Jerry Herman first burst upon the Broadway scene as the young creator of music and lyrics for Milk and Honey in 1961, a musical which later was nominated for both a Tony and Grammy Award. The phenomenal "Hello Dolly" came next in 1964, resulting not only in a Tony Award…
Paul Simon is one of those unique individuals whose impact on the culture has continued unabated in many different guises over the nearly 30 years of his creative life. He has literally been a musical spokesman for the sentiments of many eras.
Beginning with his first persona of friend and duo mate Art Garfunkel, in the hit-making Simon and Garfunkel coupling, he was largely responsible for writing, arranging and producing the pair's classic folk and rock material. Many of his songs are now standards, collected in albums such as Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, the soundtrack The Graduate and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Another song, "Mrs. Robinson," itself one of his earliest classic hits, was the highlight of his soundtrack score for the film "The Graduate."
Following these numerous triumphs, Paul Simon struck out on his own in 1971, commencing a brand new phase of his career, which became notable for its many varied and complex new directions. His debut album as a solo performer, appropriately titled, Paul Simon, combined jazz, reggae, rock and Latin music in a compelling and cosmopolitan mix.
In 1986, Simon found fascinating the "township jive" songs of South African musicians, resulting in the highly acclaimed Graceland album, which in turn marked a change of direction from his earlier introspective work toward new forms of musical expression. His album, Rhythm of the Saints, was released in conjunction with the "Born at the Right Time Tour" of 1991. The album featured a number of prominent Brazilian artists highlighting once again Simon’s understanding and deep respect for international talent and its music.
In the late-1990’s, Simon produced the Broadway musical, "The Capeman," which was a collaboration with the poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. On the heels of that success, he produced and released the album titled, Songs from The Capeman, containing selections from the show. His release in 2002, You’re the One also features original songs and recordings and was on the Billboard pop charts for several weeks.
Simon is a New Yorker. He spent his formative academic years at PS 164 ant Forest Hills High School in Queens and he graduated from Queens College in 1965. He has received a dozen Grammy awards and various other music-related honors, including the Dove award from the Gospel Music Association and an Emmy award for the "Paul Simon Special”, which aired in the mid '70s. He has contributed in a substantial manner to charitable causes an is co-founder of the Children's Health Fund, a national mobile medical-outreach program that provides free care for homeless and indigent children in South Africa. He has also raised money for the Nature Conservancy, the Fund of Detained and Imprisoned Children in South Africa and AmFAR.
In 1986, the Berklee College of Music named him for an Honorary Doctorate of Music, and in 1996, Yale University extended a similar honor. Adding to his honors and accolades, in 1989, in recognition of his efforts, the United Negro College Fund bestowed upon Simon its highest honor, The Frederick I. Patterson Award.
Rube Bloom was born Reuben Bloom in New York City on April 24, 1902. He was a self-taught pianist and in 1919 found work as an accompanist for vaudeville shows. He played for dance bands and jazz groups throughout the 1920s, as well as arranging songs for numerous publishing companies. From 1924 until 1931 he recorded with performers including the Sioux City Six, the Cotton Pickers, Frankie Trumbauer's Orchestra (which featured Bix Beiderbecke), the Tennessee Tooters, the Hottentots, Joe Venuti's All Star Rhythm Boys, Ethel Waters, Noble Sissle, Annette Hanshaw, Seger Ellis, and Red Nichols' Redheads.
Bloom was a significant novelty ragtime composer and pianist who recorded 23 piano solos during 1926-28 and four additional ones in 1934 including "Soliloquy", which would also be recorded by Duke Ellington. In 1928, one of his compositions, "Song of the Bayou," won a Victor Records song contest and the following year, he wrote the music and Harry Woods wrote the lyrics for "The Man From the South" (Ted Weems recorded a top ten hit in 1930). In 1930 Bloom recorded six more of his tunes including “The Man From the South," with his own group the Bayou Boys (which included Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Adrian Rollini.).
