Music: He Sent Them Away Humming

Richard Rodgers: 1902-1979

"When the lyrics are right, it's easier for me to write a tune than to bend over and tie my shoelaces," Richard Rodgers once remarked. Many composers would have been happy to tie Rodgers' shoes for him if only they had been able to fill them. He could write anything, and to order and to suit. When Oscar Hammerstein II handed him the lyric for Bali Ha'i, Rodgers studied it for a moment, then turned the typed page over, retired to the next room and five minutes later came back with...

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