Chapter

“I am a <i>creator</i>”

Todd Decker

in Music Makes Me

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268883
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950061 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268883.003.0003
“I am a creator”

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This chapter defines the product Fred Astaire sold and how he made it. Astaire worked within a popular music culture that relied on songs, originating as sheet music and presented to the public in a variety of routined forms. From his position in Hollywood, the entertainment industry was a realm where songs both old and new were sold by professionals with distinctive, personal styles, and who were eager to please their audiences and keep them wanting more. In an interview with Joseph McBride in 1981, Astaire described his life's work as “trying to make a buck and make it look good and knock a lot of people on their ass in the aisle.” The chapter considers how he went about doing this, looking briefly at his relationships with the songwriters who wrote specifically for him and his collaborative work with several kinds of showbusiness professionals who assisted him in routining songs for film, television, and records. It also looks at Astaire's primary creative focus on making musical numbers, rather than musical films.

Keywords: Fred Astaire; popular music; Hollywood; songs; entertainment industry; songwriters; television; musical numbers; records

Chapter.  17740 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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