Through the 1930’s, Bloom collaborated with a variety of songwriters including Harry Ruby and Marvin Smolev on the song "Jumping Jack," (featured in the 1929 film musical The Show of Shows). He wrote with lyricist Ted Koehler on several hits including “Truckin’”, “The Voice of the Southland”, and “Stay on the Right Side, Sister”, (a hit for with Ruth Etting). For the stage show The Cotton Club Parade in 1939, Bloom and Koehler wrote “What Goes Up Must Come Down”, “If I Were Sure of You”, “Got No Time”, and “Don't Worry “Bout Me.” Other collaborations with Johnny Mercer produced "Day In-Day Out" and "Fools Rush In." With Mack David, Bloom composed "Take Me," which enjoyed successful recordings by Tommy Dorsey, by Jimmy Dorsey and by Benny Goodman. For the 1946 movie Wake Up and Dream he teamed again with Ruby to write "I Wish I Could Tell You," "Into the Sun," and "Give Me the Simple Life."
In 1955, Bloom went abroad with a United States government-sponsored tour sponsored by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) and in his later years he wrote several books on piano method. Rube Bloom died in New York City on March 30,1976.
Gordon Jenkins was the master of lush. strings and lavish sentiment.
He was born Gordon Hill Jenkins in Webster Groves, Missouri on May 12, 1910, the son of a movie theater organist. While still a child, he would sometimes play the organ at the theater, accompanying his father. Later, during Prohibition, he was the piano player in a St. Louis speakeasy. In the early 1930s, he was hired by a St. Louis radio station where he played banjo and piano. He was then hired by Isham Jones to play the piano and write arrangements for Jones's band. When the band was taken over by Woody Herman in 1936, Jenkins continued as the band's arranger. During this period, he also wrote arrangements for Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, and Andre Kostelanetz.
In 1938, he moved to California, where he worked for Paramount Pictures. In 1939 he became music director for NBC's Hollywood based west coast division. From 1944 to 1948, he worked on Dick Haymes’ radio show. In 1945, he became a staff conductor for Decca Records. Jenkins soon became Decca's musical director, and was responsible for bringing The Weavers (a group that included Pete Seeger among its members) to Decca.
When he went to Decca, he also began recording successfully under his own name. He headlined New York's Capitol Theater between 1949 and 1951 and the Paramount Theater in 1952. He appeared in Las Vegas in 1953 and many times thereafter. He worked for NBC TV as a producer from 1955 to 1957, and performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964.
In 1957 he arranged and conducted one of Nat "King" Cole's finest albums, Love Is the Thing. He worked extensively with Frank Sinatra, notably as arranger and conductor of the 1957 album Where Are You? and the 1959 album No One Cares. Jenkins worked again with Sinatra as arranger and conductor of the 1965 album September Qf My Years, which included Jenkins's classic song "This Is All I Ask", and for which his arrangement of Ervin Drake's "It Was a Very Good Year" won him a Grammy. His arrangements also contributed significantly to the careers of Judy Garland and Peggy Lee. He also had an important success with his own mini-musical, Manhattan Tower.
He worked frequently with lyricists Tom Adair and Johnny Mercer. Among his best-known songs and instrumentals are "Blue Prelude" (written with Joe Bishop), which Woody Herman used as his theme; "Goodbye", which Benny Goodman used as his closing theme; "Homesick, That's All", "Blue Evening"; "Married I Can Always Get"; "San Fernando Valley"; "P.S. I Love You" (lyric by Johnny Mercer);"You Have Taken My Heart" (lyric by Johnny Mercer); and "When a Woman Loves a Man" (lyric by Johnny Mercer).
Gordon Jenkins died in Malibu, California on April 24, 1984 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gerhig's disease).
Jerry Ross was born Jerold Rosenberg to Jewish parents in the Bronx, New York on March 9,1926. When be was ten years old he began singing in a synagogue choir. Based on his singing ability, he was asked to join a Yiddish acting company, the East Bronx Theatre. By the…