TIMELESS AMERICAN SONGS
The album includes 16 pages of liner notes attached to the cover of the CD, with the biographies of the composers and interesting information about American popular music. The following information have been taken from the liner notes, which are more extensive and detailed:
"Just as American people are not of one race or religion, American music is not influenced by just one sound. It is a melting pot of many sounds. We can hear a hint of the great Europen composers, the beat of African and Caribbean rhythms, the rhythms of Mexico and many other cultures in our national repertoire. Reaching deeply into the fertile soil of world culture, America has enriched that soil".
CHRONOLOGIAL LISTINGS OF COMPOSERS:
European Folk Song (c. 1700s) - Scotland
"THE WATER IS WIDE"
"The Water Is Wide" is not an original American melody, it is a European folk song with Americanized lyrics. This music was brought to the United States by Scottish and Irish Immigrants in the late 18th century.
Lyrics by John Newton (1725-1807) - England
A religious song that transcended race, geography, creed and age, "Amaazing Grace" is so widespread and historically important that PBS' Bill Moyers presented a one hour documentary about it in 1990. The song was heard at Memorials for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and it has become a permanent part of our national consciousness.
Traditional American Sea Shantey (c. 1826)
SHENANDOAH - ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI
"Shenandoah" is a true American sea shanty that originated in the early nineteenth century along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers as a ballad that told the story of a trader who fell in love with the daughter of the Indian Chief Shenandoah. This enchanting song was taken up by the sailors plying these rivers and making their way down the Mississippi to the open ocean. When steamboats replaced the sailing vessels, sailors were reluctant to give up this shanty, so it has remained to this day one of America's most beautiful and popular folk songs.
Stephen Foster (1826-1864)
JEANNIE WITH THE LIGHT BROWN HAIR
Today, "Jeannie" is one of the most popular of Foster's songs. According o Deems Taylor, in the forward to "A Treasury of Stephen Foster", Random House, New York; 1946, only one song has ever made the Hit Parade eighty -seven years after it was written and seventy-seven years after the death of its composer, and that song is Foster's "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair." Foster's songs are full of the spirit of pioneers . Unwittingly, Stephen Foster wrote into his songs the subtle traits that characterize Americans.
Scott Joplin (1868-1917)
When Marvin Hamlish used some of Jolplin's rags in the 1973 movie "The Sting", the public liked the catchy tunes, especially "The Entertainer" (1902), which soared to number one on the American Top 40 in 1974. The movie led to a revival of interest in ragtime and Scott Joplin, who wrote thirty-nine piano rags. Joplin's classic ragtime is again enjoyed and respected as he foretold with the words he penned in 1908: "Ragtime is an invention that is here to stay."
George M. Cohan (1878-1942)
TWENTIETH CENTURY LOVE
Geroge M. Cohan wrote eighty plays, hundreds of songs and made at least 10,000 stage appearances fron 1901-1940. During that time "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "Give My Regards to Broadway", "Over There" and "You're a Grand Old Flag" suceeded on Broadway stages making Cohan "King of Broadway" and he's still fondly remembered as "The Man Who Owned Broadway". Cohan was rewarded for his American spirit and songs when Congress awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Jerome Kern (1885-1945)
SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES
THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT
Kern wrote one hundred show scores and approximately 700 songs. In 1910, Alan Dle, a music critic posed a question to be answered by three generations of theatre and film goers: "Who is this Jerome Kern whose music towers in an Eiffel way above the average primitive hurdy-gurdy accompaniment of the present day musical comedy". Mr. Kern was twenty five years old at the time. Kern won two Academy Awards for Best Original Songs: "The Way You Look Tonight" (1936) and "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (1941). He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
Max Steiner (1888-1971)
THEME FROM "A SUMMER PLACE"
Steiner's best known music scores are "Casablanca", "Gone with the Wind" and "King Kong". In the 1950's, Steiner's theme song for "A Summer Place" became a million-selling hit. Percy Faith recorded the most popular version of the tune. Steiner will contiinue to influence moviegoers and moviemakers alike, "Gone with the Wind" is perpetually being restored and re-released, "Casablanca" is one of the most often viewed films of all time and "Theme from a Summer Place" has become a regular favorite at Pops Symphony Orchestras in the US and abroad.
