Tin Pan Alley

views updated May 21 2018


TIN PAN ALLEY, a phrase probably coined early in the 1900s, described the theatrical section of Broadway in New York City that housed most publishers of popular songs. As the music-publishing industry moved from the

area around Twenty-eighth Street and Sixth Avenue to Thirty-second Street and then to the area between Forty-second and Fiftieth streets, the name "Tin Pan Alley" moved with it. The term suggests the tinny quality of the cheap, overabused pianos in the song publishers' offices. As the songwriting and music-publishing industry moved to other parts of the city, and to other cities as well, Tin Pan Alley became a term applied to the industry as a whole.


Furia, Philip. The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Jasen, David. Tin Pan Alley: The Composers, the Songs, the Performers and their Times: The Golden Age of American Popular Music from 1886–1956. New York: D. I. Fine, 1988.

Tawa, Nicholas. The Way to Tin Pan Alley: American Popular Song, 1866–1910. New York: Schirmer Books, 1990.

Stanley R.Pillsbury/h. r. s.

See alsoBroadway ; Music Industry .

Tin Pan Alley

views updated May 14 2018

Tin Pan Al·ley the name given to a district in New York City (not associated with any particular street, but with the area around 28th Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway) where many songwriters, arrangers, and music publishers were formerly based. ∎  [as n.] [usu. as adj.] the world of composers and publishers of popular music, particularly with reference to the works of such composers as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers.

Tin Pan Alley

views updated May 23 2018

Tin Pan Alley ★★½ 1940

Tin Pan Alley songwriters Oakie and Payne meet singing sisters Faye and Grable, who agree to plug their material. At first their music business thrives but when the women head off to sing in a hit London show, the business goes downhill. Since WWI has been declared, the boys enlist and wind up in England, where they get a second chance to see their gals. The first teaming of Faye and Payne, who would star together in three more films. Remade as “I'll Get By.” The Sheik of Araby; You Say the Sweetest Things, Baby; America I Love You; Goodbye Broadway, Hello France; K-K-K-Katy; Moonlight Bay; Honeysuckle Rose; Moonlight and Roses. 92m/B VHS . Alice Faye, John Payne, Betty Grable, Jack Oakie, Allen Jenkins, Esther Ralston, John Loder, Elisha Cook Jr., Fred Keating, Billy Gilbert; D: Walter Lang; W: Robert Ellis, Helen Logan; C: Leon Shamroy; M: Alfred Newman. Oscars ‘40: Score.