.
PART ONE of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY looks at the early years of the American musical theatre, tracing the process by which music rooted in Jewish and African-American traditions melded into the sophisticated and glamorous soundtrack that guided Americans through the Great Depression.
Part One examines the lives and music of three legends of the musical theatre - George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin, and the influence of the heart of musical theatre - Tin Pan Alley. Also included is a look at an early Broadway hit - Showboat was a smash musical that reflected that jazz people were enjoying in speakeasies across the country until the Depression hit and Broadway took a dive, forcing composers to head to Los Angeles.
PART TWO delves deep into America's Jazz Age: a time when bands toured the country playing hits by Berlin, Gershwin, Kern, Cole Porter and Rodgers fronted by singers including Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. The second installment of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY includes contributions from Tony Bennett, Artie Shaw, Harry Connick, Jr, Johnny Mathis, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello and Willie Nelson. Archival footage of Hoagy Charmichael talking about the origins of Stardust and Paul McCartney describes the writing of Yesterday. There are performances from Al Jolson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sinatra and Crosby duetting on Did You Evah? And Louis Armstrong performing Heebie Jones.
PART THREE traces the roots of Rock 'n' Roll by starting with a look at a young Elvis Presley and backtracking 50 years to the Deep South where Rock 'n' Roll's most basic components - Jazz, Blues, Gospel and Country/Hillbilly music began to mix and meld into a form that 50 years later would be deemed the fad that was ``here to stay.'' POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY traces the complex way in which the hybrid known as Rock 'n' Roll came to be. Interviews and performances featuring legendary jazz and blues' performers including Bessie Smith, Huddie ``Leadbelly'' Ledbetter, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Louis Jordan, BB King, Hank Williams and Big Joe Turner are featured.
The FOURTH PART of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY examines the new generation of record buyers growing up in Fifties' America. Teenage record buyers didn't want to listen to the old dance band singers so beloved by their parents. Country music was about to have its day, helped by national exposure on fledgling television stations across the country. Stars such as Patti Page broke into national charts with songs like How Much is That Doggie in the Window? And country music knocked established performers like Sinatra and Crosby out of the charts. Featured interviews and performances include Frankie Laine, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Composer Tim Rice talks of his affection for music produced the in the Brill Building - a publishing house for popular music which housed composers like hens and produced some of the classic music of the Fifties and Sixties. Burt Bacharach discusses his writing partnership with Hal David and working in the Brill Building alongside writers such as Neil Sedaka, Lieber and Stoller, Neil Diamond and Carole King. Archive footage and recordings of hits such as Just a Walking in the Rain, Singing the Blues and Mr. Sandman brilliantly illustrate the teenage pop phenomenon.
POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY continues with PART FIVE, a look at the emergence of singer-songwriters in the late Fifties. That'll Be the Day by Buddy Holly and the Crickets was the first instance of this change. The young Buddy Holly's three short years in the business, before his death in 1959, would influence not only his immediate peers, but writers for the next 20 years. Additionally, the configuration of two guitars, bass and drums was the model for the group sound of the Sixties, In the early Sixties, America dominated the world of popular music, as it had done since the era of sheet music.
But the moment four mop-topped Liverpudlians set foot on American soil on February 7, 1964, everything changed. By that April, The Beatles occupied the first five places in the Billboard's Top 100. Examining the work of British and American songwriters - Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Ray Davies of the Kinks and Pete Townshend of The Who, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and Smokey Robinson - POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY traces the way in which British and American songwriters inspired each other to greater and greater heights between 1964 and 1969.
PART SIX of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY looks at music of the late Sixties and early Seventies, a time when Rock 'n' Roll took as sudden a turn as the teenagers who grew up on it did. Upheavals in society such as Vietnam, the deaths of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the tragedy at Altamont, even the breakup of the Beatles, took their toll on a society of young men and women who had led a freewheeling youth, and this was reflected in the music of the time.
As the golden age of the Beatles finished, so did the golden age of America - and for both, a new age of highly personal lyrical navel-gazing took flight. As old groups disbanded (The Birds, Buffalo Springfield and the Hollies), new groups were formed (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young).
POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY explores the careers of singer-songwriters such as James Taylor, Carole King, Randy Newman and Jackson Browne. By the mid-Seventies the mellow sound of the Eagles was the best-selling music in the world. But with punk looming over the horizon, the backlash was only a moment away.
PART SEVEN looks at the rise of the soundtrack song - from Al Jolson's Mammy in the very first talkie to Celine Dion's Oscar® Winning single from the soundtrack of Titanic. Contributors to this segment of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY include Andre Previn, who arranged the soundtrack album for the Sixties film My Fair Lady and many other Hollywood movies. Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim talks about his show A Little Night Music and writing Send in the Clowns, a long-running stage hit.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tell how they started as admirers of the great writers like Rodgers and Hammerstein. John Barry and Hal David talk about writing for the Bond movies and Burt Bacharach and David talk about Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
PART EIGHT, the final chapter to POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY, goes back to the beginning to recap the various stages of popular music, culminating with the experimental and diverse hits of the late Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.
Within three years of the Beatles conquering America, Tin Pan Alley was back in business in the guise of the ultimate manufactured pop act - The Monkees. Formed to appear in a television show about a struggling band, The Monkees became a teen sensation. Within the mix of music that emerged in the Seventies was a plethora of teen-oriented acts like The Osmonds, The Jackson 5, Bay City Rollers and Mud.
The Eighties marked the peak for songwriters Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who had seven records in the Top 20 and, in a six year period, clocked over 100 hit singles. Their music, which became the trademark of most Eighties tunes, was unashamedly commercial, upbeat and danceable, instant and disposable.
This final installment of POPULAR SONG: SOUNDTRACK OF THE CENTURY features interviews and performances from Bananarama, the Bay City Rollers, Boy George, David Cassidy, Neil Diamond, Carole King, George Michael, Kylie Minogue, Michael Jackson, The Monkees, Phil Oakey, Donny Osmond, Spice Girls, Robbie Williams and producers Don Kirshner, Jonathan Kin and Mickie Most.
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