The 1927 Broadway musical, Show Boat, was a smash success. Advertising music by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, the musical was based on a novel of the same name, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Edna Ferber. The stand out song from the show is unarguably, the timeless Ol' Man River.
In his book, Stardust Melodies: A Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs, Will Friedwald tells the origin story of this song.
“The score and the book were almost finished when Hammerstein happened to be pondering the way in which Edna Ferber had used the Mississippi River in [her] book....In the novel, the river was practically a character in and of itself; it’s a unifying force that binds all the characters together, dictates their relationships, and determines the course of all their lives. ...Hammerstein wanted to capture that spirit of the river in song..."
Here at The Jonathan Channel, we believe he did.