Home | The Melody Lingers On

August 03, 2007

'S Wonderful

Tony Thornton has a way with a song – and a way with words. Here he tells of a performance of George Gershwin’s catchy remember-for-ever number, ‘S Wonderful.

For more of Tony’s wonderfully entertaining articles about the great tunes from the vintage era of popular music please click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "'S Wonderful" »

March 09, 2007

These Foolish Things

Tony Thornton, Open Writing’s inimitable guide to those songs that are worth singing, listening to and remembering for ever, tells us about that great – though often parodied – classic, These Foolish Things.

Please click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page for more of Tony's finger-clicking toe-tapping articles about the greatest songs of the Twentieth Century.

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September 22, 2006

Mystery solved

Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I've found thee
Oh, at last I know the secret of it all
All the longing, seeking, striving, waiting, yearning
The idle hopes, and joy and burning tears that fall…

Tony Thornton, Open Writing’s star columnist, the man with a song in his heart, writes about one particular song which affects him deeply.

Tony also introduces us to a wonderful new book, The Films of Jeanette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy. (See links at the end of this column)

Continue reading "Mystery solved" »

June 02, 2006

I Get Along Without You Very Well

Tony Thornton tells the story of what he considers to be the saddest song ever written.

Tony’s wonderful articles about the hit songs of yesteryear carry you back to a more tuneful age. For a feast of hum-along pleasure step aboard Tony’s magical musical time machine by clicking on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page

Continue reading "I Get Along Without You Very Well" »

March 10, 2006

My Romance

Tony Thornton tells of a magical night when a couple danced on and on to the same tune, alone on the floor, the music expressing their deep, engulfing love for one another.

Tony’s wonderful columns succeed in expressing in words the everlasting enchantment of the greatest popular tunes and songs. For a feast of good reading that is sure to make you hum, whistle or sing click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "My Romance" »

February 03, 2006


Tony Thornton, with a smile in his words, tells of the night when red-haired “Maureen’’ from the dole office and her partner came dancing by while he and his mates were playing the beautiful waltz Fascination.

Tony’s columns on the greatest popular songs of the Twentieth Century are being read and enjoyed around the world. If you haven’t already tuned in to his musical words make sure you click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Fascination" »

December 24, 2005

Sleigh Ride

"It's hard to imagine that someone wrote Sleigh Ride," remarked one listener. "It's as though it came from the ether. Sleigh Ride is one of those pieces of music that has always been around; just another wonderful part of everyday life..."

In the latest in his tuneful and gloriously readable series, Tony Thornton turns the spotlight on Leroy Anderson's classicaly seasonal tune.

Take a break from Christmas preparations. Accept Tony's challenge. Do your hearty best to fit the words to Anderson's rapidly changing melody.

Continue reading "Sleigh Ride" »

November 11, 2005

I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Tony Thornton pays tribute to Dorothy Fields, the First Lady of popular song. Tony's marvelously musical series about the greatest of the great song writers will set your feet a-tapping and put many a fabulous song in your heart. Click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page - and go venturing down melody lane.

Continue reading "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" »

October 14, 2005

Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern collaborated to write what in Tony Thornton’s opinion is the most beautiful popular song – Just The Way You Look Tonight.

Tony, who is himself a musician, makes music with his words in his brilliant columns about the best songs ever written. Read all of his tuneful offerings by clicking on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Dorothy Fields" »

July 29, 2005

Over The Rainbow

"The song has become part of my life,'' said Judy Garland. "It is symbolic of everybody's dream...'' THE song is of course Harold Arlen's Over The Rainbow.

Tony Thornton tells you things you never knew before about the number one song of the 20th Century.

This is the sixteenth article in Tony's series about the greatest songs of the modern age. For more melodic words click on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on the right hand side of this page.

Continue reading "Over The Rainbow" »

July 01, 2005

The Eyes Have It

"If you are playing what people want to hear you can't go wrong...'' In this delicious column Tony Thornton tells of his days as a cruise ship musician - and of a large American lady who loved Spanish Eyes.

Continue reading "The Eyes Have It" »

June 03, 2005

Doin' The Business

The great Irving Berlin could write a song almost as fast as it could be sung. Tony Thornton tells how Berlin was called in at short notice to write the music for the show Annie Get Your Gun. He wrote 19 numbers in a few weekends - glorious show-stopping songs that still set feet to tapping and hands to clapping.

Tony writes from a deep love of the music produced in the golden age of song writing. Read more of his gloriously tuneful articles by clicking on The Melody Lingers On in the menu on the right-hand side of this page.

Continue reading "Doin' The Business" »

May 13, 2005

Ivor Novello

In this wonderfully moving column, Tony Thornton tells how Ivor Novello, the producer of breathtaking melodies, came to write in 1914 one of the most famous songs of the Great War.

Do read all Tony's columns in our archive. For a very special and memorable reading treat click on The Melody Lingers On in the contents column on the right-hand side of this page.

