Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The 20 Greatest American Standards- 2018

Sonny Stitt
It's been 8 years since I published my "20 Greatest American Standards Ever Written" blog and its still one of my popular blogs for visitors.  We all have had life experiences over the past 8 years and I thought it would be fun to revisit the list and make some adjustments that might be appropriate at this time.  In order to qualify for the list, the song must be over 50 years old.  The list represents the very best songs from the "Great American Songbook".  In order to make the list they had to contain both the best music and lyrics.  The oldest song to make the list is the Gershwin tune, "Someone To Watch Over me".  Think about this.... this song was published 92 years ago and it's still being played today to the delight of all ages.  Now that is the sign of a super, great American standard!

Some other interesting observations about the list:

There is one pair of songwriters that has 3 songs on the list:
           Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

Several other songwriters who have two songs on the list:

           Cole Porter
           Jimmy Van Heusen
           Johnny Mandel
           George and Ira Gershwin
           Hoagy Carmichael
           Johnny Mercer
           Johnny Burke

The Year 1939 was a terrific year for great songs:,

           4 songs written in 1939 made the list.

The six-year period from 1936 to 1941 was the golden area for great songs;  12 out of the 20 songs on the list were written during this period.




"Someone To Watch Over Me"                    George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin                   1926

"Night and Day"                                            Cole Porter                                                          1932            

"The Very Thought of You"                           Ray Noble                                                           1934

"The Way You Look Tonight"                       Dorothy Fields & Jerome Kern                        1936

" I Got You Under My Skin"                         Cole Porter                                                          1936

 "Where Or When"                                        Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart                         1937

" They Can't Take That Away From Me"   George and Ira Gershwin                                   1937      

"The Nearness of You"                                   Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington            1937

"My Funny Valentine"                                    Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart                     1939

"What's New"                                                 Bob Haggart & Johnny Burke                          1939

"Over The Rainbow"                                      Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg                          1939

"These Foolish Things"                                   Eric Maschwitz & Jack Strachey                     1939

"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"         Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart                    1940

"You've Changed"                                           Bill Carey & Carl Fischer                                 1941

"Skylark"                                                         Johnny Mercer & Hoagy Carmichael              1941

 "My One and Only Love"                               Guy Wood & Robert Mellin                             1952

"Here's That Rainy Day"                                 Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke              1953

"All My Tomorrows"                                       Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn                1959

"Emily"                                                            Johnny Mandel & Johnny Mercer                     1964

"The Shadow of Your Smile"                          Johnny Mandel & Paul Webster                       1965 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob. Thanks for the list of the 20 Greatest American Standards. Though I now play in a classic rock band, I have a great respect for all jazz players. Two of my early teachers were Joe Cinderella and Sal Salvador. When I took my first lesson with Joe Cinderella I told him I wanted to master the guitar. He told me "you're not going to live long enough". Your list of 20 will keep me practicing. Thanks again. Larry Lauth

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