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Encyclopedia > Torch Song

A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love, where one party is either oblivious to the existence of the other, or where one party has moved on.[1][2] Singers (predominantly female) of the Pop Vocal tradition are referred to as "torch singers" when their repertoire consists predominantly of such material. Torch singing is more of a niche than a genre, and can stray from the traditional jazz-influenced style of singing, although the American tradition of the torch song typically relies upon the melodic structure of the blues.[3] A modern example of a torch singer is British Rhythm and Blues chanteuse Sade Adu. Torch song can refer to: Torch song, a sentimental love song Torch Song, a 1953 film starring Joan Crawford. ... Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ... A song is a relatively short musical composition. ... Look up genre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Rhythm and blues (also known as R&B or RnB) is a popular music genre combining jazz, gospel, and blues influences, first performed by African American artists. ... Chanson (French for song) refers to any song with French words, but more specifically classic, lyric-driven French songs, European songs in the cabaret style, or a diverse range of songs interpreted in this style. ... Helen Folasade Adu (born 16 January 1959), MBE, known professionally as Sade (IPA pronunciation: ), is a Nigerian-born Grammy Award-winning English soul, jazz, R&B, and adult contemporary singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer, noted for her soulful, smoky contralto. ...

The etymology comes from the saying "Carrying a torch for him/her"; which means to long for a lost lover. This coinage has existed in English since at least 1930, when a play by the same title was released.[4] A burning torch, discarded on the road in the wake of the Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations. ...


Torch singers

The following is an incomplete list of popular artists who were or are particularly known for their torch songs.

Antony and the Johnsons is an award-winning music act from New York City. ... Billie Holiday (April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959), born Eleanora Fagan and later called Lady Day was an American singer widely considered one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. ... Charles Aznavour (Armenian: Շառլ Ազնավուր; born May 22, 1924) is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter and actor. ... Connie Francis (born December 12, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American pop singer best known for international hit songs such as Whos Sorry Now?, Where The Boys Are, and Everybodys Somebodys Fool. ... Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC (born November 16, 1964) is a Grammy award-winning Canadian jazz pianist and singer. ... Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore February 29, 1916 - February 24, 1994) was an American singer and actress. ... Dora Gerson Dora Gerson (March 23, 1899 - February 14, 1943) was a Jewish German cabaret singer and motion picture actress of the silent film era who was notoriously murdered with her family at Auschwitz. ... Dusty Springfield OBE (16 April 1939 - 2 March 1999) was a popular English singer whose career spanned four decades. ... Édith Piaf (December 19, 1915–October 11, 1963) was one of Frances most beloved singers, and became a national icon. ... Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus August 25, 1954 in London) is an English musician, singer, and songwriter. ... Ethel Merman (January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was a Tony Award winning star of stage and film musicals, well known for her powerful voice and vocal range. ... Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was an Oscar-nominated American blues vocalist and actress. ... Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is a Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter. ... Nancy Wilson is the name of two prominent American entertainers: An African-American singer and actress. ... Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American jazz oriented popular singer and Academy Award-winning actor. ... Georgia Gibbs (August 17, 1919[1] - December 9, 2006) was an American singer, most popular in the 1950s. ... Jane Olivor (born January 1, 1947) is a singer. ... Jeff Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), born Jeffrey Scott Buckley and raised as Scotty Moorhead,[1] was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. ... Genevieve Lillian Hering stage-name Jeri Southern (born August 5 , 1926 near Royal, Nebraska; died August 4, 1991 in Los Angeles) was a jazz pianist and singer. ... Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter. ... Superscript text Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an Oscar-nominated American film actress, considered by many to be one of the greatest singing stars of Hollywoods Golden Era of musical film, best known for her role as Dorothy Gale from The... Julie London Julie London (September 26, 1926–October 18, 2000) was an American singer and actress. ... Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC (born November 2, 1961), best known by the stage name k. ... Laura Fygi (27 August 1955 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch female singer. ... Marc Almond (born Peter Mark Sinclair Almond on 9 July 1957 in Southport, Lancashire, England) is a popular English singer, songwriter and recording artist, who originally found fame as half of the seminal synthpop/New Wave duo Soft Cell. ... Marlene Dietrich IPA: ; (December 27, 1901 – May 6, 1992) was a German-born actress, singer, and entertainer. ... Steven Patrick Morrissey (born May 22, 1959) is an English singer and songwriter from Davyhulme, near Manchester. ... Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known as Nina Simone (February 21, 1933–April 21, 2003), was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. ... Patsy Cline (b. ... Patti LuPone in her Tony Award winning role as Eva Perón in the Broadway musical Evita. ... Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American Jazz and Traditional Pop singer and songwriter and Oscar-nominated performer. ... Helen Folasade Adu (born 16 January 1959), MBE, known professionally as Sade (IPA pronunciation: ), is a Nigerian-born Grammy Award-winning English soul, jazz, R&B, and adult contemporary singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer, noted for her soulful, smoky contralto. ... Ute Lemper (born July 4, 1963) is a German chanteuse and actress. ... Dinah Washington (August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963) was a blues, R&B and jazz singer. ... Jessica Molaskey is a singer of torch songs and show tunes who is a professional recording artist, also appearing in the Broadway show Dream True playing the part of Sarah Cody. ...

See also

Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue — a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting around the tables (often dining or drinking) watching the performance. ... To emphasize the emotional aspect of a power ballad, crowds customarily hold up lit lighters. ...


  1. ^ Smith, L: Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, and the Torch Song Tradition, page 9. Praeger Publishers, 2004
  2. ^ Allan Forte, MR: Listening to Classic American Popular Songs, page 203. Yale University Press, 2001
  3. ^ Ibid.
  4. ^ Nicholson, K: Torch Song A Play in Prologue and Three Acts. S French Ltd., 1930



  Results from FactBites:
Torch song - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (185 words)
A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love.
The etymology comes from "Carrying a torch for him/her"; which means to long for a lost lover.
A possible origin is that the singer (torch singers are almost exclusively female) sang in a sultry, jazzy way to bring out the sensual tones of the voice, thus resembling a smoldering torch...
Torch Song Trilogy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (508 words)
Torch Song Trilogy is a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein, running in New York City from June 10, 1982, to May 19, 1985 at the Little Theatre (now the Helen Hayes Theatre on West 44th Street).
Each of the three acts tells a separate part of the life story of Arnold Beckoff, a torch song-singing Jewish drag queen in New York City who starts the story with a soliloquy explaining his cynical disillusionment with love.
At the end of the act, however, Alan is killed in a homophobic attack.
  More results at FactBites »



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