Irving Berling (1888-1989)
I'll SEE YOU IN C-U-B-A
Despite the scores of Broadway and film hits, for which he created both music and lyrics, Berlin could still only play the piano in the key of F-sharp. He played a curious "transporting piano" which he called "the Buick" for the large lever used to ratachet the keyboard to new key areas. It now resides at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Berlin retired at 86 and died peacefully in his sleep at 101, leaving behind one of the richest legacies of American song. Many of Berlin's more than one thousand songs, such as "God Bless America" and "White Christmas" (1942 Oscar for Best Song), will remain part of American popular culture forever.
Cole Porter (1891-1964)
NIGHT AND DAY
One of America's foremost composers, Cole Porter wrote glorious music and sophisticated lyrics that evoke the times in which he lived, becoming a significant part of our cultural heritage. Porter, who wrote both the music and lyrics for his songs, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. His most famous songs are "Night and Day" and "Begin the Beguine".
George Gershwin (1898-1937)
THEME FROM "RHAPSODY IN BLUE"
"Rhapsody in Blue", "Concerto in F", "An American in Paris" and "Porgy and Bess" are Gershwin's most famous compositions. He wrote 28 shows and one opera, contributed songs to 19 other shows and seven films, and composed several orchestral works. His brother Ira was his long time collaboratos as lyricist. Of all his music, "Rhapsody in Blue" became the most recognizable American composition around the world. He died during surgery for a brain tumor at the age of 38.
Victor Young (1900-1956)
STELLA BY STARLIGHT
Young wrote some of the best melodies of his era. "Stella by Starlight", "My Foolish Heart", "Street of Dreams", "When I Fall in Love", "Love Letters" and many other songs were written for films. Young went on to be nominated for 22 Academy Awards, sadly he only won posthumously, in 1956, for the score
of "Around the World in 80 Days". Young was one of the great original film composers, and had enormous influence on subsequent generations of film and TV composers.
Arthur Schwartz (1900-1984)
DANCING IN THE DARK
Arthur Schwartz collaborated with the best lyricist of his era, such as Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer and Oscar Hammerstein II, among other, but most of his popular tunes were written in collaboration with lyricist Howard Dietz. The pair starting working together in the early 1930s producing hits such as "Alone Together", You and the Night and the Music" and "I See You Before Me". They wrote the score for the musical revue "The Band Wagon", a vehicle for Fred and Adele Astaire, achieving great success. The show included "Dancing in the Dark", the most succesful song Schwartz and Dietz ever wrote.
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)
YOU WILL NEVER WALK ALONE
Richard Rodgers had virtually two careers in the musical theatre. He began his musical career with a remarkably fruitful collaboration with lyricist Lorenz Hart (1895-1943). The pair worked in Hollywood and later in Broadway, creating unforgettable songs such as "Manhattan", "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", "Falling in Love with Love", "My Funny Valentine" and "The Lady is a Tramp". Lorenz Hart died in 1943, at age 48; losing a battle with alcoholism. Rodger's second of his two principal collaborators was Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), a veteran lyricist and librettist. Both created such classic musicals as "Oklahoma" (1943), "Carousel" (1945), "South Pacific" (1949), "The King and I" (1951) and "The Sound of Music" (1959). "The Sound of Music" was the final chord of the Rodgers and Hammerstein partnership which changed the destiny of American musical theatre.
Glenn Miller (1904-1944)
In 1937, Glenn Miller formed his own band, but it attracted little notice so he disbanded it that New Year's Eve and reorganized it a couple of months later. It was during this period that Glenn discovered the sound that was to bring him lasting fame. His formula consisted of a clarinet playing the melody, doubled by a tenor saxophone playing an octave lower and other saxophones in harmony support. The second Glenn Miller Band soon began breaking attendance records up and down the East Coast. There was, of course, Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" radio series, which aired three times a week over CBS. Down Beat Magazine announced that Miller had topped all other bands in its Sweet Band Poll. In October 7, 1942, Glenn Miller reported for induction into the Army and was assigned to the Army Special Corps. He organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. In less than one year, the band engaged in over 800 performances , 500 of which were broadcasted and heard by millions. He took the band to Great Britain in June 1944 and continued to perform for the troops. The band was scheduled for a tour of Europe and would be stationed in Paris duriing that time. Miller decided to go ahead, in order to make the proper arrangements for the group's arrival, when the plane on which he was traveling disappeared over the English Channel, never to be seen again. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy's) honored Glenn Miller by including three of his recordings in their Hall of Fami: "In The Mood" (1983), "Moonlight Serenade" (1991) and "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (1996). In 2003, Miller received the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Harold Arlen (1910-1991)
OVER THE RAINBOW
Harold Arlen is best remembered for the songs he wrote for a 1939 MGM film that has never fallen from popularity: "The Wizard of Oz". The most famous of these songs is "Over tha Rainbow" for which he won the Academy Award for Bes Music, Original Song in 1939. The song ranked number one in the "Songs of the Century" list compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. The American Film Institute also ranked "Over the Rainbow" the greatest movie song of all time on the list of "AFI's" 100 Years...100 Songs". It was adopted (along with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas") by American troops in Europe in World War II as a symbol of the United States. In addition to "Over the Rainbow", Harold Arlen has over 400 songs to this credit, including such hits as "Stormy Weather", "That Old Black Magic", "Get Happy" and "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road".
