Tin Pan Alley Sings Indian Love Songs
Over the years, we have featured an occasional "Indian"
(Native American) cover and in March of 2000, wrote an article about the influence
of Native American music on popular music with an accompanying feature article
titled "Cowboys and
Indians" that featured a few songs with Native American themes.
Since then we have acquired many more stunning examples
of this style of music, especially those that relate to "Indian" love
songs. Some of these are classics, others virtually unknown. In all cases, the
songs are beautiful and included this month are several "discoveries"
that deserve preservation and public performance lest they be lost for all time.
As we said back in April of 2000, "the American music publishing
industry couldn't have missed the mark by a wider margin than they did when
it comes to depicting American Indian songs." Almost all of the songs were
simply the usual "Euro-American" songs we were accustomed to but with
"Indian" titles and stylized stereotypical cover images. We also said
at that time: "They (Indian themed songs) were characterized by idealized
art that always depicted the Indians in a "noble savage" manner. If
you review the images we have presented this month, you cannot miss the beauty
and stateliness of the cover art images. Compare these depictions to those of
the Afro-Amerians of the period. Nearly all of the "blackface" music
was extremely racist in both lyric and art. The other hand, the American Indians
were treated with more respect and lionized in their depictions. Though in some
cases the lyrics were less kind and more stereotypical, we still find a case
of more sensitivity and care in what is presented." That was a rarity back
then for racism was rampant and the songwriters of America held nothing back.
Regardless of motives or stereotypes, the Indian themed sheet
music covers and songs are some of the best Tin Pan Alley gave us. The covers
were almost always stunning and the music seemingly above the norm (in most
cases). You'll see some covers this month that are truly great works of art
and hear some music that is infectious and exciting.
If you are new to us, to enjoy the full musical experience, we
recommend that you get the Scorch plug in from our friends at Sibelius software.
The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the
sheet music as the music plays and see the lyrics as well. Each month we also
allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play
the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play some of the music yourself.
It's a complete musical experience! Get the Sibelius
Scorch player now.
Richard A. Reublin, June, 2006. This article published
June, 2006 and is Copyright © 2006 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor
Songs Association, Inc. Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part
or in total without written permission of the author
or a company officer.
Some uses may not require written permission when in compliance
with our published usage policy
Music by: Kerry Mills
Words by: Thurland Chattaway|
Cover artist: Unknown
We begin this month's feature with a work we've featured before, but
one that inspired nearly all others of this genre that followed. It also
happens to be one of our biggest selling reprints. In many respects, the
cover of this song is the greatest of all "Indian maiden" covers,
however several others this month rival it and may exceed it in your opinion.
As we said back in our April 2000 issue "Cowboys
and Indians;" "This is absolutely one of the most colorful
& gorgeous covers ever created. In some respects it is also one of
the most inaccurate depiction's of a Native American yet typical of the
period. Imagine, if you will, a native American woman in a war bonnet
complete with full makeup, eye shadow, rouge, lipstick. DEspite that,
it is absolutely beautiful. It seems the depiction of native Americans
on these music covers was very stylized to present them not as they were
but it seems, as we envisioned they should be." At that time we also
said, "the popular music of this period did not truly represent native
American music. Instead, as with many issues, the title themes and cover
images were primarily designed as marketing techniques to sell music.
The music within was still the Euro-American popular music style we have
become accustomed to as we listen to the songs of the era."
I believe those thoughts needed restatement her as we explore the songs
from Tin Pan Alley that paid homage to our Native Americans even if that
homage was sometimes insulting and in almost all cases, inaccurate. Despite
that, the Indian theme intensely flourished as a musical fad for about
five or six years from around 1905. As you'll see, there were other such
songs published well after that but few rose to the level of Red Wing
and the others from the pre 1910 period.
Kerry Mills (1869 - 1948) was an American composer of popular
music during the Tin Pan Alley era. His stylistically diverse music ranged
from ragtime to cakewalk to marches. He was most prolific between 1895
and 1918. Mills was born Frederick Allen Mills in Philadelphia. He trained
as a violinist and was working as head of the Violin Department of the
University of Michigan School of Music when he began composing.
