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Michael Feinstein

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Biography

Singer/pianist Michael Feinstein was both a prime motivator and a beneficiary of a renewed interest in pre-rock popular music that started in the 1980s, a trend that also found Linda Ronstadt selling millions of copies of albums of traditional pop made with conductor Nelson Riddle and that fueled the success of Harry Connick Jr. In Feinstein's case, it allowed him to establish a career as a nightclub entertainer and then move up to theaters while releasing major-label albums; his background as a musical archivist also enabled him to bring a scholar's knowledge to his performances of classic pop music. He was born Michael Jay Feinstein on September 7, 1956, in Columbus, Ohio. His father, Edward Feinstein, was an executive in the meat business, but had been a band singer, while his mother, Mazie Feinstein, was an amateur tap dancer. Beginning to play the piano by ear at age five, Feinstein grew up fascinated by the pop music of generations preceding him and amassed a large record collection. He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1976, and there began to come in contact with the people who created the music he adored. He was hired by Ira Gershwin to catalog the veteran lyricist's archives, a job he performed until Gershwin's death in 1983. (He also worked for Harry Warren in 1981-1982.) At that point, he turned to performing as a cabaret artist full-time, beginning in Los Angeles. In 1985, he released his debut album, Pure Gershwin, on Parnassus Records. A 1986 engagement at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel in New York was extended for four months and resulted in the LP Live at the Algonquin (Elektra, 1987). After releasing Remember: Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin (1987), he was able to take his act to Broadway, opening Michael Feinstein in Concert: Isn't It Romantic at the Lyceum Theatre on April 19, 1988. The same year, he released his third album, also called Isn't It Romantic. During 1989, he released two thematic albums, Over There (Angel), devoted to the music of World War I, and The M.G.M. Album (Elektra). For Elektra's Nonesuch imprint, Feinstein launched a series of "songbook" albums recorded with the participation of the veteran songwriters themselves, the first of them devoted to Burton Lane (August 1990, with a second volume in November 1992), followed by Jule Styne (October 1991), Jerry Herman (October 1993), and Hugh Martin (September 1995). Back at Elektra, Feinstein devoted an album to children, Pure Imagination (April 1992). Forever (March 1993) found him balancing contemporary material with the usual standards. He then switched labels, landing at Atlantic Records for Such Sweet Sorrow (March 1995) and Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins (February 1996) before moving to Concord Records, beginning with an album to mark the centenary of George Gershwin, Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin (September 1998). In 1999, Feinstein lent his name to a new nightclub in New York located in the Regency Hotel, as Feinstein's at the Regency became a venue for sophisticated cabaret entertainers including its namesake. (A second Feinstein's later opened in Hollywood.) The same year, he released Big City Rhythms, fronting the Maynard Ferguson Big Band. Romance on Film/Romance on Broadway (October 2000) was a two-CD set, the first disc recorded live. It was followed by Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in May 2002. In the fall of 2002, Concord announced the formation of Feinstein's own custom subsidiary label, Feinery, intended to "present hidden gems from the American Popular Songbook." It was launched with a new album, Michael Feinstein Sings the Livingston & Evans Songbook, on October 8, 2002. Feinstein's 2003 album, Only One Life, was devoted to the songs of Jimmy Webb. In 2005, he and George Shearing teamed up for Hopeless Romantics. The Sinatra Project appeared in 2008. In 2009, Feinstein and Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson made The Power of Two for Harbinger Records. Fly Me to the Moon (September 2010) on the Duckhole label found him accompanied by jazz guitarist Joe Negri. In 2011, Feinstein followed up his 2008 homage to Sinatra with The Sinatra Project, Vol. 2: The Good Life. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Albums

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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Sway
  3.   The Way You Look Tonight
  4.   Hallelujah I Love Her So
  5.   At Long Last Love
  6.   The Song Is You
  7.   Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?
  8.   As Long as She Needs Me
  9.   Fools Rush In
  10.   I've Got a Crush on You
  11.   Exactly Like You
  12.   I'll Be Around
  13.   The Lady Is a Tramp
  14.   The Good Life
  15.   You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me
  16.   Begin the Beguine
  17.   For Once in My Life
  18.   Luck Be a Lady/All I Need Is the Girl
  19.   At Last
  20.   The Best Is Yet To Come
  21.   How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
  22.   A Fine Romance
  23.   Too Marvelous for Words
  24.   Sophisticated Swing
  25.   I Won't Send Roses
  26.   She Moves, Eyes Follow
  27.   You Are There
  28.   It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  29.   Sleigh Ride
  30.   How Deep Is the Ocean?, song
  31.   And I'll Be There
  32.   Long Ago (And Far Away)
  33.   Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)
  34.   Piano
  35.   Always
  36.   My Funny Valentine
  37.   These Are All Mine
  38.   Shall We Dance?
  39.   Didn't We
  40.   I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
  41.   Adios
  42.   Who Cares?
  43.   Loving You
  44.   Embraceable You
  45.   The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else) featuring Maynard Ferguson Big Band
  46.   Love Is Here to Stay
  47.   Time Flies
  48.   One Day at a Time featuring Maynard Ferguson Big Band
  49.   Open Your Eyes
  50.   A Foggy Day/Things Are Looking Up
  51.   What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
  52.   Close Your Eyes featuring Maynard Ferguson Big Band
  53.   We Dreamed These Days
  54.   Somewhere, song (from "West Side Story")
  55.   Melody From "The Red Shoes"
  56.   Is There Love After You?
  57.   They Can't Take That Away from Me, song (from Shall We Dance?, film)
  58.   I'm Nothing Without You
  59.   Cahn Medley: I'll Walk Alone
  60.   All the Time
  61.   As Time Goes By
  62.   Dancing
  63.   Marianne
  64.   Hello, Dolly! Medley: Put on Your Sunday Clothes
  65.   Will You Remember Me?
  66.   Lydia, the Tattooed Lady
  67.   Half of April (Most of May)
  68.   Moondance
  69.   Time Enough for Love
  70.   Let's Face the Music and Dance
  71.   I Love a Piano
  72.   Someone to Watch Over Me, song (from Oh, Kay!, musical)
  73.   Poor You
  74.   I'll String Along With You
  75.   I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
  76.   Wish Me a Rainbow by Jay Livingston
  77.   The Late Scene
  78.   It Happens Every Time
  79.   Sunday
  80.   Never Let Me Go
  81.   What Fools These Mortals Be
  82.   Time Medley: Some Other Time
  83.   I Fall in Love Too Easily
  84.   This Time the Dream's on Me
  85.   Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)
  86.   Swing Is Back in Style featuring Maynard Ferguson Big Band
  87.   Up, Up and Away
  88.   It's Time for a Love Song
  89.   The Mole People, song
  90.   Louisa Blu