The Songbook Blog

Spotlights, Weekly Columns, Interviews and more from the Great American Songbook Foundation family!

Songbook History Series
The Songbook History Series introduces you to the voices, creators and visionaries of the Great American Songbook.
Scott Joplin, "King of Ragtime"
Scott Joplin was known as the "King of Ragtime" and is one of the earliest American Black composers.
Sarah Vaughan, "The Divine One"
The power, range, and flexibility of her voice made Sarah Vaughan, known as "Sassy" or "The Divine One," one of the great singers in jazz.
Fats Waller, "Clown Prince of Jazz"
More than anyone else, Fats Waller captured the spirit of the Golden Age of Harlem, the 20's and 30's. He was there, part of the scene
Nina Simone, "The High Priestess of Soul"
Nina Simone was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works.
Billy Strayhorn plays the piano with a mischievous look.
Billy Strayhorn
Although Billy Strayhorn's work was renowned throughout the musical community, as a background composer and writer, he often did not get the credit he deserved from the public.
Natalie Cole looks over her should with windswept hair and a sly smile.
Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole was blessed with superior vocal range, solid phrasing and a workhorse ability to dramatically build a song into a powerful climax.
Dionne Warwick proudly holds her Songbook Hall of Fame award next to Michael Feinstein.
Dionne Warwick
"Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra... They all said basically the same thing to me at a very tender time of the beginning of my career: 'Be who you are. You cannot be anyone but you.' And I’ve never forgotten that."
Johnny Mathis in the recording studio sings into a microphone.
Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis, with his 60-year performing career, is the world’s best-selling living recording artist and is one of only five recording artists to have Top 40 Hits spanning each of the four decades since 1955.
Billie Holiday throws her head back and sings with an entranced expression on her face.
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday didn’t just sing a song, she took possession of it.
Ella Sings the Songbook
Ella Sings the Songbook focuses on a celebrated series of eight albums recorded for Verve Records in the 1950s and '60s, when the respected jazz singer took a new and highly successful direction...
A Change is Gonna Come: 1960s Broadway Musicals
For over a century composers, writers, singers and dancers have flocked to New York City for the opportunity to work in the forty theaters located between 42nd and 57th Streets. Here these artists meld melodies, lyrics, dance, and stories to create experiences that make us laugh and cry. Our exhibit looked at the 1960s as a crucial time for American musicals, and a turning point for musical theater worldwide.