Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Top 20 Greatest American Standards: 2011 Edition

It is that time of year when we post a new list of the Top 20 Greatest American Standards.  This year I have decided to remove the requirement that a song be at least 50 years old because I feel it is too restrictive and keeps some exceptionally great songs off the list. The class of 2011 has 4 new songs that have made the Top 20 cut.

    1. "How Do You Keep The Music Playing": 1982 music by Michel Legrand and Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Berman for the movie "Best Friends".
    2. "Something": 1969 music and words by Beatle George Harrison
    3. "The Shadow Of Your Smile": 1965 Music by Johnny Mandel and Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster for the film, "The Sandpiper". This song won a Grammy for Song of the Year and also an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
    4. "Send In The Clowns": 1973 Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim for his 1973 musical, "A Little Night Music".

1.   You've Changed
2.   What's New?
3.   The Nearness of You
4.   My Funny Valentine
5.   Embraceable You
6.   The Very Thought of You
7.   Here's That Rainy Day
8.   I've Got You Under My Skin
9.   Over The Rainbow
10. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
11. In The Still Of The Night
12. Night And Day
13. Someone To Watch Over Me
14. How Do You Keep The Music Playing?
15. Something
16. The Way You Look Tonight
17. They Can't Take That Away From Me
18. Send In The Clowns
19. The Shadow Of Your Smile
20. These Foolish Things

These are my personal favorites and how I rank them.  I am sure you have your own favorites. I would love to get some comments from you!


  1. Johnny Mandel is one of the best composers and he is the top of my list. “Here's to Life” is one of his best albums. You know Johnny Mandel recently won NEA Jazz Masters Award!

  2. I totally agree with you. Besides being a great song writer, Johnny Mandel is one of the best American arranger and has earned the respect of all great singers. His song, "Emily" is one of my all time favorites along with "The Shadow Of Your Smile". Thanks for the comment!


CD Review: "Five Play Live from the Firehouse Stage"

Five Play is a popular Jazz Band where five remarkably talented women musicians perform with a deep sense of traditional Jazz band m...