Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« Happy Birthday, Jerry Kern | Main | Things Ben Mirov Thinks are Rad: Post 3 of ??? »

January 27, 2011


I treasure this Laura, however I object to you calling him JERRY. You hardly knew the man. GC

Au contraire. We were very close.

I can vouch for Laura, Grace. She and Jerry were a fixture on the club scene back in the day.

Wonderful post. "Ol' Man River" is possibly the greatest song in the history of Broadway musicals, and there's a lot of competition. A very difficult song from the vocalist's point of view, it requires a leap of an octave and a half from the end of the release to the last notes. I believe Sinatra himself changed the wording to "Here we all work." His version of the song in that 1946 biopic -- well worth seeing, by the way -- is outstanding and showcases perfectly his amazing vocal ability. (Listen to how he sustains the note between the bridge and "I gits weary"). Jerry loved Sinatra's cover -- as did Louis B. Mayer, who was moved to tears when FS did it at the Hollywood Bowl. A toast to Jerry and Oscar!

I totally agree that Sinatra had the vocal and emotional chops for the song - but, oy vey! That set! It's cringe-worthy. I prefer later Sinatra performances of it.

But I think I love the Warfield version best. His voice is like velvet and his performance is perfect.

They sure don't write 'em like this any more. Kern and Hammerstein were brave and brilliant.

DL - do you know if the story about the premier of "Show Boat" is accurate?

LO, I don't know whether or not the story's true. I do know that they monkeyed with the show an awful lot over the years, and not just the wording of "Ol' Man River," but whole songs were dropped and others added with each revival, so that in a sense there's no definitive "Show Boat" as there is, say, a definitive "South Pacific" and "Guys and Dolls."

OK. So I'm a huge 'Retha fan but this interpretation is just too much. I just want her to sing the song!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


A creative communications, branding, and resources consultancy founded by Victoria C. Rowan


Reach a Wide International Audience

Advertise on the Best American Poetry Blog


  • StatCounter