The women of Tin Pan Alley were writers and composers who wrote memorable lyrics and songs when the odds were against them — from approximately 1920 – 1949. Although songwriting had always been considered a man’s game, these women wrote songs that reflected their times – with smart lyrics and moving melodies.
Tin Pan Alley really did exist – on 28th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York City. That’s where the music publishers had their offices and songwriters worked.
Joanne Schmoll, who wrote the cabaret show, TIN PAN LADIES! The Unsung Women Songwriters from Tin Pan Alley, shared some of her research for the show, on Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Warehouse.
Accompanied by musical director, Reenie Codelka, Joanne opened the afternoon with the classic, I Feel a Song Coming On, (written by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields) and sang a few of the songs we now know as standards – including I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, and The Way You Look Tonight also written by Dorothy Fields. She talked about Ms. Field’s career and some of her notable songs including Pick Yourself Up, Big Spender, I’m in the Mood for Love, Don’t Blame Me, A Fine Romance, and The Sunny Side of the Street.
Ms. Schmoll also talked about the ground-breaking composer Kay Swift who wrote the score for the musical Fine and Dandy (1930), and worked with George Gershwin. Other composers and lyricists were mentioned including Ann Ronell (Willow Weep for Me, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf), Irene Franklin, Anne Caldwell and Nancy Hamilton (How High the Moon).