Mills moved to New York City in 1895 where he started a music publishing
firm, F. A Mills, from which he published his own music. His first published
song was Rastus on Parade written in 1893. That song was one of
the first published "Cakewalks." He went on to publish some
more of his own songs that may have been instrumental in popularizing
syncopation with the Tin Pan Alley writers. Among his many published works
are: Any Old Port in a Storm (1908), At A Georgia Camp-meeting
(1897 or 1899, accounts vary), Impecunious Davis, In The City Of Sighs
And Tears (1902), Just For The Sake Of Society, Kerry Mills' Barn
Dance, Let's All Go Up To Maud's, Like A Star That Falls From Heaven,
The Longest Way 'Round Is The Sweetest Way Home (1908), Red Wing
(1907, words by Thurland Chattaway). Mills adapted the melody from Schumann's
Merry Peasant and perhaps his greatest hit, Meet Me In St. Louis,
Louis which was originally written in 1904 with words by Andrew B.
Sterling and was revived in the 1944 movie, Meet Me In St. Louis starring
Judy Garland. Mills died in Hawthorne, California.
Some facts for this biography were taken from From Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia, in accordance with the GNU Free Documentation License.
Enjoy the Scorch version of
Red Wing, (Hear and see the music with Scorch)
Listen to MIDI version
Words and Music by: Dave Reed Jr.
Cover artist: Hirt
The cover of this work, is the closest rival to Red Wing of all
the covers this month. It is a fabulously colorful one full of Indian
art images. If any cover could be said to be better than Red Wing,
in my opinion, this would be it. It is quite possible that this cover
inspired Red Wing and many of the others that followed; it certainly
sets a high standard. The title of the song is rather interesting in that
the composer, Dave Reed Jr. apparently used his last name as a part of
the title. As you'll see though, use of "Bird" as a part of
the name of the Indian maidens in song was quite common. I think Reed
used the name as a bit of a joke and in a fit of self satisfaction.
The song is a real masterpiece of imitation of an imagined Indian scene.
It begins with a long introduction with a sinister drumbeat of war drums
sound through a repeated bass line. An Indian like melody is added and
the drums continue, the introduction gains momentum and complexity and
then we get to the song proper. In the verse we still have that "Indian"
sound but it almost sounds oriental which is a characteristic of Amerindian
music scales and harmony. Alternating between sinister and brighter passages
which illustrate the lyrics, we begin to learn the story of Reed Bird
and tribal wars. The chorus gives us a tremendous melody that is memorable
and interesting too. Reed uses passages of staccato notes to add emphasis
in both the verse and chorus that add to the urgency and warlike tone.
In many respects, I believe this song deserves to be remembered as much
as Red Bird and some of the other more well known Indian songs
of the period. This is one of our two favorite "discoveries of the
month" in this issue.
Dave Reed Jr. Little of Reed's life has been preserved for us.
We do know that wrote at least one Broadway production, The Catch of
the Season. The show opened at Daly's Theater on August 28, 1905 and
closed November 25th after 93 performances. Among his other works are
Elisa, Listen (1926 with Max Morath), Sammy
Sampson's Semmigambian Band (1903), Love Me, and the World
is Mine!(1906 with Ernest R. Ball)
this wonderful song. ( Scorch version)
listen to MIDI version
Music by: Chas. L. Johnson
Words by: James O'Dea
Cover artist: De Takacs
A Photo of the lovely Catherine Call graces the cover of this song. Were
it not for the inset image of the Indian maiden, chances are this work
could be mistaken for something else. Call may or may not have introduced
this song as often popular performers appeared on sheet music more as
a sales ploy rather than a testimony to their performance of the song.
These were some of the earliest product endorsements. Little seems to
be documented about Call's career however we do know that she starred
in the Broadway show, The Duke of Duluth in 1905. Unfortunately
that show only ran for 24 performances at the Majestic Theater in New
The music is quite interesting as it almost seems to be a compendium
of ideas and motifs from some other songs from the period. The melody
similarities to a later song is quite astonishing. For those of you familiar
with the 1940 hit song Playmates, I think you'll be amazed at the
chorus of Iola. They are so similar, it seems too much so to be
a coincidence. The verse sounds a bit like many of the other Indian songs
of the period and though unremarkable (save the chorus), the song is very
nicely done and entertaining.
