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“1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die,” “Frank” and “Finishing the Hat”

There are song books and there are song books and then there is a trio of worthy new ones focused on all matter and range of songs, on Frank Sinatra and on Stephen Sondheim’s world. 

 “1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die,” by Robert Dimery,  General Editor (Universe/Rizzoli, $36.95, 960 pages) is a Niagara of information on songs released from the early 1900s to now, organized splendidly and chronologically with all kinds of exciting archival visuals. A “bible” of facts, trivia, analysis about each song – its history and an explanation of its significance – caps the deal. For browsing, for finding out and enriching your musical knowledge, for stacking in a place of honor in your research library - “1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die” is a MUST HAVE.

There have been many Frank Sinatra books published. Some might say too many, Now we have James  Kaplan’s “Frank the Voice” (Doubleday, $35.00, 786 pages). And this exhaustive treatment should be the final word. A mother lode of material meticulously researched and presented by Kaplan makes this the best of the batch of all the Sinatra books. NOTABLE

“Finishing the Hat” by Stephen Sondheim (Knopf, $39.95, 445 pages, 220 photographs) has a sub-title that says it all: “Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. If you love Sondheim, you will love this “inside Sondheim” work that lets you into his relationships with other extraordinary talents, lets you into the great lyricist’s evaluations of his own work. This is a book about a man and his craft, a book about music and the theater.  OUTSTANDING.

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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