Crooners and harmonisers, smooth voiced lounge lizards and sultry songstresses…the stylish delivery of popular song is an American tradition and enduring world-wide phenomenon.
In the days before rock and roll, singers were the featured artist for many big bands. Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald all became stars singing songs written by others. The writers are justly famous too: George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin are legends in their own right.
The songs of these masters and their artistic descendants are characterised by memorable melodies—who doesn’t sing along to ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’?—and highly polished lyrics. There is often a wit and humour to the words that remains fresh decades later. Take this clever yet loving verse by Lorenz Hart from “My Funny Valentine”:
Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
A warmth in both content and delivery makes this music comfortable, relaxing, and suitable for everyday consumption. And while it began with Sinatra and his peers, the embers still glow brightly in the music of Diana Kraal, Michael Bublé, the evergreen Barbara Streisand, and others.