Charles Leslie Johnson was born in Kansas
City, Kansas on December 3, 1876. He started taking piano lessons at age
six and at sixteen was studying composition and music theory. Incredibly
talented, he taught himself to play the violin, banjo, guitar and mandolin.
He not only was a composer and performer but also an important patron
of the arts in organizing a number of string orchestras. Like many great
composers of the times, he was a song plugger early in his career, playing
for J. W. Jenkins Sons' Music Company. His first published rag was Scandalous
Thompson, published by Jenkins in 1899. Later, Johnson was associated
with Central Music Publishing and then Carl Hoffman Music Company. While
working at Hoffman in 1906, Johnson was working on a new rag when the
bookkeeper walked in and asked him what the name of the new work was.
Johnson had not named the song yet but noticed the man carrying a carton
of dill pickles. Johnson supposedly replied, "I'll call it 'Dill
Pickles Rag.' " After the success of Dill
Pickles (Sibelius scorch format), Johnson started his own publishing
firm which was purchased by Will Rossiter in 1910 with the stipulation
that Johnson not reenter publishing for at least one year.
Johnson became one of the most prolific composers of the period and expanded
his compositions to cover all types of music other than rags. He was published
by all of the major firms and was so productive he even resorted to using
pseudonyms to make it look like he had a staff of composers working for
him. In all, Johnson wrote thirty two rags including Porcupine Rag
in 1909 and Blue Goose Rag in 1913. His biggest money making
song was Sweet and Low in 1919. Considered a clever and creative
composer, Johnson's high sense of humor was often reflected in his works,
as it is in Dill Pickles. Always a homebody, Johnson stayed in
his hometown of Kansas City for his entire life and died there on December
James O'Dea ( dates unknown at this time)
was a composer, lyricist and writer most known for his stage productions
and plays that include; Chin Chin (1914), The Lady of the Slipper
(1912), Uncle Sam (Play, 1911), The Top o' th' World (1907)
and Madge Smith, Attorney (Play, 1900). He collaborated with a
number of Tin Pan Alley composers including Neil Moret and was Moret's
collaborator on the famous song, Hiawatha in 1901. He also wrote
the lyrics to Ragtime Temple Bells (1914) with Ivan Caryll.
Hear and see this Indian
love song (Scorch version)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by: T. Jay Flanagan
Words by: J. Wesley Ossman
Cover artist: De Takacs
This work is our second "discovery of the month for it's musicality
and lyrical value. The cover is excellent, done by one of Tin Pan Alleys
best and most prolific artists. The inset photos are likely Clarence Gates
(on the right) who is noted as a performer who featured the song. The
second photo is probably either the composer or the lyricist but is unfortunately,
not captioned so we just must guess.
In almost all cases, the chorus of songs is where one finds the greatest
melody and lyrics. In the case of Ottawah, the formula is reversed, in
my opinion. It is the verse where we find the most musical creativity
and interest. The song begins with an introduction of alternating loud
- soft motifs and then into a loping passage in that "oriental"
mode that merges into the main melody. The melody is upbeat and bright
with each passage ending with a repetitive echo. Between main passages,
we get a sprightly mini coda, transitional motif that adds to the delight.
The chorus continues the echoing and transitions that were established
in the verse and in many respects, the song is seamless in its musical
continuity. It's a great work, however, were it not for the lyrics, it
could be on any subject other than Native Americans. The lyrics though
do tell us a nice Indian love story.
Flanagan and Ossman are two more of many songwriters for whom little
information is available. We do know that Flanagan published at least
two other songs; Fleet Comes Sailing Home (1918) and Where is
My Mama (1910). No other song can be located that is attributable
Listen to and see this
song (Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version
The Land of the Sky-Blue Water
Music by: Charles Wakefield Cadman
Words by: Nellie Richmond Eberhart
Cover artist: None
Now we come to what might be one of the very few authentic native American
melodies published as a popular song. According to the cover, this work
is "founded upon a Tribal Melody." Inside, the sheet music reveals
that the melody is based on Omaha tribal melodies collected by Alice C.
