Cover image for American song : the complete companion to Tin Pan Alley song
American song : the complete companion to Tin Pan Alley song
Bloom, Ken, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Schirmer Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
2 volumes ; 29 cm
General Note:
Companion volumes to American song: the complete musical theatre companion (v. 1 and 2), and numbered accordingly as v. 3 and 4.
v. 3. Songwriters -- v. 4. Collaborator index, song index, chronological index.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML128.M78 B62 2001 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference
ML128.M78 B62 2001 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference
ML128.M78 B62 2001 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material
ML128.M78 B62 2001 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

On Order



This follow-up set to American Song, Vols. 1 and 2 explores the work of major pop songwriters from "Tin Pan Alley" not included either in a Broadway show or film from the period 1880 to today. This carefully researched encyclopedia covers 125 composers with hundreds of entries on each. Entries include composer, lyricist and publisher information.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In the first two volumes of American Song (Schirmer, 1996), Bloom covered the musical theater. More than 4,800 shows (e.g., Oklahoma!) were arranged alphabetically by title, with information about song titles and writing, production, and cast credits. Volume 2 indexed those entries. Here he covers the people and popular songs of Tin Pan Alley in the broadest sense of that term, for the time period from 1880 to the late twentieth century. Following a short introduction in volume 3, entries for 164 composers and lyricists (e.g., Dorothy Fields, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer) are arranged alphabetically by last name. A brief paragraph provides such facts as birthplace, dates of birth and death, education, career directions, names of collaborators, and "standard" songs--those that are best known. To save needless repetition of credits, there is often a note preceding the song section for those writers who were regular collaborators. For instance, the entry for Lorenz Hart notes: "all music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart unless indicated otherwise." Chronological listings of song titles are divided into separate categories for pop songs and show songs (including stage and film productions). Collaborators' names, if any, are noted next to the song or show title. Volume 4 contains three indexes. Writers who did not get their own entries but are listed alongside credits in volume 3 are listed in the collaborator index. The song index lists every title alphabetically, with a reference to the writer's name and year the song was written. According to the introduction, more than 54,000 song titles (not counting different songs with the same name) are included. The chronological index, arranged by year, lists every song title for that year in alphabetical order, with a reference to the songwriter. Although American Song is the most comprehensive source for data on songs from the musical theater and Tin Pan Alley, it does not cover many other popular music genres, such as jazz, swing, R & B, country, rock, and folk. Libraries should have Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America: 1888 to the Present (Paragon, 1991) on hand to answer questions about any of the 19,000 most popular songs it includes from all these genres. Bloom's American Song, with its massive quantities of data within a more limited scope, is a major reference work that will be a standard in any music collection. Libraries with the first two volumes will certainly want to complete their set.

Library Journal Review

These companion volumes to Bloom's important American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion (LJ 7/96) and Hollywood Song: The Complete Film and Musical Companion (LJ 3/15/95) focus on popular songs from the early 1890s to 2000, defining "Tin Pan Alley" broadly to incorporate tunes ranging from George M. Cohan's patriotic gems to "easy listening" (e.g., Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach). Rock, country, folk, and other genres are not treated here. Although these works are presented as Volumes 3 and 4 of American Song, they act as a stand-alone set despite some overlap with Bloom's previous works. Volume 3 is an alphabetical listing by songwriter; Volume 4 includes collaborator, title, and chronological indexes. Bloom uses "songwriter" to mean either composer or lyricist, including those who penned at least five standards within a larger body of work, as well as important creators with fewer standards and some of his personal favorites, making a total of 164 writers with over 54,000 titles. Each songwriter entry begins with a short biographical sketch and the titles of standards for which he or she merits inclusion. Song titles are then listed chronologically under each in two groupings: "pop" and "show" (which includes film). There is some duplication of titles within the lists (e.g., all of the songs from Finian's Rainbow are listed under Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg), and one misses some duos who failed to make the cut (e.g., Bock and Harnick, Adler and Ross). These, however, are minor drawbacks in an otherwise praiseworthy effort. The title/collaborator indexes refer to the main songwriter list and include years, which is helpful in placing songs in their historical context. Dick Jacobs's Who Wrote That Song? (o.p.) and Lissauer's Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America (LJ 6/1/91) cover some of the same territory, but both are somewhat dated. Recommended for collections owning the previous volumes and all music reference areas as budgets allow. Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Libraries that acquired the first two volumes of Bloom's American Song (2nd ed., CH, Dec'96) will want these two hefty new additional components. Volume 3 ("Songwriters") features 164 composers, 1880-present, who have written at least five "standards" (a broad concept) in the Tin Pan Alley tradition. Arranged alphabetically by composer, the entries include brief biographies and separate chronological lists of pop and show songs, with collaborators and other basic information. Each entry includes a complete "songography" of the composer, including works from the theater, film, nightclubs, etc. The collection ranges from such giants as Gershwin, Porter, and Fain to the generally unfamiliar Otto Motzon and Roy Turk, but since Bloom intentionally omits rock writers, major songwriters such as Leiber and Stoller are absent. Volume 4 provides indexes of collaborators, songs, and chronology, with 54,000 song titles spread over 2,000 pages. Although each volume could stand on its own, the entire four-volume set is a masterly, essential acquisition for all academic and public libraries, to complement Donald Stubblebine's Broadway Sheet Music (CH, Sep'96) and his Cinema Sheet Music (CH, May'92). A. J. Adam Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University