Alex North (1910-1991)
"Unchained Melody" was composed in 1955 for the movie "Chained" and was nominated that year for the Academy Award for Best Song, but it was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard, regaining massive popularity when used in the 1990 blockbuster film "Ghost". It became one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. North won the 1968 Golden Globe award for his music for "The Shoes of the Fisherman". Alex North wrote more than 50 film scores, but despite 15 nominations, he didn't earn a statue until he won the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1986.
Robert Maxwell (b. 1921)
A harpist and songwriter, Robert Maxwell wrote the music for two well-known songs, "Ebb Tide" and "Shangri-La" (originally a composition entitled "Fantasy for Harp"). Maxwell began playing the harp at age 10 and in high school, he won a scholarship for the Juilliard School of Music. At age 17, he became the youngest member of the National Symphony Orchestra. He also gave solo performances in both New York and Los Angeles. Maxwell eventually found himself in the United States Coast Guard in a unit commanded by Rudy Vallee, giving him the opportunity to play the harp in a popular music context.
Henry Mancini (1924-1994)
In 1958, Mancini reached a career-changing landmark when he provided the jazzy theme for Blake Edwards' "Peter Gunn" television show, opening a never ending flow of offers to compose for movies and television, notably "Baby Elephant Walk" and "Pink Panther Theme". Mancini won his first Oscar for "Moon River", the romantic score of Edwards' "Breakfast at Tiffany", which became his most famous composition. The following year he again garnered an Oscar for an almost-as-famous "Days of Wine and Roses" for Edwards' film of the same name. Mancini recorded 50 albums for RCA Victor and by mid-70s he had completed over 500 published works, remaining one of the leading artists in his field until the time of his death from cancer at 70.
Cy Coleman (1929-2004)
As a six-year old "Kaufman" began giving piano recitals at Steinway Hall, Town Hall and Carnegie Hall and was hailed as a child prodigy. As a young man, he was a night club sensation, leading the Cy Coleman trio. Despite his early classical and jazz success, Coleman decided to build a career in popular music, working for a time with Carolyn Leigh. Together they wrote a string of hits such as "The Best Is Yet To Come" and "Witchcraft". He was nominated for 15 Tony Awards and won three Emmy Awards and two Grammys. Coleman was on the ASCAP Board of Directors for many years and also served as their Vice Chairman Writer. He died of cardiac arrest on November 18, 2004, at the age of 75.
Marvin Hamlisch (b. 1944)
THE WAY WE WERE
Hamlisch is the composer of many motion picture scores, including his Oscar winning score for "The Way We Were" (1973) and his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for "The Sting" (1973), including its theme song, "The Entertainer", as well as receiving an Oscar for Best Score. Hamlisch's groundbreaking musical , "A Chorus Line" (1975), received the Pulitzer Prize and is considered a landmark in musical theater history. As a composer, Hamlisch has won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and Three Golden Globe awards, plus the Pulitzer Prize. Currently, Marvin Hamlish holds the position of Principal Pops Conductor for several American symphony orchestras.
Billy Joel (b. 1949)
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
Joel's first major album "Piano Man" was released in 1974, and showcased his gift for ambitious pop tunes that were both catchy and sentimental. His 1977 album "The Stranger" was packed with hit singles, including "Just The Way You Are" which won the 1979 Grammy for Song of the Year, cementing Joel's position as a blue-collar New York troubadour. He became one of the decade's most popular touring acts. By the end of the century, Billy Joel had sold over 100 million records and was one of the most succesful recording artists in history. Joel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Stevie Wonder (b. 1950)
Stevie Wonder is a prominent figure of 20th century popular music who has recorded more than thirty top hits, won twenty-five Grammys, plus one Lifetime Achievement Award. Wonder won an Academy Award for Best Song with "I Just Called to Say I Love You" and has been inducted to both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame. Blind from infancy, Wonder is a multi-instrumentalist and plays the piano, synthesizer, talk box, harmonica, congas, drums, bongos, bass, guitar, organ and clarinet. Wonder's great songs such as "Overjoyed", "For Once in My Life", "Ribbon in the Sky" and "Isn't She Lovely", dedicated to his daughter Aisha, are part of our popular music culture.
