The German Cabaret Legacy in American Popular Music


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About the Book

The stylistic remnants of cabaret music from Weimar-era Germany are all around us. During the 20th century, its most prominent American exponents were the Germans Marlene Dietrich and Lotte Lenya, whose careers extended through the 1970s. Because of them (and others), the words and music of such artists as Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Hollaender, and Marcellus Schiffer continue to be heard and exert widespread influence.
Major songwriters touched by cabaret include Lennon & McCartney, Bacharach & David, Kander & Ebb, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, and Patti Smith, among many others. African-American artists, beginning with Louis Armstrong, have been sympathetic interpreters of cabaret music. Modern-day Las Vegas appears to be the fulfillment of a prophecy made in the late 1920s by Weill & Brecht in their Mahagonny stage works. And today, the German Kabarett tradition remains strong with such stars as Ute Lemper and Max Raabe packing international venues.

About the Author(s)

William Farina is a retired real estate consultant for the federal government, now living in Evanston, Illinois. He has written books on Arthurian legend, early Christianity, the American Civil War, Shakespeare and baseball.

Bibliographic Details

William Farina
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6863-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0148-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1

Part I: Berlin via Paris

 1. Le Belle Époque and Überbrettl 15

 2. The Great American Cultural Invasion 23

 3. Kurt Weill and Die Dreigroschenoper 33

 4. Lotte Lenya, Future Tony Award Winner 43

 5. The Long, Strange Journey of Marlene Dietrich 53

 6. Hollaender, Spoliansky and Their Doomed Associates 64

 7. Christopher Isherwood, Reporting from Berlin 74

 8. Total Collapse of the Moral Universe 82

 9. A Field Day for the Neue Sachlichkeit 90

10. Josef von Sternberg Captures It All on Film 98

Part II: Amerika and Beyond

11. From the Kurfürstendamm to Broadway 105

12. Kabarett Helps to Win the War 116

13. The Resurrection of Mahagonny 123

14. Louis Armstrong Connects the Dots 130

15. Bacharach and David Redefine the Brill Building 138

16. Cabaret on Stage and Film 146

17. The British Importation of Kleinkunst 157

18. Singer-Songwriters Become Bankable 167

19. Adoption by the Alternative Scene 178

20. A Turbulent New Century Begins 186

Conclusion 193

English Glossary of German and French Terminology 199

Chapter Notes 202

Select Bibliography 225

Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

“Traces the impact of German cabaret music on American popular music”—Reference & Research Book News.