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His innovations tying music and story set new standard - "Show Boat"  (1927) began the revolution


Jerome Kern was born in New York City on January 27, 1885. Growing up in the middle-class atmosphere of East 56th Street, he attended public schools. His first music teacher was his mother, followed by studies at the New York College of Music (1902-3) and further musical studies in Heidelberg, Germany (1903-4).

Returning to New York, he began working as a pianist for a music publisher, and soon began contributing songs to various musical shows. He quickly became a successful songwriter, and in 1915 with book-writer Guy Bolton, he began a series of intimate musicals for the 299-seat Princess Theatre.

Among Kern's songs from the period up to 1927 were "They Didn’t Believe Me”, which many consider the first modern ballad, written in 1914 with Herbert Reynolds; “Go Little Boat”, (1917, with P.G. Wodehouse); “Look For the Silver Lining” (1920, with lyrics by B.G. DeSylva).

In 1927, Kern teamed with Oscar Hammerstein II and the two adapted Edna Ferber's novel into one of the greatest of all American musicals: Show Boat. Show Boat pioneered the concept of the fully integrated musical, with all aspects of the show working together toward a single artistic unity. Among the songs introduced in Show Boat were "Old Man River", "Bill" (a lyric by P.G. Wodehouse, originally written for one of the Princess musicals, and revised by Oscar Hammerstein II), "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "Make Believe", and "Why Do I Love You?".

In the years following Show Boat, Kern continued to write for Broadway, producing such classic songs as "The Song Is You" (from Music…

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Discography Highlights

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES Otto A. Harbach, Jerome Kern
Universal Music Publishing Group

ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern
Universal Music Publishing Group

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