Diane Warren (b. 1956)
BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME
Many consider Diane Warren to be among the most prolific and successful coantemporary femaly songwriter of our time. Still, Warren is mostly unknown to the public. Most people know the singers that sing her songs, can hum the bars of may of her songs, but they don't know the name of the composer. Growing up in San Fernando Valley, Diane was exposed to top 40 radio and she was fascinated by songwriters such as Carole King and Burt Bacharach. Despite her parents divided thoughts on her career choice, Warren's talent and persistence finally paid off. In 2004, Diane released a compilation of songs titled "Warrent Presents Love Songs", which included the song "Because You Loved Me", which she wrote as a tribute to her father for his encouragement and for the film "Up Close and Personal". The song was sung by Celine Dion, and earned her nominations for and Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and several Grammy awards - she won the Grammy for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television and Other Visual Media. To date, Warren has written over 800 songs, 80 of them charted in the top 10. Warren's songs are featured in more than 60 films. Her publishing company, Realsongs, is the most successful female owned and operated business in the music industry. Warren was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.
Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
I JUST CAN'T STOP LOVIING YOU
A singer, songwriter, recording artist, dancer, philanthropist and celebrity icon, Michael Jackson has a huge catalog of hit records and countless awards. Referred to as the King of Pop, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness Book of World Records. Jackson debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964. Michael began his own career in 1971. Solo success for Michael was inevitable, and by the 1980s, he had become infinitely more popular than the family group. Record sales consistently soared, culminating in the biggest-selling album of all time, "Thriller" in 1982. The debut of the 14-minute music video based on the song "Thriller" is considered the most important video in music industry. In the 1990s, the downside of being a 1970s child celebrity and a 1980s pop phenomenon began to wear on him psychologically, emotionally and physically, making him controversial and the target of the media and paparazzi. Despite it all, Michael Jackson's philanathropy, artistry and success as a businessman were unparalleled, prevailing over the negative aspects of his troubled life. Jackson's death at the age of 50 from a drug-induced cardiac arrest, as he was rehearsing for a sold-out London concert named "Comeback", was deemed ironically tragic. Millions of fans will remember where they were "the day Michael died".
Note: The above is a short summary of the biographies included in the 16-page Liner Notes attached to the cover of the Album.
Tony Sala, pianist and composer.
Born in Havana, Cuba in 1935, Tony started piano lessons at age 6. "My music loving family inspired a passion within me from the earliest years to today." he says. Consistently placing first among his peers during formal competitions, Tony ultimately completed piano studies at age 17 at the C.A. Peyrellade Conservatory in Havana. In 1958, he graduated from Villanova University's branch in Havana with a B.S. in Accounting.
In 1961, Tony left Cuba and settled in Philadelphia, where he embarked upon a successful career in accounting and finance spanning over 40 years. In 1986, Tony volunteered his talents to the members of the St. Mary of the Lakes Church Community in Medford, NJ, serving as organizt to this day. In 1987 Tony joined 31 other founding members to establish the Latin American Guild for the Arts (LAGA) in Philadelphia. All throughout this period, Tony continued his love for music, maintaining a focus and diligence towards piano playing.
After retiring in 2003 from a full-time professional life in accounting and finance, Tony embraced his passion for delivering inspiring live performances on a full-time basis. The following discography highlights the accoustical journey to date:
2004 - "Havana Dreams" Tony releases his first CD, a romantic and touching array of 14 original compositions.
2006 - "Classically Cuban" A stirring chronological journey showcasing music from 16 Cuban composers ranging from the early 19th century to the late
1950's. This CD includes liner notes in English and Spanish, and additionally includes biographies of the composers.
2007 - "Best Loved Christmas Carols" An ultimately inspiring collection of glorious carols from around the world adapted for classical piano. This CD includes
liner notes, describing the fascinating histories and origins of the Carols.
2008 - "Tony Sala Plays Cocktail Piano" Tony's polished classical piano style is a delicious compliment to well-known Broadway and other celebrated
melodies written by the most famous of popular composers.
2011 - "Timeless American Songs" Never before has such a vast collage of popular American songs b een presented together in one album. A timeless
and fitting tribute to dozens of popular and celebrated American songs!
Tony lives with his wife Mercedes in Marlton, NJ, close to his two children and four grandchildren.