Sinatra, Bennett in American Songbook lecture
Camden — Michael Paul Lund will present an audio lecture titled “Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett: Great Singers of the American Songbook” Thursday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the downtown Camden Public Library.
As in his previous, well-attended talks, Lund will add commentary to great recordings from Columbia and Capitol Records by these two great balladeers of the American songbook and Tin Pan Alley. Songwriters featured will include George Shearing, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Fred Astaire, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn and Robert Farnon. Some of the arrangers include Nelson Riddle, Ralph Sharon, George Siravo, Marty Manning, Marion Evans and Peter Matz.
Lund will open the evening with Tony Bennett, who performs to this day, touring with his jazz singer daughter Antonia and others. After years of being a star, Bennett was dropped by Columbia Records during a mid-career slump. After a low point, he began a comeback under his son Danny’s management and, in the late 1980s, Columbia took him back. He has enjoyed a new wave of popularity ever since.
“I believe he’s booked to his 90th birthday,” Lund said.
The second half of the 90-minute program will be devoted to Frank Sinatra. One story Lund will tell is about songwriter Bee Walker, represented by Sinatra’s record “Hey Jealous Lover.” Some 25 years after that song was on the airwaves, Lund, a trained opera singer, was singing in a Manhattan church on weekends and one Sunday, an older woman complemented his singing after the service and asked him if he ever wrote song lyrics. Lund, an aficionado of American pop music, recognized her name.
“She said she’d like to write songs with me and I said, are you kidding? We ended up writing three songs together,” he said.
Lund has himself sung and recorded selections from the American Songbook with members of the original Tonight Show Band in New York City.
“There’s a wonderful quote by Hillaire Beloq that goes ‘It is the best of all trades, to make songs, and the second best to sing them’” he said.
Lund will share another quote during his talk, one he recently got during a phone conversation with singer and actor Vic Damone, whom he has known for years — well enough that the crooner sang him ‘Happy Birthday’ over the phone in February.
“June 12th is Vic’s birthday, so maybe I’ll sing to him! I asked him to say something about Frank Sinatra and what he said is what I’ll close the program with,” said Lund.
Lund will be introduced by Jay Peterson, familiar to radio listeners from MPBN and WERU-FM. Recordings of Sinatra, Bennett and others will be available to purchase at this event.
A&E editor for Courier Publications, LLC
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Dagney has been providing Courier coverage of the local arts scene since 1985 and has helmed the multi-paper A&E section since it debuted in 2003. She has been a local performing artist, community and professional, for more than 30 years and spent a decade writing, producing and announcing on-air for several Midcoast radio stations. When not in the NewsNest, Dagney likes to be in motion.