Shaw (real name, Shukotoff), Arnold

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Shaw (real name, Shukotoff), Arnold

Shaw (real name, Shukotoff), Arnold, American composer, writer, editor, lecturer, and music executive; b. N.Y, June 28, 1909; d. Las Vegas, Sept. 26, 1989. He was of Russian-Jewish descent. He majored in English literature at the City Coll. of N.Y. (B.S., 1929) and Columbia Univ. (M.A., 1931). In his college years he was a campus radical, active particularly in the Anti-Fascist Assn. of the Staffs of the City Coll. As such, he was listed as “subversive” by some right-wing political organizations. He made a living by composing and teaching music at the New School for Social Research in N.Y, the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles, and the Univ. of Nev. in Reno and Las Vegas, where in 1985 he founded the Popular Music Research Center. In order to protect himself against would-be political factions, he changed his name from the Russian-sounding Shukotoff to the more common name Shaw. Among the various positions he occupied was that of music executive with the Dutchess Music Corp. (1950–53), Hill and Range Songs (1953–55), and the Edward B. Marks Music Corp. (1955–66); at these companies he promoted such popular singers as Rod McKuen, Burt Bacharach, and Elvis Presley. He wrote numerous articles and books, and received the ASCAP- Deems Taylor Award (1968, 1979). He ed., with L. Dowling, The Schillinger System of Musical Composition (N.Y, 1941; fourth ed., 1946), and publ, a novel, The Money Song (N.Y, 1953). His compositions include the musical They Had a Dream (1976), some snappy piano pieces, and songs.


(all publ, in N.Y): Ed. with L. Dowling, The Schillinger System of Musical Composition (1941; fourth ed., 1946); Lingo of Tin Pan Alley (1950) Belafonte: An Unauthorized Biography (1960); Sinatra: Twentieth-Century Romantic (1968); The Rock Revolution (1969); The World of Soul: Black America’s Contribution to the Pop Music Scene (1970); The Street That Never Slept: New York’s Tabled 52nd Street (1971; reprint, 1977, as 52nd Street, the Street of Jazz); The Rockin’ 50s: The Decade That Transformed the Pop Music Scene (1974); Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues (1978); Dictionary of American Pop Rock: From Blue Suede Shoes to Blondie (1982); Sinatra, the Entertainer (1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire