Through all recorded history, composers and lyricists engaged in the business of popular, film, and theater music have been known with very little persuasion (more often without being asked at all) to demonstrate their songs to anyone even faintly breathing, at any time of day or night, in any climate, and in any room in which there just happens to be an operational keyboard device. On such occasions the following words will almost certainly be uttered by the listener: "They don't write songs like that any more." And in automatic response from the songwriter: "And then I wrote....”
Such performances took (and take) place in the offices of music publishers and of film, television, and theatrical producers; in audition rooms at record companies; at backers' auditions, when entire scores are played and sung for prospective investors in Broadway shows; at dinner parties; and at small studios in New York and Los Angeles where songwriters make demo records to demonstrate to potential performers just how the songs should be done. Fortunately for the nonprofessional enthusiasts and students of music-business history and folklore, a considerable number of privately owned tapes and recordings of composers and lyricists performing their own songs now exist in private, library, and university collections. Many music publishers retain demo records—sometimes of entire scores of musical shows and films (including unproduced ones)—as played and sung by their creators. In addition, an intrepid group of fans and collectors has been industriously bootlegging taped interviews and "And-then- I-wrote" segments that have been broadcast and televised on variety and talk programs throughout the years. Most of this material is not readily available to ordinary over-the-counter record buyers. Thus honest devotees of composer recordings have had to rely on the few commercial discs that have sporadically appeared (and then quickly vanished) over the years.
Most of this material is not readily available to ordinary over-the-counter record buyers. Thus honest devotees of composer recordings have had to rely on the few commercial discs that have sporadically appeared (and then quickly vanished) over the years. It is from those recordings that this selection was assembled.
William C. McNulty, Times Square (#44), no date. James Boyd Collection of New York City Etchings, PR7, box 2, folder 35. New-York Historical Society.