Even the most musically challenged can sing a few bars of "New York, New York." Frank Sinatra has a knack for making a song memorable. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the toe-tapping favorites of American popular song. From the banjo-picking of Steven Foster to the laments of Patsy Cline - why some tunes become unforgettable.
Frank Sinatra biographer Donald Clarke tells Steve Paulson that the young Frank Sinatra exerted a strong sexual pull on his female fans; used his voice as an instrument; and through artful phrasing made songs uniquely his own. Clarke's book is "All or Nothing at All: A Life of Frank Sinatra."SEGMENT 2:
Ken Emerson is the author of "Doo Dah! Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture." He tells Jim Fleming that Foster was America's first professional song writer; that he had sympathy for African-Americans while sharing the racism of his age; and that he blended musical forms and themes from many cultures to create American popular music.SEGMENT 3:
Nicholas Dawidoff is the author of "In the Country of Country." He tells Steve Paulson that he admires the stalwarts of coutry music -- Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Patsy Cline -- for their emotional honesty. He thinks the soul is missing from modern mass-audience Hot country. Also, Gavin Edwards explicates mis-heard song lyrics with Jim Fleming. Edwards is the author of "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy," and "When A Man Loves A Walnut."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-02-08-C.
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