Fletcher. Alice Fletcher (1834-1923) was America's foremost and first
woman anthropologist and a pioneer in the study of Native American culture
and society. Fletcher spent most of her career studying and living with
Native American tribes and as a result, published a number of works that
gave us first hand knowledge of various tribes. In one case, she kept
a diary during a six-week excursion to Dakota Territory in 1881. In 1893
she wrote A Study Of Omaha Indian Music which was probably where
the inspiration for this song originated. However, in 1911 she published
The Omaha Tribe, a two volume set based on twenty-nine years of
study and observation in the field. In volume two, we find her collections
of tribal music, some of which could also be the basis for this song.
Several of her books can still be purchased through Amazon.com. A very
interesting biography of Fletcher can be found at: http://www.cas.usf.edu/anthropology/women/fletcher/fletcher.htm
Though the cover subtitles the song as "Four American Indian Songs,"
the inside sheet music only illustrates two Omaha tribal melodies as source
materials. The main melody is from an Omaha Love Song collected by Fletcher.
That song's melody is illustrated as: and
is heard in the opening verse after the introduction. The introduction
is the only other specifically identified melody and is captioned as "Flageolet
Love Call of the Omahas." Though there are other motifs that appear,
they are not specifically identified so it is difficult to determine whether
they are continuations of the main melody or where they break off into
separate melodies. If the title is correct there are two more in there
somewhere but I am unable to definitively identify them. Perhaps one of
our sharp readers can let us know more.
The song clearly has a more native sound than most popular Indian songs
of the period and as such is an important historical document. It is not
particularly a favorite of mine as I find it somewhat stilted and uneven.
I think Cadman could have done a better job of making the music flow and
sing. The poem by Eberhart is a bit enigmatic but is clearly a fit in
that it is a love story of sorts. Again, this is an important song but
it lacks the pizzazz that people were most accustomed to in that period.
As an art song and classical American work, it is outstanding and enjoyed
a long period of popularity.
Wakefield Cadman (1881-1946) A native of Pennsylvania, Cadman was
educated in Pittsburgh, where he spent time as a church organist and music
critic. In 1904, he began publishing organ pieces and ballads. But it
was an interest in American Indian lore than really launched his composing
Inspired by the various ethnological inquiries then in vogue in America's
ill-fated quest to preserve the dwindling Native American culture, Cadman
spent the summer of 1909 collecting and recording Omaha and Winnebago
tribal melodies and studying American Indian music. With a Native American
princess, the mezzo-soprano Tsianina Redfeather, he toured the country
between 1909 and 1916, giving music-talks on Amerindian
Any reputation left to Charles Wakefield Cadman is based on the pseudo-Indian
song popular in the 1920s, called From the Land of the Sky-blue Water.
In the 1930s, though, he was San Diego's leading musical celebrity. (From
an article by Welton Jones in the San Diego Union Tribune and from PBS
/ WNET.org, reprinted at sandiegohistory.org)
Nellie Richmond Eberhart was a poet and considered to be Charles
Wakefield Cadman's primary lyricist. With him she produced a number of
poems to accompany his music including the most famous of their collaborations,
Land of the Sky-blue Water. Among her other lyrics for Cadman was
At Dawning (1906) which was later recorded in 1912 by the famed
Irish tenor, John McCormack.
this "authentic" Indian song (
Printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version
of the Prairie
Words and Music by: Kerry Mills
Cover artist: unknown
Two years after the success of Red Wing, Kerry Mills came back
with yet another Indian maiden love song. Now I'm not real sure, but somehow
I think that Lily is not a Native American name. Perhaps Lily was one
of those unfortunate wagon train kids that got adopted and raised as their
own but I doubt it. Of course, it could simply be that she is thought
of a a flower on the prairie. If it was meant to be her name, it illustrates
how uninformed many of the songwriters were back then. When a fad started,
anything was possible and publishers called for more songs in the popular
genre, regardless of accuracy. The cover on this sheet is another fabulously
colorful one. It also may be one of the few that comes close to a fairly
accurate depiction of Native American culture and art. I'm unable to find
any evidence of an artist's signature or other mark that would help identify
the artist. It's a shame for he or she deserves much credit.
