Sheldon Harnick spent years building his reputation as a lyricist before he began collaborating with composer Jerry Bock. He talks to Terry Gross about honing his craft and two of his most significant works, Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof.
Sammy Cahn is a prolific lyricist who wrote countless classic songs, including for musicals and films. He explains how he hears words in melodies and shares anecdotes about his many collaborations over the years.
Bobby Short is a singer and pianist who is known for keeping the tradition of the American Songbook alive. He has recently gained fame amongst a new audience for his work in television commercials. He joins the show to discuss American composers such as the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Cy Coleman, Rodgers and Hart, Burt Bacarach, and Stephen Sondheim.
Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are one the most popular songwriting teams in the country. They wrote the music for Broadway shows such as "Cabaret," "Chicago," and "Woman of the Year." They've also composed the music for movies such as "Funny Lady" and "New York, New York." Their song of the same name from the latter film became a hit when sung by Frank Sinatra. Their new musical, "Zorba," stars Anthony Quinn.
Husband and wife Cecil Womack and Linda Womack are songwriters who have decided to step into the limelight with their album "Love Wars." The child of a gospel singer, Cecil Womack sung with his brothers, including Bobby, as The Valentinos. Linda and Cecil met in the studio. Their album was noted by many critics in 1983.
The songwriter has written dozens of hits, including several for Frank Sinatra. A veteran of the Yiddish theater, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his early career and demonstrates his approach to writing lyrics.
Lyricist Sammy Cahn is one of the last survivors of the Tin Pan Alley tradition. His popular hits include "Bei Mir Bist du Schon," "Come Fly With Me," "Let it Snow," and "Three Coins in a Fountain," among others. Cahn has also worked extensively with Frank Sinatra. He joins the show to discuss his career.
Leonard Cohen is a singer-songwriter, whose unpolished voice is described as "intimate." His folk music was popular in the 1960s and his songs have been recorded by many artists. Before becoming a musician, Cohen was already a novelist and poet best known for his novel "Beautiful Losers."