Monday, December 6, 2010

Hugh Martin: Songwriter Extraordinaire

Songwriter Hugh Martin was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 1983. Alec Wilder, writing in his essential "American Popular Song: The Great Innovators" in 1972, writes of Hugh Martin: "his talent is clearly one of great invention, sensitiveness, professionalism, discipline, and taste..." Three of Mr. Martin's most successful songs are found in the 1944 movie "Meet Me in St. Louis." Surely there is no hipper Christmas song than "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

The release last month of Hugh Martin's memoir, "Hugh Martin, the Boy Next Door", reminded me of a very dear interview which was part of the 7-part KPAC series "American Popular Song" back in 2004-05. Kathy Couser spoke to Mr. Martin and to Martin's close friend John Fricke. This 13 minute video slide show contains the audio from the original radio program, including Mr. Martin's delightful repartee with Kathy over his humorous song "I'm Tired of Texas."

Season's Greetings - James Baker

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