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Wendell H. Mills II | Top Ten Songs of Songwriter Frank Loesser

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Top Ten Songs of Songwriter Frank Loesser

by Wendell H. Mills II

Pianist Wendell H. Mills II presents his own solo piano arrangements of the Top Ten Songs written by the legendary songwriter Frank Loesser.
Genre: Easy Listening: Background Music
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
3:28 $0.99
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2. On a Slow Boat to China
3:51 $0.99
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3. Lovelier Than Ever
3:14 $0.99
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4. I'll Know
3:40 $0.99
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5. I've Never Been in Love Before
3:02 $0.99
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6. A Woman in Love
2:54 $0.99
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7. Standing on the Corner
2:43 $0.99
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8. Somebody, Somewhere
3:34 $0.99
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9. Never Will I Marry
2:33 $0.99
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10. I Believe in You
2:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This is one of a series of Solo Piano Albums featuring pianist Wendell H. Mills II playing the best songs written by legendary popular composers. In this album he creates his own stylish solo piano arrangements of the Top Ten songs written by the songwriter Frank Loesser.

Frank Loesser (1910-1969) was an American composer and lyricist whose songs appeared in an incredible 113 productions for the stage and screen. Loesser had two main periods in his musical life: as a lyricist from 1931-1946, and as a composer-lyricist from 1947-1969, joining Irving Berlin and Cole Porter in the top tier of dual songwriters of the day. During his rich career he received 5 Academy Award nominations (winning once), 4 Tony Award nominations (winning twice), one Grammy award, and one Pulitzer prize. His signature Tony and Oscar award winning musical, Guys and Dolls has been called “the greatest American musical of all time”.

Loesser was born in Manhattan and was raised in a musical family. His father, Henry was an accomplished classical pianist and piano teacher. Disdaining classical music, Loesser self-learned the piano and began writing music and lyrics at the age of 6. His father died when he was 16 and he was forced to work in order to support the family, writing songs and lyrics. He published his first song in 1931 with the composer William Shuman, played piano in nightclubs, and wrote lyrics for his first Broadway show The Illustrator’s Show in 1936. This landed him a contract with Paramount Pictures and moved him to Hollywood, receiving good notices with a 1936 song sung by Dorothy Lamour in the film The Hurricane.

For the next ten years Loesser collaborated with some of the best celebrated music composers of the day producing the great standards “Two Sleepy People”, “Small Fry”, and “Heart and Soul” written with composer Hoagy Carmichael; “I Don’t Want To Walk Without You” with composer Jule Styne; “Can’t Get Out Of This Mood”, “Murder He Says”, “Say It Over and Over Again” and “Let’s Get Lost”, with composer Jimmy McHugh; “I Hear Music” and “The Lady’s in Love with You” with composer Burton Lane; and “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old” with composer Arthur Schwartz.

In the midst of these songwriting efforts, Loesser joined World War II in the Army Air Force and eventually found himself with fewer composer collaborators. Being a decent pianist, he started formulating and writing his own melodies to his lyrics, and in 1944 wrote the lyrics and music to a duet that he and his wife would perform at parties. Five years later this duet, called “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, was featured in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter and won the Academy Award for best original song. In 1947 and 1948 he composed the two highly acclaimed classic American standards “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and “On A Slow Boat to China”.

These popular song successes enabled Loesser to return home to Manhattan and compose for Broadway. During the next 20 years he composed the music and lyrics for several blockbuster musicals. These produced most of his best known songs “Lovelier Than Ever” from Where’s Charley (1948), “I’ll Know”, “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” and “A Woman In Love” from Guys and Dolls (1950), “Standing On The Corner” and “Somebody, Somewhere” from The Most Happy Fella (1956), “Never Will I Marry” from Greenwillow (1959), and “I Believe In you” from How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (1961). Guys and Dolls, based on two short stories of Damon Runyon, was quickly recognized as a top premier musical and won five Tony Awards (including Best Musical). Made into a Hollywood film in 1955, it received 6 Academy and Golden Globe nominations winning for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy). When he was asked why he did not write more Broadway shows, Loesser responded that "I don’t write slowly, it’s just that I throw out fast."

At the time of his premature death at the age of 59, Loesser was writing the book, music and lyrics for a musical version of the Budd Schulberg short story, Senor Discretion Himself. Versions of this last production were presented in 1985 and in 2004. In 2006 PBS produced the documentary Heart and Soul: The Life and Music of Frank Loesser. In 2013 a musical tribute titled Once In Love With Loesser was produced by the 42nd Street Moon theater company in San Francisco.

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