This song is enjoyable but has little relationship to anything musically
Native American. It is a jolly tune, upbeat and with a nice tune. The
chorus is fine but has nothing special to note about it, it's just good
Tin Pan Alley music.
Listen to this
Kerry Mills Indian song. ( Scorch plug-in version)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by: Harry L. Alford
Words by: Arthur Gillespie
Cover artist: Starmer
The cover of this song is also one of the best this month; artistically
it is a winner. In fact almost all of the covers this month are a cut
above the average and we've already mentioned that this genre got a lot
more artistic attention than many others we've seen and featured over
the years here at Parlor Songs. I believe part of that is the romantic
nature of Native American culture in the minds of Americans at that time.
Despite the fact that we nearly destroyed their culture, there has always
seemed to be a veneration of Native Americans and their culture. This
cover is by Starmer and for those of you familiar with his work, you'll
agree this is very unlike most of his covers. It is clear he went the
extra mile to create a work of art, not just a cover.
The music and lyrics for this song are quite good. There is little in
the sound or tone of the work that implies or imitates Indian music but
it tells a very nice story and is pleasant. Though unremarkable, it is
a fine example of popular songs from the era. The songwriters, Gillespie
and Alford are another elusive pair though Alford composed a number of
works still extant in libraries and collections. Among them are; The
Hustler (1912), He's a Traitor To The Union Boys In Blue (1917)
and Ku Klux Steppin'' Blues from 1923, a title sure to generate
discussion in today's world.. Gillespie seems to have many songs to his
credit besides Song Bird. Among his works are; Honey, When it's
Sunny (1909), Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (1900), Subway
Glide (1912) and My Turkish Opal from Constantinople (1912).
Given their relatively robust output, I'm very surprised their biographies
are not easily found.
Listen to this song
(Scorch plug-in version)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by: Ed Edwards
Cover artist: B. Byers
Just as we saw a reverie last month in our feature on garden songs, this
month we have an intermezzo, which is pretty much the same as a reverie
in it's purpose but distinctly different in feeling. An intermezzo is
most often an instrumental interlude between the acts of a performance
but in this case, the meaning is a short, lyric composition, usually for
the piano. A reverie is a state of abstracted musing; daydreaming, a daydream.
So by definition, an intermezzo is less dreamy and more an interlude.
As such, the feel and tone of the work can vary from soothing to exciting.
And at that, we shall use this piece as an interlude in our feature article
simply for your listening pleasure.
The music is quite upbeat and definitely not dreamy so intermezzo fits.
There is nothing in particular that makes this an Indian intermezzo versus
any other theme but you will notice some similarities in motifs between
this work and some of the other Indian songs we've presented. The bottom
line though is that this work, like so many others was probably given
an Indian name and cover to capitalize on the frenzied Indian music fad.
Once again we have a composer whose vital information seems lost. We do
know that Edwards composed several other works including; Stop! Look!
and Listen! (1911) and one other Indian themed song, Sunshine
in 1911. Song Bird was later reissued as a song with lyrics by
Listen to this
"Indian" intermezzo (
Printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this
The Waters of Minnetonka
Music by: Thurlow Lieurance
Words by: J. M. Cavanass
Cover artist: Unknown
Now we come to a piece whose title is very familiar and which enjoyed
a substantial popularity after its publication in 1917. The cover of this
work is interesting. You really have to look closely to see the Indian
maid and her lover in an embrace. That is them in the white and gray area
behind the foreground trees. It's very subtle and a nice piece of art
by an unidentified artist. Often recorded even to this day and issued
in many editions over the years, it has in some respects become one of
the defining Indian love songs of the 20th century.
This edition is interesting in that it includes a violin or flute ad.
lib. accompaniment to the vocal line. The website "Zoominfo.com"
has this to say about the song:
According to one account, "By the Waters" was inspired
by an ancient Sioux love song sung for Lieurance in 1911 by one Sitting
Eagle. The legend associated with the song has also been preserved and
reads like a Native American version of Romeo and Juliet. It is the story
of two ill-starred lovers from different clans who fell in love in spite
of the ancient laws of their tribes which forbade this. They met in secret,
knowing that their act carried the penalty of death were they to be discovered.
