Benjamin, Ruth, and Arthur Rosenblatt. Movie Song Catalog: Performers and Supporting Crew for the Songs Sung in 1460 Musical and Nonmusical Films, 1928 - 1988. Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1993. Mus Ref ML 128 .M7 B46 1993
Use: Oriented to anyone interested in movie music - particularly songs in the movies.
Coverage: Includes movies of the United States and Great Britain from 1928 to 1988 - mainly adaptations of Broadway musicals, movies with songs by prominent lyricists and composers, movies with well-known singing stars, and movies whose music won awards. Short subjects, operas, serials, animated films and television movies excluded. (See introduction.)
Organization: Begins with a preface, an introduction, and a useful section on how to use the book. Main body of information contained in The Films. 1460 films listed in alphabetical order. Each film entry has an index number. Concise entries include film length, director, country of origin, year of release, musical director, producers, performers, etc. Includes a performer index, a songwriter index and a song index in the back that refer to the film by index number.
Pros: Additional indexes make information more easily accessible.
Cons: Current only until 1988.
Use: Anyone interested in music that emerged or was used in a Hollywood film.
Coverage: Information for nearly every film available excluding ones made solely for video or TV and concert films. Verified by ASCAP and BMI lists and cue sheets.
Organization: Done in three volumes, the first two are alphabetical listings of the films. Volume I- (A-L) and volume II (M-Z). The last volume is a chronological listing of the titles and indexes to personnel and songs. Each film is listed with the following information: studio, year, music score, lyricist, composer, producer, screenwriter, director, source, cast, songs, notes.
Pros: Information is easy to locate and cross-reference.
Cons: Excludes films that are produced for video and concert films.
Use: Complete list of songs that made the top ten rock and roll charts in the United States, with biographical information about performers, songwriters, and producers.
Coverage: Includes all songs, with their creators, that reached the number one spot on the U.S. charts from 1955 to 1997. Included in each citation are photographs and a list of the top five hits at the time. Not all music groups are American, but all songs are in English.
Organization: Begins with a Table of Contents. Citations in the main body are listed chronologically, each including the title of the song, music group or artist, writers, producer, how long the song was on the chart, biography, and a list of the contemporaneous top five. Several appendices list the Songs that Debuted at Number One, the Biggest Jumps to Number One, the Biggest Falls from Number One, and Groups with the Most Number One Hits. Separate indexes list songs by artist, title, and publisher label.
Pros: interesting insights on celebrities’ personal lives, photos with every listing.
Use: For anyone interested in finding the full titles of practically all American popular songs dating from the mid-nineteenth century to 1957.
Coverage: Covers popular songs dating from about 1850-1957. By itself, the only useable information from this reference source is a list of the song titles in alphabetical order. Each song title entry contains specific codes on its right that indicate where additional information can be found. With the aid of four separate references books (Musical Blue Books) one can find information on the composer, the song, the original show and so forth. They are called: Blue Book of Tin Pan Alley, Blue Book Broadway Musicals, Blue Book Hollywood Musicals and The Melodies Linger On. The How-To section (the only section other than the list) offers additional clarity to the use of this volume.
Organization: Arranged alphabetically by song title. No other sections or indexes included.
Pros: A near comprehensive listing of early popular American music.
Cons: Only current to 1957. Must have other reference books to effectively use this resource.
Use: Serves as an index to recently published collections of popular songs.
Coverage: Presents information on music that was published after 1988. Music included in this index must have popular appeal and not be indexed elsewhere. Focuses primarily on rock, country, musical show and popular standards, but also includes some jazz, folk, holiday and gospel music.
Organization: In four sections. Section one is a bibliography of collections indexed that only includes title and publisher information. Section two is an index of first lines and song titles. Section three is an index of composers. Section four is an index of works from musicals, motion pictures, and television.
Cons: The index to composers doesn't cross-reference you immediately to the collection in which the composer's work is published. If all you know is the name of the composer, you are first referred to the index of first lines and song titles that then refers you to the collection.
Use: To provide a tool for finding works and music to folk songs, pop tunes, spirituals, hymns, children’s songs, sea chanteys, and blues.
Coverage: Index of 301 song books published between 1940 through 1972. A number of these works are reprints of volumes originally published in the first decades of this century. Only those songs with words and music were indexed. Some books contained songs in English and a foreign language. If both were singable they were indexed separately under their respective titles. When only one title was given for the two languages, both were indexed under that title.
Organization: Arranged in three parts: (I) a bibliography of books indexed arranged alphabetically by author and coded by number, (II) an index by title, first line of song, and first line of chorus, (III) a composer and lyricist index. Song titles, first lines of songs and first lines of choruses are alphabetized together in part II. The title entry includes the composer’s name, the first line of the song, the first line of the chorus and a number referring back to the bibliography.
Pros: Well organized.
Cons: Only covers from 1940 through 1972. Not current.
Use: Reference guide for popular and/or significant songs in English.
Coverage: 1558-1986; bulk of entries are American or British. Most entries appear to be “Chart” songs, (i.e. Billboard) Many lesser known songs are excluded.
Organization: The main body is grouped by categories; i.e. Songs by year, awards, theme songs, song title, composers, thesaurus of titles, etc.
Pros: Searches can be made by award winners, trademark songs, titles, composers, school songs, British songs, etc.
Cons: Last printing in 1989.
Use: Find title, composer, publisher, and brief background information for popular songs, as well as a general overview of music for each decade between 1920 and 1979.
Coverage: Includes over 18,000 popular songs in America that achieved a substantial degree of popular acceptance, were exposed to public in notable circumstances, or were presented in important performances by influential musical and dramatic artists. Music can be foreign if it achieved popularity in the US or surrounded an important performance. Covers the years from 1920 to 1979.
Organization: There are three volumes. Volume 1 contains introductory essays that give a synopsis of music and trends during a specific era—1920, 1930, 1940, etc. It also contains song listings A-I. Volume 2 contains song listings J-T. Volume 3 contains song listings U-Z and three indexes--Lyricist and Composer Index, Important Performances Index, and Awards Index. It also has a list of publishers and their addresses. The song entries in all the volumes are arranged alphabetically by title. Each entry includes the title, alternative titles, country of origin, author, composer, current publisher, copyright date, and a sentence about the song’s origin or performance history.
Pros: Three indexes make finding a source easy with only limited information. Listings of publishers to contact directly if something is out of print.
Cons: Dated—songs listed through 1979, and publisher addresses may be incorrect.
Use: Easy to use reference listing of song titles, publishers, and composers. For performers, teachers and connoisseurs mostly of popular songs.
Coverage: Mostly 30-50 year old popular North American songs in 400 categories. A few art and folk songs as well.
Organization: Titles listed alphabetically by category. Publishers and address listed at the back.
Cons: Out of date for current usage–mostly popular music from a past generation. No abstracts. Entries include titles, but little more.