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Andrew Ford

Andrew Ford is a composer, writer, and broadcaster, and has won awards in all three capacities, including the prestigious Paul Lowin Prize for his song cycle, Learning to Howl. His music has been played throughout Australia and in more than forty countries around the world. He is the author of ten books, including a memoir, The Memory of Music, and most recently The Song Remains the Same: 800 years of love songs, laments and lullabies (with Anni Heino). Since 1995 he has presented The Music Show each weekend on ABC Radio National.

Andrew Ford reviews 'The Philosophy of Modern Song' by Bob Dylan

March 2023, no. 451 25 February 2023
'You got a habit, a bad habit. You fell in love with the hard stuff. You fell for the foxy harlot, the vamp who lives around here somewhere, and you’re silly about her, she’s got you hooked.’ Those words, straight out of some 1950s film noir, are by Bob Dylan, and they open his discussion of a famous song from a Broadway musical that no one, I imagine, has previously considered in quite the ... (read more)

Andrew Ford reviews 'Long Players: Writers on the albums that shaped them' edited by Tom Gatti

November 2021, no. 437 25 October 2021
This collection of short pieces by fifty writers is about long players in more than one sense. Not only are they discussing LPs, but also albums that have been long played. ‘I became a student, then a PhD student, then a husband,’ writes Ian Rankin. ‘Kids arrived. I moved houses and countries. Each time, when we moved, the first record on the turntable was [John Martyn’s] Solid Air.’ An ... (read more)

Andrew Ford reviews 'One Two Three Four: The Beatles in time' by Craig Brown

August 2020, no. 423 27 July 2020
Chapter 148 of Craig Brown’s engrossing book is speculative fiction. Gerry and the Pacemakers are ‘the most successful pop group of the twentieth century’, their 1963 recording of ‘How Do You Do It?’, which the Beatles turned down, having launched their career. ‘To this day,’ Brown writes, ‘they remain the only artists to have achieved the number one slot with each of their first t ... (read more)

Andrew Ford reviews 'Irving Berlin: New York genius' by James Kaplan

May 2020, no. 421 28 April 2020
At the end of 1910, Irving Berlin took a winter holiday in Florida. James Kaplan writes, ‘Here we must pause for a moment to consider the miracle of a twenty-two-year-old who in recent memory had sung for pennies in dives and slept in flophouses becoming a prosperous-enough business man to vacation in Palm Beach.’ In his new biography of the songwriter, Kaplan does a nice job of describing th ... (read more)

Andrew Ford reviews 'Letters from a Life: The Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten 1913–1976: Volume Five 1958–1965' edited by Philip Reed and Mervyn Cooke

March 2011, no. 329 01 March 2011
The four years prior to the period covered by this new volume of Britten’s letters had been difficult for the composer, with the first real setbacks in a hitherto charmed career. In 1954, his opera Gloriana celebrated the dawn of a new Elizabethan age by looking back to the final, troubled years of the first Elizabeth’s reign, in particular her private life. Not only did the opera fail to plea ... (read more)