Tin Pan Alley: Lyres for Hire

That Madison Avenue has a tin pan ally has long been an open secret. When singing commercials first began to sound better than popular songs, most listeners concluded, reasonably enough, that popular songs had become worse (rock 'n' roll had come along). But a year or so later, the advertising arias began to sound unmistakably better than the TV programs they interrupted. Here was unquestionable evidence. TV programs could not have got any worse; therefore, the singing commercials had improved.

There was, of course, a good reason for the improvement: the commercials were being written by some of the best...

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