They were, of course, found out, and realizing that death was inevitable
they chose to commit suicide together by drowning themselves in a lake.
The legend has it that the rippling water of the lake forever after moaned
a rhythmic sound and the wind in the pines sang their love song. In his
piece based on this story, Lieurance created the atmosphere of the water
with an insistent right-hand arpeggiated figure.
The melody is a very beautiful one and when coupled with the flute as
the ad lib. instrument, I think it makes for beautiful harmony. It has
a haunting and plaintive quality that evokes images of native America
and does have a bit of a stereotypical Indian sound to it. To add to the
ethereal sound, I've created the midi using flute and "choir ahs."
That said, I have to say that the piano accompaniment tends to dampen
the mood. I know that the rippling motif is meant to simulate the flowing
waters of Lake Minnetonka (in Minnesota) but I find that the continuous
repetition gets old very quickly. After the first few bars of admiration
for the creativity and effectiveness of the idea, I found it more boring
and even a little annoying as the piece wore on.
Lieurance, Thurlow Weed (b. 1880; d. 1963) Lieurance studied music
as a young man in Iowa. In 1897 he was appointed bandmaster of the 22nd
Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He served with that regiment during the Spanish-American
War. Then he studied at the Cincinnati College of Music where he worked
with Preston Ware Orem. In 1902 he became interested in Native American
music. During the rest of his life he made thousands of field recordings
of Sioux, Crow, Cheyenne, and Taos Pueblo tribes among others. He also
collected Native American flutes. He came to Nebraska in about 1917 and
was a member of the faculty of the University School of Music from 1918
to 1927. In 1927 he was named Dean of Fine Arts at Wichita State University
and was there until 1945. In 1952 he moved to Colorado. He married Edna
Wooley in Omaha in 1917. They toured throughout the country specializing
in Indian music. He wrote several hundred pieces, more than half of which
are examples of Indianist Movement compositions. (Lieurance
biography From Zoominfo.com.)
Listen to "Minnetonka"
using the Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version.
Pretty Little Rainbow
Music by:Vincent C. Plunkett
Words by: Robert Levenson
Cover artist: VP
Rainbow is yet another name that seems to appear regularly in association
with Indian maidens. In September of 2001, we featured the song Rainbow
as a part of our article about the
music of Percy Wenrich. That version had all the exuberance that is
often found in Wenrich songs. This work, with a slightly different title
has a distinctly different sound and feel to it. The cover is a lovely
romantic depiction of an Indian maiden wistfully looking into the night
sky. The song too is very romantic so the cover and music go together
The song is through composed, musically and lyrically romantic. It is
relatively long and is languid in it's feel and tone. The music flows
along as we hear the story as told by her lover of an Indian maid who
is away and with whom the brave wants to reunite and build a "wigwam"
home for two. Apparently, to add to the almost sad tone, Pretty Little
Rainbow is crying and the singing brave says; "Pretty little Rainbow
let me see you smile again, I'll kiss your tears all away Like a ray of
light that's shining thro' the night." In an ABA form, the song begins
with a slow introduction and into a dreamy melody that is marked Valse
lento. The next section, marked "brightly," accelerates into
a more strident passage that is former and more urgent, the final section
returns to the original them but includes an obligato duet with a complimentary
set of lyrics.
Robert Levenson (1897 - 1961) was
born to Samuel and Paulina Levenson in Boston, Ma. (Dorchester/Roxbury
area) on July 19, 1897. He had two brothers, an older one, Louis, and
a younger one, Henry. The three of them used to play music at social occasions
in the area. Henry went on to be a professional musician, playing piano
and singing solo with his whiskey baritone voice (he wasn't a drinker,
just sounded that way). You could see him 35 years ago as the regular
piano player at Bill's Gay Nineties Bar in New York. Brother Henry wrote
music too and Rudy Vallee liked one song enough to tinker with it and
added his own name as a co-composer.
