A Female Houdini: Popular Culture in Margaret Atwood's Lady by John Thieme

By John Thieme

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Be that as it may, for the moment the point is that already in 1912 Kern’s melody is transforming his nineteenth-century models. For an explanation of how, we should turn to the words. George Hobart’s lyrics for the refrain of ‘‘You’re the Only Girl He Loves’’ are as follows: Does he snuggle up beside you, With the lovelight in his eyes? Does he slip his arm around you? And fill the air with sighs? Do you both when no-one’s near you Behave like cooing turtle doves? If he seals such bliss with a kiss like this, You’re the only girl he loves!

Kern (far left), Irving Berlin (far right), Oscar Hammerstein I (at the piano), and other composers, 1916. ] 22 i n tr o d u c i n g k e r n some of the songs of Rock-a-Bye Baby Kern began calling a refrain a ‘‘burthen’’ (though there is an isolated precedent in ‘‘Bungalow in Quogue’’ from The Riviera Girl ). Two Actors’ Fund benefits at the New York Hippodrome organized by ASCAP in the spring of 1916, at which he joined twelve other piano-playing popular composers on stage, kept Kern favorably in the public eye (see fig.

Miller, almost entirely behind the scenes, was Kern’s long-term assistant and his amanuensis at T. B. Harms from at least this date. He remained associated with Kern in California in the 1940s (as of course did Bennett). Miller wrote out the music of ‘‘Two Dachshunds,’’ and while this leaves us unsure as to whether the careful dynamics, phrasing, accents, and orchestral indications were Kern’s or the studio’s, it implies through Miller’s authorial silence that the notes themselves were composed by Kern.

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