Continue reading "Ivor Novello" »

April 01, 2005

Harry Woods

Harry Woods was born with no fingers on his left hand, yet he learned to play the piano. He also wrote hit song after hit song: I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover, When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful, Side By Side... He was a talented man with a terrible temper and a love for strong drink. Tony Thornton tells one of the most hilarious stories you ever heard about a musician.

Click on The Melody Lingers On in the contents column on this page to read more of Tony's delicious musical tales.

Continue reading "Harry Woods" »

February 11, 2005

From Daft To Dazzling

Tony Thornton compares the drivel written by today's so-called songwriters to the sensationally clever word play of of great writers such as Irving Berlin aand Oscar Hammerstein, whose words and music seem to get better the more times you hear them.

For more of Tony's foot-tappingly enjoyable columns click on The Melody Lingers On in the list on the right-hand side of this page.

Continue reading "From Daft To Dazzling" »

December 24, 2004

The Christmas Song

Popular columnist Tony Thornton writes in fascinating style about one of the most popular songs of this season -The Christmas Song.

Tony also takes the opportunity to wish all his readers a Merry Christmas. How best to return those wishes? Tony would be delighted if you join him in a chorus. So come on everybody...

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folk dressed up like Eskimos...

Continue reading "The Christmas Song" »

November 19, 2004

No Rhyme Nor Reason

Tony Thornton detests the moronic melody lines, repetitive phrases and almost-rhymes in most of today's popular music. In this brilliantly tuneful column he compares the music of the vintage years, when songwriters worked hard to perfect rhyme and melody, to the products of today's scribblers.

Continue reading "No Rhyme Nor Reason" »

November 05, 2004


George Gershwin and Irving Ceasar wrote the song Swanee in 12 minutes, says Tony Thornton. It became a world-wide hit, selling a million music copies and a million records.

For the best-ever literary trip down music's memory lane, click on The Melody Lingers On in our columns list. Enjoy Tony's fascinating accounts of how some of the greatest songs of all time came to be written. Classics such as The Man I Love, Long Ago And Far Away, Stardust and They Didn't Believe Me.

Continue reading "Swanee" »

September 21, 2004

The Man I Love

The story goes that four businessmen each bet $1,000 that George Gershwin couldn't write a song using the four discordant notes of "Good Evening Friends''. George won the bet in spectacular style with The Man I Love, as Tony Thornton reveals in his latest column for Open Writing, which, as usual, strikes exactly the right note.

Continue reading "The Man I Love" »

August 17, 2004

I've Told Every Little Star

Jerome Kern got the idea for the melody of "I've Told Every Little Star'' when he awoke to hear a bird singing outside his window, Tony Thornton reveals in the latest of his splendid series about popular songs. When Oscar Hammerstein came to write the lyrics to the tune he said there were times when he wished the bird had kept its big mouth shut!

* NOTE Tony is running an online Writing For Publication course for UK U3A. It begins on September 18. For details and enrolment contact:


Continue reading "I've Told Every Little Star" »

July 27, 2004

Long Ago And Far Away

Tony Thornton writes with delight about the haunting Jerome Kern/Ira Gershwin song, Long Ago And Far Away - a song to leave all long-time lovers misty-eyed and holding hands.

Continue reading "Long Ago And Far Away" »

July 13, 2004

All The Things You Are

Read what Tony Thornton has to say about a classic song - and very soon you begin to hum the tune. Then, long before you reach the last sentence, and provided there's no-one around to eavesdrop, you will probably burst into song. This week Tony tells us about what he considers to be the greatest popular song ever written. Many will agree with him, including the Editor of Open Writing.

Continue reading "All The Things You Are" »

June 18, 2004


When he was 15 years old Tony Thornton heard a song which changed his life.

Continue reading "Stardust" »

June 04, 2004

They Didn't Believe Me

Here's the first of Tony Thornton's sparkling new series of columns, The Melody Lingers On. He will be taking a nostalgic look at the popular music from the first half of the 20th century. The first ‘pop’ song was arguably They Didn’t Believe Me written by Jerome Kern in 1917. The last could have been any of the songs sung by the crooners of the early 50s.
Popular music was originally written for adults who went to the theatre. But the emerging teenagers had money to spend on records, and their idols such as Bill Haley and Elvis Presley swamped the market with rock ’n’ roll. Songwriters merely had to satisfy the fickle tastes of the young who lived only for the next instant hit.
This column is for those who enjoy being reminded of what it was like. ’S Wonderful wrote George Gershwin. Anything Goes believed Cole Porter, and There’s No Business Like Show Business claimed Irving Berlin.
There will be a new column every other week. The stories will not be in any particular order. Tony welcomes your comments, and suggestions for further research.


Continue reading "They Didn't Believe Me" »

May 31, 2004

Introducing Tony Thornton

Author.jpgWe are delighted to welcome a new regular columnist to Open Writing. Tony Thornton will be writing regularly on the tuneful music of yester-year - music which lives on in the present day because it is so easy on the ear.

The first of Tony's new columns, under the title The Melody Lingers On, will appear next Friday. You're in for a treat! It features one of Jerome Kern's most delightful songs, They Didn't Believe Me.

Continue reading "Introducing Tony Thornton" »


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