Robert attended Brimmer School in Boston and later Boston Latin School,
the oldest public school in the country. In the early 1900s a student
had to pass an entrance exam to attend. Graduating in 1913 he was accepted
at Harvard (Class of 1917). It was during this time that he began to haunt
the Boston music publishers with his lyrics, particularly, succeeding
in winning first prize for his words to the famous WW I marching song,
The National Emblem
March (Scorch format) by E. E. Bagley, Jr. This march is easily
the equal of any American march and is also one of the most popular and
often played marches from our early musical heritage. After Levenson wrote
the lyrics, all future editions of the march included them.
After Harvard, Levenson worked in Boston, particularly as a salesman.
He continued to write songs in collaboration with others who appreciated
his poetic talent and gracious personality. He did some acting and directing
of plays and reviews, continuing also to write fun lyrics for many organizations'
annual meetings and music nights.
He moved to New York City in the mid-1920s, met and married, Evelyn Lippman,
and though he ended up working for Boston Knitting Mills, stayed in NY
as their top salesman and designer of polo shirts and other knit clothing.
He was very active in the community in which he lived, Lawrence, LI, serving
as Village Trustee, Village Historian, and Honorary Fire Chief. He put
in a great deal of time in the Jewish community as well, as Treasurer,
Board Member, Chairman of the Music and Religious School committees of
Temple Israel of Lawrence, as well as President of Long Island Lodge,
Robert Levenson continued to sing wherever he went, performing his own
songs as well as opera, and Broadway numbers at the invitation of local
organizations. He died suddenly at the age of 63 in the airport in Rome,
Italy in 1961 as he was returning home with the Temple group from a pilgrimage
visit to Israel and Jerusalem. He is survived by two children, Paul and
Judith, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Among his other
credits are a 1925 song Drifting 'Neath the Silver Moon. (Levenson
biography graciously provided by his son, Paul Levenson)
I've been unable to find any information about Levinson's partner in
this song, Vincent C. Plunkett.
Listen to this
Indian love song ( Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version.
Melody of Love
Music by: George W. Meyer
Words by: Alfred Bryan & Artie Mehlinger
Cover artist: Frederic Manning
We end this feature as we started, with a previously published work.
However, the difference now is in the sheet cover which is very different
from the prior published cover. To see the alternative cover, place your
mouse pointer over the cover image shown at right. Interestingly, both
covers were by Frederic Manning, and both were published the same year.
The mystery is why were two so very different covers used for the same
song. Yet more strange is; why was the "non" Indian themed cover
published on a song that is clearly an Indian love song? Both covers were
painted by the same artist. As you ponder those questions (and if you
have the answers, let us know) listen to and read some what we had to
say about the song in our March,
The cover artist Frederick Manning was one of the greatest artists to
grace sheet music with their work. He and Rolf Armstrong rate the highest
marks for their female portraiture. The "hat" portrait, "is
noted as "specially posed by Miss Grace Nelson." In both cases,
this is one of those rare times where the art on the cover and the musical
artistry inside truly go together. The music within is one of the most
appealing songs from this period. The song was introduced at the Century
Theater in New York in the stage production, The Midnight Rounders
of 1920. The show opened in July of 1920 and played for 120 performances
till the following November. Produced by Lee and J. J. Schubert, the cast
included the great Eddie Cantor and a number of popular performers of
the period, none of whom reached Cantor's level of lasting fame. For a
fabulous Piano Roll MIDI produced by Terry Smythe,
listen here for a real musical treat! The song is another wonderful
waltz and may be one of Meyer's best ever. The piano roll version is a
duet by Allison & Davidson and is done in a honky-tonk style. It lacks
the finesse and tenderness of the song as written but is definitely worth
W. Meyer (b. 1884 Boston, Mass.- d. 1959 New York, NY) was one of
the more prolific composers of the period with many, many hits to his
credit that spanned many years. Meyer's biggest hit was probably For Me
and My Gal in 1917 but he also wrote many favorites that have lasted such
as; My Song Of The Nile, Lonesome, My Mother's Rosary
and the great novelty song Where
Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? (Scorch
this melody of love ( Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version.
This article published June, 2006 and is Copyright © 2006
by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or
music may be reproduced only in accordance with our usage
policy. Commercial use is prohibited without permission. Though the songs
published on this site are in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected
by copyright as recorded performances.
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